Meet the new generation of Diana Award Holders
This year’s Diana Award Recipients represent some of the most inspirational young people from across the UK and around the world. These exceptional young people have demonstrated their ability to inspire and mobilise new generations to serve their communities and create long-lasting change on a global scale.
Nabila made it her mission to educate women and girls growing up in rural Pakistan, empowering them to achieve their ambitions. Nabila, from rural Pakistan herself, believes that women and girls shouldn’t be at a disadvantage due to economic and political instability, or educational and cultural constraints. Through her own determination and drive, Nabila is now studying Aviation at university and is using her global platform to represent girls in rural Pakistan. In 2019, she spoke at ‘The International Congress of Youth Voices’ in the USA, sharing her own story to inspire others. Nabila also created the initiative Aviation Literary Forum, which provides a space to encourage other girls to realise their dreams.
Demetri has worked continuously alongside full-time education, employment, and his undergraduate degree to advocate for young people in the face of rising youth violence. This ranges from mentoring other boys at risk of exclusion at his school to appearing on national television, providing consultancy about how to use social media safely, and giving evidence about solutions to knife crime in Parliament. Demetri studies Criminology at university and maintains his contact with advocacy initiatives in Parliament as well as representing the Roadworks music education programme as a fully trained ambassador by supporting delivery workshops across London.
Inspired by her mother who donated a kidney to save the life of her grandfather, Nandani, then 14, vowed to help others needing an organ transplant and reduce the need for living donation. Religious and cultural taboos give India one of the lowest rates of organ donation globally. So, with her mother and brother, Nandani launched Recycle Life MNK using social and digital media with the support of celebrities, doctors and community leaders to raise awareness and encourage donors to sign up. Now 17, Nandani has gained in confidence as an inspiring leader, also organising school workshops and volunteering at ‘ORGAN India’ by Parashar Foundation to help new donors register.
Muhammad has raised over £200,000 for the Care & Relief Foundation over the last seven years. These funds have been used to provide people in drought affected areas of Pakistan with water through solar pumps, education and medical treatment. Muhammad also organises interfaith gatherings and is a strong supporter of the deradicalisation of youth, speaking publicly to promote peaceful interpretations of the Quran. He has been involved in the promotion of a book called ‘Terrorist’ which has been endorsed by the West Midlands Police to help build trust, promote reconciliation, and reduce stigma in Muslim community.
After growing up as the son of a teacher in a low socio-economic community in Pakistan, Mohammad experienced the importance of a good education firsthand. He joined MAPS in 2013, a youth-led organisation which empowers young people to pursue further education. To date, Mohammad has organised over 250 community empowerment seminars on the importance of, not just education, but physical and mental health, and the need to build a stronger society in which everyone supports one another. Mohammad is also the youngest Pakistani to speak at the United Nations as an official delegate from his country and continues to inspire other young people through his work.
Sandra is an author and speaker who is advocating and amplifying women’s roles in economic and social development, female participation in leadership and politics in Africa. She set up Fempower Africa after experiencing gender inequality whilst studying electrical engineering where she was one of four women in a class of 120 men. Sandra suffered discrimination and lack of support, as well as having to walk miles to class each day simply because there was no female accommodation on campus. In just three years Fempower has changed the lives of thousands of women across Africa through mentoring and training, facilitating internships and helping women resource and set up tech businesses.
At 14, Rania Ali Khan embodies the saying “a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step”. Committed to making the world a better place through her social activism, she volunteers for ‘Tajneed’, an initiative which supports expat workers of different nationalities. Many are illiterate and finding life and their jobs stressful. In the first initiative of its kind in the United Arab Emirates, Rania organises educational and recreational activities, promoting happiness and healthy living amongst the bus conductors and drivers, who provide vital school transport. She also encourages the student passengers to have a positive attitude towards them.
Faith has been volunteering with her local ice rink for over two years, giving her time to help both children and adults with a range of different abilities to learn a new skill, get active and meet new people. Many of the people who attend Faith’s classes suffer from low levels of confidence and social anxiety but Faith has been able to have a positive influence on these people by showing the benefit ice skating can have, both physically and mentally. She uses her experience to break down difficult skills and makes it easy for the participants to learn with confidence.
Born with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis and Scoliosis of the spine, Stephanie hasn’t let anything stop her from excelling in all areas of her volunteering and career path. Stephanie is a volunteer judo coach and Child Protection Officer for ‘Adaptive Judo’ in Wales. She is passionate about raising awareness and fundraising for both children in Wales and internationally. Stephanie has increased the self-esteem of the girls she coaches, whilst developing their sense of empathy, showing parents how their children can reach their potential. She still wants to make an even bigger impact, and is working towards Masters degree in Special Educational Needs and Additional Learning Needs.
After witnessing poverty and low school attendance, Fardeen set up the education through sports initiative Fardeen FC Trailblazers. His team of 100 children aged nine to 16 play football under the FIFA grassroots model, fundraising for school fees, environment clean ups and raising awareness of education bursaries. Fardeen used his own resources and networks, fundraising $2,000 to pay for equipment, travel and kits. Fardeen ensured the parents were committed to monitoring their children’s participation and set up an accountability mechanism for coaches to track the impact of the programme on the team’s schooling, and vice versa. Since its inception, Fardeen’s team have been consistently attending school, enabling them to get the education they need.
At the age of just 13, Arjun embodies the difference any young person can make if they put their mind to it. Starting with donating his pocket money, Arjun has promoted kindness, happiness and wellbeing through numerous initiatives in his native India and his country of residence, the United Arab Emirates over the last five years. These include establishing a voluntary disaster response, financially supporting under privileged children, making toys for young refugees and running environmental awareness campaigns. Arjun was awarded ‘Young Leader of the Year’ for tolerance, resilience and happiness in recognition of his hard work, and used the prize money to fund further charitable projects.
Ravina is dedicated to advancing marginalised communities as well as promoting womxn’s rights. Her initiative ‘FLIK’ provides womxn entrepreneurs resources to accelerate their businesses and access relevant career experiences and mentorship opportunities. By understanding the impact of technological shifts, she has supported thousands of womxn in 28+ countries and launched educational campaigns online, highlighting stories of womxn from tderse backgrounds. Ravina uses her time and funds to enhance FLIK’s online platform development, deliver meaningful events, manage the tech product, create technological innovation, and will be launching a scholarship to help young womxn with their careers. The FLIK platform has allowed womxn to join an inclusive and safe community and advance womxn’s economic participation across the world.
Declan is a loyal and committed member of the BulliesOut Youth Ambassador group, having previously volunteered as a Playground Pal in his primary school. Declan has experienced bullying himself and has witnessed it happening in school around him. He is passionate about dealing with this issue and delivers presentations to his peers to raise awareness. Declan participates in regular meetings, offers training and assists with events and activities, whilst also creatively organising activities of his own. Declan has recently trained to become a Peer Mentor in his school, providing support for anyone who may be experiencing bullying and referring them to members of staff when required.
Olumide is a dedicated leader across the Enactus programme and other initiatives at Bayero University, Nigeria. His far-reaching efforts have supported student innovators to solve challenges of sustainable development in communities, bringing the attention of investors to their projects and improving access to resources, mentorship and start-up funding. As team leader he has directed visits, workshops and surveys of communities to better understand the issues facing Nigeria, whilst serving as a role model for new leaders and young people. He is widely known as a vibrant and intelligent young person, who constantly demonstrates his dedication to working for the good and development of others.
In January 2019, 14-year old student Bolu supported the project ‘Our Voices Have to be Heard’, an initiative by a classmate to raise awareness of children’s rights and abuse. Their project, which started in their school Olashore International, has now expanded into the local community through the initiative ‘Healing Every Living Person’, which aims to combat poverty and lack of opportunities by equipping 16 to 21 year olds with life skills and entrepreneurial training. The ‘H.E.L.P’ initiative has already offered hope to more than 100 young people, with its free skills training and education reaching those who may have turned to crime as a way out of poverty.
After becoming aware of the inequality which women and girls face around the world, Anaïs decided to use her voice to amplify others’. Since working at ‘Sisters for Change’ in 2017, an NGO which offers girls and women access to equal education and justice, Anaïs has campaigned tirelessly for equal rights. Her work has led to changing attitudes within her school and wider community, including towards the homeless and those with severe learning disabilities. Anaïs continues to inspire other young women through her ‘Girl Up’ club which empowers and equips younger students to take action in the campaign for equal rights.
Eshani’s ambition has always been to create a better world and help those less fortunate than herself. At eight, she raised funds for Nepalese earthquake victims. Now, as a 16-year old student in Hyderabad, she raises money for cancer treatments for the underprivileged, campaigns to protect the environment, and addresses social issues such as female empowerment and mental health. A family experience of autism led her to develop an app that controls and reports sound pollution, alongside a music therapy app for those suffering with mental disorders. Planning to study medicine, Eshani’s enthusiasm for science and technology inspires other female students and she’s currently researching biomarkers for autism.
Ashraf has shown incredible commitment to supporting the LGBTQI community in his native Egypt. Alongside his final year studies, he has helped to improve access to emergency care and psychological support for survivors of violence, whilst joining efforts with local organisations to help bring an end to the state-led crackdown. His actions arguably galvanised international visibility of the arrest of LGBTQI activists, gathering the signatures of six human rights organisations in his statement and aiding their eventual release. Ashraf’s activism is deeply personal as well as professional, but always selfless and never motivated out of a desire for recognition of his incredible achievements.
Adjwoa had an active role in the development of several new projects in her community. Her activism began with the development of ‘Our Voices Have To Be Heard’, an initiative committed to raising awareness of child rights and prevent abuse. Recognising the further needs of her community, she and her schoolmates followed this project with ‘Healing Every Living Person’, to combat poverty by equipping young people with skills through entrepreneurial training. This brought a tremendous impact in Adjwoa’s community with 100 new subscribers to the programme. Adjwoa’s kindness and leadership have provided essential skills for her community and inspired others to take similar positive action.
Since the age of 15, Nasra has been an activist at Integrate UK, a youth led charity that works towards gender and racial equality and cross-cultural cohesion. Over the years she has taken on increasingly challenging roles in the organisation and progressed to Lead Outreach Worker, training and supporting young people to deliver a wide range of peer-education workshops. Nasra now sits on the board of trustees, supports younger members and represents Integrate at numerous events. She has provided consultation to two Prime Ministers, joined meetings at the Home Office and has represented the organisation at the African Union, Ethiopia.
Beginning as a volunteer and now leading the ‘We’ for Change organisation as president, Dipika has engaged with over one thousand youths and fostered their development as leaders in their communities. Her efforts are rooted in an unwavering belief in the potential of young minds as demonstrated by the number of projects she has led, from promoting environmental preservation to increasing understanding of HIV/AIDs. In 2019 Dipika was awarded ‘Young Peacemaker Award’ by ‘Peace First-USA’ for her initiative ‘Pahal: Justice for Green Generation’ and was selected to represent Nepal at the Global Youth Summit organised by Global Changemakers. Dipika is a remarkable and empathetic leader, whose extensive achievements indicate her incredible dedication and positivity.
Driven by a desire to help others, Jasmine Baldev Raj set up Umeed with the help of a friend in 2013. Umeed, which means hope, began with fundraising campaigns for ‘Dubai Cares’ a foundation which helps those in need receive education. Seven years later, Umeed has members and volunteers worldwide and is working with major organisations such Red Crescent. Now aged 14, Jasmine has helped set up blood donation camps and organised food collections for the underprivileged, as well as volunteering in care centres and raising awareness amongst her peers about the importance of equality, health and education for all.
Ksenija’s efforts have had a great impact in supporting victims of violence and raising awareness of child and drug abuse in her community. She is a dedicated member of the ‘Centre of Drug Addiction Prevention’, and founder of the ‘Move of Health’ project to encourage physical activities and increase awareness of drug use consequences. Ksenija has set up additional initiatives to provide free textbooks for secondary school students, and has promoted school discussions around the repercussions of violence and the importance of kindness. She is on a mission to encourage young people to understand their own capacity for positive change.
Since the age of 12, Joana has campaigned tirelessly to tackle gender inequality. What began as a small coding club has now grown to support hundreds of young women across 15 different countries. Joana also runs her own social enterprise, ‘She.’, which challenges gender stereotypes by rewriting traditional fairytales with a modern ending. Joana is a frequent public speaker, activist and advisor to boards such as the ‘Institute for the Future of Work’ at the House of Commons and the ‘International Youth Think Tank’, as well as an ambassador for #iwill and the ‘Women of the Future’ Lloyds Bank Programme.
Chloe has been a dedicated volunteer since the age of 13 and now gives her time to five different organisations in her community. She volunteers weekly at her local Barnardo’s charity shop and contributes regularly to fundraising events; she assists in teaching the younger students at her dance school, uses her technical skills to help the older generation at her local library’s ‘Silver Surfers Club’, volunteers weekly at a care home and recently assisted in running a ‘Code Club’ to teach primary school students how to programme. Chloe is a role model to all those around her.
Mia has been the driving force behind the Mental Health Ambassador programme within her school. She has normalised the conversation surrounding mental health, educating her peers and reducing the stigma of this important topic. Mia has delivered sessions around stress, anxiety, depression and self harm, helping students to better understand what these terms mean and how to recognise them. She also led her school’s ‘Aiming Higher in Malawi’ project, which ensures young women are able to access education and visited the communities the school supports in Malawi. Upon her return, Mia educated her peers on the projects that are supported through their fundraising, by delivering workshops and special events.
Natasha has bought commitment, enthusiasm and creativity to her role as an Anti-Bullying Ambassador over the past five years. She has worked hard to raise awareness of bullying related issues to pupils, staff and parents. Natasha has steered sessions to raise awareness of the online lives of young people, and lead the way in piloting materials for the ‘Be Strong Online’ programme, planning and delivering sessions with groups during PSHE lessons. Natasha has also inspired parents through her active role planning and co-delivering a parent information evening with the help of the School Liaison Police Officer.
Robbie has ignited a movement of activists who are fighting against the political current in defence of national monuments. At nine years old, Robbie heard that President Trump had ordered the review and potential elimination of 27 national monuments. He visited these places, followed by TV cameras and reporters who learned of his purpose defending these landscapes. Robbie was inspired to create a non-profit ‘Kids Speak for Parks’, taking a year off from school to devote his time to protecting public lands, visiting schools to educate and inspire others as well as lobbying for the ‘Every Kid Outdoors Act’. These efforts have resulted in 4 million children each year continuing to have the opportunity to visit national parks for free.
Maggie is dedicated to serving others and especially committed to helping give a voice and fostering inclusive opportunities for the disabled community. Through her project, ‘The Solution to Inclusion,’ she has raised awareness of issues faced by people living with disabilities and champions inclusion in schools, communities, and companies. This is a personal cause for Maggie, whose brothers live with autism, and one that has motivated her to overcome her own personal challenges. Her tireless work spans a long list of organisations from Best Buddies International to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, in addition to around $25,000 in personal fundraising.
17-year-old Ohio student Ryan’s sister was born with profound hearing loss, but her sister’s love of the written word inspired Ryan to create the Hearing-Impaired Pen Pal Project (Hippkids) three years ago. Since then the project has reached hundreds of children and young people across the world, fostering friendships and connections whilst helping improve communication and literacy skills, which are often impacted by hearing problems. Ryan has mentored families of newly diagnosed children as well as tutoring underprivileged students in maths, science, civics and government. As a teen ambassador for the state of Ohio, she also helps address mental health and drug issues.
Darius is an entrepreneur, speaker, animal advocate and founder of ‘Beaux & Paws’. At eight years old, he was diagnosed with a speech, comprehension and fine motor skills delay, however Darius’ skills started to improve after he began assisting his older sister cutting fabric and learning to use a sewing machine. He specialises in creating handmade stylish bowties for cats and dogs in shelters across the United States and beyond, to give the animals a better chance at being adopted into their forever homes. Darius speaks at events educating others on the importance of volunteering, acting as a voice for the voiceless and working to ‘save lives, one bow-tie at a time’.
A talented singer, 17-year old Indian student Rhea co-founded a ground-breaking music outreach programme called Music Mantraa. Driven by her passion for music, she and her co-founder wanted underprivileged children to have the same music opportunities as they had experienced at school. Campaigning tirelessly to raise funds including a large public concert in 2018, Music Mantraa has so far raised 750,000 Rupees, successfully embedding music education in six under-resourced schools and shelters. Having sung at prestigious international music events from Berlin to Beijing, she also mentors students preparing for recitals and helps run music workshops.
Aaron has spent over 800 hours volunteering at Spartans Community Football Academy, supporting the Youth Work Team and Community Coaches to deliver coaching sessions and events. Aaron spends much of time at the ‘FooTEA clubs’, which act as a safe space for young people in need to come on a Friday night and have fun with their friends, whilst also receiving a hot meal. He works hard to boost attendees’ self-esteem and encourages them to try new things, using his own experiences to support others. Aaron also volunteers on ‘Making Magic Memories’ trips and residentials, leading on activities to ensure all young people involved have a positive experience.
Diagnosed with bipolar at 13, Diana Chao founded Letters to Strangers to help others suffering mental health issues following her own suicide attempts, hospitalisation and medication, stigma and cultural shame as a first-generation Chinese-American. She found healing through letter writing, starting Letters to Strangers as a club in her second year of high school. Since then, this unique anonymous letter exchange programme, that includes therapy-informed themes and peer discussion, has reached over 35,000 people globally, and facilitates workshops and online engagement. Diana, now 21, speaks worldwide and, despite a debilitating eye condition, furthers her creative impact through conceptual photography. Her self-portrait series went viral to over two million viewers.
Shah is a shining example of a Global Changemaker making a difference in communities across Bangladesh through his youth-led social enterprise ‘Footsteps’. Since its inception in 2013, the organisation has designed and implemented over 13 social ventures and campaigns, impacting over 100,000 people across 15 districts in Bangladesh by ensuring safe water access, integrating waste management solutions and disaster response. With knowledge on Corporate Social Responsibility, Shah designed ‘Project Trishna’, where corporations could fund safe water systems in marginalised communities in return for their branding and promotion. ‘Project Trishna’ has impacted over 75,000 people to date among which 14,000 are children.
Kyla uses her talent and passion for the performing arts to help overcome social issues within her community. At the age of 10, Kyla created ‘Sing-to-Build’, a non-profit which used her voice to generate funds for communities affected by natural disasters. Kyla raised more than $70,000 to help build an orphanage, rebuild homes, libraries, women’s centres, art centres and music centres in hard hit areas. At 17, she launched ‘Jakarta Youth Performing Arts’ choreographing, directing and inspiring young people through song, dance and drama to raise funds for charity. Kyla also founded ‘Global Youth Leaders’ in 2018, gathering young inspirational speakers to share their experiences with younger generations in Indonesia.
Maeve works tirelessly to engage others in school activities, from netball to debating. With a passion for sport, Maeve volunteers as a netball coach, training younger students and supporting them to compete as well as acting as an umpire. She has set up and runs various extra curricular clubs including STEM and the debating team. Additionally, Maeve has been involved in setting up a sports breakfast club so that younger students can arrive early at school to be active and get fed. Outside of school she volunteers as a first-aider with Saint Andrews First Aid at community events, and supports at her local scout group.
Beth has been an integral part of the ‘Paired Reading Club’, supporting an increasing number of younger pupils, some of whom are facing challenges such as poor self-esteem, low reading ages and social inadequacy. Through her role as a Mentor in the ‘Violence Prevention Programme’, she has encouraged pupils to stand up and confront gender-based violence and socially unacceptable behaviour. Beth has also displayed a commitment to others in a variety of other important fields, taking on the role of sports ambassador, and has been involved in charity fundraising activities.
As an Indian-British young person, James was shocked by the disparity in education in communities between the UK and rural India, and felt drastic changes were needed. James decided to start by providing solutions to basic needs for the three and a half billion people in the world who are still without internet. He co-founded the social enterprise Mandala Group and began by building a mobile application called ‘teleStory’ to enable illiterate parents to read to their illiterate children. Since then, James has impacted the lives of over 100,000 people through his different mobile applications and plans to reach millions in the coming years.
Callum is a trailblazer who founded his own firm iCodeRobots at the age of seven. His mission is to give children of all backgrounds and all income levels access to classes training them to build and code robots. By partnering with other tech providers, Callum went on to develop and execute a campaign that led to free sessions for 1,000 children. Despite his young age, and his own personal challenges, Callum’s commitment to inspire other children to enter the world of robotics has established him as a regular in the fast-paced tech scene.
Agne started out as a participant of the Salaam Peace’s Community Engagement Programme but her dedication led her to be promoted to Director at the age of just 21. The programme uses sport, media and education to nurture people from all backgrounds into positive role models. Agne is a remarkable young person who guides candidates to lead sessions themselves and develop the confidence to do so. She also assists with general administration work, helping the programme raise over £10,000 which will be used to give students access to meaningful leadership opportunities in their communities.
Eva is the founder of GirlCode, a youth-led organisation that aims to reduce the gender gap in the STEM industry by offering free coding lessons and mentorship program to girls between the ages of seven and 17. Eva first had the idea for GirlCode when she visited her friends at the best technical high school in Switzerland and noticed that, out of their 300 students, only two identified as girls. Through Eva’s hard work and imagination, she has managed to build an international network, with 314 clubs across 26 countries, and has organized more than a thousand workshops in smaller cities and villages so that no girl is left behind.
As a 23-year old psychology student in Zimbabwe, Nontokozo understands the need for young people to be economically and socially empowered, particularly in areas of need. In partnership with the Bulawayo electronics company ‘Merptech’, her programme, ‘A Thousand Miles Youth Empowerment Drive’ has helped more than 100 young people. Nontokozo has overseen the establishment of new start-ups and has unlocked employment opportunities in a wide range of areas including technology, agriculture, beauty and education. She has enlisted support from private business, financiers and government policy makers, improving the local economy and youth confidence through entrepreneurial and business skills to build a lasting legacy for the future.
Sriya’s love of flowers inspired her to come up with a unique way of improving the lives of local Indian women from low economic backgrounds by recycling floral waste to make hand-made craft and home items for sale. The 15 year old entrepreneur built the business with donations of flowers, particularly those left over from events and with minimal initial investment. The women, who would normally work as labourers or domestic help, have the opportunity of full or part-time employment, better flexible working conditions and wages that support the necessities of daily life, in a project of harmony and environmental sustainability.
13 year old Mishal is a humanitarian and eco-warrior who believes education is the key to changing the world. Committed to recycling, she is also the founder of ‘Winshares’, the first platform of its kind in the UAE, sharing textbooks and school uniform to promote sustainability. She also raises funds for underprivileged children, as well as collecting toys, clothes, books and stationery for refugees and volunteering in labour camps. A published author and radio presenter, Mishal also raises awareness about social causes and health issues such as arthritis, diabetes and cancer. Hoping others follow her example, she has donated hair to make wigs for chemotherapy patients experiencing hair loss.
At four years old, Mir joined the Emirates Environmental Group’s desert clean up, working hard all day and proving nobody is ever too young to care for the planet and make a difference. When he returned home, Mir went door-to-door convincing neighbours of the three ‘Rs’ – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Now aged nine, Mir campaigns extensively to raise awareness about deforestation and desertification. He has achieved his own impressive recycling goals, including 9,000 kilos of paper and using his artistic skills to decorate recycled glass, whilst his ‘Wanna Read’ campaign has collected 3,000 used books to improve the lives of children in hospital.
Through learning about Anne Frank’s life and the Holocaust, Jack has aimed to break down contemporary intolerances and prejudice by relating Anne’s story to modern scenarios. Jack volunteers as an ‘Anne Frank Ambassador’, leading anti-bullying workshops in school programmes, delivering assemblies, as well as making anti-bullying films and taking part in online webinars. Jack was invited as a guest speaker at the Salford Civic Holocaust Memorial Day event at Salford University and hosted the House of Commons Reception for the 90th anniversary of Anne Frank’s birth. Jack has promoted empathy across the community with his passion to educate others about what constitutes prejudice and discrimination.
Isabel volunteers her time at the Swansea Law Clinic and once she realised the law’s ability to do good, she became passionate about the Clinic’s aims. She founded the Clinic’s outreach provision at ‘Eastside Foodbank’ in east Swansea. The city is a universal credit roll out area which has caused problems for people waiting for their benefits and finding that they were receiving less in payments. Isabel has been able to work in a multi-agency way to ensure that people using the foodbank not only receive the advice they need but also have their problems addressed holistically, bringing different agencies together to work as one.
James knows first-hand the experiences many young Black Caribbean boys face. Throughout his school life, he felt routinely dismissed and prematurely labelled. Even with over 300 detentions, multiple exclusions and near expulsions from school, mostly as a result of stereotyping of boys like him, he was able to successfully navigate school as a result of the kindness of four teachers who saw him and took him under their wings as mentors throughout his education. This mentorship transformed his life and subsequently led to him becoming an Amos Bursary Scholar. As a result of this investment, James is now determined to make access to education and opportunities more equitable for everyone, regardless of their background. He has focused on increasing the number of underrepresented, particularly Caribbean, students entering Russell Group Universities. In his roles within King’s College London and the Amos Bursary he has helped to create partnerships, has facilitated the creation of scholarships for black students and has created initiatives to increase the representation of black students.
Abigail is dedicated to championing gender equality and justice in Liberia. She pioneered the ‘Criminal Justice Students Association’, Liberia’s biggest grassroots law enforcement movement, which advocates for the rights of victims of sexual assaults and minorities. Abigail has established human rights clubs in schools and communities to create a safe space for youth to speak out on issues including sexual assaults. She works tirelessly with disadvantaged young people and women to promote education and raise awareness of gender-based violence. Abigail also represents Liberian young people at the YMCA globally, acting as an agent for change and a voice for youth development.
After Lauren was subjected to brutal cyber-bullying at 13-years old, she wanted to prevent it from happening to others. Two years later, she set up Girls Above Society to empower a new generation of cybersmart girls with skills to cope with today’s media driven society. A decade on, Lauren has empowered girls through hundreds of thousands of one-to-one sessions through her ‘Girl Power Camps’ and given hundreds of key notes speeches across the United States. Lauren’s tireless work and passion has also led to the development of a ‘GIRL TALK’ curriculum for US schools, as well as a supportive pen power programme in Africa.
Aditi is committed to changing lives through the ‘Go-Getters’ youth action group that she has initiated to help achieve UN environmental, humanitarian and healthcare sustainable development goals. Her fundraising and volunteering efforts include book collection drives for street children, stationery kits for refugees, community and mobile libraries, and craft workshops for the autistic, elderly and disabled. As a dedicated environmentalist, Aditi has campaigned for protecting the planet by organising educational workshops with a ‘no to plastic’ message and an innovative community recycling hub. She has also raised breast cancer awareness in UK, Russia, Czech Republic, India and UAE.
Sakiya is dedicated to helping young people achieve their goals and aspirations. She is determined to ensure that everyone is treated fairly, and that young people have their voice heard. Coming from a community that is affected by FGM, Sakiya felt that FGM and the effects of the patriarchy could no longer stay taboo. Her work has included campaigning for FGM and Forced Marriage Protection Orders at the Home Office, planning ‘Sweden Zero Tolerance Day Conference 2020’, supporting NHS FGM pilot clinics, helping with IUK’s ‘FGM Medical Conference’ in 2018, leading focus groups, urging young men and boys to join the campaign and planning IUK’s ‘Annual Youth Conference’.
At the age of 16, Omid’s friend lost his father to heart failure. Deeply affected and feeling a duty to act, Omid co-founded Aid You, which aims to reduce the number of deaths caused by heart failure by raising awareness of this disease. Building the organisation from scratch, Omid leads his social innovation project and international team, who are based across Italy and Uganda. He is dedicated to fighting heart disease through his campaign work, delivering workshops and seminars that have impacted over 700 people. His Aid You work has brought intdiduals together over a common goal that transcends borders.
Prudhvi is determined to provide quality education for everyone, motivated by a belief that young people are the key driving force for social change. Prudhvi has worked across ten schools and three colleges, and as a result of his efforts over 1.5 million students from across India have better access to scholarship information, career guidance and employment opportunities. He frequently organises events for students to learn more through subjects as tderse as mobile controlled robotics and the importance of ensuring rural education and sanitation. Prudhvi is constantly committed to improving the skills and welfare of young people and is an inspirational figure of leadership in education.
Amy is the Director of Sanitree, a social enterprise working to tackle period poverty and the stigma surrounding menstruation in India and beyond. It does this by employing women from vulnerable backgrounds to sew and sell environmentally sustainable, reusable sanitary pads. She also works tirelessly to expand meaningful education in Scotland around period poverty. Amy recently ran a campaign lobbying the Scottish Government to pass a bill which would make menstrual products free for all, organising a rally and speaking outside Parliament. Amy has collaborated with other UK and Scotland charities and NGOs working on female empowerment and tackling period poverty.
Sarah is fiercely committed to the youth-led climate movement and has inspired thousands of young people to understand the climate crisis better, helping them to take action and start creating a better future. Sarah’s passion for the environment inspired her work as a youth council member at ‘Greening Forward’, before leading her to found Climate NOW to empower young people in her community. She has since worked with ‘Youth vs Apocalypse’, led over 40,000 people at the San Francisco Climate Strike and founded the instagram platform ‘Broadway Speaks Up’. She continues to inspire others by speaking at conferences, schools and media outlets, and fosters positive climate action in her community.
Having volunteered with destitute and mentally disadvantaged women in a rehabilitation centre near her home in South India, 16 year old Nihaarika founded ‘Hope World’ to empower such women through job skills, including embroidery, crafts and tailoring. Now, Nihaarika has expanded her programme to work with village women in this remote economically deprived area, encouraging the use of traditional skills to strengthen financial security. Despite having to overcome initial reservations from village elders about her age, she has created sustainable infrastructures and business opportunities for these women. As part of a ‘Future Leader’s’ programme, she spoke inspiringly about her project at the United Nations headquarters in December 2019.
Adrika knows how to overcome adversity after she was badly burned as a small child in a gas blast that destroyed her home. Despite being warned by doctors that she may never walk again, she went on to train in Taekwondo, becoming a blackbelt at age seven. Now, having witnessed atrocities and crimes against children, particularly girls, in the Morena region where she lives, Adrika volunteers to teach the art of self-defence. She now motivates and empowers girls through rallies, road shows and school assemblies. As the face of the Indian Government’s ‘Save Girl – Educate Girl’ campaign, she also volunteers to help slum families and the elderly.
Having experienced negative reactions to her sister who has special needs, Claire is dedicated to making the world a more compassionate and inclusive place, where stigmatising labels and bullying no longer exist. At 15, she founded ‘Show Compassion Foundation’ with its ‘See, Stop, Start’ message, which she delivered to over 6,500 people. She is now working to bring the programme into elementary schools through standardised curriculum. She has supported a range of organisations through fundraising initiatives including hosting a benefit concert, partnering with global brands, campaigning to raise awareness, helping those with special needs at various events, and more.
Harjas has been working in the fields of human rights and gender equality since the age of eight, and her commitment to humanitarian organisations knows no ends. Despite facing challenges of her own, Harjas has twice led an all-female delegation at the United Nations and has mobilised thousands of marginalised community members to advocate for better human rights. Harjas is also the founder of a women’s rights rally group and a creator of the ‘ContourMe’ app, which works to drive social change through technology. She was shortlisted for Forbes’ ’30 Under 30’ list becoming a shining example of her youth leadership and her unwavering commitment to social change.
Brought up in Bangalore, India where water is a precious and increasingly scarce resource, water warrior Garvita founded ‘Why Waste?’ five years ago to make intdiduals and institutions more aware of water conservation. The largest youth-led organisation of its kind in the country, ‘Why Waste?’ is changing mindsets and habits through achievable activities, including its ‘glass half-full’ viral online message and the ‘How to Save 100 Litres Every Day’ app. Garvita and her team have also distributed a free a book of sustainability stories to help underprivileged students understand the climate crisis. Described by a BBC reporter as the Greta Thunberg of India, Garvita is now taking her water conservation vision to the world stage.
11 year old Samika stands on a chair so she can reach the blackboard, not as a pupil but as a volunteer teacher in a child-to-child education programme run by the Indian NGO Anukulan. Having recognised that many are struggling for even the basics in life, Samika inspires and motivates children living in slum conditions to recognise education as a way of improving their lives, teaching that essentials such as healthcare and food are a human right. She also helps to collect and distribute donations of food, clothing, books and toys, as well as volunteering in art and yoga workshops, and health and dental clinics.
Aniket founded the ‘Indian Science and Technology Campaign’ (ISTC) to encourage students to be innovative and creative in their thinking through a practical approach. His vision ‘practicality is everything’ grew from a realisation that the tendency to cram for exams meant that many students failed when it came to ‘thinking skills and understanding concepts’. Since then, he has supported 19,000 students and 900 teachers with practical initiatives, including a programme combining science with entrepreneurial skills to create innovative, economical and constructive prototypes with worldwide benefits for big problems. Now, Aniket’s initiative has been also joined by a volunteer team of 600 university students to develop low-cost practical experiments to explain complex scientific concepts at school level.
At the age of six, Alana started baking cakes for Charity. Three years ago, she launched ‘Alana’s Caring Cakes’, baking cakes for people in her community who are experiencing challenges. Baking reduces Alana’s anxiety. This has become more important following her autism diagnosis as she has been able to use her community events to increase awareness and acceptance. Starting with a small stall, Alana now leads an annual charity event which has raised over £5,000 for various causes, including directly funding treatment for her school-friend with cerebral-palsy and the Sheffield Hospital Charity. Alana has recently become an ambassador for a local autism charity and launched a Kindness Fair, which brings together different charities and young people to celebrate positivity and raise money for local causes.
Rafiul has been motivated to help communities in his native Bangladesh from a young age. This led him to volunteer for the JAAGO Foundation, where he continues to work and help combat poverty by providing education to underprivileged children. Rafiul has led multiple events drawing attention to water pollution, eco-friendly transportation and the issue of economically disadvantaged youth at the community level. Among the most notable was the ‘Sponsor A Child’ campaign, which in one year managed to organise 150 sponsor parents to help fund underprivileged children’s access to education whilst also raising $40,000.
Sakia is on a mission to empower women through travel. Frustrated with the lack of opportunities for girls and women in Bangladesh, Sakia cofounded Travelettes of Bangladesh, an online community made up of over 51,000 women. As well as encouraging women to see the world, Sakia uses her travelling as an opportunity to educate young girls, particularly about menstruation which is often considered a taboo topic. The road has not always been an easy one, and Sakia and her fellow volunteers have faced criticism for their work. Despite this, they remain committed to their mission and Sakia will not stop until she reaches every young girl in Bangladesh.
When Jamie lost his English teacher to cancer in 2017, he was inspired to create a ‘Pockets of Positivity’ Calendar in his memory, raising over £10,000 in sales to help families affected by cancer. Jamie also volunteers at the Care for Cancer office while studying for his A-Levels, acting as a friendly ear for patients and families, as well as completing administrative tasks. He has undertaken over 200 hours of service for the organisation and hopes to inspire change in finding a cure for cancer. Jamie is also a champion for the Northern Ireland integrated education movement through various community initiatives, including fundraising, public speaking and human rights activism.
Shedaine was expelled from school when she was 15 after getting into a fight defending her sister, who has a disability. This could have been the start of her journey down a negative path but, instead, Shedaine has gone on to achieve incredible things. She joined The Change Foundation as a Youth Trustee before becoming a member of staff in 2017, and is now Women and Girls Programme Manager at the age of 23. Shedaine is passionate about change and works hard to help young people from marginalised communities increase their aspirations and go on to reach their full potential.
When Saba arrived in Swansea in 2015, she began volunteering and has since dedicated her time to over 20 organisations. She is committed to supporting and integrating asylum seeking women into the wider community through equal access to opportunities. Saba works alongside charities, the Welsh Government and South Wales Police to transform attitudes and promote inclusion. She volunteers as a mentor to other newly arrived asylum seekers and acts as an interpreter. Overcoming many obstacles, Saba has used her creative skills and event organisation to deliver an Ethnic Fashion Show and Exhibition, train participants in photography and to fundraise for a local women’s group.
Khalisa established her mentoring programme, Guide to Education Magic, in 2018 to support studentsfrom Azerbaijan in accessing high quality learning from the world’s leading universities. Since then, she has supported over 50 students and is now taking the programme to African countries. Students enrolled in the programme have since gone on to work for government, the UN, and NGOs – all madepossible through the university education Khalisa helped them to access. In addition to this project, Khalisa has also established a scientific platform for young researchers, called ‘Sciences in Sight’, which helps them to connect and collaborate with experienced scientists.
Beth knows what it’s like to ‘fall down seven times and get up eight’, which is the strapline of her charity, Hearts and Minds. As a teenager she struggled with her own mental health, highlighting to her the lack of support available for young people experiencing mental health difficulties. Keen to do something about it, Beth set up a peer support network that has grown into a UK-wide service. Her aim was to create a community which provided safe spaces for young people to connect, support each other and grow. At Hearts and Minds, young people are reminded that they are valuable, important and able to move towards the things they want in life, no matter the struggles they may experience.
Sheikh is the founder of Study Buddy, a start-up that provides an alternative learning platform to children with learning difficulties and their parents. Inspired by his sister, who lived with multiple learning disabilities and who sadly passed away, the organisation uses interactive approaches such as augmented reality and gaming. Sheikh matches each child with unique learning methodologies and then connects them with relevant learning tools and special needs professionals. Since its inception just over two years ago the organisation has supported over 1,000 children and 15,00 parents, led by a 4,000 strong group of volunteers.
Nahimul has been volunteering for 10 years, supported over 25 charities and raised over £25,000. He founded and runs his own football club to tackle obesity and break down both cultural and gender barriers, where he acts as a mentor and coach. Nahimul uses his passion for sports to inspire others, hosting charity football matches, running half marathon fundraisers, and delivering motivational talks, seminars and workshops. He has been at the forefront of various campaigns, using his voice as the Young Mayor of Tower Hamlets and various youth council groups to protect youth services. Nahimul’s volunteering has led to more positive news about youth and fewer barriers faced by young people.
Looking at all the hardships that prevail in this country, Muhammad could not just stand by and do nothing. In 2016 he founded the ‘Ignite Youth Foundation’, which aims to empower disadvantaged children in Bangladesh by providing them with the education and skills to protect themselves from discrimination, inequality and injustice. Since it was established, the organisation has set up one school campus, and educated 67 children and 23,000 volunteers working across seven districts in Bangladesh. Muhammad is passionate about inspiring other young people to engage in social action, delivering motivational speeches and training sessions.
Ananya founded Georgia Institute of Technology’s ‘FullCircle’ in 2017, with a mission to find more resilient ways to harvest renewable energy. Since then, their mission has expanded to tackle mental health concerns, stigma and lack of resources amongst students. Ananya and her team have created a mental health video game, with more than seven countries including the USA, UK, India, Canada and others to build new technologies and tackle government related legislation, and most recently are looking at how they can support students affected by COVID-19 through technology. Ananya also uses her own voice and personal experiences to inspire others – her compassion and creativity know no bounds.
An avid social entrepreneur, human rights activist and young visionary, Dr Surbhi Jaiswal has put aside her professional career as a dentist to become a founding member of the ‘Building Dreams Foundation’ which serves the most vulnerable populations in India, including poor children and adolescents. Surbhi’s charitable efforts include feeding and educating underprivileged children, empowering women, caring for the elderly and disabled, promoting environmental conservation, and designing and implementing socially enriching programs that help struggling communities. To date, her anti-hunger campaigns have provided nearly half a million free meals, a testament to Surbhi’s tireless pursuit of a better world.
Nelson grew up in a rural fishing village in Malaysia but, with the extra support of a scholarship, became the first generation in his family to attend university. His experience inspired him to help others follow in his footsteps, by providing equal access to education for all young people, regardless of their socio-economic background. As a result, Nelson founded ProjectEd, a student-led NGO which enables underprivileged students in Malaysia to pursue tertiary education through scholarships, digital mentorships and educational workshops. Nelson went on to establish ProjectEd’s ‘Knowledge Is Free’ scholarship programme, the first and only student-led scholarship fund in Malaysia.
Tysha is a committed volunteer for The Red Cross, ‘Hands for Hunger’, ‘The Bahamas National Council for Disability’ and more. She has developed her own projects to support other children in the community, including a healthy breakfast campaign to provide healthy breakfasts to primary school children and a back to school drive, which involved donating school supplies to children who could not access them. Tysha aims to act as a role model to other children, firm in the belief that her age cannot hold her back from making a positive difference. Her further work includes fundraising and raising awareness for the ‘The Bahamas Council for Disability’.
Jhemar advocates and raises awareness about youth violence in South London. He is an integral mentor for students at risk of permanent exclusion in his school and has argued in Parliament for mentoring as a solution to knife crime. Through his appearances telling his story in the media, Jhemar has represented entire districts of other young people like him, speaking out on the importance of youth services. Now, as a trained Ambassador for Roadworks, he will be assisting with workshops for at-risk young people across pupil referral units and youth centres.
Aminata works tirelessly to break barriers faced by girls in Sierra Leone to ensure they can achieve success. As CEO of an organisation aiming to support girls and women, she works across different communities and schools to motivate girls and instil leadership. Aminata aims to improve health facilities and health knowledge for girls whilst supporting and mentoring young women facing issues such as early pregnancy, rape or forced marriage. A successful public speaker, Aminata campaigns on TV and radio for quality education for young women. Her work has helped to empower young women across Sierra Leone.
Kamini is passionate about empowering and promoting the welfare of underprivileged women, tirelessly volunteering for Ladli Foundation Trust. Her half marathon event, ‘Run for Laadli’, encouraged more than 15,000 people, from cabinet ministers to Bollywood celebrities, to make a pledge to raise their voices against gender inequality and stop crimes against women. Kamini has helped over 6,000 underprivileged girls to complete their intermediate education and a further 15,000 to find employment through free education, vocational training and job placements. She also raises awareness of sexually transmitted diseases through a HIV and health check up programme, educating women and girls on sexual abuse, unprotected sex and menstrual hygiene.
Sohini started her humanitarian journey after watching a documentary about the harmful ritual known as ‘Chaupadi’, where Hindu women are prohibited woman from participating in normal family activities during menstruation because they are considered impure. Disgusted and disappointed by what, she saw Sohini organised a talent show to raise money and awareness for period poverty. From that moment on the ideas kept on coming and she has since worked on many projects, including developing a website to connect students with NGOs, teaching dance in low income schools, organising free dental check-ups for underprivileged students and much more.
From fundraising for the vaccination and re-housing of street dogs, educating children in slums, to pioneering entrepreneurship in women, Pooja is an inspiration to many. Facing gender stereotypes and discrimination, Pooja has raised national awareness about the treatment and decreasing population of donkeys in India and created a social enterprise which uses donkey-milk to create natural skincare products. As her reputation and media interest has grown, Pooja has become an advocate for female entrepreneurship and mobilises communities to empower their young women, training them with the skills to prosper, which led to her appointment as a ‘Change Ambassador’ for ‘She for Change’.
Hannah is passionate about astronomy and has committed her time to encouraging others to develop their confidence in STEM subjects. She was the first youth council member with the Irish Astronomical Association and chief editor of ‘Stardust Kids’, a quarterly magazine exploring astronomical themes. Her technical skills enabled Hannah to make a real contribution to the Supercell Youth Board, helping to design a national curriculum against cyberbullying, travelling to Helsinki to develop the curriculum. She also volunteered with the project ‘Volume Control’ in the ‘Oh Yeah Centre’ in Belfast, organising concerts in safe, local venues for young people.
Beth is an enthusiastic volunteer who gives up both her time in school and out to help her community and others. She never misses an opportunity to give back and provides invaluable assistance to numerous organisations. This includes promoting human rights, fundraising for a mother and baby in Uganda and providing a clean and friendly environment for people relying on vital community organisations. Beth also participated in a mentoring programme to raise awareness of bullying and its effects, and helped to develop her school’s anti-bullying policy.
At the age of just 18, Raina Khan has already been voted as one of the 50 most influential women in Pakistan thanks to her efforts in female empowerment, health and hygiene, free education, and social entrepreneurship. As founder and CEO of the ‘Zenana Foundation’, a youth non-profit, Raina has worked with hundreds of fundraisers and volunteers around the globe to set up free schools, start a skills training program for women and build an online marketplace for trainees to sell sustainable garments. These all facilitate self-sufficiency for young girls whilst also promoting environmental protection and sustainability.
Most pupils are happy to go to school, meet their friends, go to class and return home. Not Sanvi. At the age of just 16, Sanvi saw a disconnect between the staff and students in her school, and the non-academic migrant staff members who work in the background to keep the school running. To address this, Sanvi voluntarily designed and delivered a self-development and wellness programme, training 60 bus drivers and 60 nannies each week. The success of these programmes earned Sanvi an ‘International Education Icon Award’ from India and she continues to help others in her community.
At the age of nine, Alex witnessed a wheelchair user struggling to open a heavy door. Over the last six years, Alex has become a global advocate for people with disabilities and, with the help of his self-made team of software engineers, inclusion experts and business leaders, has launched his pioneering global initiative, ‘The Ability App’. This app contains crowd-sourced data which enables people with a disability to find accessible public spaces and encourages businesses to convert their workplaces to become more accessible and inclusive. Alex manages to fund his app through his services as a public speaker.
For the last five years, Brent has been using his skills as an architecture student to redevelop and transform communities and create green, sustainable, vibrant public spaces by using existing, exhausted resources. Infusing sustainability and art, Brent has designed sustainable, affordable housing and is recognised for mobilising youth and converting abandoned buses into safe community centres. Brent is also a co-founder of the ‘Angel Arms of Hope’ charity, which was partly attributed for a 60 percent drop in crime in his community after his project used art to persuade young people to maintain hygiene and shun crime.
Milica is a passionate volunteer and leader within her school. Whilst leader of her school’s Student Parliament, the group was awarded ‘Best Parliament of Montenegro’ twice. Once she identifies an issue in the school, she responds quickly by arranging a talk to educate students about this topic. Milica has organised community building activities, including helping elderly and isolated community members with daily tasks, cleaning up the city, and providing further education to students on topics such as peer violence and domestic violence. Milica also attends seminars on national issues such as violence and pollution, and is passionate about creating widespread sustainable change.
Shantanu founded the Be Free Campaign, a registered charity that is funded by The National Lottery, to reduce the stigma around mental health, promote wellbeing and improve mental health outcomes. The campaign has grown into a large team, comprising of students, doctors and mental health professionals. As a student doctor himself, Shantanu delivers talks and workshops in schools, universities, and community centres around the North West and the Midlands, using his own experiences to inspire others. His charity also works with YouTubers and influencers to promote positive mental health and his volunteer ambassadors collectively have over 600,000 subscribers.
Rebekah is committed to create a better future for our planet, with a keen interest in sustainability projects, recycling and lifting people out of poverty, exploitation and work environments that are dangerous. She has volunteered her time and energy in South East Asia and America, which involved fundraising for her travel and keep so that she could donate her time and energy to community projects. While in India, Rebekah engaged with The Women’s Empowerment Sewing Project to provide clothes for her start up fashion label ‘Pure Hope Clothing’. By collecting discarded materials, designing garments, and employing those involved in the project to sew the designs, the women now can support themselves financially by being made fairly for every item they make, while working in a safe environment.
After attempting to take her own life following years of depression and an eating disorder, Lottie became determined to destigmatise discussions around mental health through education and raising awareness in her school and the wider community. Lottie began by organising a ‘24-hour Danceathon’ which raised an incredible £3,200 for Mind Charity. Lottie speaks openly about her own mental health experiences and has delivered school assemblies and external workshops for mental health workers and Designated Safeguarding Leads covering how to better support young people with their mental health.
As a young carer for his mum, Blake works to raise the profile of other young carers around the UK and the challenges these young people face. After speaking at the Houses of Parliament, Blake set up his campaign ‘Chocs for Champs’ which collects chocolates to donate to local young carers over the festive period. Blake advertises his campaign on social media and in his school newsletters, and has even featured on national TV. He has been fundraising tirelessly since the campaign launched, connecting with corporations and businesses to donate 600 Easter eggs and 1,000 Christmas selection boxes last year alone.
Andrea is a young feminist who strives to have a positive impact on the lives of the young people of Guatemala. Since the age of 17 she has been volunteering for various causes in her local community. She is passionate about tackling gender inequality and in 2018 founded ‘The Institute of Gender and Empowerment’. Andrea enjoys sharing knowledge and teaches workshops on feminism, leadership and research methodologies. She has taken part in fundraising activities to raise money for Sustainable Development Goal activities at her university. Alongside this, Andrea is working on completing her master’s degree in Gender and Women’s Studies.
In September 2018, Sem launched the African Pathfinder Leaders Initiative (APLI), a non-profit organisation formed to address the shortage of skills, resources and networks available to young people in Namibia. Since its inception, APLI has provided training to over 100 youth on entrepreneurship, community development and leadership. Sem firmly believes that Namibia’s greatest resource is its young people and he is passionate about developing and empowering young people to fully realise their personal goals, whilst also providing them with the necessary skills and resources to create sustainable change in their communities and contribute to the socio-economic development of Namibia.
To help survivors of rape recover from their depression, Wonah co-founded Dneo Agency, a community of young people campaigning against rape. Over four years, his leadership and commitment has supported 500 people in Nigeria with mentoring to ensure that they maintain their pledges against rape. He has also collaborated with counsellors to provide free support to survivors of sexual abuse. Wonah’s outreach activities and writings have reached over 5,000 people, and in 2018 he attended the ‘Young African Leaders Initiative’ which promotes peace and security across Sub-Saharan Africa. Wonah gives hope to those experiencing depression, and prevents more pain from being caused by sexual violence.
From giving talks and workshops on environmental sustainability, founding his own restoration and education NGO ‘Cverde’, to acting as general coordinator for the United Nation’s ‘Global Youth Conference for Climate Change’, Juanjo is a true changemaker. Dedicating his life and career to the environment, Juanjo leads by example and uses peer leadership and passion for sustainability to inspire those around him. He has motivated hundreds through ‘Operaciones Cverde’ project and ‘Cverde’ itself, for which he is acting President. Not resting on his laurels, Juanjo is an advocate for shared learning and continues to empower global youth to combat the effects of climate change.
Gabrielle’s vision is to see every child and young person supported to live their life as they would like to. Since joining a hospital’s Young Person’s Advisory Group aged 15, she has been volunteering and campaigning for more youth representation in health policy. Her work has improved awareness of peer support, created a ripple effect around patient leadership, and increased conversations around self-care and the mental health of medical students. She is the first NHS England Youth Expert Advisor and was appointed to the NHS Assembly, advising the board of NHS England Improvement, through which she continues to raise the status of children and young people’s health.
Nishka has combined her love of technology with her desire to help others. She has taken coding to disadvantaged girls in deprived areas of both the UK and India, delivering and designing more than 40 workshops and directly teaching over 1,000 young people whilst setting up code clubs. Using her weekends and school breaks, she runs coding events, conferences and festivals to open more doors for girls who dream of a career in STEM. Nishka mentors other young people, helping them to establish their own code clubs and has been an integral part of the Young Coders MeetUp, helping to raise funds and awareness of programmes that promote diversity and inclusion.
Amith embodies the qualities of someone who understands the true value of community. Recognising a disconnect between the more peripheral members of his school’s staff and its students, Amith has been designing, developing and delivering self-development and wellness programmes to the bus drivers and nannies in his school, with the aim of closely integrating the school community, irrespective of background and academic status. His work has resulted in an inclusive and happy environment in which all feel a sense of belonging. The initiative has since been recognised with numerous awards, including the coveted ‘Shaikh Hamdan Award’, for transforming the lives of the neglected.
Beth is a dedicated volunteer, both in her school and the wider community. Using her passion for sports and gymnastics, she attends her local club as a volunteer. There she supports younger gymnasts to develop their skills, confidence and forge new friendships. As a member of the Sports Council in her school, Beth leads sports days, lunchtime clubs and special events. She has undertaken training in mentorship to improve her knowledge and understanding in preventing abuse and anti-bullying, as well as obtaining various Coaching Awards. Beth also acts as a messenger between pupils and guidance teachers, ensuring younger pupils feel safe and supported at school.
Rohan has worked to support others with Type 1 Diabetes in school in addition to volunteering with Diabetes Scotland, a cause close to his heart. He has been the driving force behind his school’s fundraising week, sharing his story to inspire support for Diabetes UK. Rohan has worked closely with the school nurse and supported the school to gain the award of ‘Good Diabetes Care in School’. He has been a buddy for younger pupils, encouraging them to take ownership of their diabetes and not allowing their condition to get in the way of participating in all activities. Rohan is also a lay member on the ‘NICE Diabetes Update Guideline Committee’, which considers new national guidelines for diabetes care, providing vital patient input.
Sabira founded Wander Woman, a revolutionary project in Bangladesh aiming to break the stigma of women traveling outside the country after experiencing prejudice herself. Now, Sabira aims to build a nationwide female tourism network to create opportunities for employment, strengthen tourism and boost confidence for the girls of Bangladesh. She is an inspiration to thousands of women, who are now able to access proper knowledge and skills to enable them to pursue global opportunities. Sabira’s work really is crossing borders.
Since the age of six, Meera has shown selflessness and an innate desire to help those who are less fortunate. She experienced the joy of giving firsthand when her spiritual master Pujya Gurudevshri Rakeshbhai took her on service projects to remote communities. Meera raised enormous sums of money for various health and education projects, including tertiary healthcare for a rural charity hospital, primary and secondary education for indigenous communities, an ICU unit for new-borns, and a skills development program for rural women. She continues this work while balancing her medical studies and endeavours to use her position as ‘Brand Ambassador’ for the Mumbai Marathon to raise even more money for those who need it most.
Ben’s early childhood was marred by hospitalisations, including febrile convulsions and pneumonia. Whilst he has no memory of these episodes, Ben became aware from an early age of how precious health is. He has since focused his fundraising efforts on cancer charities, in memory of his granny who died from cancer. Ben has fundraised thousands of pounds for local and national charities by walking or running dressed as a sumo wrestler, santa, zombie, wearing pyjamas or running ‘blind’. He has also clinched two Guinness World Records as well as completing two 10,000 metre mountain walking challenges. As the youngest #iwill Ambassador from Northern Ireland, Ben seeks out any opportunity to challenge himself whilst helping others.
After struggling to receive a full education in South Africa himself, Marvel created the international organisation Crushing The Barriers, which seeks to empower young people and ensure that every young person has full access to education. The organisation works with schools and communities to provide mentoring, career opportunities and skills training. Marvel provides leadership training and career guidance to other young people to help them achieve their full potential and his team have developed an app to help transform African education with ‘4IR’. In 2019, Crushing The Barriers reached over 125,000 young people and now runs across 32 countries around the world. Marvel is a strong believer in the importance of equality and has campaigned against xenophobia and gender-based violence.
A passionate environmentalist and humanitarian who believes it is up to us to revive a dying earth, Danish helps others through multiple inspiring initiatives. His projects include the sourcing clothes for homeless people, a read-to-lead initiative, numerous environmental projects, the provision of Iftar kits to those who cannot afford them during Ramadan, the rescue of injured animals and the planting of trees. Danish believes that small acts of good towards others and the planet will add up to create great change. He inspires others to feel this way through his leadership. His influence is illustrated by the fact that each year, on Danish’s birthday, his friends join together to plant trees.
Empowered by the adage ‘knowledge is power’, Umar seeks to end inequalities through the power of literacy. His earliest initiative, the ‘Kitaab Foundation’, stocked under-funded schools across Pakistan with tens of thousands of books. Whilst Umar’s Sadaqat Foundation raised $30,000 to build schools in areas where young people were lacking access to a quality education. A young teacher himself, Umar has inspired many young people to enjoy their education and break away from rote learning. Faith and perseverance have led Umar to success in these projects, despite facing sceptical responses along the way. He is now known as an inspiration in his community.
Hayley has been an advocate for young people and adults struggling with mental health crises, using her own experience to remind them that they are not alone. She works with universities, companies, and the UK Cabinet Office showing the importance of improving their mental health programmes and advocating for change. Hayley hosts workshops for students and employees of all ages where she teaches them how not to let a personal setback stop them from achieving their goals. She has inspired many people, whether that is through her keynote speeches, or through her book on the topic of how to cope with the challenges one faces in life.
Neeraj is a former child labourer, who was rescued from working in the mica mines in 2011. He then began to attend school and pledged to end child labour in his village. Neeraj went on to establish a local school to ensure that all children were able to access their right to education. Neeraj has enabled 200 underprivileged children in his village to get an education, and has rescued 20 child labourers from mining and enrolled them in his school. By sharing his own experience of child labour during his classes, he encourages the children to think about their aspirations and motivates them to continue to pursue their education.
Hope has been heavily involved in her school and Falkirk Council’s Young Leader Coaching Programme, enabling free access to sport in her local area. She has volunteered to coach a range of different sports including basketball, athletics, dance and football, to over 300 primary aged pupils. Hope also delivers mental health workshops in primary schools to share how taking part in physical exercise has helped ease her own anxiety issues. She has raised £5,000 towards sporting equipment and was responsible for organising a Sports Award evening, rewarding the efforts of pupils and clubs in her school.
Emma dedicates her time to support disabled and disadvantaged children attend an annual pilgrimage to Lourdes, working tirelessly throughout the year to ensure the trip can take place. She has created several promotional videos, and organises fundraising events to help pay for the children’s activities, day trips away and meals out. Inspired by her own sister who has complex additional support needs and is non-verbal, Emma is passionate about promoting respect and equality. Emma takes on a pivotal leading role, providing both physical and emotional support to the children, helping them to discover their talents and abilities whilst fostering an inclusive environment.
Edwin believes that everyone has the right to education and adequate housing arrangements. He empowers young people to pursue education through his mentoring work whilst writing books to motivate young people to reach their potential. Edwin is a keen campaigner, calling for clean and habitable living conditions for the rural communities of Western Kenya where poverty-linked jigger infestations can cause serious health issues including long-term disabilities. Breaking the barriers of stigmatisation, Edwin provides psychological support to affected young people, as well as practical drop-in support to affected households, and campaigns for treatment. Through Seed of Love, Edwin has led 61 advocacy days educating 135 people about the disease per event.
Since her brother’s autism diagnosis, Maya has sought to make Trinidad and Tobago a place that is inclusive of those with autism and other special educational needs. Maya established the powerful ‘Siblings and Friends Network’, which includes a team of 200 youth volunteers who advocate for inclusivity. She also does community educational outreach programmes as well as organises events such as Autism Fun Days, Christmas parties and summer camps. Under her leadership, this group not only advocates for opportunities for people with special educational needs but they also fundraise to create and provide these opportunities themselves.
Nehan is an active environmentalist. He has participated in many recycling campaigns and raises awareness of environmental issues by writing articles for youth magazines and appearing on school radio. Nehan campaigns to raises the importance of recycling on social media but also dedicates his own time to collecting recycling from people in the community, whilst fundraising for ‘Special Needs Future’. Nehan’s work has moved beyond Dubai and he is now an active campaigner across the United Arab Emirates. He recently planted 18 saplings in his name as part of a celebration for the incredible achievement of collecting 10,000 kilos of recycling.
Alysa is a passionate and determined volunteer and fundraiser for a local charitable organisation, Lee Gardens Pool. Alysa led a team of three other pupils in giving 97 hours of volunteer time to the charity, raising £2,053 as part of the school’s ‘First Give’ programme in just eight weeks. Alysa also took the lead on 12 charitable events, including meeting with trustees to discuss her ideas, seek permission and gain advice on their implementation. One of these ideas was an organised sponsored walk up Pen-Y-Fan mountain, the highest peak in South Wales, which Alysa completed alongside her team.
Madihah has spent her time at school working tirelessly as an ambassador for children’s rights. She has led a student and staff team in their successful quest to teach the community about the United Nations Convention on the Rights of a Child (UNCRC). Madihah has created and delivered lessons and assemblies, organised community events, and fundraised to support a campaign for equal opportunities and education for girls, both in this country and in Ghana. She has worked with parents, governors, staff, local community and other schools to help raise awareness and plan for a more compassionate future for all.
Driven by her unwavering kindness, Allysha is a highly committed volunteer for many different causes. Her passion ranges from comforting and supporting young Cancer and Cystic Fibrosis patients to tackling bullying and supporting people with disabilities. She is also involved in fundraising, community walks and providing practical aid and companionship to people in need. She believes that kindness has the power to change the world. Allysha has inspired many others in her life to get involved with her shoebox campaign for the ‘Good Samaritan’sPurse’ and has spoken on the radio about her core value of kindness, spreading its message throughout her community.
Zunairah shows how a young woman can break barriers, inspire others and promote real positive social change. Starting by delivering empowering workshops to young girls covering how to face discrimination and inequality, Zunairah has led a ‘People of Power’ campaign which encourages young girls to aspire and achieve anything they set their mind to, a message which she embodies herself with her ambition to be a Neurologist. As School Councillor, she has raised over £2,000 for families in crisis and sits on the Youth Advisory Board for WE charity, advocating for environmental concerns.
Bayode is the co-founder of ‘Mentors in Nigeria Initiative’ a community of mentors who support young people to make empowered decisions and believe in their own potential. Growing up in an underserved community, Bayode experienced the profound impact of mentoring himself and wants other young people to have this opportunity too. His organisation has 100 committed volunteer mentors who provide support to young people. Many mentees are resistant at first but soon see the potential. In fact, 50 of the young people who have been mentored through the programme have gone on to become mentors themselves. Bayode is a role model to hundreds of young people across Nigeria.
Funmbi is a passionate activist and leader in Nigeria’s fight against the drug abuse epidemic. Funmbi has led campaigns which have educated thousands of students, youths, parents and sportspersons about the dangers of drug abuse, as well as breaking down the stigmatisation of mental health disorders. As a pharmacist, he facilitated the training of over 50 young pharmacists on mental health and suicide prevention to ensure they can act as first responders. Funmbi was the 2019 Lagos State Coordinator of the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria Young Pharmacists Group and he used this role to reach a wide range of intdiduals through educational talks.
After learning about Anne Frank’s story and the Holocaust, Freddie has been working to break through contemporary prejudices at his school and throughout society. As an Anne Frank Ambassador, Freddie has proudly helped to promote empathy throughout the local community with his passion for education, helping others to become more aware of the consequences of prejudice and discrimination. His aim is to empower others with the knowledge and confidence they need to challenge discrimination in all aspects of their lives by connecting Anne’s story to modern day scenarios.
Shanea drives social change for young people within her local community of Newham, London. Aged 16, Shanea developed ‘Operation Inspire’, a mentoring programme for young boys that were excluded internally, and then fought to embed first-aid training programme within local schools after she personally supported a young boy who had been stabbed. At 17, Shanea founded Your Life More Life, which creates safe spaces for young people impacted by serious youth violence. Through these initiatives and her leadership positions at local, city and national-level, she campaigns for youth voices to be heard and for her vision of peace, justice and freedom for all.
Oluwafunmilayo founded the Iranwo Foundation to advance the role of disadvantaged women in her native country of Nigeria by helping them to build small scale businesses and to provide access to education for their children. Thanks to her commitment, hard work and the coordination of 76 volunteers, over 2,000 women and girls have been economically empowered. Through fundraising initiatives and by partnering with local and international organisations, Oluwafunmilayo has ensured access to education for 154 girls at risk of child marriage, trained women in vocational skills such as textile design resulting in an increase in their standard of living and trained young people to be advocates for girls’ education, amongst others.
After recognising the difficulties that many young people in her area face such as gang involvement, Rochelle co-founded the ‘Surrey Youth Safety Council’, which aims to reduce youth crime through in-school workshops and mentorship. Rochelle is also the founder of SPARK Foundation which works to empower the next generation through life education programs. Rochelle leads workshops around the world, has run camps and community engagement projects, and has impacted thousands of people in Canada through SPARK. Overcoming gender bias in her role as a female entrepreneur herself, Rochelle uses her experience to fuel her desire to empower the next generation.
Yamilli is a passionate young person who, after taking a career break, has sought to tackle a variety of issues in society. Using her experience as a model she has worked hard to address stereotypes about beauty associated with fair-skin in Southern India, she has volunteered her time teaching school students using unconventional methods and has empowered farmers to achieve economic growth by improving the agricultural supply chain. After attending the 2019 Global Youth Summit, Yamilli was inspired to start a foundation called ‘Siree-Gift a Smile’ that works on various social projects for the community including agricultural income support and girl child education.
Young eco-warrior Harshith is on a mission to raise awareness of environmental issues in his local community, encouraging people to make lifestyle changes that support the environment. He has worked hard to tackle plastic pollution and through various campaigns in his school, in hospitals, supermarkets and education centres, and has now reached 3,000 people across India and Abu Dhabi. Harshith is campaigning to popularise the use of cloth bags over single-use plastic in his local community. He is also passionate about robotics and their use in reducing pollution, and volunteers his time to teach other young people how to code.
Prevena believes that all children should be able to access human rights, no matter what socio-economic background they come from. An advocate for women and girls in STEM, Prevena mentors young women and girls and creates various innovation programmes to support gender equality in STEM education. She is also an environmental campaigner, mentoring her fellow students on different ways to protect the planet. Prevena organises visits to old folk homes, develops new products using plastic bottles and volunteers to support students from underprivileged backgrounds to participate in writing competitions.
After her own experience as a patient at GOSH, Alice has been working to support young people in healthcare and the charity sector as a whole through her positions as GOSH Patient Governor, NHS Youth Forum member and Crohn’s and Colitis UK Trustee. Her work has led to a much more inclusive and tailored environment for young people in healthcare, whilst smoothing the transition into adult care. Through advice sessions, fundraising and mentoring, Alice has dramatically improved the experience of teenage patients, ensuring their needs are considered by key decision makers.
Kiana was inspired to found Gentr, an online entrepreneurship and networking programme for girls in East Africa, after visiting a school in Nairobi, Kenya where she saw the limited opportunities given to girls. Over 100 girls have received Kiana’s mentorship and instruction on how to use technology, and she has raised over $50,000 in awards and contributions for Gentr. Kiana has leveraged her strong public speaking skills and filmmaking abilities to an even wider audience with Gentr’s story, and has recently travelled to Kisumu, Kenya to film a documentary to raise awareness of girls’ sexual abuse, with the aim of inspiring initiatives to combat it.
Medha, despite being told countless times that she couldn’t run for office, founded and runs Leading Women of Tomorrow, a student movement designed to close the gender gap in the United States Congress. Medha provides undergraduate women with pre-professional training and connects them a network of supportive peers to empower them to work in government and politics. Through Medha’s leadership and vision, as well as the organisation’s workshops and programmes, growing blog page and social media presence, over 10,000 people have been impacted. Medha is committed to expanding the organisation’s reach and programming in hopes of ensuring better representation in Congress.
Caitlin has been a pillar of support within the Anti-Bullying Ambassador team for the past five years and has made a huge impact on the lives of pupils at her school. Caitlin has used her interest in media, drama and dance to work with others and take the initiative to establish new projects and campaigns to raise awareness of the problems caused by bullying. This has included the creation of an anti-bullying film, enabling younger pupils to explore issue in a creative and safe way. She has also helped establish a radio show, bringing positive messages to the school community and inspires others through public speaking at assemblies and PSHE lessons.
Compelled by the issue of homelessness in the elderly population in India, Vivhan began volunteering with an NGO that cares for the abandoned elderly, making a significant difference to the lives of the 320 residents. Inspired by his experience, Vivhan went on to launch his own initiative, ‘Rescuing Wisdom’, to raise awareness of the issue, engage volunteers and fundraise. Through his hard work, he has been able to donate a medical vehicle and four air conditioning units to the NGO to help alleviate the extreme Delhi heat for the residents. He has also authored, published and sold a collection of short stories and returned the proceeds back into his outreach work.
Chloe doesn’t let her diagnosis of Epilepsy and Cerebral Palsy get in the way of her non-stop fundraising activities on the Isle of Man. So far, she has raised over £13,000 through triathlon events, rallying support from other young islanders. These funds have provided new patent beds in the children’s ward of the hospital on the island, where she attends her own physiotherapy and hospital appointments. Chloe raised a further £1,000 in just one day by helping with a bag pack for Special Olympics and another £3,000 for ‘DreamCatcher’, a charity that aims to improve the quality of life to those within the community.
George has made serious strides to influence future change-makers to think more charitably. Raising more than £160,000 in two years, George set up an initiative at Cambridge University called May Week Alternative which has funded Anti-Malaria nets for around 180,000 people and aims to change the way students think about giving. The exponential growth of this cause has led to a sister organisation opening at Oxford University. Previously, George has also lobbied UK Parliament to end global poverty as an ambassador for WaterAid and has raised over £80,000 for several charities through his fundraising acapella group, called Kol Tov.
Erin has been devoted to raising awareness about the importance of the Holocaust, using the tragedy as a mode for spreading the message of tolerance and reducing hate crimes. Of her own accord, Erin reached out to other schools and asked them to bring in Holocaust survivors as speakers. Through fundraising in schools and on her own website, she has raised $7,000, which she used to buy dozens of laptops for children in indigenous communities in Canada. Erin is an inspiration to her peers, many of whom learned about the Holocaust for the first time through her, and her passion has been awarded ‘The Catalyst for Change Award’ by the Prime Minister of Canada.
In 2017, Sammie heard about the concept of a bench where lonely, shy or bullied children could sit to safely make new friends. Inspired by the idea, but also seeing a need to help the environment, she began collecting bottle caps. Within two months she had collected 1,600 pounds of caps and installed three recycled plastic benches at her school. Sammie’s ‘Buddy Bench Project’ had begun. By 2020, now 11, she has helped install over 100 benches in 50 states and several countries. Sammie is helping the earth, combatting loneliness and inspiring others to do the same.
Irina founded her own publishing agency to support authors writing about topics that influence society in a positive way, with a focus on the Commonwealth of Independent States. By publishing these books, Irina has been able to shine a spotlight on key topics such as medicine, women’s empowerment, psychology and entrepreneurship. Through this initiative, she supports women in Belarus to establish their own businesses and be self-sufficient. Irina also writes motivational and educational materials herself, sharing them through her blog to encourage others to realise their potential. Irina is currently writing her own book on how to develop strong ideas and create projects that can change the world.
Following torture, refugee Sara escaped with her mother to Canada where she is building a new life and helping others do the same. Sara didn’t know how to speak English nor French, but she has now mastered both. She is the founder of ‘For the Love of STEM’, a free homework club for low income youths. Sara organises activities to encourage other girls to pursue a career in STEM and mentors refugee youths and volunteers in a homeless shelter. She has been appointed to become a Youth Accessibility Leader by the federal government. Sara has also been selected to be in the Ministry of Education Advisory Council, where she advises the Premier and Minister on how to improve the education system.
After observing the destruction of mother nature in her home country firsthand, Shruthi has been a championing advocate for a more sustainable way of living. She founded the non-profit organisation ‘WE re.Spond’, bringing together people from all backgrounds to raise awareness of environmental issues and take action to improve air quality. Through her fundraisers, Shruthi has helped send children to school and supported communities in need. Her campaigns have not only planted hundreds of trees, but she has also been an inspiration to her peers, teaching them to be proud of who they are and to recognise the importance of the environment.
Michael has been the senior cadet within the Combined Cadet Force (CCF) at Astor College for the last two years, attending twice a week despite his commitments as a young carer. He demonstrates boundless commitment to his role, and ensures that he takes the time to listen patiently to any concerns, from the cadet leadership team right down to the junior cadets. The unit has undergone a challenging period of change throughout which Flight Sergeant Saunderson has excelled in supporting the CCF, leading on activities and training for the younger cadets, as well as fundraising for key events.
Chiranthi is a youth empowerment advocate who is enacting positive change in the field of youth empowerment to showcase the potential of young people. She is the Founder and President of ‘Hype Sri Lanka’ and the Founding President of ‘Young Legal Professionals Association of Sri Lanka’. Chiranthi’s work as a volunteer since 2009 covers a range of projects, including raising funds to build a library and to provide utilities to a local hospital. Additionally she has organised bi-lateral youth dialogues between Sri Lanka and other South Asian countries, covering contemporary youth issues such as unemployment and youth radicalisation.
Oviya inspires other young people to come together to support their community through youth-led initiatives which, to date, have supported hundreds of people. These include a ‘Pink Day’ to promote awareness of breast cancer and harnessing the rapid growth of technology to develop apps which connect people in crisis with nearby support services. Her ‘Cyber-Safety in Schools’ campaign supports other students to stay safe and be kind online. Oviya has also inspired her peers to donate clothes, medicine and books to people in need and provide their teachers with over 2,700 toiletries. Oviya’s pro-active approach towards social service inspires countless others, including her younger sister, to support their community.
Dev is an activist working tirelessly to tackle child food poverty and improve children’s health by campaigning for an end to food insecurity. Leading the ‘BiteBack 2030’ campaign, he’s a driving force behind their mission for a healthier generation by 2030. As Food Ambassador to UK Parliament, Dev’s a staunch advocate for a public enquiry into food insecurity for youth in the UK and led the national conversation that forced the government to extend free school meals over the summer. Dev is Leicester’s Youth MP and worked with his local community on knife crime, radicalisation and youth advocacy. Dev has reported directly to the national Government on topics such as mental health and food equality.
At just 24, Shoaib is CEO of ‘Kurram Welfare Home’, an NGO set up to counter violent extremism in Pakistan. After realising the law of Pakistan FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) was different from the rest of Pakistan, Shoaib saw that many young people were struggling to access justice systems, were experiencing gender inequality and had limited rights to land, education and health. This was the catalyst for Shoaib to establish his NGO to motivate young people to use their skills to tackle these issues head-on. To date, Muhammad has supported over 500 young people to promote peace across various sectors, including health, education, disability, sports and democracy.
When Becky was 10 she sustained a spinal cord injury, resulting in her potentially needing to use a wheelchair for the rest of her life. A year later, Becky attended her first multi-activity course with Back Up, where she met other children like her. Since then, she has become a Youth Advisor and has been involved in the development of a new course for young people to try indoor sit skiing and share new experiences. She is also trained as a mentor, supporting others to adjust to their new lives and featured in a Christmas appeal video, raising awareness of the support available and sourcing vital funds for children affected by spinal cord injuries.
Michael is an environmental conservationist and climate campaigner who is passionate about connecting people with nature and wildlife. He set up his school’s first ever ‘Environmental Committee’, which has 10 active members and he currently chairs. He was a Youth Ambassador for two national wildlife conservation organisations and is currently an active community volunteer, fundraiser and public speaker. Michael has been instrumental in the planning and delivery of innovative monitoring and educational programmes to enhance the biodiversity of his local park. He has devoted over 360 volunteering hours to the community group ‘Friends of Linn Park’ since October 2017.
Chloe is passionate about how students from backgrounds similar to hers can achieve their potential through supporting them to become accredited, based on a framework of World Class skills and competencies. She led the accreditation process for her school, in an area of high deprivation, acting as an assessor and mentor to other students applying for the quality mark nationally. This process gives state school students the opportunities and life chances that they otherwise wouldn’t have had access to. She has developed the charity to ensure it can add more value and be student led, revamping the website, submitting proposals, and launching a recruitment campaign.
Having experienced mental health services first hand, ZeZe is determined to change how their provision is designed and delivered. ZeZe’s passion comes from her intense desire to use her own experience for the good of others. ZeZe is involved in a myriad of projects for mental health services and charities, including steering committees, expert by experience groups, research advisory panels at two universities, research organisations, councils and guest lecturing spots. By sharing her intensely personal story, ZeZe hopes to inspire others in her situation and to help professionals shape their approach to mental health care and support more effectively.
After losing his friend to suicide, Tolu co-founded Protostar Initiative, a youth-led social venture committed to providing mental health education in communities whilst advocating for the destigmatisation mental health conditions. As the Team Lead, Tolu works with local communities to train young people in mental health first aid and raise awareness in schools and other youth organisations. These training sessions dispel common myths and help people to recognise symptoms and access support mechanisms for mental health conditions. Tolu is campaigning for a world in which everyone is educated on mental health and where every person with a mental health condition can access the support they need.
Imbued with an innovative spirit from a young age, Maya is a creative artist who is passionate about using her skills for social causes. Since being elected in 2018 to the Board of Directors for the non-profit the ToyMakers of East Lake, Maya has helped to make and paint thousands of wooden toys for young people in need. The toys are then delivered to children in hospitals, foster care and other organisations in which young people experience significant levels of distress. Whether painting intricate designs on toys or leading others on several board committees, Maya shows an unwavering commitment to supporting those in need.
Preserving the natural environment has been a lifelong goal for Emily. Being lucky enough to grow up on the beach in Cornwall, Emily developed a connection to nature at an early age, and always felt a desire to protect what she loves. For over half her life she has been picking up plastics from beaches and now motivates, inspires and supports others to take care of their marine environment. Emily attracted international media attention when she wore a dress made from discarded Walkers crisp packets to her graduation ceremony as a marine biologist. Since then, along with pressure brought by other campaigners, Walkers have pledged that they will make all packaging 100% recyclable, compostable or biodegradable by 2025.
Despite facing initial reluctance from her community, Anjali continues to campaign to break the stigma around menstruation and reproductive health. Anjali has worked with NGOs across India to empower women and girls, many of whom were not allowed to attend school or even sleep inside when menstruating, and to normalise discussions on periods. Anjali found through her work that this stigma permeated all facets of society and so she started her own non-profit, FullStopp.org. Through FullStopp.org, Anjali tackles the myths, misconceptions and superstitions surrounding menstruation, raises funds and organises volunteers to deliver free sanitary products and awareness-raising sessions across the country.
Alex is a courageous LGBTQ role model, promoting values of respect and inclusion whilst raising awareness about mental health. He has delivered school assemblies on the dangers of using homophobic, misogynistic or racist language, and spoken powerfully about his own struggles with his mental health. He wrote a public poem about his experiences of feeling like an outsider, which is now used in training sessions with School Nurses, covering what to look for when working with depression and suicidal adolescents. Alex is also a mentor to those who also feel alienated or are on the LGBTQ spectrum to ensure that no one feels alone again.
Lee can see the potential of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals to change the world and is working to combat climate change and reduce food insecurity for Nottingham residents. Lee has spent over 3,000 hours volunteering to develop ‘Foodprint’, a student-led social enterprise which redistributes in-date food to social eating projects, schools and foodbanks. ‘Foodprint’ now redistributes over a tonne and a half of food weekly, feeding around 600 people each time. Lee is now the volunteer Environmental and Social Justice Officer for the Students’ Union, running a Climate Emergency Campaign including student engagement workshops and contributing to the Union declaring a climate emergency, inspiring the University to follow suit.
After her sister was diagnosed Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare neurological disorder that causes partial paralysis, Hiral was determined that she should not have to miss out on their shared passion – dance. Hiral started to choreograph modified movements that supported her sister’s recovery but she didn’t stop there. Hiral organised weekly mindfulness, meditation, yoga and dance classes to support older people and those with limited mobility, and developed a global online wellness platform called ‘Holistically Hiral’. At school, Hiral introduced peer mentoring schemes built around the wellness principles that she promotes through ‘Holistically Hiral’, including weekly ‘Wellness Wednesdays’ and ‘Thoughtful Thursdays’ where students are provided with opportunities to focus on self-care.
After speaking with some of Delhi’s 500,000 underpaid and marginalised rubbish-pickers – many of whom are children – Freya began to advocate for change by building a more sustainable method of recycling. Freya’s passion to support the children in her local community made her reflect on the financial difficulties encountered by their families and how important education is to a young person’s future. As a result, Freya developed an app and door-to-door recycling business with the aim to transform the lives of Delhi’s rubbish-picking community, contributing towards the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals of reducing poverty, building innovation and infrastructure and encouraging responsible consumption and climate action.
Maddison is a youth health advocate, motivational speaker and founder of her own social enterprise, ‘HUGS’. She is passionate about improving quality of life for hospitalised children. After recovering from heart surgery, she became determined to make a difference through volunteering, fundraising and spreading positivity one ‘HUG’ at a time. Through ‘HUGS’, hundreds of children have partied with superheroes or princesses, hugged a teddy-bear or made a wish on a unicorn. She has given over 4000 Hugs and donated almost $40,000 towards initiatives that bring smiles back to children in hospital. Her ‘HUG’ talks have inspired thousands of kindness projects across Canada.
After noticing the lack of awareness in the community, Riva campaigned to improve electronic waste recycling through collection drives in UAE, as well as working to end the stigma around menstruation among girls in rural India, through delivering awareness-raising sessions in schools. To date, Riva’s campaigns have seen over 25 tonnes of electronic waste collected and over 700 girls receive a year’s supply of sanitary products. After speaking with these girls, Riva learned that most had to walk up to five kilometres every day to school without proper footwear. As a result, Riva launched yet another campaign called #SmilingFeet providing footwear to over 600 girls. Riva continues to inspire others and support hundreds through her campaigns.
Tegan is a founding member of the ‘EMPOWER Programme’, which aims to explore what healthy relationships mean to young people and to revaluate relationships and sex education in schools. Tegan has taken part in a range of activities as part of a young people’s participation group, including piloting an innovative programme aimed at preventing child sexual abuse. She formed an interview panel for community members, took part in focus groups, established the concept, scripted and co-created an animated film, and delivered training sessions to teaching staff and over 500 of her peers. Her creativity and definition of a ‘healthy relationship’ has both raised awareness and kept young people safe.
Sahil is a remarkable young person, who despite going through several courses of chemotherapy, has remained determined to help others. Over the few days he was allowed home, Sahil crafted various objects by hand to sell at local schools and raise funds to buy presents for other children in hospital. He strives to raise awareness through his radio show and awareness programme, which he delivers in local schools, explaining the impact of cancer on a person’s life and ways in which one can support the cause. His actions have not only put a smile on many children’s faces but have also inspired others to take action to help.
Visisht is dedicated to helping those less fortunate than himself, and is particularly Visisht is dedicated to helping those less fortunate than himself, and is particularly passionate about encouraging people from under privileged communities in India to access eye treatment for curable blindness. In India, an estimated 12-15 million people are blind, and many do not have access to, or cannot afford, eyecare facilities. Since January 2019, Visisht has led a campaign called ‘Project Drishti’, which provides information on the process of eye check-ups and raises awareness of accessible facilities. So far, more than 2,000 people have been reached through Visisht’s volunteer work across five eye camps.
For the past six years, Priyanka has dedicated her time to developing and delivering the ‘SPARK Talk & SPARK Students’ Success Program’. Priyanka is committed to uplifting and motivating school children who are under-performing in their studies or who face challenges whilst growing up in deprived communities in the state of Penang, Malaysia. Priyanka uses her own experience to deliver motivational talks and educational enrichment programmes and has so far reached over 3,900 students. Priyanka is held in high esteem by the school authorities in Penang, and amongst various NGOs, such as the ‘Service Civil International Malaysia, and the Penang State Government’s ‘Hindu Endowment Board’.
Being thankful for all that she has, extending a helping hand to someone in need, and giving back to society is the focus of every activity that tdyalakshmi does. Five years ago, after volunteering at a medical camp, she noticed that thousands of labourers in the UAE were unable to afford glasses. As someone who firmly believes that nothing should be wasted on this planet, she decided to reach out to her community and collect unused spectacle frames. tdyalakshmi named this initiative ‘Gift Of Sight’ and has since continued to work tirelessly to provide countless labourers with the glasses they need.
Aishwaryaa firmly believes that it is the basic responsibility of every intdidual to do their part for the environment. As a member of the ‘Emirates Environmental Group’ (EEG) and her school eco club, she is leading the way by creating recycling programs, eco-walks, and clean-up campaigns. Aishwaryaa is tireless in her mission to encourage and educate others in her community to take part in environmental initiatives. In doing so, she has submitted 1000 kilos of newspaper, 50 kilos of aluminum cans and 100 toner cartridges to recycling centres and has drastically reduced the carbon emissions in her local area.
Rishi is committed to finding solutions to social inequalities in his community, and for the past year has developed and built an initiative called ‘Swayam Krushi’ (Self-Made). This initiative provides a secondary source of income for farmers in his village to make and sell niche products to customers in urban and overseas markets. The project has been a big success and has already proven to be scalable, sustainable and replicable. For the past five years, Rishi has also played a key role in ‘Akshara Vikasam’, an after school programme at his home that helps 65 underprivileged children in the areas of education, health and hygiene.
Tyler is passionate about supporting those in her community with additional needs. For the last few years, she has been volunteering regularly at the Include Me 2 Club in Barrhead, providing young people with opportunities to take part in various activities, including arts and crafts, computers and gaming and learning programmes, as well as trips and residential experiences. Tyler’s enthusiasm and commitment led to her receiving the ‘Young Volunteer of the Year Award’ at the 10 year anniversary of the Include Me 2 Club. Through volunteering, Tyler has provided a safe space for vulnerable young people to come together, share experiences and have fun.
After finding out that approximately 145,000 dogs were abandoned and 1,000 tons of waste was generated per day in her hometown of Asunción, Diana founded ‘Mymba Rayhu’. ‘Mymba Rayhu’ is an international youth-led initiative that works to raise awareness about the situation of stray dogs and the consequences of plastic pollution by building shelters made from recycled materials for abandoned dogs, carrying out awareness campaigns and educating children on environmental issues. The success of ‘Mymba Rayhu’ means it is now being replicated by other young people in countries across the world.
Milica is dedicated to promoting volunteering and took it upon herself to create a volunteer club in her school. She has since managed to encourage over half of the students in her school to attend and has organised activities such as cleaning up rubbish in the city, planting seedlings, visiting elderly people who are alone and collecting food donations. Milica is also a member of the Student Parliament and uses her platform to speak out about community issues. Most notably she has campaigned for the reduction of violence in the local area, and has subsequently made her school a safer place.
In the summer of 2016 Kristina volunteered with her family in a refugee camp in Thessalonika, Greece. Kristina was shocked at the situation refugee families were facing and was determined to do more. She has since returned to refugee camps in Greece on six separate occasions, assisting in the medical centres and teaching children English and German. When she is not working in a camp, she is raising awareness by educating her peers and teachers on the refugee crisis and, in doing so, has inspired them to set up a donation scheme for the school to fund basic items.
Emily works tirelessly to support children in need. As leader of the ‘Romanian Children’s Relief Club’, she has raised more than £1,000 to fund a programme for Roma children. Travelling to Romania each February and summer, she cares for children in an orphanage, hospital, and at after-school programmes. In England, she has volunteered at a swimming club for children with disabilities and created an exciting new service programme between her school and the ‘White Lodge Centre for Children’. As lead Service Ambassador in her school, she has overseen the delivery of £1,600 in donations to charities across the world.
Caris is an exceptional young individual, whose passion for Anne Frank’s message of social justice and equality has led her to embark on numerous initiatives aiming to raise awareness of what constitutes prejudice and discrimination. She has orchestrated assemblies and exhibitions for her entire community, while also being involved in the making of an anti-bullying film. Caris’ mission to end prejudice has not only empowered and inspired many people but has also helped to significantly reduce incidents of racist and homophobic bullying throughout her entire school.
Lauren has been volunteering for Conwy Youth Service for the past five years and has been a member of the Conwy Youth Council since 2016. She plays a key role in the ‘Healthy Image Project’, promoting healthy lifestyles and physical activity to other young people aged 11 plus, and assisting in the delivery of a variety of different sports sessions. Over 100 young people in Conwy have benefitted from Lauren’s support and dedication to this project. Lauren recognises the positive impact volunteering has had on her mental health and recently received her ‘Millennium Volunteers (MV) 200’ award for her community volunteering work.
Edward co-founded Givfunds, providing invaluable support for over 40 social enterprises in South and South East Asia, impacting more than 40,000 lives and helping social enterprises generate over $8 million in revenue. He undertakes immersive field work so that he can truly understand the contexts of disadvantaged communities and seeks to support social entrepreneurs that are neglected by traditional financial systems. Edward inspires others by mentoring entrepreneurs and students, speaking at international conferences, and taking leadership roles at other impactful organisations. With his immense work ethic and talent for uniting leaders around a common cause, Edward is bringing long-term systemic change to social entrepreneurship.
Phalla grew up in poverty in Cambodia and left school at 14 to earn an income and support her family. After receiving a life-changing opportunity to study sewing with the Human and Hope Association, she was determined not only to overcome her own economic barriers and gender roles, but to lift others up too. For eight years now, Phalla has shared her knowledge of sewing, farming and business with her community, which has led to increased employment, decreased domestic violence, and has empowered many women to set up their own businesses. She has lifted 30 families out of poverty and still continues to support others with incredible generosity.
Jenna is a firm believer in the power of STEM education and has been working with Braidhurst’s robotics club over the last four years. She has taken on a leading role in the teaching and training of junior club remembers, giving up her free time to manage and lead their learning. Jenna has attended robotics competitions at both local and national levels, leading to an increase in pupil participation, particularly amongst girls. Jenna is passionate about pursuing a career in engineering and works hard to deliver the Scottish Government’s STEM strategy, whilst planning and leading the robotics club.
Ibrahim is an inspirational young person whose charitable campaign supports 11 small local charities in his hometown. Not only does he help to raise funds for these charities, but he also uses social media to raise their profile and expand their platform to reach more potential supporters, improving awareness of their services. He has done everything he can to support these organisations, from declining birthday presents and parties in exchange for donations to his charities, to connecting independent businesses with the charities to share their skills, being described by one of the charities as ‘a lifesaver’.
Madina has overcome many obstacles and barriers to become the accomplished educator and humanitarian she is today. Madina hails from a region in which extremist attacks on schools cause teachers to flee and shortage of teachers are rampant. Madina is acutely aware of the basic expectations of women in her community and the restrictions on female progression, most notably through FGM, child-marriages and domestication. Because of this, Madina has worked tirelessly as a teacher, a volunteer, a writer and a motivational speaker to inspire young girls and change a generational abnormality.