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.
Lin founded the ‘We Read To Go Up’ initiative to help young people build their cultural awareness and develop a passion for knowledge. He has created courses and workshops to improve their reading, writing and critical thinking. The students gain a lifelong love of learning and an appreciation for thought and culture as the foundations of civilisation. More than 500 volunteers and over 465 students participate annually, with more than 250 students participating in the weekly reading club after completing the scheduled programme. By engendering the enthusiasm for learning in young people with the boundless enthusiasm of her own, Lin strives to promote a better tomorrow with bigger ideas today.
Mashal is passionate about eradicating racial and socioeconomic barriers, taking on numerous roles to promote inclusivity. She worked with the ‘Glasgow Development Office’ to fundraise for scholarships for young people from low socioeconomic backgrounds entering education while also mentoring children facing additional barriers, such as learning difficulties, who wish to study at university. She has undertaken a wide range of work including with the ‘International Criminal Court’, ‘Cambridge Human Rights Law Review’, ‘Legal Aid USA’ and ‘Citizens Advice Bureau’. Mashal works to equip women living by the Pakistan-Afghanistan border with economic skills to increase their independence. She continues to empower marginalised voices through her writing and collaborations, while training to be a barrister.
Megan’s experience living with the incurable immune disease, ITP, undergoing incapacitating treatments and experiencing a devastating personal loss propelled her into dedicating time for those in need. After her diagnosis at the age of 17, Megan started the campaign ‘IncreaseTheProfile’ and raised £80,000 for the Bristol Royal Infirmary, transforming the hospital into a centre of excellence for ITP. After the loss of her younger brother, Megan turned her grief into regenerated energy to help others. Launching ‘BillyChip’ to continue her brother’s legacy, Megan expanded his token system to empower rough sleepers to gain access to free donations. Despite her own challenges, Megan’s demonstration of love for humanity always shines through.
Mahbubul is a leader, changemaker and youth enthusiast who works as a ‘Youth Development Expert’ for Volunteer for Bangladesh. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he has kickstarted relief campaigns in over 13 districts, which have directly impacted around 50,000 people. Through his initiative ‘Apnar Mask Kothai’, Mahbubul mobilised 7,000 volunteers in 45 districts of Bangladesh to distribute face masks and raise awareness of COVID-19 safety measures. His self-motivation, leadership and willingness to train, mobilise and implement projects amongst his youth networks throughout the pandemic have empowered young people to dedicate themselves to their work during this challenging time.
Christina is a passionate activist with ‘Bite Back’ and fights for a fairer and healthier food system. As the elected chair of the youth board, she shares her own experience of living off free school meals to inspire others. In 2020, Christina started a petition on change.org, which attracted over 450,000 signatures and appeared across national media. This was the catalyst for the campaign that secured free school meals through the holidays for vulnerable children across the UK. Her work was recognised by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who welcomed Christina as a guest on their podcast, and by the BBC, who named her one of the top 100 women of 2020.
Yusuff is advancing the role research can play in developmental work in Africa. Yusuff’s work has made major impacts in promoting health research-driven social changes in regions across Africa. Despite being from an economically disadvantaged background with access to limited resources, Yusuff has published over 50 research articles as an undergraduate and mentored more than 100 young people in health research. He has used his research skills to empower young people working on social and health projects. Yusuff’s passion for his field has inspired an interest in research among young people across Africa.
Afjal set up the ‘Doorbin Foundation’ to enable the tribal community of Tripura to access employment and education in Bangladesh. He has helped the community to start their own small businesses, providing sewing machines and an experienced seamstress to 10 women. With an aim to help all Tripura children start schooling by 2025, Afjal’s campaigns have helped 34 children to start school. Afjal went on to organise a training session on the reasons, causes and effects of domestic violence, something the community had never heard about before. After learning of the harmful effects of early marriage, the community vowed to not marry off girls before the age of 18.
Growing up in an area of social and economic deprivation, Rahmot wanted to help others escape their circumstances through training in computer skills. Through her role as a computer instructor, she has reached out to the rural community, inspiring both young and old to improve their technology skills. This led to a 65% increase in the enrolment of students. Rahmot has mentored 70 local young girls to improve their self-esteem and moderates a group chat for 82 girls, which provides a safe space for these young women from diverse backgrounds to discuss the things that matter most to them. Rahmot is commended for her ‘emotional intelligence’ and aptitude for building strong relationships.
Sasha is a passionate advocate for health equity and works tirelessly to address mental health and period poverty. In 2019, she founded the Kolkata chapter of ‘The Period Society’, a youth-run nonprofit addressing period poverty by delivering period products, educational seminars and awareness-raising campaigns. During the pandemic, she carried on this work almost single-handedly, as well as training as a mental health first responder to best answer the needs of her community. Often the youngest speaker on discussion panels on mental health, gender justice and menstrual equity, Sasha is a representative of the youth voice and proves to her peers that young people can be changemakers.
Neysa feels a strong desire to help those in need, first taking action in 2018 by raising ₹80,000 to help educate underprivileged children. She funded a school year for 100 extra children. Neysa then created an awareness campaign and fundraiser to improve access to sanitary napkins for underprivileged women in India. Her campaign not only promoted the benefits of using organic, cloth sanitary pads, but also spread awareness about plastic pollution caused by regular pads. She distributed period kits to 200 underprivileged women. Each kit contained four reusable pads and two cotton facemasks. Through these activities, Neysa has gained an understanding of the inequalities in society and is now determined to help more people.
Navya moved from Seattle, USA to Banglaore, India age 10, and was shocked by the suffering she saw. Navya’s love of art led her to run a drawing workshop in a shelter for survivors of sex trafficking. Seeing how happy the women were creating art, she decided to create a project through which Navya creates marvellous murals to uplift and inspire marginalised groups, including sex workers and young people at juvenile detention centres. This project grew from one member to more than 250 members in under three years. Navya has now completed 16 murals, which have been enjoyed by more than 74,000 people.
Mansi is the President of ‘Leo Club’ at the University of Delhi, a youth-run social service organisation affiliated with ‘Lions Club International’. As a long-standing member of the club, Mansi has worked on multiple projects, including mental and physical health, women’s empowerment, child education and conservation. Mansi actively contributes towards environmental protection by focusing on conserving water bodies and water resources across her state. She does this by conducting clean-up initiatives at river banks and water sources. Having been deeply affected by the irresponsible and careless human activities prevailing over decades, Mansi encourages others to understand their responsibility as citizens within society.
Shreenabh is a problem solver. After seeing how his grandmother was always looking for someone to talk to, he launched his ‘Oldy Goldy Clubs’. The project brings together senior citizens and young people to bring companionship and support into each other’s lives. With the pandemic limiting social contact, he compiled an ebook of 23 “Goldy Oldy” life stories. In his ‘Save Farms and Farmers’ project, he designed an environmentally friendly, zero-cost replacement to hazardous chemical pesticides. Despite initial resistance from farmers, Shreenabh met with local leaders to build community trust, after which more than 20,000 farmers and their families have directly benefitted from his innovative research.
In 2016, Anika founded the youth-led community organisation ‘Evolution360’, with a vision to create a gender-equal world, eradicate gender-based violence and implement the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal Five. Initially, with a team of 15 volunteers, she started replicating the ‘HeForShe’ campaign in different parts of Bangladesh, beginning in a small village at Manikganj. The session included teaching teenage boys consent and teaching young girls self-defence. Later, this campaign was spread to other districts and is currently being conducted by a team of 300 volunteers. She is also working to eradicate child abuse through “Good Touch Bad Touch” awareness campaign.
Adewumni is the founder of ‘HealthDrive Nigeria’, an initiative in the South West of Nigeria, which aims to raise awareness, test and vaccinate people against the deadly Hepatitis B virus. Adewumni’s awareness-raising campaigns have reached 6,000 people in the region itself, whilst also engaging national audiences through mass media. His free screening programmes have tested 4,500 people so far, and ensure identified carriers of the virus gain access to specialist support via referrals. On top of that, Adewumni has delivered a highly subsidised vaccination programme to 2,500 people in the region. His work has inspired and engaged other young people to get involved in the initiative and set up similar health programmes themselves.
Faisal leads grassroots efforts that remove barriers to access to sport and started ‘Football For All’, the first all-abilities football programme in Kuwait. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Faisal was determined to find safe, effective, and sustainable ways to help. He set up ‘Hands-Free’, which has provided nearly 1,000 hands-free solutions using biodegradable PLA material to organisations across the world, and now operates in ten countries. Frustrated at the local environmental impact of waste and driven to break down stereotypes of the Middle East, Faisal also started ‘LOOP’, the Middle East’s first micro-scale 3D-printer filament manufacturer to use recycled materials. He is constantly learning about new ways to support his community through innovation.
Last year, as the COVID-19 pandemic took center stage, Kaif began to research how architecture could help prevent the spread of disease. While pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in architecture, he designed a prefabricated building that would not only help reduce transmission of the virus but could also house refugees worldwide. Kaif’s design is now being implemented in Lagos, Nigeria, and recognized by the Government of INDIA and the United Nations. Kaif, who hopes to use architecture to build a better world, is now known for motivating his fellow students towards sustainability, who have tried to imitate his approach to start their own projects.
Roudy is a Kurdish activist and refugee, who was forced to marry and have a child while still a minor in Afrin, Syria. She has battled with the effects of war and asylum, as well as travelling for 28 days to reach Germany. Roudy has supported women in refugee camps organised empowerment sessions for those coming from conservative families and women experiencing marital problems. Wanting to help women back in Syria, Roudy started a social media campaign that reached thousands of women in need of support and advice. Roudy has also fundraised to help women access education and enrolled in a social work programme at university to expand her positive impact.
Hera is a pharmacist and global health advocate. As the ‘Chairperson of Public Health’ for the ‘International Pharmaceutical Students’ Federation’ (IPSF), which serves more than 500,000 pharmacy students from across the world, Hera has a big remit. This includes sitting on the ‘World Health Organisation’s Development Group’ for the next set of guidelines on sexual and reproductive health and rights, co-leading the first-ever ‘Global Antimicrobial Resistance Summit’ which had 2,000 young people in attendance, and working with members across 90 countries worldwide to ensure that there is youth representation on public health issues at both a local and global scale.
Mawuenyefia has combined his dedication to increasing access to health, education and economy with his commitment to helping make the world a better place for all, despite facing economic disadvantages of his own. Using his skills in technology, Mawuenyefia has created a cloud-based web application to facilitate quality healthcare delivery. This is in addition to an automated irrigation system, used to assist rural farmers in cultivation. Alongside his technological pursuits, Mawuenyefia pioneered the ‘iTeach2impact’ project, where he organised a team to visit rural schools in Africa and deliver school essentials. Mawuenyefia has also helped to feed 600 vulnerable people through a ‘Feed the Streets’ campaign.
Manthan strives to create an impact in the world. Manthan’s intrinsic motivation for public service is rooted in the economic hardship and lack of opportunities he faced in adolescence. Eager to not let his barriers define him, Manthan founded ‘Churning Joy Foundation’, a nonprofit which aims to support young people living in rural communities to realise their potential and lead sustainable development of their communities. His public service journey started at college – he led student volunteer groups to create two social enterprises to solve dairy farmers livelihood issues and bring Clubfoot awareness among vulnerable communities.
After seeing that young people without technical and digital skills risk being displaced in the workplace, Stanley founded ArtecHubs Nigeria. He now provides training in coding, robotics, and technology for children living in rural and suburban regions. Artechubs proudly promotes STEM literacy for children living in rural communities, including the ‘STEM4HER’ programme, focused specifically on equipping 1,500 girls from rural areas in STEM skills. Stanley also uses his talent to create innovative solutions to local challenges, such as an affordable automated hand sanitiser system and a portable hand and solar-powered light system, enabling those living in rural areas to produce light and energy on-demand.
Upmanyu, a law student, has always been interested in human rights, specifically women’s rights. Since its inception, his ‘Open Skies Foundation’ has helped around 100 women from all walks of life. Women are hugely overrepresented in the informal economy all over the world. The ‘Open Skies Foundation’ seeks to address that, by providing a not-for-profit business model through which women can create and sell fabric goods in a sustainable way, and be paid a fair price for their skills and labour. Beyond simply providing income, the security of a regular, fair wage is key to driving confidence and empowerment for these women.
Leena has combined her love of art with her immense desire to help others. After visiting a local orphanage during a trip to India, Leena was inspired to create opportunities for positive social change among young orphans experiencing forms of marginalisation. Driven by her belief that art can be used as a tool to support socio-economic development, Leena founded an art-based social enterprise that showcases and sells self-made products via an online platform. All proceeds go towards charitable organisations focused on improving the lives of young people in orphanages. Leena’s initiative has created a major impact on organisations with a mission similar to her own.
Shawket’s drive and commitment to ‘Volunteer for Bangladesh’ saw him rise from a volunteer at age 17 to president of his district in just two years. A community worker, he oversaw the documentation of 3,000 Rohingya refugees and helped to reunite those with their previous homes and install schools. Through his people-centred approach, Shawket has volunteered to help those most in need, including raising funds for people displaced by a landslide in Rangamati and managing Iftar food for 100 children during Ramadan. At the centre of humanitarian action in underprivileged districts, Shawket’s determination and leadership skills have led him to become the youngest division president.
Growing up, Rijve was subjected to corporal punishment, abuse and bullying. When he started university, Rijve researched the United Nations Global Agenda and realised he was not to blame for his rough childhood. He resolved to help other young people unlock their potential by giving them access to growth opportunities. As the co-founder of the nonprofit ‘Awareness 360’, Rijve is giving young people the skills to work towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Under his mentorship, young people have started initiatives on education, gender equality, sanitation and more, benefitting over 150,000 people globally. Rijve has volunteered over 10,000 hours of his time over the last eight years.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Arian saw his home country of Italy struggling to cope. He made a selfless decision to go back to help on the frontlines, working tirelessly on ambulances to support their healthcare system. Later, when the pandemic hit the UK, he used his invaluable experience and knowledge to guide volunteers, provide pastoral support to those on the frontlines through video calls, and improve the wellbeing of workers struggling to cope with the aftermath of the first wave. He has become a role model for many healthcare professionals at all levels of the profession, not just in the UK but across continents.
Kenisha is passionate about dismantling systemic inequalities and removing societal barriers for the most vulnerable. This first started when her sister was bullied for being friends with a child in foster care and Kenisha learnt about the stigma around children in care. She started ‘Project HopeBags’ with her sister, Alisha, and filled bags with books, toys, blankets, water bottles and other essential items. This initiative provided 4,000 ‘HopeBags’ to children in foster care – nearly half of the foster children in the province of Ontario. Through her organisation, ‘The HopeSisters’, which has over 50 school chapters and over 200 young leaders, Kenisha is helping empower individuals to give back to society.
Striving to impact millions of individuals, Alisha and her sister Kenisha founded a nonprofit organisation called ‘The HopeSisters’. The organisation encourages young people to support the most vulnerable members of society – from isolated older people in care homes to vulnerable children in care. Through ‘Project HopeBags’ Alisha and Kenisha have provided books, blankets and other essential items to over 4,000 children care – nearly half the children in care in the province of Ontario. Alisha has empowered tens of thousands of young people to give back and become ‘HopeSpreaders’. The organisation now has over 50 school chapters and 200 youth leaders.
After becoming aware of the poverty many orphans and workers face, Advait set up ‘Defy’, an organisation that uses 3D design technology to create products that support orphans and labour workers. To date, ‘Defy’ has transformed the lives of over 1000 orphans and labour workers across India, Pakistan, UAE, Egypt and the USA and have raised over $25,000 through eight different corporate and non-profit sponsorships. Advait is also a passionate environmental campaigner, having recycled over 1,000 kilograms of paper within his community. For his efforts and impact, he has been published by major media channels in the UAE.
Elsa is an original member of the ‘Stand Together for Refugees’ (ST4R) social action group, established in Leeds in 2019. She has been instrumental in guiding the focus of ST4R to raise awareness of how difficult the UK’s asylum process is to navigate, whilst also emphasising the importance of building positive caring relationships for young people seeking sanctuary. Elsa uses her creativity, voice and personal experience to passionately advocate for others and work towards solutions. She has continued her work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and takes every opportunity to promote the group’s aims, including shaping caseworker training for Home Office staff and speaking to MPs, academics and the public.
As someone with generalised anxiety disorder, Simryn experienced the lack of mental health support in her inner-city school first-hand. She sought to plug the service gaps, becoming the youngest ever regional chair of ‘Kids Help Phone’, where she raised $60,000 to support access to free counselling for thousands of young people and consulted hundreds of others on how to better meet their needs. After doubts about her age and her ability when she launched her nonprofit, ‘Bridge the Gap’, Simryn used these barriers of age, gender and ethnicity as springboards to bring underrepresented perspectives into the dialogue about mental health services.
Elsie founded the community interest company ‘OURPPLS’, following a successful self-produced 7 day festival in a Hackney community centre. ‘OURPPLS’ provides access to engage in arts and culture for local people who would not otherwise have these opportunities. This includes facilitating free workshops on topics such as website design and art therapy, as well as running a book club. Elsie adapted ‘OURPPLS’ to meet local needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, offering an online children’s club, and is passionately supporting her community through mental wellbeing, creativity and personal development. All whilst working as a nurse and alongside other studies.
In his role as an Anti-Bullying Ambassador for his school, Sufiyaan introduced the school’s first ‘Sports Day Diversity Race’ three years ago. He presented it as an opportunity to highlight how, although people may differ in ethnicity, religious beliefs and sexual orientation, we should always strive to support and respect each other. The ‘Diversity Race’ was so successful, it has now become an annual event to celebrate this important aspect of school life. The race has allowed students to have a space to show who they really are and have the entire school cheering them on for it – an attitude that has made its way into the classroom and school culture.
After Jae-Hee witnessed the harrowing neglect and loneliness that can be found in poorly-funded nursing homes, she founded ‘Lyricares’. Through this school club, Jae-Hee has booked concerts, scheduled rehearsals and delivered 4-6 free concerts to the elderly alongside her peers. By fostering the spirit of public service, Jae-Hee has discovered the real impact that a supportive community can make. She continues to demonstrate leadership in grassroots social entrepreneurship.
Inspired by the voluntary actions of his family, Hamad is contributing to a greener community through his involvement in projects raising awareness of smoking cessation, recycling and sustainability. Hamad has led charity drives to provide resources for those who are less privileged and donates half of his own allowance to sponsor the education of less fortunate children. Hamad plays a proactive leadership role in organising volunteering opportunities and engages in volunteering at labour camps, tree-planting and beach cleans. As the junior head boy of his school, Hamad is an inspiring and selfless, yet humble, role model to other students.
At just nine years old, Vidyuth is already considered an ‘Eco-Hero’ by his peers, involving himself in recycling both paper and e-waste. In 2020, he recycled 10,339 kilograms of paper and planted 20 trees, all as part of his goal of protecting the environment. As well as his environmental activities, Vidyuth volunteers for a number of causes including providing educational resources to underprivileged children, activities towards contributing to COVID-19 relief efforts, and taking on leadership roles in his school to inspire and motivate his classmates. He plays an active role on his student council, and even leads ‘Environment Day’ assemblies, sharing his passion with the school community.
As a child, Sanjoli witnessed how her mother was pressured to abort her sister because the community considered daughters to be a burden on the family. Since the age of five, Sanjoli has protested against sex-selective abortion by performing street plays and reciting poems, later contacting the prime minister with 14 solutions to curb female foeticide. Concerned about environmental degradation, Sanjoli began a 4,500km expedition at age 10, sharing a message of ‘Save Daughters, Save Earth’. Sanjoli then created the climate change documentary ‘Earth in Flames’. Sanjoli has helped to plant 450 trees across North India, leads 150 volunteers and runs social media campaigns to fight against climate change and sex-selective abortion.
George has volunteered with Sexpression:UK for the last seven years, working to improve sex education in secondary schools. He has facilitated fun and interactive sessions in schools to over 300 young people, trained over 100 volunteers to deliver these classes and is empowering young people to make educated, safer choices about relationships and sex. George was the the national director of the charity and has lobbied parliament and the Department for Education for policy improvements, including a more inclusive LGBT+ curriculum, which will be introduced in 2021. George reached this milestone while leading 25 branches and over 500 volunteers across the country.
Inspired by her sister’s challenges with cystic fibrosis, the pair set up ‘Careaux’, an inclusive womenswear brand that seeks to increase the presence of underrepresented groups in the fashion industry. As well as her entrepreneurship, Rachel has raised more than £10,000 for over 20 charities and spent more than 5,000 hours volunteering with 100 different organisations. Rachel is also a mathematician and created a workshop called ‘Create and Change the World with Maths’, which she delivered to 10,000 people in person, and a further 10,000 online. Rachel is described as having a ‘beautiful soul’, determined to support any cause that will have a positive impact on people, the planet and animals.
Anisa has organised countless educational workshops, fundraising events and clean-ups, mobilising young people from across the Libyan community to get involved with community service and activism. Much of her efforts go into helping those who are most vulnerable, including elderly people and migrants. Over the past four years, Anisa has led several projects, such as ‘Project Mulan’, which all support the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Anisa also hosts recreational activities to support migrant children and adults’ wellbeing, now that she has completed her psychological first aid training.
Hollis first began raising funds and awareness for cancer at age nine, when she used her unique skill of juggling a football with her feet to help others. Seven years later, Hollis has dedicated over 700 hours to philanthropic missions, raising over $500,000 through her juggling and outreach. Her global ‘Juggling for Jude Challenge’ launched in June 2020 and raised $50,000 alone for ‘St Jude Children’s Research Hospital’. An engaging and passionate public speaker, Hollis connects with global audiences to raise funds and awareness around childhood cancer and inspire others to take action for causes of their choosing.
Bisathi was born in a remote rural village and, after facing many personal challenges, was inspired to start the ‘Pragathi Padham Youth Association’ to empower and educate young people, whilst having a lasting impact on communities. The association works to offer education, digital literacy, life skills, health and environmental education and engagement in politics. Bisathi strives to ignite the potential of the young people he works with to become changemakers. Bisathi’s dedication to community development has impacted tens of thousands of young people and inspired 500 new youth leaders across India. He is also working closely with government bodies to create sustainable change.
At the age of 21, Karina, joined ‘Even Cargo’ – India’s first only women-driven logistics delivery company as the founding member. She has spent more than 3 years in urban slums and villages, training and employing over 500 women. She envisions building a social-economic inclusive, equal and just ecosystem promoting peace for all. She is passionately working towards increasing women workforce participation rate in India by creating livelihoods with dignity for women from poor economic backgrounds. She is on a mission to create livelihood opportunities for women that enables them to challenge existing gender norms and reclaim their share of public spaces.
In 2016, Murshidul with some of his school friends created “Team Bertho”, a platform delegated to the course of education through spreading human wisdom. “Team Bertho” aims to document the understanding of life through people’s learning and pass them on as innovative, creative & effective solutions for everyone to live their best life. Under Murshidul’s leadership, “Team Bertho” fostered an inclusive community where the life stories and memoranda from citizens from all around the world has been documented and presented. Murshidul’s hope for ‘Team Bertho’ is to uplift and inspire all those who come across these epistles of human wisdom.
Jacklyn is recognised as one of the most impactful and significant members of the global hackathon community. Hackathons are multi-day programming competitions for students that provide invaluable professional experience, career opportunities and platforms to invent and innovate. Jacklyn’s organisation of the three-week ‘Hack Quarantine’ event during the pandemic was an immense achievement with over 3,000 attendees. It has since been credited with successfully launching the post-COVID digital era of hackathons. She continues to support events across the UK, USA and Canada, and has developed an outstanding reputation in her field. Jacklyn’s efforts have transformed the hackathon landscape, connecting thousands of students with opportunities to help them to build their careers.
Abdullah is a multi-award winning peace advocate. As the founder and executive director of ‘Peace Agents Network’, Abdullah works to promote peacebuilding and conflict prevention through the power of dialogue. Abdullah is also the provost of the ‘Global Institute of Peace Justice and Liberty’, where he connects young people, students and professionals of all nationalities to create an equal and freer society. To date, he has helped train over 500 fellows from more than 35 countries in conflict resolution, peacebuilding and human rights. In Liberia, Abdullah has initiated and led campaigns to prevent election violence whilst also training others to abolish the proliferation and illicit transfer of arms and ammunition.
As someone who grew up with first-hand experience of the harassment and abuse faced by many girls in Bangladesh, Khadiza has made it her life’s mission to establish equality and counter gender-based violence. In 2018, she founded ‘WeMen View’, successfully recruiting over 70 young volunteers and reaching more than 1,000 young people to combat gender-based violence through workshops and campaigns to empower future human rights defenders. Khadiza has raised over $8,000 and during the COVID-19 pandemic, she continued with her charitable efforts, providing over 1,000 people with food and daily essentials. Her most recent achievement saw her launch a collaborative project aimed at rehoming families following the widespread damage caused by Cyclone Amphan in 2020.
Known professionally as ‘Dr. Benjamin Bocio’, Benjamin is a dentist who has served thousands of people living in extreme poverty in the Caribbean. This young trailblazer tackles poverty and inequality by distributing sustainable resources to those who need them most. After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, which devastated the island of La Hispaniola when he was just 14, Benjamin decided to take action. He co-founded an NGO, providing access to quality healthcare to underserved communities across the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Over the last 10 years, Benjamin has served more than 90,000 people by providing access to healthcare and other vital resources.
Aryan has participated in social service started by his family from a young age. Through this experience, he has gained an awareness of juvenile crimes and the life of juvenile offenders. After learning of the murder of a seven-year-old boy by a senior school student in a school restroom, Aryan felt propelled to take action to help rehabilitate young offenders. In 2017, he created the project ‘Anandam’ to raise awareness amongst juvenile offenders and give them a platform to enrol in tutorials and activities. Since then, Aryan has continued to empower young people with life skills and help them with successful reintegration into the community.
After witnessing her aunt’s untimely death due to cardiovascular disease, a situation which was exasperated by the high levels of Co2 and other harmful matter in the air around her, Angela decided that something needed to be done to tackle air pollution. She taught herself to code and founded ‘EnRoute’, an app for young environmentalists which now has over 3,050 members from 50 different countries. Through over 80 hours of webinar delivery, Angela trained members on how to decrease their carbon footprint as well as how to encourage others around them to do the same. To grow ‘EnRoute’s’ changemaker community, Angela is currently working on establishing chapters in educational institutions.
Angelo witnessed the harmful effects of armed conflict as a child and has been campaigning for peace ever since. In 2009, he co-founded the ‘Network for Peaceful Coexistence’, offering workshops on peaceful conflict resolution to young Columbians. In 2013, Angelo became a ‘United Nations Youth Delegate’, joining the international conversation to end armed conflict in Colombia. Angelo advocates for peace on an international level and has spoken about human rights and disarmament at conferences in over 15 countries. In 2018, he co-founded the ‘Ibero-American Alliance for Peace’ and organised the first ‘Latin American Youth Congress for Peace in Medellín’ which hosted over 100 young people.
Keely Cat-Wells is a Forbes 30 Under 30 entrepreneur, and disability activist. After experiencing ableism and discrimination, Keely founded her first company during her time in hospital, which developed into ‘C Talent’, a talent management company that represents high profile Deaf and Disabled talent globally, and consults for companies helping them seamlessly integrate disability and accessibility into their work and tap into the trillion dollar market of disability. After noticing the lack of access in the industry Keely also founded ‘Zetta Studios’ – set to be the world’s first fully accessible studio built with disabled people in mind.
At 17, Neelika found herself struggling with anxiety. After two years, Neelika finally started therapy and found it to be a transformative experience. Wanting to support others, Neelika created ‘Citta’, an initiative aiming to de-stigmatise the subject of mental health and bridge the gap between students and mental health resources. Through ‘Citta’, Neelika has sponsored more than 70 therapy sessions and connected 400 students to mental health experts. As someone who has struggled with her mental health, Neelika has found a sense of purpose by helping others begin their own mental health journeys.
From an early age, Shayan has taken the initiative to help improve the lives of people, both within his community and all over India. From providing aid to families struck by natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic, to building computers to donate to children’s homes. Shayan is always willing to help. He has teamed up with organisations like ‘Habitat for Humanity’ to build houses for people in need and ‘Akshaya Patra’, for whom he raised enough money to provide nearly 100 children with a school meal for an entire year, something which not only provides them with the energy to learn but also motivates them to attend school regularly.
Motivated by the Sustainable Development Goals, Sethulakshmi has led a campaign through her role as a wellbeing lead on her student council to integrate the principles of inclusion and wellbeing into the school environment, especially in the face of the extra challenges of the pandemic. Beginning with a ‘Kindness Week’, Sethulakshmi’s wellbeing programme has sought to instil compassion, helpfulness, respect and empathy in the school and wider community. It is now promoting the importance of self-care and consciously highlighting small acts of kindness from the school community. For the most vulnerable students, Sethulakshmi has helped to destigmatise asking for help and encourages anyone who needs it to speak up and seek support.
After her own experiences of bullying behaviour and struggles with her own mental health, Dawasher set up the ‘Resilience Warrior Camp’. Through her workshops, Dawsher empowers young people and educators with healthy coping mechanisms and strategies to keep them in education. She advocates for young people’s personal stories to be the main focus of exams, rather than the statistics which follow. Her work keeps mental health in the foreground, helping strengthen the development of young people across her community and beyond. Dawhser inspires other young people to feel hopeful that, no matter what hardships they face, they can still achieve their goals.
Swasti would see children who were her age sitting on the streets of Delhi while she was on her way to school. She felt the injustice that, while they were interested in learning, they couldn’t access the same education as her, especially the girls whose brothers she knew went to school. The experience set her down the path to becoming an advocate for social, economic and gender equality. She volunteers with various causes, from tutoring underprivileged children, to helping women escaping abuse regain their independence. Her passion also comes through in her poetry about gender equality, LGBTQ+ rights and mental health.
On a visit to a care home, Ruby met Pearl, a senior resident who had to give up her dog because she could no longer afford to keep him. Ruby set up ‘Three Wishes for Ruby’s Residents’, a nonprofit to help Pearl and other senior citizens like her. Ruby’s organisation fulfils small wishes and provides seniors with items they would otherwise go without. To this day, Ruby has fulfilled 8,000 wishes, given 120 interviews to the media and raised over $350,000 to support this cause. By developing a ‘Kids Board’ for the nonprofit, Ruby has encouraged other children to help residents, including building gardens and giving residents permanent pets.
After realising that there was a lack of support for Malaysian students studying abroad during the pandemic, with the support of kind-hearted Malaysian students, Choo launched the ‘Welfare Taskforce for Malaysian Students Abroad’. Choo provided valuable support to young people who couldn’t return home due to the pandemic, or who were experiencing mental health challenges as a result of being isolated in a foreign country. Choo is also a trained volunteer counsellor for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC). As part of this role, Choo supports young people in the UK on various important issues including bullying, abuse, self-harm and family relationships.
Barrington realised that it was the lack of opportunities, exposure, and vision, which prevented young people from achieving their dreams. He created ‘The Dream Factory’ to help solve this problem. ‘The Dream Factory’ uses a multifaceted approach involving education, health, advocacy and empowerment to ensure that young people stay driven and achieve their full potential. To further support young people, Barrington organised the first-ever annual ‘Global Changemakers’ 2020 virtual event in Zambia with the aim of unlocking the power and potential of young people to impact their community. 28 young changemakers aged 15-30 were trained in skills related to innovation and design thinking.
Che is a key part of the team at ‘Salaam Peace’, a multi-award-winning community engagement programme that uses sport and social education to bring people together in underserved areas of East London. Over the last four years, Che has brought enthusiasm and passion to the team. He has taken on a leading role at the organisation, helping the CEO to design and develop an estate-based programme, managing the under 14s team, and gaining a number of professional qualifications along the way. He leads a group of truly diverse individuals and uses his personal experience to inspire others as a positive role model.
After her brother was diagnosed with Autism, Aimée struggled to find the resources to help her understand his diagnosis. She was inspired to self-publish ‘No Two Stars are the Same’, a book for young people to turn to for support. Aimée went on to set up ‘Stellas’, where she wrote a second book and established a ‘buy one, give one’ model, so that young people can access support in school. Aimée has received a ‘Young Enterprise Journey Award’ for her work to raise awareness of Autism and is also the ‘Young Ambassador for Social Enterprise NI’, inspiring young social entrepreneurs.
Oliver, who has lived experience of anger management issues, homelessness and parental conflict, is now helping other young people to get their voices heard as a member of the ‘Dorset Youth Council’ and a ‘#YouthVoice Pioneer’ team member. As a council member, Oliver supports other young members to take on leadership roles, regularly leading meetings himself. He has spent more than 500 hours volunteering, including working on the creation of the ‘Covid-nine-TEENS’ podcast, inviting guest speakers and planning content such as staying mentally well during the pandemic. Oliver is praised for his ability to listen to other’s ‘ideas and insights, making them feel valued and supported.’
In 2020, Ellie was elected to the ‘UK Youth Parliament’ by the young people of Dorset. Through this new role, and as a leader of ‘Dorset Youth Council’, Ellie is getting youth voices heard. Passionately championing and representing her peers, Ellie creates safe and inclusive spaces for young people to have conversations on key issues including climate change, Black Lives Matter and mental health. She stood up for young people with special educational needs and disabilities ensuring they had recognition on the British Youth Council’s national manifesto and delivered a campaign to make Dorset a kinder and happier place to live. Ellie has achieved all this during the COVID-19 pandemic whilst also studying and working.
Dawodu discovered 1 in 10 people in this community had Hepatitis B. So, keen to curb the spread of the virus, he launched the ‘End Hepatitis’ project, which has helped over 1,500 people get screened and vaccinated against Hepatitis B. In response to the global pandemic in March 2020, Dawodu supervised a team of 20 volunteers to share information on how to prevent the spread of the virus, fielding over 1,000 calls daily. Dawodu has also organised sessions on social impact topics and leadership skills for organisations like the Gates Foundation and was awarded the ‘SME 100 Africa 25under25 Most Enterprising Person Award’ in 2020.
Working with his local youth club, Tony has been ensuring that young people are aware of the support services available during lockdown, as they go through some of the toughest challenges they’ll face. Coming from the same community, and being close in age to the young people he supports, Tony knows the struggles they face. He has helped to drive digital youth work to ensure support is always there for those who need it, providing up-to-date COVID-19 information as well as covering hot topics that young people are keen to explore, ranging from health and wellbeing to LGBTIQ+ awareness.
After sustaining a spinal cord injury at age 13, Pratishtha became a wheelchair user and saw first-hand how little support existed for those with disabilities. Pratishtha decided to call attention to the rights of people with disabilities. From speaking on the streets of New Delhi to international United Nations events, she is now one of the youngest and most vocal disability rights activists in India. Becoming the first-ever wheelchair user from India to study at the University of Oxford, Pratishtha has spoken in front of thousands of people, including policymakers, CEOs, ministers and activists, in her mission to build a more inclusive world.
Rabiah grew up as a young neurodivergent woman of colour, with few role models to identify with. Now, Rabiah is the founder and director of the ‘Voices for Hope Foundation’, a nonprofit challenging mental health stigma through an intersectional lens, giving BIPOC and LGBTQ individuals a platform to share their experiences. Rabiah recently called for a Mental Health Parity Act while speaking at the House of Commons, and has created ‘sensory hubs’ – spaces in schools where neurodiverse students can decompress. Rabiah is the former vice president of the ‘One Blood for Life Foundation’, where she recruited over 1,400 stem cell registrants and more than 3,000 blood donors.
Jack’s inspirational “Be Kind” campaign is a result of his determination to change how people perceive others with communication difficulties, after his personal experiences of having a stammer. Jack has promoted stammer awareness through news articles and appearances on BBC radio, and delivers presentations to local schools to improve understanding for both children and adults. Jack has grown into a confident and inspiring speaker, and is actively pursuing a career in journalism and TV production. Jack’s efforts are making a real difference in the way society views and accepts individuals who communicate differently, and his campaign continues to grow in support.
Since joining the Army Cadet Force, Anna-Grace has displayed outstanding dedication and community spirit, well above what could reasonably be expected of someone of her young age. She has played a vital role in the organisation and distribution of food and essential supplies to the elderly and at-risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through her extensive volunteering, Anna-Grace has not only been of great help to people in her local area, but she has encouraged other cadets to get involved with charitable activities. These efforts have helped foster a stronger community spirit between groups of young people across the local area.
After experiencing poor health as a result of severe air pollution in Delhi, Aditya founded ‘Plant a Million Trees’, an initiative that has led to the planting of over 100,000 trees. Aditya also successfully campaigned against single-use plastic by working with the ‘Central Pollution Control Board’ to introduce environmental compensation from some of the largest organisations in India, including Amazon, Walmart and Pepsi. His work has been featured by the BBC, Channel NewsAsia, TRT World and Indian News Channels. Through his work, Aditya has inspired countless young people to campaign on environmental and social issues.
As a passionate SCUBA diver and marine animal lover, when Chloe Mei Espinosa saw a viral video of a turtle with a plastic straw stuck in its nose, she jumped into action. She launched a campaign called ‘Skip the Plastic Straw’, which has helped keep 15 million straws out of circulation each year, by convincing 245 schools, a large California healthcare system, and the ‘Pali Institute Outdoor Camp’ to eliminate plastic utensils. Chloe Mei was also named one of the most influential people under 40 in Orange County at just 11 years old and has become a powerful mentor and coach for other young people, including through her YouTube channel, ‘Sustainable Sisters’.
Committed to making a positive change in society, Ruben has raised over £35,000 for North West healthcare charities since 2017 by extensively running, trekking and cycling with his twin sister. Through Ruben’s charitable efforts this has helped to fund an outside play area at a children’s ward, a child and adolescent mental health room, lung suction equipment and sensory materials for several hospitals across the region making a huge difference for those child patients. As an ambassador for ‘MedEquip4Kids’, Ruben, who has ADHD, has learned to manage his condition and channel his energy into altruistic activities that benefit his community whilst challenging perceptions of ADHD.
Aged six and motivated by a desire to make the world a better place, Elena began fundraising to help children in hospital. With family members and with twin brother Ruben alongside, the past three years have seen Elena undertake huge physical challenges including trekking, running and cycling distances of 100km, helping to raise £35,000 for North West healthcare charities. In her current role as ambassador for the charity ‘MedEquip4Kids’ and through the use of her growing media platform, Elena, who has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), is challenging negative perceptions of neurodevelopmental conditions. She brings an unrivalled authenticity and incredible energy to her advocacy work on behalf of the neurodiverse community.
Lerryn is part of ‘Participation People’s #YouthVoice Pioneer Team’. Having witnessed her brother navigate multiple negative experiences as a disabled young person, Lerryn is working with other young people to improve SEND services. Her work for ‘Dorset’s Young Researcher Team’ and as a peer leader for ‘Southern Universities Network Young Champions’, is helping others to get their voices heard. Lerryn has dedicated over 400 hours of volunteering support to ‘Participation People’, and in doing so has encouraged other young people to engage in supporting their peers with learning difficulties by combating stereotypes. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Lerryn was instrumental in co-producing a series of podcasts titled ‘Covid-nine-TEENS’ which reached over 1,000,000 downloads.
Forbi first became passionate about ocean conservation in high school, when he learned that the ocean he loved was in crisis. As ‘hub leader’ of ‘Sustainable Ocean Alliance Cameroon’, Forbi has worked with over 3,000 fishermen from coastal communities across Cameroon, where he teaches the importance of ocean conservation. Through his mission to stop sea turtle fishing, Forbi has trained 30 young people, raised $5,000 to run workshops and consulted with three government agencies to ensure laws protecting endangered animals were enforced. Forbi continues to take his own initiative, and is now building a large network of ocean leaders across Africa as the ‘Sustainable Ocean Alliance’s Regional Representative’ for Africa.
After Bobbie’s father passed away, she heard stories of orphaned children in Mwulinga, Zambia and was inspired to fund-raise to support their school. Bobbie started with a bake sale and has since raised £125, which has supported the education of 89 children in Zambia and inspired other children in her school to also support and raise money.Bobbie now makes weekly videos to connect to the children in Zambia and to teach them to trampoline, as well as videos for other bereaved children in the UK. Through her videos, Bobbie shares the tools that helped her through her own difficult times. She is determined to help other children and wants to channel her grief into doing something positive for other people.
Ben is a founding member and welfare officer for ‘YouthPolitics UK’ and works tirelessly to empower young people in the North West and Scotland to engage in politics and find their political voices. In 2018, whilst studying for his A-Levels, Ben organised the organisation’s inaugural conference, where 500 young people participated in skills workshops and networking opportunities with leading political figures. Ben is also Artistic Director and founder of ‘Three Pound Coin Theatre’, set up to empower queer voices and talent, and is a role model to young LGBT+ people aspiring to work in creative industries. During the past year, he has run online events to fundraise for several Scottish LGBTQ+ charities.
Fibha is a ‘Global Peace Ambassador’,’Multicultural Ambassador’ and ‘Country Coordinator’ for Australia in the ‘Global Youth Parliament’. During COVID-19, she supported the ‘UNHCR’s Global 555’ fundraising campaign to protect vulnerable refugees whilst also collaborating with NGOs in Somalia and Pakistan to distribute food to internally displaced families. As a first-generation migrant, Fibha created ‘Design Your Destiny’ Project to help newly arrived migrants build friendships, a sense of belonging and confidence via storytelling and zine-making workshops. She also initiated ‘Walk Towards Peace’, which builds peaceful, multicultural ties of acceptance and tolerance. Fibha is devoted to humanitarian work and creating harmonious relations.
May’s determination to create an inclusive community for young people living with mental illness was inspired through her experiences. At age 16, May began her intersectional campaign ‘It’s OK’ to advocate for young people to reduce stigma, improve care, and build an inclusive space for those living with mental illness. As someone who identifies as brown, queer and disabled, she is dedicated to promoting an organisation that represents her needs. May has impacted thousands through her website and blog, using her positive, passionate and practical approach to deliver her vision of a world where it’s ok to be a young person living with mental illness.
Jolie has helped over 75,000 young people to find education and career opportunities around the world. Through her nonprofit, ‘Youth Leaders in Law’, Jolie helps racial, ethnic, religious, financial and gender minorities have the opportunity to explore law. She connects underprivileged young people with lawyers and opportunities to kickstart their careers. As a young woman of colour who has faced financial insecurity herself, almost lost her mother after a traumatic incident and has had to take care of her two younger siblings for extended periods, Jolie understands how important it is to support those who come from disadvantaged backgrounds. She knows just how influential that support can be.
When he was 9 years old, Aryan decided that he wanted to take action on environmental issues and help create a sustainable planet. Since then, Aryan has built a powerful network of organisations, volunteers, youth advocates, political representatives, indigenous and other communities. With over 10,000 volunteer hours under his belt, Aryan is dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding of climate change, environmentalism and philanthropy. As the youngest Founder and Director of a Canadian nonprofit, ‘Save the Planet – Open Doors,’ Aryan uses his positivity, passion and perseverance to inspire others to get involved.
Anson is a firm believer of Princess Diana’s quote, ‘Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.’ It is this message that is at the core of his project ‘Anonymous Hope’, a not-for-profit initiative that seeks to help others without caring about publicity. Under this initiative, Anson promoted the recycling of newspapers with the ‘Back to Green’ campaign, donated his clothes as part of the ‘Threads’ campaign, and started the ‘Bake Sale’ project to raise funds to support a child’s education.
After witnessing family members experiencing threat and harm, Carlos created ‘The Global Spotlight’ in 2017. He now shares his stories of community hardship across his home city to inspire local community members to come together and solve problems. So far, Carlos has raised over $5,000, has 150 active leaders working at ‘The Global Spotlight’ from eight different countries and has engaged over 290,000 people across social media. He has also partnered with 40 other youth-led organisations from around the world to expand his mission of empowerment, education and enablement.
After witnessing gender inequality within her own family and the wider community, Aditi set up ‘Empowerette’, a one-to-one mentoring programme for over 60 young girls from underprivileged backgrounds. The programme empowers rural girls to become policymakers, representatives and stakeholders in decision-making processes. As a result, Aditi saw a seismic shift in the mindsets of the local community towards girls and women. Building on this success, Aditi has since expanded the programme into more villages in India, created a network of inspiring female leaders and is one of just a handful of her generation to be elected as an ‘Ashoka Young Changemaker’.
Shubhankar is a passionate environmental activist. As one of his first environmental activities, he was given the opportunity to talk about and demonstrate the effects of plastic pollution through ‘Quiz Walks’. During the pandemic, he took the cause online through webinars and online workshops. He went on to lead ‘SWAPTeen’ alongside a team of his peers, an online initiative encouraging young people to switch to environmentally sustainable practices in their day-to-day lives whilst igniting a sense of responsibility to shape a sustainable future through his voluntary work in the field of River Rejuvenation & social development in rural India.
At the age of 13, Sia was deeply disturbed by the situation of some people in her neighbourhood who were living without any footwear. She noticed adults and children with bruised and swollen feet, construction labourers, families and street vendors, all working barefoot in hazardous conditions. Inspired by the statistic that 350 million pairs of footwear are discarded annually, she launched ‘Sole Warriors’, a nonprofit collecting footwear from privileged communities and donating them to those in need. Over the past 18 months, they collected over 15,000 pairs from 4,000 households through a network of 50 volunteers and eight supporting organisations, with the ultimate aim to reach one million feet.
Jordan is the executive director of ‘Love Letters for Literacy’, which helps to level the educational playing field. This nonprofit serves children in lower-income communities who typically enter kindergarten knowing only a few alphabet letters. She’s recruited volunteers worldwide to create three-part literacy packets using paper and markers, including colourful A-Z flashcards, a personal note encouraging reading, and instructions for educational games. Jordan empowers families to make learning the alphabet fun. She’s inspired a grassroots movement with a global network of 18,700+ volunteers donating packets to 40,000+ at-risk children spanning all 50 states, 30 countries and 6 continents.
Since leaving formal education, Max has advocated for the better inclusion of young people with autism in education and employment. He is an ambassador for the National Autistic Society and regularly promotes advocacy and inclusion in the media, as well as at national events, schools and universities. As a young person with autism, Max is passionate about reaching a wide audience to promote change at all levels. He is the host of an online series where he interviews fellow advocates for autism, additional learning needs and mental health. Max has participated in the ‘All-Party Parliamentary Group on Autism’ to raise awareness of the Autism Act and remains focused on social action to increase understanding of autism within society.
Through his own experience helping factories reduce emissions, Kavya realised the power of young people to effect change. With initial success in his hometown, Kavya built a core team and has been enabling other young people over the last couple of years to become changemakers in their own cities, establishing the ‘Bhavishya Foundation’. This micro-army of changemakers have gone on to plant over 3,000 saplings and educate more than 2,000 students through experiential journeys, building empathy and entrepreneurial ability to address the complex challenges of our times. In the future, Kavya hopes to partner with universities, media, businesses and the government to support thousands more in launching their own impactful initiatives.
Ashug has always strived to help society, a quality noticed by his peers. After being exposed to the digital divide caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on education, Ashug was even more determined to help. His educational project equips school children in rural India with academically aligned science and math kits, geo puzzles, brainteasers and educational board games. Having students use their downtime to experiment with the provided kits helps to keep their brains active and feel accomplished, confident and knowledgeable. Ashug was instrumental in raising over 2.5 lakh rupees ($3,500) and helped over 1,000 rural children to think like scientists.
Selin is a changemaker who has made an impact not just on her own high school, but on the country. After listening to Greta Thunberg’s TED talk, Selin decided to start a ‘Fridays for Future’ movement among high schools in Turkey. She has devoted herself to the climate justice movement and led five separate climate strikes. Thanks to her and her friends’ efforts, companies and politicians have started taking action against the climate crisis. Journalists have started covering the topic more frequently and the public has become more aware. Selin also spearheaded a major change in her school, which is now on its way to becoming an eco-school.
Linh is a pioneering member of the ‘Stand Together for Refugees’ (ST4R), a group enabling young refugees and asylum seekers to use their voices to raise awareness of issues affecting them. Linh’s role within the ‘ST4R’ group has been a springboard for her to get involved in other initiatives connected to the charity. She has worked to allocate resources to young people through a ‘Pot of Gold’ scheme and has helped to engage young people across the country through debates and discussions on important youth issues. Linh is a constant source of inspiration for The Children’s Society, continuously bringing fresh and new perspectives on the topics that matter to young people the most.
Winta was one of the pioneering members of the newly-formed ‘’Stand Together for Refugees’ group (ST4R), established to enable young refugee and asylum seekers to have a voice and influence on issues that are important to them. Winta was instrumental in deciding the focus of the group and led several initiatives to raise awareness of the many challenges of the asylum process, as well as the importance of building positive caring relationships. This was shared with social workers, those providing sanctuary for young people, MPs, the public and academics researching the asylum process. Important voices are now being heard as a result of Winta’s work.
After losing her leg to cancer, Bernadette has harnessed the power of social media to raise awareness of cancer and disability amongst her thousands of followers, whilst empowering others by celebrating difference. She has spoken at events and facilitated workshops to inspire and build peer-support connections for children with cancer, and has recorded videos celebrating difference for primary schools. Currently, she is working with ‘Cancer Fund for Children’ as an ambassador, raising money and awareness, and is writing a book to support children experiencing amputation in their adjustment to life with a prosthetic. Bernadette’s positivity and selflessness have made her a role model for all young people, giving hope to countless others.
Lucy is passionate about sports and is eager to help other young people get the same enjoyment from it as she does. Concerned that the COVID-19 pandemic was harming the mental and physical health of young people, Lucy wanted to ensure children could still experience the benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle. Lucy started volunteering at an after-school club in a local primary school, where she introduced children to a variety of American club sports including baseball, basketball and kickball. The club has had a positive impact on all those who take part, with the children encouraged to learn new skills in a fun and interactive way.
Kakooza is a young changemaker dedicated to fighting cardiovascular disease through awareness-raising projects. After losing his father to a heart attack when he was three years old, Kakooza co-founded the organisation ‘Aid-You’. ‘Aid-You’ democratises and disseminates heart health information through life support skills training. Kakooza leads a team of 43 volunteers at ‘Aid-You’ which has delivered training to over 1,300 young people. In 2021, Kakooza was recognised as a ‘Diamond Challenge Judge’ and is a university president at Aime-Imagination University. Kakooza has channelled his bereavement into leadership skills which he passes onto his peers.
As the first care leaver to graduate from Jesus College, University of Oxford, Sophia is passionate about providing others with the same opportunities she had. She believes she can provide an insight into the process that professionals cannot, and mentors students from a care background whilst also advising them on university, internship, and job applications. Sophia campaigns for the rights and protection of care-experienced people, bringing institutions including Cambridge University and the UK Government to task, and writes exposés on the state of the care system for national papers. In March 2020, Sophia founded ‘Who Cares About Research?’, an award-winning podcast dedicated to sharing the world of cutting-edge social research in an accessible way.
Katura is a humanitarian and social justice advocate who is helping girls around the globe to access education, giving a voice to those struggling to be heard. In 2018, aged 13, Katura travelled from Australia to Mozambique to make a documentary on education in the developing world. The resulting ‘Katura Story’ is now internationally acclaimed and is helping to highlight education issues faced by girls. After returning from Mozambique, seeing and connecting with girls facing unimaginable hardship, lack of education, child marriage and gender inequality, Katura decided that she could make a difference. In 2019, Katura started ‘8×8 to Educate’, a social enterprise where100 percent of profits goes to charities and schools in the developing world.
Lella bridges the digital skills and gender gap through uniting industry and classroom. She’s an avid UN and IBM speaker. She’s the youngest IBM Z Champion in its history and founded zStudents, a program to motivate students during the COVID-19 pandemic. She created a committee of young, global technologists united by a desire to create content that’s for, with and by students. Following the catastrophic event in Lebanon, Lella founded Al-Wasl.Connect, an open-source hub to coordinate donations and distribute humanitarian aid. Lella is paving the way for other youth to stand up loud and proud and become changemakers.
Daisy is only 12 years old but has long demonstrated compassion and concern for her community. In March 2020, she founded the nonprofit ‘Including You’. This peer-to-peer mentorship and philanthropic organisation acts as a voice for educational equity and inclusion whilst working to bridge the digital divide. Its activities are a direct result of Daisy’s mission to address an injustice she has witnessed, and she has become an inspirational role model. She treats all people with kindness, seeks to make everyone feel welcome and included, and encourages others, through word and deed, to do the same.
In 2019, Sadid left his full-time internship in San Francisco to help 7,000 out-of-school students go to university. Over the last three years, Sadid has helped mentor 100,000 students both in-person, online webinars and videos through his mentorship platform, ‘CrossRoads Initiative’. The platform connects mentors with young people in need of support. Sadid hopes to help 1,000,000 students access university education by 2025. To date, his students have acquired more than $1,000,000 in scholarship funding under his guidance. Putting in 80-hour weeks, Sadid’s maxim in life is to help one more person each day he is alive.
Despite losing his best friend, Amir has been extremely active in his rural community in Egypt. As well as founding a volunteering team to help local people get humanitarian health services, Amir has launched a campaign aimed to detect HCV and HBV. He is working with the team to raise awareness about the risks of infection. Amir is also a member of the ‘Global Youth Ambassadors Team’, where he works alongside many national and international foundations. He has also travelled within Egypt to raise awareness of COVID-19 to countless people, a cause close to his heart as a medical student. Amir passionately believes in the power of volunteering and social action to make the world a better place.
A few years ago, Nika was diagnosed with selective mutism, and so her family suggested she find other, non-verbal ways to express herself. Nika decided to paint rocks and hide them in her community for others to find and delight in. She started a ‘Giving Tree’ to share warm clothes in winter and a ‘Gratitude Tree’ to encourage people to adopt an attitude of gratitude in the summer. Nika has created videos about her creative projects, sharing moments of joy and kindness on social media. Nika is known as someone who creates ‘little ripples of kindness that turn into big waves’.
Hannah lives with Mitochondrial disease, which is a terminal illness. Her work with ‘Together for Short Lives’ means she has spoken in parliament, medical conferences, and collaborations about her personal experiences of life-limiting illness. She has written for Grazia, Teen Vogue, and Hospice UK amongst other outlets. Her YouTube channel demystifies illness and medical taboos. Hannah has Literary accolades including a ‘Northern Writer’s Award’ and has published a number of pamphlets and books. She has run a virtual writing space for ‘The Writing Squad’, during the pandemic. Hannah is a powerful role model to other young people.
A passionate and active campaigner, Carys is removing the stigma around mental health through her ‘Be Positive, Be You’ campaign, which spreads positivity and self-love. As part of her work with ‘FLARE’ , Carys campaigns tirelessly for equality and support for those with special educational needs and disabilities, and, alongside her group, advises the Government on issues affecting children and young people, especially those with special education needs and disabilities. Carys also volunteers with her German society, contributes to anti-bullying work and works with the National Children’s Bureau. As part of this, she has secured a five-year grant from the Welcome Trust to understand the impact of health and social care assessments.
News headlines of growing crimes among young people and children left a lasting impact on Jayant, so he decided to put a stop to such crimes happening in the future. Jayant created ‘The Sensible Voice Foundation’, organising workshops to tackle deeply-rooted misogyny and unhealthy attitudes, as well as the repercussions of actions and how to manage emotions. Jayant has reached more than 6,000 youth across five countries and has worked with more than ten schools. He has also visited orphanages and juvenile prisons to run his workshops. Working day and night, Jayant’s work has transformed toxic school environments and fostered compassion among young people.
Tirion is a powerful disability activist who leads with compassion and determination. When she was only 14 years old, Trion spoke to members of the House of Lords about services for visually impaired teenagers and what young disabled people can achieve with the right support. Now, as the chair of the ‘Oxford Disability Campaign’, she continues to create positive change for disabled students, tirelessly campaigning for the inclusion of disabled students in key roles within the higher education system. Trion has managed to achieve all this whilst completing her medical degree, and she is the first person from the Royal National College for the Blind to attend Oxford University.
YUMNA HUSSENYumna is currently serving as ‘Deputy Youth MP for Birmingham’ and ‘Chair of the Birmingham Aspiring Youth Council’, representing over 200,000 young people in the ‘UK Youth Parliament’. Her vision for transformational societal change spans mental health, child welfare, social justice, serving marginalised groups, poverty reduction and much more. As a Black Muslim herself, Yumna works to ensure that young people’s views, especially those from underrepresented groups, are embedded within policymaking. She is currently working on a mental health campaign and recently devised a report for the mental health platform ‘Kooth’ on how to improve the service.
Sarmed was spurred to get involved in politics following the 2016 EU referendum. Seeing how disengaged many of his peers were from political life, he became a founding member of ‘YouthPolitics UK’, using peer-to-peer youth networks to help young people from all backgrounds to engage with politics and get their voices heard. Last year, Sarmed led a campaign encouraging thousands of young people to register to vote. Sarmed has also been instrumental in coordinating workshops for young people to develop skills in debating, campaigning and public speaking – including an online ‘Crash Course in Political Discourse’ over lockdown – and bringing them together with leading political figures such as Andy Burnham and Alastair Campbell.
Motivated by her belief that all young people should have access to quality education, Aisha established the ‘Siddiqui Academy’, an online learning platform that promotes learning for all through free tuition. Alongside this, Aisha delivers several extra-curricular activities which engage hundreds of her classmates through debating, tutoring and road safety. Aisha is also a Youth Ambassador at ‘P.A.R.D’ (Pragathi Association for Rural Development), an NGO that works with grassroots communities in rural India through education, sanitation and the environment. Aisha inspires countless others to support their local community.
Lauren is an Anti-Bullying Ambassador who is dedicated to spreading awareness of her school’s zero-tolerance approach to bullying behaviour. For the past two years, Lauren has organised a highly successful event in school to commemorate Black History Month. As part of the annual celebration, Lauren encourages students to come together to ‘unite against racism’ in the form of a fundraiser. Her most recent event was a huge success, with a grand total of £933 raised and an above-target attendance rate of ninety-six percent. Through hard work and determination, Lauren and the Anti-Bullying Ambassador team highlight topics covering mental health, kindness and diversity as part of their mission to raise awareness of anti-bullying.
Ally is a medical student who is passionate about nutrition and mental health. In 2017, she teamed up with Dr Iain Broadley to create a BBC community interest company which aims to improve nutritional education within medical training and has branches in two-thirds of UK medical schools. Ally hosts a podcast, where she strengthens awareness and knowledge surrounding subjects such as psychiatry, mental health, racism and discrimination within healthcare. She hosted their first annual conference at the Royal Society of Medicine, which was attended by over 100 people. Ally is about to graduate as a doctor and has recently been accepted to the ‘NHS Clinical Entrepreneurship Programme’.
After living near a school for the blind for eight years in Delhi and passing it on his daily commute to school, Akshal set out to tackle the lack of affordable eyecare for low-income families in India. Seeing the impact impaired vision can have on a child’s education prompted Akshal to create his own nonprofit ‘Eyetiative’ at the age of 13. ‘Eyetiative’ collects and distributes old, unused glasses to those in need and provides free eye tests for those unable to afford vision care. To date, Akshal has aided over 500 children in receiving eyecare and enjoying clearer vision.
Mahira founded ‘FunWagon’, an education initiative aimed at increasing access to social science subjects in India. Through this initiative, Mahira promoted experiential learning through excursions and experiences both in-person and virtually and created an accompanying curriculum, which has since been adopted by 11 different NGOs. Having moved activities online during the COVID-19 pandemic, Mahira designed a ‘virtual walkthrough’ series for audiences, exposing them to the history, culture and architecture of India. Most recently, Mahira founded ‘CulturALL’, an initiative increasing access to cultural education for young people. By partnering with educators and changemakers, Mahira has helped to support 850 young people whilst highlighting the importance of social science subjects.
As she was growing up, Eiman accompanied her mother to her work at a hospital where she witnessed people suffering from burns and saw how many of them couldn’t afford medical treatment for post-burn scars. Eiman became determined to work to ensure this medical treatment could be more accessible to those who need it. Eiman designed and created compression garments and reached out to Lahore’s largest burn centre where she distributed the garments to everyone in need. So far, over 1,200 garments have been distributed to more than 700 patients. Eiman is able to juggle delivering her garments with her studies and has become a source of inspiration and motivation amongst her peers.
For the past 6 years, Olivia has held the position of Anti-Bullying Ambassador in school. Having experienced bullying herself in the past, Olivia is a passionate advocate for the students in her care. She has supported students struggling with bullying, run training sessions with other ambassadors and raised awareness and money for anti-bullying charities. She has also run anti-bullying workshops with primary schools. As part of her role, she has trained 18 ambassadors, designing all the training herself, including some resources from The Diana Award and ‘MHFA England’. This included creating training packs, activities and resources for students and tailoring them to each year group.
Gaurav’s catchphrase is ‘We all have one mother, and she is the most important person in our lives.’ Seeing how women in his community were affected by breast cancer, Gaurav began to encourage friends and community members to spread awareness through email, webinars, presentations and direct messaging. In 2020, Gaurav participated in ‘The Pink Steps Challenge’, walking to raise funds for cancer charities. He has also run school assemblies, encouraging classmates to pledge to support the cause. Gaurav supports other causes too, running clean-up campaigns, eco-club activities and re-use and recycle campaigns. Outspoken Gaurav is now a junior brand ambassador for the breast cancer charity ‘Protect Your Mom’.
In Year 1, Nirvaan was assigned to be the buddy of a new girl joining his class. Nirvaan stayed by her side and, eventually, they became friends and the girl became more confident. Since then, he has been a buddy to many people at his school, and participated in events to help the wider community, including a community kitchen event where Nirvaan cooked and served food for migrants. Nirvaan later raised ₹50,000 to support migrants. Most recently, Nirvaan started ‘The Happiness Initiative’ collecting clothes, shoes and books, and redistributing them to those in need. Nirvaan is described as ‘wonderfully proactive’ and ‘always happy to help’.
Gwen has dedicated over four years to creating sporting opportunities for people on Anglesey. Motivated by reducing child obesity levels to create healthier, happier children, Gwen takes a creative approach to increasing physical activity opportunities. Using media and filming skills to benefit others, Gwen has created over 50 hours of videos for three to 11 year-olds to ensure that they can stay healthy during lockdown. After a local youth club closure, Gwen started a ‘Friday Fitness’ club attended by over 50 participants. This initiative has received extra funding and has been adopted by two leisure centres, improving session accessibility. Gwen does all this alongside her fundraising and volunteer work.
Trevona is working with other young people to improve speech and language services, whilst exploring how professionals communicate with young people who access their support services. Through the ‘Covid-nine-TEENS’ podcast series, Trevona helped to lead young people and professionals as they explored topics such as pandemic positivity, staying mentally well and “Lockdown 3.0”. She personally invited expert guest speakers to inspire debate, ensuring that they had accurate statistics and facts to support the discussions. Trevona has used her passion for accessible language to summarise each of the 13 podcasts so that every young person and professional can easily access and understand them.
On seeing her hometown of Kerala littered with heaps of plastic and waste, Nileena resolved to make it her mission to clean up her town and became a sustainability role model. Nileena recycles her neighbour’s newspapers, is an eco-monitor at school and has participated in beach cleans, desert cleans and mangrove planting projects in nearby wetlands. Nileena has also formed an anti-bullying squad, giving speeches to stamp out bullying whilst coining the motto ‘Be a buddy, not a bully’. During the pandemic, Nileena distributed food kits to people who had lost their jobs and gave masks to frontline key workers.
Namya believes that technology can be used to benefit mankind, but it wasn’t until she started playing the computer-based game Minecraft she realised how tech can be a powerful tool for learning. She built and delivered her Minecraft-based lesson on Egyptian civilisation, instantly seeing how interested the children were. Namya has now trained more than 1,000 teachers and students on how Minecraft can be used in education. Namya has been praised for her ‘entrepreneurial spirit’ and her ability to ‘step into other people’s shoes’ as with her motto #EachOneTeachTen she shares her message of gaming for good.
At age 19, Aditi established ‘WINGS’, an NGO which tackled the stigma around menstruation in India. She ran crowdfunding campaigns to provide sanitary pads for young girls and women in disadvantaged areas and delivered seminars to schools and organisations to create awareness. She has also worked to empower sex workers to become financially independent by equipping them with the skills to set up their small businesses. In the last few years, Aditi established ‘Speaking Grey’, an organisation that provides a safe space, creates support and awareness around mental health, shares real life stories and destigmatizes the notion attached to mental health and to seeking support.
Jui is the founder of a nonprofit working to reduce gender and racial inequality in the artificial intelligence (AI) field by teaching the fundamentals of AI to students across the world. Jui’s work has impacted 7,500+ students across 58 countries, from the US to the UK, Bolivia and Bangladesh. Surprised that she was the only female in her AI class, Jui took matters into her own hands by creating online workshops, videos and an educational curriculum, which she has taught all over the world. Jui’s vision is to change the world by making a complex subject like AI accessible to everyone, creating a safer, fairer future for all.
Students worldwide take the exact same exams and yet, the access to resources, advice and support available to them varies dramatically. To Zubair, this seemed grossly unfair. So he decided to set up a blog to share the resources he created for his own exams, completely free of charge, whilst reiterating the principle that quality education is a right, not a privilege. His high-quality and concise revision notes were discovered by students all over the world and ‘ZNotes’ was born. Today, with hundreds of contributors, ‘ZNotes’ has passed 21 million hits with more than 3 million unique visitors, becoming a go-to resource for students and teachers all around the world.
Having lived in Los Angeles, climate change has always been at the forefront of Shourya’s mind. His interests in art, science and activism have driven him to make diverse connections to deepen his understanding of the crisis. Through his project titled ‘The Causation to Cognizance’, Shourya sought to both understand and also promote climate awareness and activism, conducting extensive interviews, discussions and surveys in his community while creating blogs, original visual art, and music pieces. He donated the revenue from these to a climate change NGO. Soon after, he joined ‘Friday’s For Future’ and founded his own student-led organisation called ‘OCEAN Environmentals’, working towards wildlife and resource conservation in a changing world.
Himanshu is a solution-driven activist, committed to making villages across Telangana self-sustainable. He does this through his initiative ‘Shoma’, which aims to support communities through the installation of food processing units that can produce unadulterated food. After a lot of research, Himanshu started work to secure funding a poverty-stricken village, Gangapuram. With the funds collected, he provided specialised machines to process raw materials, employing the unemployed youth from Gangapuram despite the pandemic. Shoma became a huge success with the masses. The finished products were sold and the funds generated were set aside for the development of the village and salaries of the employees. Shoma covered 12 SDGs in the process of initiation.
Kiyana has been determined to advocate for marginalised communities both in Canada and her home country, Iran. Kiyana has worked with six different organisations over the past eight years, dedicating over 5,000 volunteer hours and raising over $35,000. She has worked with diverse populations, including young people, people with mental illness, immigrants, and the elderly. When she became aware of the unique needs of the people she worked with, Kiyana founded several of her own initiatives: ‘Dalhousie Phoenix Youth’ – a fundraiser for marginalised youth people, ‘Atlantic Lighthouse’ – a society helping immigrants and ‘Prospect Community Clean Up’ – which aims to clear up areas in Nova Scotia.
Four years ago, an uncontrollable fire broke out in Shiv’s high-rise building. The event was traumatic, and Shiv wanted to ensure no one else would have to go through the same. First, Shiv created a smart gas leak and fire detector, then a 3D simulation game ‘Fire Escape’, which has been adopted by the ‘Fire and Security Association of India’. Shiv then turned his talents to developing a low-cost robot to clean Mumbai’s sewers, deadly and dehumanising work currently falling to those at the very bottom of the caste system. When the pandemic hit, he went on to develop a contact-tracing website and an online learning platform to help close learning gaps.
After first volunteering to help a local school access uniforms for marginalised girls, Ishan has set an inspirational example by helping others in education. The global pandemic has not stopped him from supporting others in their education, including remote tribal communities and children of migrant construction workers in his neighbourhood. Ishan devised and delivered an ambitious campaign to fundraise £5000 and collect almost 100 laptops and tablets for teachers and students, whilst also ensuring everyone had an online connection to access learning. His compassion and dedication have enabled young people to continue their education despite many obstacles. Ishan is an outstanding example in his community.
From a young age, Kaneeka felt isolated and detached from her multicultural identity as a British-Indian woman living in England. Her experience inspired her to create ‘Pardesi’, a platform designed to elevate the voices of South Asian women. Last year, an anti-colourism campaign run by ‘Pardesi’ reached over 100,000 social media users in just two weeks. Kaneeka is also a future trainee solicitor with Clifford Chance. She is now working to increase diversity in the legal profession and wants to help other women access law careers by creating resources for aspiring female lawyers, as well as mentoring, hosting seminars and speaking on key panels.
Inspired by the story of her father, who migrated from Tanzania to Canada, Aliya is determined to ensure that the most vulnerable members of society have access to the food and resources they need. In 2020, Aliya raised $58,079 for ‘Equal Chance’ to ensure that homeless Black families and refugees could access culturally appropriate food security programmes, enabling the organisation to serve 10,080 meals and 15,000 food hampers. She has also launched a programme for Black mothers and pregnant Black women seeking assistance and has transformed the ‘Equal Chance’ bilingual programme into a multilingual programme. Their services are now offered in a grand total of 17 languages.
Growing up amidst nature has fuelled Tanisha’s pursuit of environmental justice. Her organisation, ‘Aurora’, has initiated actions on several environment-oriented United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Tanisha has planted 100 trees, organised more than 25 campaigns, hosted numerous fundraisers across the nation, participated in government-affiliated clean-up drives, and kick started independent clean-ups and marches. Tanisha’s mission is to get her voice heard at global panel discussions of organisations like the United Nations Environment Programme and the United Nations General Assembly. She wants ‘Aurora’ to be the torchbearer that leads the world into a new beginning, marking the end of environmental degradation.
Passionate about reducing the stigma around mental health, Nishita started ‘Drishti’, a nonprofit with the goal of changing people’s perceptions of mental health. Nishita went on to create an app that features a to-do list for goal setting and a happiness meter to promote self-reflection. Nishita has grown ‘Drishti’ into a family of 100 volunteers. Her efforts have been recognised by leading psychologists and educational entrepreneurs in the United Arab Emirates. Nishita is also environmentally minded, organising multiple beach cleans and, with 200 volunteers by her side, collecting up to two kilograms of rubbish each time.
From losing her father and leaving her home country of Zimbabwe, to feeling unsupported at some of her schools and working at McDonald’s to support herself and her mother, Vee has faced her fair share of adversity. Despite the obstacles Vee has now attended both Oxford and Harvard Universities and wants to see young people from backgrounds like hers excel in life through equal opportunities. She campaigns endlessly for diversity within higher education, challenges her own institutions and shares her message through news channels and volunteer work. While a student, Vee created her online platform ‘Empowered By Vee’ to empower others experiencing the same sense of un-belonging that she felt.
Sahana wants policymakers to listen to the views of young people. To this end, she has taken on several leadership roles; for instance, Sahana is the Chair of Amnesty International Malaysia’s Youth Committee. She assisted her local Amnesty branch’s collection of 2,000+ petition postcards for ‘Write for Rights’: a campaign which, in 2020, led to 19-year-old Magai Matiop Ngong being freed from death row. She has also talked about youth activism at United Nations-affiliated events, spoken out against Burmese refugee deportation and co-ordinated a COVID-19 food relief drive to support refugee children. Sahana now wants to continue elevating youth voices.
In 2016, Khilolakhon became the first ambassador for ‘Tunza Eco-Generation’ in Uzbekistan. As an environmental activist, she is dedicated to raising awareness of issues related to climate change, natural hazards, pollution and deforestation. Khilolakhon has conducted games and training sessions in over 60 areas across Uzbekistan, becoming one of the youngest activists in her district. In 2019, she was elected as a regional coordinator for the international project ‘Technovation Girls’, using her networking skills to connect with the top level management of government education bodies. Through her efforts, Khilolakhon has inspired over 3,000 girls in Andijan to challenge stereotypes and consider a career in STEM.
Iqra has been at the centre of social action in her hometown of Bradford from a young age. She is commited to fighting for others and uniting her community. Iqra led her school’s faith discussion group into new directions of social action, organising presentations to students, parents and religious leaders. She was recognised with the ‘Rotary Young Citizen Peacemaker Award 2020’. As a coach to some of Bradford’s most vulnerable young people, Iqra is known for her patience, compassion and technical ability. Iqra has challenged every negative pre-conceived idea about her, building peace and understanding both in her school and the local community.
Dan has collaborated with the United Nations and the U.S. State Department. He has campaigned for mental health, education and against gender based violence. Dan set up his own initiative ‘Project Let’s Move Forward’, an online career and educational and progression program for refugees who are struggling to continue with their studies, enabling them to take courses from top global institutions and universities. Dan’s incredible work was inspired by his experience of a terrorist attack in Pakistan when he was 16 years old. Driven by this, Dan spent his early youth meeting marginalised groups and survivors of conflict.
Haris is dedicated to championing social mobility opportunities for young people from low-income backgrounds. Through his work with ‘Bubl Venture Studios’ and his multiple trusteeships and volunteer roles, Haris works to increase, support and fulfil the aspirations of young people both in his local area and internationally. He has campaigned and fundraised for causes including support for Palestinian medical students, access to toilet and school facilities and improving mental wellness. Haris’ personal mission, support and emotional intelligence have enabled him to enhance other people’s skills through his mentoring, helping others to realise their dreams.
While volunteering to help save her local community blood center in college, Aviva realized the importance of ensuring a stable and equitable supply of blood products for many patients. She also learned that the issue of engaging young donors was felt throughout the country, and the world. In response, she founded the ‘University Blood Initiative’ (UBI) to create the next generation of diverse donors. The only group of its kind, this remarkable organization now has 600 members in chapters nationwide. UBI has already substantially increased the supply of blood products with plans to do even more soon.
Tavisha first felt the spark of civic duty when she was 11 years old. Devastated to learn of people being forced from their homes by wildfires in British Columbia, Tavisha wanted to reach out and help in whatever way she could. She soon began decorating found objects (recyclable material to repurpose for better use) to sell and raise funds to help the causes she was so passionate about. Since then, Tavisha has donated $850 to the Canadian Red Cross, $3,000 to local hospitals and the Make-a-Wish foundation, and $5,140 to hospitals during the pandemic and the Australian wildfire relief at the beginning of 2020.
Growing up in India, Muskaan was struck by the startling reality that so many girls in her society were being denied a basic education. She started teaching computer and communication skills. Hearing about the beliefs commonly held in rural communities about women’s bodies and periods, Muskaan began to run workshops dispelling these myths. These sessions empowered women by improving their understanding of their own biology, informing them of their rights and building up their confidence. Maskaan now coordinates a team of 50 volunteers, mentoring and supporting them to reach even more women across India.
For the past three years, Klea has led a youth movement to campaign for environmental protection and clean-up projects, removing plastic waste from seas and rivers across Albania. As a former volunteer for the ‘Royal Albania Foundation’, Klea has become one of the most passionate young biodiversity activists in Albania. She has become a voice for young people advocating for the approval of a law banning plastic pollution from tourists. Klea has helped to engage over 500 young people in clean-up activities, providing them with training and employment opportunities to create plastic-free materials using traditional methods. So far, her efforts have contributed to the removal of over 20,000 tonnes of plastic waste from Albania’s waters.
Charlie is a passionate anti-bullying campaigner, and the brains behind the ‘#CheerUpCharlie’ campaign, which he started in 2019. Charlie devotes over one hundred hours each month to help others by mentoring, campaigning, fundraising and raising awareness, on a local, national and international level. His successes have included the release of a charity single performed alongside West End talent, the development of a musical theatre workshop in partnership with Nathaniel Morrison, and a popular YouTube chat show, with guests including Matt Lucas and Gaby Roslin. Charlie works tirelessly and his campaign is making a real impact on the lives of so many other young people.
After discovering that her home state of New Jersey had the highest rates of autism in the country, Siya was shocked to find that she struggled to find any educational resources about autism aimed at children who are not on the spectrum. Identifying non-autistic children as a crucial but overlooked group in promoting inclusion and seeding acceptance from the beginning, Siya’s global initiative, ‘Project EnAble’, bridges the gap between misconception and inclusion by creating empathy and understanding about autism. Reaching more than 52,000 people worldwide, Siya wants to create a world where children on the spectrum are no longer just looked at but truly seen.
Katrina got involved with volunteering at the age of 15 when, frustrated by her experiences of gender inequality, she joined the ‘Girlguiding British Youth Council Delegation’ as the Scottish representative. Katrina has since become the youngest to give evidence at the UN Committee Against Torture. She is driven by a desire to eradicate societal inequalities has shown her commitment to the belief that young people really can play a key role in shaping a better society for everyone, through her roles as an ambassador for the ‘Year of Young People in Scotland’, a trustee for ‘Volunteering Matters’ and an ‘#iwill’ ambassador.
Elliott is not only a role model and ambassador for young people but is also a social entrepreneur who has been finding and creating ways to promote youth empowerment and sustainability since the age of 15. As a volunteer trustee for ‘Staffordshire Wildlife Trust’, ‘Spirit of Peace Ltd’, and ‘I Have a Voice’, Elliott demonstrates resilience, optimism and innovation every day. He leads with integrity to invoke change. Elliott’s passion has enabled him to meet with senior managers and executives to gain support in improving democratic processes for young people to get their voices heard whilst working towards a sustainable future for all.
Maryanne is an exceptionally kind and generous young woman, utilizing her spare time in the community to make a difference. She has been dealt a handful of hardships over the years but instead of letting negative circumstances consume her, she has persevered and focused her efforts on fundraising and volunteering to help make a difference in the lives of other children at the hospital. Maryanne has worked extensively with the “Alberta Children’s Hospital” both as an Ambassador and as a member of the youth councils and advisory boards, helping to raise awareness for mental health initiatives and fundraising for the new mental health facility that will open next year. She is a firm believer in the power of making a difference one step at a time.
After losing her father at just 14 years old, Kenzie felt the need to create a safe space for other young people to talk about their experiences. Over the past 14 months, she has worked with the charity ‘Dorothy House’ to help schools ensure that they are supporting children facing issues of loss and bereavement in the best possible way. Assuming the role of volunteer group leader, Kenzie has worked tirelessly to produce the schools’ manifesto for bereavement, a document that outlines best practices for how young people can support their peers during this challenging time. The manifesto has been adopted by schools and local MPs around the county and is set to go to Parliament.
Jessica has been involved with Women’s Aid ABCLN since the age of 13 after her passion was sparked watching a presentation about unhealthy relationships. She has undertaken training, gained OCN qualifications and acts as a positive role model to children and young people in the service. Jessica volunteers with children at ‘Women’s Aid Homework Clubs’, with teenagers at the ‘Voices Group’, and is a passionate advocate for children and young people living with domestic abuse. Jessica has also sat on many young person advisory groups and steering groups, and has taken a lead in facilitating healthy relationships programmes for young people.
Growing up Krystian had first-hand experience of the issues associated with visible scars. Eager to improve the lives of others in similar situations, she published a book, which led to the inception of her nonprofit organisation. ‘Shining S.C.A.R.S.’ has raised over $31,500 and distributed over 6,000 books worldwide. Krystian makes regular appearances in schools, hospitals and clubs and has teamed up with the organisation ‘Cuddles for Clefts’ to raise awareness of cleft palate surgery. Krystian continues to prove that she is more than the stigmas left by her scars and has made it her life’s mission to help others heal. Her work has touched the lives of thousands of people.
Climate change activist Noga has proved themselves a force to be reckoned with, playing a pivotal role in organising London’s global climate strike in 2019. Thanks to their logistical efforts, energy and tenacity, the protest saw a turnout of 450,000 people across the country. Noga, who sees climate change as a gross injustice affecting society’s most vulnerable, has lobbied policymakers in government and corporations and is a spokesperson for Labour’s ‘Green New Deal’ – a policy that may not have been taken up without Noga’s activism. Driven by a ‘fierce determination to see justice prevail’, Noga was selected as one of London’s most influential people in 2019.
Vivi has had dysmenorrhea since she was young and was diagnosed with an ovarian tumour when she was 17 years old. Not to be beaten, she faced her challenges head-on and became determined to promote menstrual equity and eliminate period poverty in Taiwan, where menstruation can still be considered embarrassing, just as in lots of places in the world. In 2021 alone, Vivi has raised £100,000 to fund period education materials, training programmes for social workers who work with teenage girls experiencing period poverty, monthly sanitary products for at least 500 girls, menstrual education training programmes for teachers and school nurses, and social movements to eliminate period stigma.
Amelia’s unwavering passion and commitment for issues of social and environmental justice have seen her grow from school eco-rep to founder of the successful nonprofit social enterprise ‘Supporting the Streets’, which fundraises for homelessness. Amelia brings her deeply caring nature to actions big and small. Whether she is coordinating student helpers for the North West eco-schools sustainability conferences, raising awareness about waste by partaking in the ‘Trashion Show’, or coordinating over 200 clothing bags for distribution, Amelia has inspired her fellow students and those around her to be more engaged with both the environment and their communities.
Ruby realised that there were no teaching materials about period poverty, so she decided to make her own. She created a free online course for schools on the topic, through her nonprofit ‘The Ruby Lockey-Pope Foundation’. Overcoming her anxiety, Ruby delivered a whole school assembly to 800 girls and was given Amnesty International’s ‘Find Your Voice’ award. Ruby is also a Junior Board member for Amnesty for her second year, regularly travelling to their Headquarters in London to be the voice of young people in the South West. Over the last three years, Ruby has lobbied senators whilst working with The United Nations Youth Foundation at Capitol Hill in Washington DC on issues such as forced marriage, FGM, reproductive rights and more. Ruby bravely breaks down taboos around periods and champions human rights issues showing other young people how they, too, can change the world.
Abuse and violence were a daily part of 14-year-old Surjeet’s life. His father spent his earnings on alcohol which left his family financially insecure, forcing Surjeet to drop out of school. Frustrated, he began the change at home, helping his father quit drinking. Surjeet then went on to lead anti-alcohol campaigns in surrounding villages and single-handedly helped 120 children to access education. Surjeet was a child with no knowledge of his rights, agency or support systems, but by 2018, he would be elected as the vice president of the ‘National Children’s Council’, a collective of child leaders of ‘Child-Friendly Villages’ across India, protecting other children’s rights to a safe and happy childhood.
Over the last two years, Monty has spent most of his free time helping people with mental health problems and raising awareness of how young people are impacted by this issue. When the pandemic hit, Monty realised the terrible consequences isolation would have on young people’s mental health. He embarked on a research project of 3,800 school pupils, developing a 108-page research paper on the effects of isolation, which he presented to Public Health England. Monty has been commended for his ‘crusade’ to support young people’s wellbeing, most recently creating an app to share wellbeing tips and advice.
Joshua created a free programming tool called ‘Edublocks’, which uses the familiar blocks of code to write real Python code. Joshua saw a need based on his own experience of learning computer science. He saw how computer science was taught via blocks, but the jump to a text-based language caused many children to become scared and hesitant to learn. With ‘Edublocks’, Joshua helps 75,000 learners every month from 180 countries around the world. He has devoted over five years of his life to helping thousands of educators and learners to transition from blocks to code.
When her grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer, Eshika learned that breast cancer is now the most common cancer in women worldwide. This motivated her to create and distribute 500 informational pamphlets in local newspapers, showing how to perform self-examinations and encouraging women over 25 to have mammograms. She impacted 3,000 people by helping organise the two-kilometre ‘Pink Ribbon Walk’, and has used her increasingly developed communication skills to give educational talks and set up an Instagram account and website to spread her message further. Thanks to Eshika’s determination, people around the world now have more accessible information on how to tackle breast cancer.
Anusha is a compassionate and visionary leader who is working relentlessly to build a peaceful community where there is equity, justice and equal rights for all. Identifying that many young people had become disengaged with politics in Nepal, Anusha joined ‘‘We’ for Change’ as a volunteer. Now, five years later, Anusha is the vice president and has engaged more than 1,000 young people in her work to enhance their civic and political literacy. For instance, one of her noteworthy co-led initiatives was the project ‘I Can Lead’, where she helped 30 underprivileged young girls to expand their political and sexual and reproductive health and rights knowledge through workshops, research opportunities, and community intervention activities.
Alongside her career, Monika has dedicated herself to increasing opportunities for women in basketball, providing a platform for women to be empowered through sports. Helping women and girls to build sisterhood, reduce stress and empower young people to be leaders, Monika organises events and tournaments providing access to sports for women and girls of all ages. Through these initiatives, five female athletes have received funding to join additional women’s empowerment opportunities. Monika hopes to create a women-only national league in the future, and is currently pioneering Bangladesh’s first female-only basketball team. An accomplished national-level basketballer herself, Monika is an inspiring role model for the young girls she works with.
Eeshani’s mission to help others began after witnessing families struggling in her community. She built her work around the idea of ‘One-Deed-At-A-Time’ and inspires her peers to do the same with acts of kindness. Eeshani made soaps by hand and used the funds from her sales to donate laptops to underprivileged children to ensure they had access to online education. She has also donated books and stationery to her local schools. Eeshani combines her strong organisational and leadership skills with her genuine passion and desire to give back and strongly believes that no good deed is too small.
Yumna founded an organisation called ‘Exploration’ to promote space science education and inspire the next generation of space scientists in Pakistan. Since 2016, Yumna has helped to make space science and space education fashionable in Pakistan, visiting more than 30 schools and conducting over 50 sessions. She has inspired thousands of people to take an interest in astronomy and space sciences, including more than 5,000 children. As a result of Yumna’s efforts, interest in space science and astronomy has boomed. Every month, Yumna receives a dozen requests for public engagement talks and outreach sessions from schools, colleges, universities, NGOs and other organisations.
With the vision of reaching every doorstep of Bangladesh with affordable healthcare, Anas founded ‘Safewheel’. Anas designed mini three-wheel ambulances that can access remote villages and are manufactured at a fraction of the cost of conventional ones. Safewheel has now served over 1,000 patients. Recently, Anas is also exploring telehealth sectors to serve people remotely. Anas’s commitment to ‘Safewheel’ is emphasised through his decision to move from the city to a rural village, where he can build stronger connections with the community ‘Safewheel’ exists to serve. Now, people from all over the country can get easy access to certified doctors anytime with their mobile phones.
As ‘Little Environmental Ambassador’ for Kisumu County, Ianna campaigns to raise awareness of global warming and environmental challenges. She has led groups of young people in the poorer communities of Kisumu to work together and clear plastic waste, both on land and in nearby lakes and rivers. Ianna’s drive and zeal to change her surroundings makes her an inspirational young role model and she was named environmental winner of the ‘Global Youth Award 2020’ by ‘RoundTable Global’. Alongside her environmental pursuits, Ianna also works as a volunteer mentor and an advocate for the rights of women, empowering other young girls to use their skills to change the world for good.
Smriti founded ‘Project WE’ in 2019, helping over 100 girls in her local community complete high school and pursue higher education and career opportunities. In response to the pandemic, she created an online curriculum focused on self-development, self-care, financial literacy and technological literacy, which has reached over 100,000 students across Telangana. To make sure the course is accessible to all, Smriti started a campaign and negotiated with companies to raise around £9,700 to purchase and distribute smartphones for 85 ‘Project WE’ girls. They were then able to conduct one-on-one mentoring sessions over the phone to encourage them to stay motivated towards pursuing their future.
Molly was bullied at a young age so joined the anti-bullying charity ‘BulliesOut’ to stop others from going through the same experience. Molly is a ‘Youth Ambassador’, volunteering at least 10 hours a month to share information about bullying and promote kindness and generosity. Molly’s creativity and commitment have helped her fundraise £300 for ‘BulliesOut’, and she is a role model to all her peers. Molly has grown in confidence and self-esteem, even speaking to the media and encouraging local businesses to support the work of the charity.
Sagar is the COO of the initiative ‘Nerdiz’, which aims to provide education through virtual reality (VR) technology, Sagar has helped create more than 120 lessons in history, geography and science, reaching 27 districts and 40,000 children in Bangladesh. Data has shown that VR technology can be an effective learning tool, with Sagar and his team’s research showing that 80% of information taught via this method is retained. Through optimism and determination, Sagar is helping to bridge the gap in the existing education system. His hope is that ‘one day children from all backgrounds can have access to quality education and the opportunity of experiential learning’.
Poppy is an exceptionally talented violinist, using her talents to bring joy to the lives of children with disabilities. Poppy held her first concert at age 10, when she raised £720 for ‘The Amber Trust’, a charity funding music opportunities for blind and partially sighted children. Poppy has since held many performances, raising thousands of pounds, including hosting a virtual concert during the first lockdown which raised over £2,000 for ‘Amber’. During performances, Poppy is easily able to connect with visually impaired children and is noted for her ability to ‘light up the room…the smiles on the children’s faces say it all’.
As a volunteer journalist at ‘First News’, Anna educated over 2,000,000 readers on the social issues affecting them. Through this, Anna was offered a national ambassadorial position with the NSPCC to raise awareness and represent their cause, and worked to tackle many important issues affecting young people, including child safeguarding, mental health support child safeguarding. She is now launching a programme for young people to access volunteering opportunities on a local and national scale.
Satyam strives to make the world an empathetic place to live. From tackling electronic waste to reversing centuries-old taboos surrounding menstruation, Satyam has always been an advocate of collective growth. Technology lies at the heart of much of Satyam’s work, whether as a problem to solve or a tool to improve lives. Through his various initiatives, he’s stopped over a tonne of electronic waste from going to polluting landfills with one hand, while launching the ‘Rural Invest’ app with the other. This forward-looking mindset also permeates his menstrual health advocacy, engaging not just women but also men and driving the next evolution in period positivity.
Alongside his role as a member of the UK Youth Parliament, Dmitrijs works relentlessly to ensure that young people’s voices are heard. In the past year, Dmitrijs received funding to conduct a survey that reached over 900 young people and discussed how young people could be kept safe during the pandemic. He presented his findings to MPs and councillors, and works to ensure that young people are at the heart of conversations that involve them. Dmitrijs has volunteered and fundraised for countless local charities and helps provide volunteering opportunities for other young people through his charity work.
As an undergraduate in college, Sagar spotted the glaring gaps in the mental health provision for students. He co-founded ‘Citta’ to raise awareness about mental health and match students with affordable and verified mental health professionals. Now the director, Sagar’s work with ‘Citta’ has impacted 1,300 students and connected 450 students to mental health professionals. Sagar has put ‘Citta’ above his own personal goals, ensuring students had the resources needed to cope with the pandemic. Sagar has also trained more than 600 students in public speaking, collaboration and creative writing, and started a second venture, ‘Mauka’, a platform training young graduates with vital skills for the workplace.
During the pandemic, Yashvee noticed that many construction workers lacked basic needs such as food and clothing. A strong sense of social responsibility compelled her to initiate her project ‘The Essentials Drive’. She saw restaurants with a lot of leftover food, which ultimately went to waste, and she also saw the poor state of the construction workers in dire need of basic meals. Yashvee linked the two and started collecting the leftover, but hygienic, food from the restaurants and old clothes in good condition from her community to share it with the workers. Moreover, she is also a young eco-warrior and has also donated her hair to cancer patients.
Carys is the founder of ‘Carys Cares’, promoting the rights of people with Down’s syndrome and breaking down its stigma. Through the sales of art produced by members of the Down’s syndrome community, Carys has raised over $74,000 and donated these funds to ‘Persatuan Orang Tua Anak Down’s Syndrome’ (POTADS). An inspiration to many, Carys has spoken on Indonesia’s renowned talk show, ‘Kick Andy’ and on the weekly segment of ‘Aksi Memupus Stigma’ (Breaking the Stigma), which led to a large following on social media, helping her spread her message even further.
Katherine was diagnosed with incurable cancer at the age of 23 and has drawn on that experience to help ‘Alike’, an app designed to connect people with cancer, find the right tone of voice to speak to its community. She has also worked with the NGO, ‘Youth Cancer Europe’, creating dedicated and inspired copy for their white paper launch at the EU Parliament. Despite ill-health, an uncertain prognosis and lack of formal training or experience in business, Kat has demonstrated incredible resilience and determination to help people with cancer have their voices heard.
Talented musician Jaiveer is bringing music to children and the elderly, via his nonprofit ‘Mentoring through Music’. Jaiveer started by fundraising over ₹130,000, which supported musical masterclasses for 400 students, created musical spaces at low-income schools and made it possible to run musical workshops for 470 senior citizens. Jaiveer founded the music club at his own school and was recently elected school president, his leadership in these roles has been described as ‘exemplary’. A ‘beacon of hope’ for those both young and old, Jaiveer has mentored younger students to take his initiatives forward once he has left the school.
After learning of the world’s dwindling rhino population at the age of 8, Hunter immediately began raising donations and support for an orphaned white rhino nearby his home. Five years on, Hunter has raised over £20,000 for the protection of rhinos threatened by poachers. He has contributed hundreds of volunteer hours to assist and relieve carers, earning himself the unofficial title of ‘baby rhino whisperer’. His efforts and fundraising have made a real difference towards the rescue, care and rehabilitation of rhinos, whilst educating new generations about humans’ responsibility to care not just for this endangered species, but all wildlife on our planet.
Witnessing discrimination on the basis of her gender, and watching youth voices being marginalised, Sana resolved to change the way the world looks at young people. At the beginning of the pandemic, Sana coordinated a digital campaign and worked with 150 volunteers to fundraise ₹500,000 for vulnerable communities. Sana has also raised funds for 40 disadvantaged children to buy mobile phones, so they could continue learning from home during lockdowns. A strong leader and self-starter, Sana recently started her own social enterprise, bringing in the first cohort of volunteers in April 2021.
Many young people in Singapore struggle to find support as they try to make important decisions about their future careers. Yi Jun co-founded ‘Advisory Singapore’, a fully youth-led nonprofit dedicated to empowering young Singaporeans to make informed career and further education choices. Through a range of initiatives, such as an online repository of interviews with working professionals, industry panels and learning journeys, as well as mentorship and schools-based career guidance, Yi Jun and his team break down the structural barriers between young people and industries. Together, they have engaged over 139,000 students to overcome economic inequality, find meaningful work and pursue their passions.
Momin has spent the last seven years standing up against injustice and tackling cultural taboos. At 17, Momin became an Outreach Worker at ‘Integrate UK’, training a team of young activists who went on to run peer education workshops reaching 10,000 people. As a young black Muslim male, Momin has spoken out about the patriarchal attitudes of those around him, courageously addressing issues like violence against women, challenging gender and racial inequality and creating a viral anti-FGM music video. Now 24, Momin has just completed a Master’s degree and is continuing to make a difference to communities by advising organisations such as the United Nations, the Home Office and the Swedish government.
From an early age, Sofia has been driven by the belief that all children should have the right to be heard. She is determined to create a world where children are empowered and where adults take children’s perspectives into account with their decision-making. As part of her mission to create a safe world for all children, Sofia is tackling the climate crisis by working with rural and indigenous communities. She founded ‘Niñez Embajadora de Cococu’ (‘Cococu’s Child Ambassadors’), a network of over 2,000 children who have engaged more than 20,000 people in their communities on the topics of resources, sustainable development and teamwork. Sofia’s work is a true testament to her tireless mission.
Christian Monaco is an exemplary leader in his school community through his roles as head boy, pupil chair of the ‘School Equalities Group’, and chair of the ‘Senior Pupil Council’. He is a role model for other students and always strives to deliver his best, no matter how small the task. His leadership of a BAME student-led working group has had a major impact in school, with pupils now feeling comfortable reporting incidents of bullying. He has also organised activities in support of ‘Show Racism the Red Card’, and worked with the City Council on a video that will be broadcast to schools across Edinburgh.
When Peyton’s cousin was born premature, a gift of a cuddly toy bear provided some peace during an extraordinarily difficult time. Then five-year-old Peyton created ‘Octopuses for Preemies’ to support families going through similar struggles. Peyton has spent thousands of hours crocheting over 500 sea creatures and donating them to local hospitals. She’s collected 750 books for a literary association, raised over 1,000 blankets and cuddly toys for local hospitals, and collected hundreds of dollars worth of school supplies, going to communities in need. Peyton even sewed 300 masks with her mother for hospitals lacking protective equipment during the pandemic. Peyton ‘exudes love, compassion and confidence in everything she does’.
Sidratul works to inspire the next generation of girls in STEM in Bangladesh. Opening the ‘Bangladesh Chapter of Technovation Girls’, Sidratul mentors girls to not only thrive in an underrepresented field but to drive powerful change too. Under her guidance, girls and young women are producing mobile app start-ups that address wide-ranging issues such as poverty, climate change, gender inequality, women’s safety, early marriage, dowry systems and unemployment. Two of Sidratul’s mentees have created a loan-lending app to ensure quality education for women and stop early marriage, whilst others are creating apps for the transgender people in the community.
Kirsty is a strong believer that the healthcare sector’s workforce should be representative of the general population. In 2019, Kirsty volunteered for the ‘Birmingham Widening Access to Medicine Society’ (BWAMS). She led a team of medical students to organise the medical school’s first-ever student-led widening access conference. The following year, Kirsty was elected president of ‘BWAMS’. Under her leadership, the initiative was awarded ‘MedSoc Charity of the Year’. After COVID-19 prohibited in-person events, Kirsty founded ‘We Are Medics’, an online platform providing free, open-access support to 16-18-year-olds from low-income backgrounds applying for healthcare degrees. Kirsty’s widening participation work has had a tremendous impact on students, with the online content at ‘We Are Medics’ reaching approximately 29,000 people each week.
Aged 14 and shocked by the amount of single-use plastic being consumed, Aditya started the ‘#RefuseIfYouCannotReuse’ campaign to persuade hospitality establishments to switch to eco-friendly alternatives. In just two years, the campaign has eradicated over 25,000,000 single-use plastics. Aditya has also raised awareness of single-use plastics in schools, leads the environment portfolio of his school council and volunteers at ‘Chintan’, a leading waste management NGO in India. During the pandemic, he raised funds and volunteered to help with the migrant crisis as well as establishing a new campaign ‘No Child in Trash’ to ensure disadvantaged young people can access education.
After the tragic loss of her friend to suicide, as well as her own personal battle with depression and anxiety, Maria became a dedicated mental health advocate. She set up ‘Moshal Mental Health’, with the aim to raise awareness of the mental health issues affecting young people. Maria’s social impact began during her journey to ‘Miss Universe Bangladesh’, where she used her platform to speak about her cause and inspire thousands through her ‘mental health matters’ message. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Maria noticed the increased need for mental health support and stepped in to launch the very first hotline providing free mental health first-aid to hundreds of people as well as collaborating on an ebook sharing survivors’ personal stories.
Yusuf has been passionate about writing since an early age, but was rejected and even ignored by editors and publications because of his youth. He is currently working to empower young people through his ‘Reflective Teens’ initiative, where he lets them indulge their creative side and fully express themselves. In the past seven years, ‘Reflective Teens’ has directly reached more than 50 institutions in Bangladesh and has impacted the lives of almost 61,000 teenagers throughout the country. In 2020 alone, it has replicated four different programmes no less than 12 times and engaged 11,000 young people.
Acile is the founder and president of a student-led initiative in Lebanon providing free primary health care to older people whilst promoting intergenerational learning. Established in 2019, it is already one of the largest and most active student organisations in Beirut, with more than 200 dedicated students and residents working under the supervision of licensed physicians and faculty advisers. To date, the initiative has raised more than $100,000, allowing it to provide free medical services such as primary care visits, referrals to speciality clinics, medications, laboratory tests, imaging studies, health education and psychological support and intervention for a vulnerable population that typically do not have access to health insurance.
After completing her first year of university, Shawna reflected on the barriers that she faced as a first-generation student from an inner-city school. This set her on a path to support marginalised young people in their own personal, academic and professional journeys through a series of inspiring and impactful projects. Now, as the Executive Director of ‘Empower The Future’, her work focuses on breaking barriers in STEM and supporting the mental wellbeing of underrepresented groups, including LGBTQ+, ethnic minorities and inner-city students. Shawna’s work has touched over 2,000 lives. Despite having anxiety herself, Shawna continues to promote diversity, inclusion and equity both in academia and her voluntary work.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Meghana created the social initiative ‘Project Abhaya’, helping communities at risk of the severe financial burden caused by insufficient insurance coverage in India. She helped people access life and accident insurance, health insurance and open bank accounts. Meghana scaled up the work across two states in India, working closely with three nonprofit organisations. To date, she has supported over 500 people to become more financially secure, 90 percent of whom were women. Meghana is set to present this project at the United Nations in New York later this year.
Musa arrived in England as an unaccompanied asylum seeker when he was 17. Without legal advice or a voice to advocate for him, he was facing deportation. However, Musa discovered that, had he been in Scotland or Northern Ireland, he would have had a guardian to support him through the asylum and immigration process. In 2018, Musa started to tell his story and began to campaign for an independent guardianship system in England and Wales. Musa has since spoken to politicians, written blogs and started a petition signed by 17,000 people, all in an effort to ensure young people have someone to turn to in their time of need.
Neloy is passionate about ensuring universal access to education and poverty eradication. When floods prevented rural students from accessing school, Neloy helped to bring school to them. He established floating boat schools, benefitting over 120,000 people till now. Additionally, to ensure the transgender community has access to education, he founded the first-time-ever Madrasa for genderqueer individuals in Asia, educating over 5000 transgender people till today. Again, Neloy initiated several clothes distribution programmes and healthcare campaigns for underprivileged people, serving over 80,000 people in Bangladesh. His works have impacted over 1.6 million people from 31 countries worldwide.
Shawntel seemed destined for a high-flying corporate career but spending time in marginalised communities in 2015 shifted her perspective, and her trajectory, forever. Following a steep learning curve to understand the dynamics of marginalisation, Shawntel has established programmes and campaigns to address the issues she saw around her. Shawntel has founded and co-founded several organisations to promote sustainable development, improve literacy and provide water, electricity, and food to over 100,000 people in Cainta. When the pandemic left 50,000 people in her city unemployed, she initiated a programme that has provided food for a thousand people each day.
Nahjae is a dedicated educator who, at the age of 19, has already racked up six years teaching children for free. In the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nahjae led a team to train over 100 children aged 9-11 in public speaking, digital literacy and critical thinking. Nahjae then ran a series of online youth seminars on subjects like entrepreneurship and climate change, reaching over 800 people around the world. Shortly after, Nahjae distributed 1,500 textbooks to local Jamaican high schools in need. Described as ‘focused, empathetic and compassionate’, he is affectionately known as ‘Uncle Nahjae’ to his students.
Concerned about educational and economic disparities in Nigeria, Amanda researched opportunities for women and young girls in STEM. In 2019, she designed a solution to inform digital policy and tackle cultural and social gender bias in STEM pathways. Amanda also designed a technology solution called ‘Project Kuongoza’, which allows women and girls aged 15-25 to access mentorship and work experience opportunities. The project has mentored over 265 young girls and provided career opportunities to 28 women. Amanda is a mentor with the Cherie Blair Foundation, ‘1million Women in Tech’, ‘New York Academy of Sciences’, ‘Global Thinkers for Women’, and is the executive director of ‘STEMi Makers Africa’.
Seun is sharing her experience of being a young black women ‘who made it to Cambridge’ to inspire those traditionally underrepresented in academia. Through a series of #blackgirlinscience YouTube videos and Instagram posts, Seun has built a following of 1,000 people and her videos have received 13,000 views. Comments show the impact Seun is having – ‘I’m a black woman in the UK and this is the first page I’ve ever seen representing a girl like me’. Now joining a highly competitive PhD programme, Seun is continuing to make a difference with her ‘Ask a Scientist’ series, where other researchers and scientists share their stories.
Caleb was inspired to create ‘Kid Changemakers’ when he was six years old. Over the past 10 years, Caleb has raised $100,000 to support his local community. This includes starting foodbanks after Hurricane Harvey and hosting pop-up pantries during the COVID-19 pandemic. His fundraising efforts have also led to the creation of a college support fund for young people leaving the foster care system, and this year he created the ‘Free Meal Swipe’ programme with Bowie State University. This donates unused student meals to students experiencing food insecurity. Caleb works hard to share his story with other young people, empowering them to also make a difference.
After becoming aware of the challenges marginalised groups often face when trying to access democratic processes, Alex was determined to make these processes fairer and more accessible to all. Alex co-founded ‘Democracy Volunteers’, an organisation that improves the quality of democratic elections. For the last five years, Alex has led volunteers to ensure non-partisan and apolitical observations take place across the UK. His enthusiasm and commitment have inspired hundreds of young people to join the campaign for fairer democratic processes.
Greatman is a public health advocate and enthusiast committed to improving the wellbeing and health of both his local community and that of people across Nigeria. His focus is on reducing death from preventable and chronic conditions. As a mentor to 26 young professionals, Greatman holds tutorials and provides essay support to young pharmacists who are inspired to follow his path. Greatman is a dedicated volunteer and campaigner, advocating for causes including an end to female genital mutilation and tobacco usage. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Greatman campaigned for COVID-19 safety and has donated graphic and content materials. Greatman is an inspiration to all young people who aspire to be great leaders.
Khadija grew up in Tottenham, a deprived area, in a single-parent family with few resources. She is a founding member of the UK’s largest intergenerational network of black medics. Her passion lies in inspiring and motivating thousands of young UK students from Black and ethnic minority backgrounds to achieve their full potential and gain successful entry into medical school, despite the many barriers that they face. She has also helped universities across the UK to tackle racism and has worked to address inequalities in East and West Africa through her work with social enterprises and charities.
Following the tragic death of one of his patients due to the lack of a blood donor match, a problem that kills 19 women a day in his city of Ibadan, Tunde co-founded ‘Lend an Arm’ in 2017. The aim is to improve access to blood for pregnant women who have a bleeding emergency. At the age of only 21, Tunde grew his blood supply logistics initiative into one of the biggest donation campaigns in Nigeria. ‘Lend an Arm’ has sensitised over 11,000 people, supplied 1,240 litres of blood and saved an incredible 3,500 lives in 40 months.
Jenk is the founder of the social enterprise ‘Thred Media’, a publishing, consulting, media and production company focused on social change news and insights aimed at teenagers and young adults. His work has reached Generation Z across the globe, with young people from over 140 countries having visited Thred.com. He has also partnered with more than ten large social change organisations including ‘Global Citizen’. Jenk began his journey at the age of 8 and he continues to take every opportunity to support and promote positive social change both online and offline.
Since age 10, Apoorva has used her many talents to help underprivileged children across the world. A maths genius, Apoorva donates the money she makes tutoring to help visually impaired and tribal schools in India. By also selling her artwork, she has raised over $35,000 for global service. She’s brought art and activism together, with her painting of George Floyd raising $1,400 for BLM organisations. She volunteers at ‘Girls Leadership Academy Meetup’ as a mentor and keynote speaker. To date, Apoorva has mentored over 200+ young people and continues to encourage girls to pursue STEM with her outreach.
When Arushi was 10 years old, she worked with an NGO on a child protection project in the rural districts of West Bengal. She developed tools to create awareness in the communities and amongst target groups on children’s safety. ‘Children’s Armour’, a student-led organisation, was borne from Arushi’s experience to sensitise the community. Now, Arushi leads a team of over 50 children and organises school visits for the underprivileged, educating them on child protection through self-defence classes, plays, songs and other activities. She also speaks to parents and teachers about child mental health and awareness advocacy issues. From conducting field visits to holding fundraisers during the upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic, Arushi is a true leader.
Exposed to morbid mortality rates due to lack of facilities in rural areas and the exclusion of the impoverished from society, Archie witnessed how much people suffered without good quality medical care. Along with spreading awareness through campaigns and raising 51,000 Rupees for the ‘Pushpanjali Lok-Kalyan Trust’, Archie designed the ‘Advanced Pathology Operating Software’ (APOS). The software reduces diagnostic time and increases the efficiency of histopathology at virtually zero cost, ensuring the benefits of healthcare can reach everyone across the world. As a member of the ‘Global Scribes-Youth Uniting Nations’ (a UNESCO Club), she also advocates for global peace and equality. Archie constantly strives to build a cohesive and inclusive society.
Sarah-Beth started the first-ever British Sign Language (BSL) society at the University of Brighton in 2018 and successfully led it as president for two and a half years, alongside her studies. During her time as president, Sarah-Beth raised over £1,000 for Deaf charities, collaborated with others organisations, including running a workshop with the university’s nursing society on useful healthcare signs, and raised awareness for BSL and inclusivity around the campus and beyond. Notably, the society was not just aimed at the Deaf community, but to also enable hearing people learn a new skill. Whilst raising awareness for BSL as a language and creating a more inclusive community for Deaf and hearing students alike.
Through her self-started foundation ‘MapleWishes’, Avery has created a nationwide project that rallies Canadian youth to provide food for people experiencing homelessness and engages her peers to protect the wellbeing of people in their local communities. With a holistic view on alleviating food insecurity, Avery organises donation drops and fundraisers, collaborates with like-minded nonprofits and volunteers with ‘Cellular Agriculture Canada’ and the research organisation, ‘The Good Food Institute’. Each of her ‘MapleWishes’ projects demonstrates Avery’s compassion and her innate drive to better the circumstances of others while also inspiring her peers to serve causes greater than themselves.
Swara is a youth leader who, at 16, founded ‘The Period Society’. This is a nonprofit working to remove the stigmas surrounding reproductive health whilst improving access to menstrual hygiene products in under-served communities in India, with an emphasis on environmental sustainability. She is also launching ‘The Talk Project’, driving conversations surrounding sexual health and amplifying access to reproductive health resources. Her work enables people to experience their period with dignity, improves reproductive health in communities, reduces school dropout rates, improves societal attitudes towards menstruation and cuts down on plastic menstrual waste. She has impacted 5,000 people in India and helped people access period products for over 95,000 menstrual cycles.
On a summer holiday to India, Aneeka was deeply affected by the number of blind children she saw begging on the streets and vowed to do something about it. Since 2015, Aneeka has volunteered as a peer buddy and mentor to over 2000 students in ‘Ramakrishna Mission Blind Boys’ Academy’ during her school holidays. She runs clay modelling classes to strengthen the students’ cognitive skills, translates teaching materials into Braille and volunteers at the school’s ‘Animal Husbandry Training Centre’. Her support boosts the students’ confidence, enabling them to build effective relationships in school and in the wider community. Aneeka also passionately campaigns to promote the integration of people with disabilities into mainstream society by conducting online workshops.
Ted is the ‘Youth Parliament Member’ for the Dorset region, following a passionate election campaign that highlighted key issues surrounding climate change, citizenship and the rural-urban divide. On his arrival into the role, Ted challenged the Councillors of Dorest to reduce their carbon footprints for several months whilst also vlogging their efforts to inspire others to follow in their footsteps. To show he wasn’t afraid to walk the talk, Ted swapped his own car journeys for cycling. Ted has also lobbied his school to maintain citizenship lessons throughout the pandemic, a time when many schools dropped them. Ted has helped to deliver meaningful change for young people in Dorset whilst championing their voices.
Aneira is a committed environmentalist who passionately campaigns for greater sustainability and environmental protection. She has written articles for magazines such as ‘TeenInk’ and newspapers such as the ‘Khaleej Times’ on environmental issues ranging from air pollution to waste disposal. Aneira founded ‘Litigium’, a forum for discussion about international environmental and social issues where she moderates conversations between young environmentalists. Aneira founded ‘The Ozonator’, a device run entirely on solar panels which uses ozone technology to clean dirty water in rivers and provide clean drinking water for the poor. As president of ‘Eva Green’, her school’s environmental society, Aneira has used her drive to inspire other students to campaign alongside her.
Four years ago, Dana Perella learned of her friend Mila’s diagnosis of a rare and fatal genetic disorder and decided to fundraise by selling homemade cookies door-to-door. Although she’d never baked a cookie before Dana rallied the support of her family and friends, and raised $56,000. This impressive amount helped to fund a new treatment for Batten’s disease. Her success inspired Dana to found the nonprofit ‘Cookies4Cures’. Over the last four years, a team of over 100 volunteers have baked more than 20,000 cookies and raised $161,270 for research into rare pediatric diseases, whilst Dana has become a public advocate for the rare disease community.
Peace campaigner Janith wants to help children and young people understand how to promote peace, build an inclusive society and support peace-building initiatives in their own communities. Janith, as a young researcher and trainer, spoke to many people affected by civil conflict and other violent incidents, and used this understanding to enhance his work as a peacebuilder. Janith has reached 3,000 young people in Sri Lanka and a further 2,000 in other countries through training, workshops and conferences. He has also developed a peace education curriculum for school students. Innovative and determined, Janith aspires to be a national and international peace advocate and activist.
Aaron Plummer is a charity ambassador, marathon runner and champion for learning disability. In 2019, Aaron was supported by ‘Mencap’ to find a job. Following this, he used his relentless drive and ambition to take on the 2020 London Marathon to raise vital funds for ‘Mencap’s All Move Programme’, which brings young people both with and without a learning disability together through the power of sport. Aaron has faced many barriers in life due to his learning disability and cerebral palsy. However, he hasn’t let them hold him back. His positive outlook has enabled him to break down barriers and misconceptions around learning disability to achieve his goals.
Abhinaya is the founder of ‘GREAP’, a non-governmental organisation aimed at protecting the rights of the environment, animals and people. She founded ‘GREAP’ in 2018, having observed acts of animal cruelty and poor environmental management in her town of Proddatur in Andhra Pradesh, India. Since then Abhinaya has started animal rescue and adoption drives, tree planting campaigns and beach cleanups. She has engaged with authorities to prevent the poisoning of stray animals, educated her peers on the environmental impact of non-biodegradable waste and raised awareness of sustainable living practices, including championing veganism.
At the age of nine, Tejaswi made her first contributions to her community garden, beginning a long journey of environmental activism. At the age of 13, she began to advocate for the protection of the ‘Nallagandla Lake and Rock Garden’. Her work was instrumental in the restoration of the land and water body as natural public spaces, ultimately bringing wildlife back to the area. Now, at 18, Tejaswi continues to campaign for environmental conservation in her city and has expanded her attention to promoting youth involvement and education, and tutors younger students to build the leadership skills she’s nurtured from an early age.
A month after leaving law school, Raquely asked the president of the ‘Brazilian Bar Association of Amazonas’ to create a commission to protect the rights of thousands of refugees and immigrants living in the Amazon. Impressed by her bravery, the president nominated Raquely to head up this commission. In the two and a half years since, Raquely and the team have reached 2,700 refugees. They’ve delivered free legal advice, lectures on Brazilian legislation and Portuguese language courses. During the pandemic, Raquely fundraised R$ 1,700 to purchase food items and hygiene kits for 100 people in need. Raquely is seen as someone who ‘dreams big’ to make a difference in the world.
Passionate for strengthening Indian democracy, Chaitanya founded ‘Mark Your Presence’ (MYP), a non-profit organisation. Through MYP, Chaitanya aims to strengthen the Indian democracy by registering young voters and encouraging them to actively participate in the world’s largest electoral democracy. He has shown exceptional commitment and entrepreneurship towards educating, mobilising and inspiring large sections of the Mumbai youth population to register and participate in the electoral voting process. At the age of 20, Chaitanya is the youngest person in India to have registered more than 10,000 voters and empowered 16,000 young voters to date. He has also launched ‘SheVotes’,a platform to promote women’s right to vote.
Bhagyashree is the inspiring founder of ‘Youth Magazine’, an international youth publication that has a monthly audience of 8,000 young people across 16 countries. The publication covers topics including bullying, racism and mental health. Before starting the magazine, Bhagyashree was a school peer mentor and was inspired to give young people a platform to discuss issues that matter to them. The magazine now has a team of 45 young people. Bhagyashree is a passionate leader and campaigner, and has been invited to speak with the United Nations Youth Envoy on education and has partnered with ‘Writers of the Future’ to host free writing workshops to make writing skills accessible to all.
Returning from school one day, Rudra saw a child in the street collecting spare change so he could go to school. This moment stayed with Rudra, who founded ‘IDYIA’, a youth-led nonprofit to provide free education to disadvantaged students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rudra recruited young people to run remote tutoring for more than 700 students. Rudra, who is described as ‘a really caring person’, has also taught students himself in core subjects like Maths, Science and Hindi, and taught English to adults aged 18-35 to help them in job interviews and the workplace.
Paridhi, who has experienced her own challenges with mental health, is a passionate advocate for body positivity and better wellbeing. She has raised ₹35,000 for mental health and cancer charities and, as part of her three-month participation in ‘Young Leaders for Active Fellowship’, created a social media campaign using infographics and art to share messages around bullying, body positivity, mental health and digital safety, reaching 10,000 students. Collaborating with UNICEF, Paridhi boosted the campaign by speaking at national events and on TV, eventually reaching 1,000,000 students. Paridhi loves ‘engaging with people with diverse perspectives’ and says that acknowledging her own privilege has helped her to uplift others.
Sara believes in the power of ideas. At the age of 20, with just £75 in funding, she launched her first social enterprise, ‘BUTA Art & Sweets’, employing women with special needs to make and sell traditional homemade sweets. A year later, Sara launched the ‘Social Business Youth Center’, organising over 100 social business programmes for more than 4,000 young people. She did all this while exceeding expectations about her own abilities as a young woman in business. Throughout the pandemic, Sara has run social entrepreneurship workshops for over 8,000 people in rural Azerbaijan. She also mentors more than 100 young entrepreneurs to start their own social enterprises.
Meeraa has always been an advocate for clean water systems and affordable sanitation products. Founding the organisation ‘Avaagat’, she addresses the global issue of helping people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds gain access to clean water. Meeraa’s project building water connections and installing water filters in underprivileged regions has impacted over 1,000 people, enabling more people to go to school whilst freeing up funds for orphanages. Building on her confidence and language skills, Meeraa engages both those in her classroom and large corporate audiences to spread awareness of this global issue. Meeraa aims to leave a lasting impact on future generations to come.
Yasara has been contributing to many youth initiatives on Sustainable Development Goals and Human Rights Education through the organization The Road to Rights in the past 5 years. As a dedicated young volunteer, Yasara was able to inspire and empower young people across the country through many initiatives, notably G17 Ambassadors consortium in empowering undergraduates and initiatives on Climate Action. In 2020, she worked together with the now-late veteran children’s author, Sybil Wettasinghe, to develop a trilingual human rights booklet for children to promote human rights as responsibilities with The Road to Rights.
Drawing on her own distressing experiences of rampant bullying, harassment and sexism, Devanshi started her exciting youth-led initiative ‘Project MicDrop’. This is an intersectional forum for discussions around gender and sexuality which aims to empower people through art, campaigning and events. Devanshi also is passionate about helping those with intellectual and developmental disabilities and people from the underprivileged section of the society. She has taught over 1,000 people through interactive and accessible workshops. Devanshi represents Indian young people and, since the coronavirus outbreak, has been advocating for more investment in social causes, particularly in youth development and women’s empowerment.
Over the last three years, Aranyo has helped marginalised populations with scientific interventions. Through his research, he has been able to innovate safer, sustainable chemicals that help farmers in his local community protect their crops. To date, Aranyo has helped over 1,100 jute farmers and 700 soybean farmers with NanoCide and SoyaSafe respectively. He has also created the initiative ‘ReWork’, to create an interconnected network of ‘Changemakers’ Clubs’ in schools. Aranyo’s successes, as well as his ability to overcome challenges, has inspired and motivated others to start small initiatives and organisations of their own, as well as volunteer for larger causes.
Pranavi believes kindness is her personal superpower and founded ‘Kindness4All’ as a way of giving back to her community through small acts of kindness, like making origami cards for the elderly and thank you cards for local firefighters. Pranavi has now grown the project into a national nonprofit with over 500 volunteers and has fundraised more than $50,000 in monetary and in-kind donations. With some of the money raised, Pranavi purchased $30,000 worth of Disney books for 10 economically disadvantaged schools. Pranavi’s ‘Kindness Projects’ have reached 25,000 people, proving that anyone can make the world a better place through acts of kindness.
Sophie has been a spokesperson for ‘Girlguiding Scotland’ and a member of the ‘Scottish Youth Parliament’ (SYP) since 2018. In 2019, Sophie represented Holyrood Secondary School in the House of Lords, where she talked about the impacts of globalisation on climate change and, in 2020, became a Trustee and Director for SYP. Sophie is passionate about helping young people use their voice, understand their rights and feel empowered to stand up for themselves when they feel they aren’t respected. This includes speaking out herself and challenging preconceptions about women in positions of power. She has worked on multiple national campaigns advocating for children and young people’s rights.
While attending a science fair at her school, Victoria realised that the winners were mostly students who had opportunities to use labs, equipment, or learning enrichment opportunities – certainly nothing she had access to. In response, she and a friend co-founded an organisation that seeks to establish more equity in education. ‘STEM & Buds’ relies on peer to peer interactions, workshops and other means to extend science education. Since then, they have set up scores of programmes in multiple countries and ‘STEM & Buds’ even grew during the global pandemic. In just three years, Victoria and her partner now administer 62 after school chapters across 13 states and three countries.
Following the murder of a local journalist in Derry, Aodhán set up the social media page ‘Derry Footage’ to share stories and encourage other young people to speak up against wrongdoings. Despite having struggled in the mainstream school system, Aodhán started college to study media. Through tragic family loss, he still achieved journalistic success. In 2020, he released the short film ‘Impairment’ to bring attention to the recurrent problem of drink-driving and was shortlisted in several film festivals. His photography series covering the Black Lives Matter demonstration in Derry was also shared substantially by mainstream media such as the BBC.
Since her diagnosis of type 1 diabetes (T1D), aged five, Emmabella has volunteered countless hours for ‘juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’, the leading global organisation funding T1D research. She raised over $350,000 for diabetes research by inspiring people to join events like ‘One Walk’ and helping families share their stories of living with T1D. Emmabella also launched a support group for local young people with T1D and educated over 5,000 students about diabetes. Aged 11, Emmabella was chosen for ‘JDRF Children’s Congress’ in Washington, DC and now serves as Florida’s State Lead for ‘T1International’, where she advocates for legislation to lower the price of insulin and improve access to this life-saving medicine for all.
Sierra’s work giving back started when she was 10 years old, raising money to save endangered animals by selling her handmade items. She then founded a nonprofit, raising $100,000 for an animal rescue. Now, 13 years later, she runs her own upcycling initiative, which aims to divert waste like fabric and plastic bags from landfills, while raising money for community causes. Along the way, she served as Executive Director of a university-sponsored organization, raising more than $5,000 to support a student day of service. Sierra now uses her wealth of experience to mentor young people from all over the world.
Nojus grew up witnessing the physical and mental abuse of women in his community. In the years since, Nojus has turned his attention to tackling gender inequality. As President and CEO of ‘Youth For Women’, Nojus has run over 20 workshops on issues such as sexual and reproductive health and rights, and gender-based violence. The organisation is now training 1,000 young people in digital literacy and Nojus has conducted a needs assessment with 750 women experiencing domestic violence. Nojus is also advocating for a national domestic violence policy reform for rural communities in Iraq. He achieved all this while struggling with his sexuality for over a decade. Nojus fearlessly speaks his mind and is described by his teacher as the ‘most committed, honest and hard-working student’.
Mogesh’s love of the ocean led him to co-found ‘Project Ocean Hope’ in 2017. Committed to drawing attention to the need for marine conservation, Malaysian-born Mogesh ran a waste management forum in 2018, before taking ‘Project Ocean Hope’ into schools, visiting 10 schools a year. Since then, Mogesh and the ‘Project Ocean Hope’ team have run a series of webinars around ocean literacy, reaching more than 10,000 people from 15 countries. Mogesh has shown true leadership and his dedication is having a real-world impact. In his local community of Terengganu alone, clean-up activities have shown that trash has reduced by around 50 to 70 percent.
Aaryani co-founded ‘Let’s Talk’ at the age of 14 to challenge the stigma around mental health. The initiative was born out of her own experience and those of her friends. ‘Let’s Talk’ aims to spread mental health awareness among adolescents and create safe spaces for children to open up through awareness sessions in. To date, Aaryani’s project has conducted 110 awareness sessions, started 10 national chapters, and helped over 3,600 young people. Aaryani has spoken inspiringly about mental health awareness at platforms including the United Nations, Women’s Economic Forum and TEDx. She also co-authored ‘The Book of Wellness’, the proceeds of which have contributed to the COVID-19 pandemic response in India.
Kanika Sahijwani is a fine art artist, youth development leader and marketing specialist. She is committed to changing the lives of young people and is doing exactly that for the past 10 years with different non-profit organisations in various capacities. For the last two years, Kanika has supported organisations that give young people a platform to voice their concerns and become leaders, during which she has authored 10 papers and established strategies to improve outreach and partnerships. Kanika’s commitment to supporting young people globally has led her to present at United Nations in Geneva and New York.
Determined to improve the lives of others, Munaza created YouthScope, an online platform that connects students with scholarships, enrichment programs and other opportunities to help young people reach their full potential. She later created the mobile application, Connect2Cure, which connects cancer patients and aims to improve patient mental health. Munaza’s tenacity has taken her all the way to the Canadian parliament, where she advocated for gender equality and collaborated with Canada’s Minister of National Defense. As a Doctor of Pharmacy, Munaza is an inspiration to those around her through her dedication to bring meaningful impact to patients and healthcare.
At nine years old, Vanessa realised that she wanted to help others. Now 14, she is as committed as ever. During lockdown, one of the most difficult times for teens in recent memory, she continuously highlighted the importance of teen mental health issues and partnered with a number of organisations to motivate, encourage and inspire teens. She spoke virtually at schools, worked with organisations such as the ‘Young Urban Arts Foundation’ and the BBC to help tackle issues ranging from self-care in lockdown to youth knife crime. Vanessa’s message and goal is to inspire and motivate the next generation to believe in themselves, love themselves and encourage others to do the same.
Hanna is raising awareness of the needs of young carers. As a member of ‘Young Carers Voice’, Hanna has campaigned for understanding and support to meet young carers’ educational and mental health needs. Hanna draws on her first-hand experience with courage, enriching her campaigning and leading to her speaking in parliament, campaigning in the media and working with the NHS to highlight issues young carers face. Hanna participated in the development of a film ‘Who Cares in School’, which led to a 130 percent increase in schools registering to young carers programmes. Hanna is an influential advocate for young carers and an inspirational mentor to others.
When Samira’s mother contracted COVID-19 last March, Samira was off school for two weeks. During this time, Samira worked with her younger brother to start the ‘#frontlinepin’ campaign. Keen to boost the morale of NHS frontlines workers, Samira managed the production of 24,000 pins and raised over £12,000 for the NHS. Samira has since been flooded with messages of thanks from NHS staff and has been heralded as an inspiration to her peers at school. Throughout the project, Samira has guided and supported her 12-year-old brother, making sure he feels included in all their activities.
After missing school due to his mother testing positive for coronavirus, Daniel wanted to create something to thank NHS staff for their work during the pandemic. He came up with the idea of designing a badge of honour for frontline workers. With the help of his sister, Daniel designed, checked and packaged over 24,000 pins and raised over £12,000 for the NHS. He set up a website and promoted the pins through social media channels and also collaborated with his peers at school, inspiring them to follow suit with their own acts of selfless service.
Amit decided to start volunteering as he has been deeply affected by seeing underprivileged children struggling for basic needs such as food, education and shelter. Alongside volunteering, Amit campaigns and raises awareness of health-related and environmental issues. He participates in care work, spending time with people with intellectual disabilities. Through his volunteering, and despite facing many obstacles, Amit continuously encourages others to get involved in social issues. These positive experiences have allowed Amit to develop numerous skills such as communication, coordination, management, organisation and leadership, as well as gratitude and self-confidence.
Cormac changed Northern Ireland’s decision-making process when he founded the ‘Secondary Students’ Union of Northern Ireland’ (SSUNI). He envisions a generation of young people engaged in the processes of decision making, and with over 25,000 members, SSUNI is making Cormac’s vision a reality. As president of the union, Cormac has given students a voice throughout the pandemic, successfully leading campaigns to abolish both the A-Level grades algorithm in 2020 and exams in 2021. He has represented students at ‘Northern Ireland’s Assembly Education Committee’ and extensively in the media, and is a truly inspirational role model for so many other young people.
Working as an engineer-in-training at an Albanian oilfield, Raman discovered she was the only woman out of 500 staff. Struck by the gender disparity, Raman became an advocate for young people and women to join science, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. She created ‘APAR initiative’, a nonprofit that runs online workshops, and even invested $3,500 of her own money to support the initiative. Raman also works with ‘Young Women in Energy’, finding opportunities for 4,500 Canadians to find mentors, develop their business skills and connect with industry leaders. Raman is someone who is determined to think outside the box to serve women and young people in STEM.
Joe founded ‘Zero Gravity’, an organisation that digitally mentors low-income students into top universities. To get started, Joe created an app in his student bedroom. This video mentoring platform digitally connects university applicants from low-income backgrounds with undergraduate mentors studying at leading UK universities. So far, his scheme has mentored over 1,000 low-income students into Russell Group universities, including over 250 students into Oxbridge. Joe started ‘Zero Gravity’ with the last £200 from his student loan and has since raised over £500,000 to achieve his mission of radically improving social mobility for low-income students.
Ashwini’s were opened to the realities of gender equality and unequal access to education for minority communities following her own experiences in countries such as Yemen and Kazakhstan. Now, she advocates for the voices of marginalised youth, who don’t have the resources to do so themselves. Through her endeavours such as her nonprofit ‘A&A: Art for Activism’, her role as a climate catalyst for ‘Youth Challenge International’, the Chair of the ‘Halton Newcomer Committee’ and a Youth Ambassador for Plan International, she has elevated the voices of more than 1,000 youth across Ontario. Ashwini continues to challenge the status quo and is committed to making a difference through her actions, writing and advocacy.
Jeeva has selflessly dedicated her time to scientific and policy research, as she works to solve the issue of sex trafficking in India. The founder of ‘Privando’, a youth-led all-female organisation that uses innovative technology to turn emergency blue lightboxes into wearable gadgets, Jeeva is doing everything she can to help young women feel safe. Alongside her team at ‘Privando’, Jeeva has created an educational curriculum that focuses on gender equality and respect, whilst also introducing mandatory sex education into schools. Jeeva has partnered with over 12,000 institutions from across India, sharing educational resources on gender equality to empower young women from across the country.
As a baby, Theo was diagnosed with cancer in both eyes. Cancer returned when he was four years old and his doctors thought he wouldn’t survive. He is now partially blind and fears that cancer could one day come back but, ever the fighter, Theo is determined to create positive change and inspire others. Passionate about reducing knife crime, Theo was recruited to the ‘Youth Advisory Forum’, the first-ever youth civil service body, and is the youngest person in British history to contribute to a Number 10 cabinet meeting. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Theo has been involved in discussions with government ministers on education provision and mental health support for young people with special educational needs.
Raghav and his team created cost-effective and innovative solutions to provide education to Syrian refugee children and submitted their ideas to charity ‘Dubai Cares’ which awarded him the Young-Philanthropist Award. Raghav has also won the Hamdan Award from the UAE Government. Committed to supporting children with Down’s syndrome and Autism, Raghav used his mathematical talents to run online events which raised over 30,000 Dirhams for charity “Al-Jalila Foundation”, facilitating the scientific training for 73 teachers across 23 schools. Whilst being head boy of NDPS, Sharjah, Raghav was admired for his humble and respectful nature, and is considered an inspiration to many students.
Natisha often fell sick as a child and experienced how detrimental this can be on a child’s mental health. To help other children like her, Natisha created ‘Boxes of Joy’, a package of games, quizzes and arts and crafts given to bedridden children. Natisha has managed the manufacturing and delivery of the boxes to hospitals and orphanages. Through sheer persistence, Natisha managed to raise ₹17,000 to buy her first 100 boxes. Since then, Natisha has won further awards to continue making the boxes and has now created a Hindi version, so more children can experience the joy of having puzzles and games to play with.
As a girl of Indian origin living in Saudi Arabia, Hiya understood from a young age the barriers women and girls face. In 2017, ‘Fundraising for the Girl Child’ was born, applying social entrepreneurship to elevate, educate, and empower girls to close the educational and economic gender gap. Her work has seen the organisation fund the full education costs for 500 girls from rural India, run interactive webinars on girls’ empowerment to over 2,000 young people from over 40 countries, and offer online classes to refugees. Hiya’s passion and commitment continue to inspire thousands of girls, with many starting their own initiatives to join her in breaking the glass ceiling for women and girls around the world.
Ayesha is a driven young person who believes in sharing her knowledge to empower young people and help those in need. Despite facing personal challenges and living away from her family, her commitment to fundraising has supported almost 350 struggling families during the pandemic. Ayesha is a committed educator, who has trained hundreds of people through her public speaking, debating, creative writing and ‘how to earn online’ courses, which has allowed participants to make a living from the skills they have developed. Ayesha is on the executive team of the ‘Royel Entrepeneurs’ and has developed youth conferences and campaigns on women’s empowerment and human rights, and actively participates in ‘Model United Nations’, which she was recently asked to chair.
With menstruation remaining taboo in India, Vignesh and a small team had the goal to ensure that no women go without basic sanitary care, especially during a global pandemic. Vignesh believes that menstruation and women’s health isn’t spoken about enough, and yet women everywhere must still deal with the consequences. As part of the effort to eradicate period poverty in Mumbai, Vignesh and his team distributed over 27,000 sanitary pads in the poorer settlements in the city. In the future, he plans to organise workshops and discussions, and create a platform for women to openly discuss their health and experiences.
At age 17, Niyati started the nonprofit organisation ‘Pratisandhi Foundation’ to tackle the stigma around sexual health. Niyati noticed her friends had questions about sex but no one to approach without facing judgement. ‘Pratisandhi’ makes sexuality education accessible for young people. The organisation has run over 70 workshops, ranging from family planning to healthy sexual behaviour. When the pandemic hit last March, Niyati moved these sessions online. As of today, more than 15,000 women and young people have been positively impacted through educational interventions and campaigns. Niyati is an ‘empathetic leader’, providing a path forward for the 80+ volunteers that she leads.
Palak gave up a place on the Civil Service Fast Stream, in order to return to India to help the country meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Palak co-founded the ‘Green Governance Initiative’, with an aim of influencing policy to reflect the development goals and making sure the SDGs are implemented at a grassroots level. A graduate from LSE, Palak has juggled her voluntary work with a full-time Master’s degree. Palak’s focus is on showing young people they have the potential to change the world. She has now trained thousands of young people to understand the SDGs and connected policymakers with young people to create real change.
Heartbroken at how many children were out of school due to the pandemic, Riya founded ‘Biology for Better’ (BFB) to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics education for underprivileged children around the world. BFB now has 200 volunteers and has impacted thousands of children through remote teaching, worksheets and video modules. BFB board members have also created a blog, magazine, series of webinars and social media campaigns reaching several thousand people. Riya has also hosted school assemblies, encouraging students to collect and recycle discarded electrical appliances through the ‘REVIVE’ e-waste campaign. Her compassionate nature has led her to plan to pursue a career in medicine alongside her work with BFB.
For the last five and a half years Jénine has volunteered her time to provide education support to inner-city children who are preparing to sit their examinations. Jénine and her team at ‘Youths For Excellence’ provide these children with healthcare, food vouchers, school supplies, tutelage, bus passes, textbooks, tablets and other much needed educational resources. She also runs the ‘Jamaican American Youth Alliance’, a New York-based NGO that has supported over 20,000 Jamaicans in the USA through networking, mentorship and advocacy. Currently, her organisation is working closely with all five Caribbean governments to implement policies for wrap-around education support.
When Kaushal was seven years old, she lived near the banks of river Suvarna in India. Every year, the river would rise by over six meters, destroying their crops and washing away homes. This inspired Kaushal to build ‘Nostos Homes’, the first-of-its-kind sustainable emergency shelters for marginalised communities displaced due to violence or natural disaster. These shelters are modular, lightweight and can easily be transported to affected regions. Each unit houses a family, with everything they need to live, and aims to restore privacy, personal dignity and safety in times of crises. His work has received recognition from the World Bank, IFC, IDB, Mastercard, ‘COINS UK’ and ‘Saint Gobain’.
Nathan is on a mission to inspire the next generation to better engage with and understand politics. So, he co-founded political news hub ‘The Speaker’ to do just that. Nathan’s informative, explanatory and inspiring content and impartial political coverage has attracted millions of views. Committed to supporting worthy causes, Nathan has raised £10,000 for charities including Marie Curie, Help for Heroes and the East Anglian Air Ambulance. Nathan is also a keen volunteer, racking up over 200 hours delivering sport and physical education sessions. Nathan continues to give up his time supporting Lancaster University’s mental health service, Lancaster Nightline.
A delegate of the ‘Global Goals Model UN’, Hassan established the not-for-profit organisation ‘UMEED’, dedicated to eradicating global illiteracy, increasing young people’s self-esteem and confidence, and promoting gender equality. Inspired by a child who approached Hassan for help with his education while distributing ration bags, Hassan created a school providing free education. ‘UMEED’ has grown to consist of 20 branches educating more than 1,500 children across Pakistan. New projects providing leadership training, free internships and mobile schools are currently in development. During the pandemic, Hassan has also fundraised for and coordinated the distribution of ration bags and cash to over 6,000 impacted families.
After volunteering in his community, Akarsh was determined to provide volunteering opportunities for fellow students. Akarsh founded ‘S.P.A.R.K’, a Bangalore-based nonprofit which encourages students to volunteer to support children in disadvantaged communities. In just three years, ‘S.P.A.R.K’ has grown from a two-member team to a force of over 400 volunteers and has impacted the lives of over 5,000 young people from disadvantaged communities. His unflinching determination to improve the quality of education for first-generation school-goers has earned him recognition from the government, media coverage and celebrity support. He has been recognized as a ‘Forbes India Teenpreneur’ and ‘Ashoka Young Changemaker’.
Three years ago, Neha set up ‘Innovation Corner’, designed to spark students’ interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) through virtual and in-person innovation sessions. Neha has since reached 22,800 students around the world but her dream is to run sessions with over 100,000 children. As a result of Neha’s efforts, students globally are starting to create solutions to real-world problems. Looking into the future, Neha hopes to help children solve some of the world’s biggest problems – like climate change, cybersecurity and medical emergencies –whilst continuing to encourage more girls to get involved in STEM fields.
Serene started ‘The Serenity Project’ in 2016 after losing her friend, a survivor, to suicide. Serene saw how her friend struggled with body dysmorphia and felt disposable for being a survivor. While working in the US Senate, Serene noticed that in briefings for gender-based violence, the survivors were rarely in charge of their narratives. So, she decided to put the power to own their stories back in their hands. Throughout the year, Serene volunteers over 3,500 hours, empowering survivors to develop tools for self-love and gain skills through one-to-one mentoring, a year-long curriculum of healing and growing and an annual charitable fashion show on the ‘International Day of Self-Love’.
Ananya is passionate and vocal about the emancipation and empowerment of women on the internet. After experiencing cyberbullying herself, Ananya founded ‘Project SIS’, a virtual learning lab, to assist young girls in becoming informed digital citizens. By building awareness on digital harms and delivering trainings on ‘smart’ & ‘healthy’ virtual conduct, Project SIS renders the role of a “sister” (sis) – a friend, counselor and guide for her siblings. Ananya believes that the digital security of women is a human right and has been instrumental in influencing numerous professionals and large organisations worldwide to become involved in supporting ‘Project SIS’.
From age 10, Anoushka was determined to use the skills that she had learnt from observing her mother in the classroom to tackle educational inequality. She became the youngest ever volunteer at ‘Ek Patel NGO’, helping children get access to education and books. She has organised concerts, recorded a fundraising album and used her radio show ‘Angel’s Club’ to advocate for children’s rights. She has even developed apps to help with e-learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Called ‘Didi’ (sister) by those she teaches, Anoushka’s ideas and passion continue to make a difference in the lives of countless young people.
Nung has devoted her school career to listening to, and advocating for, her fellow students. She goes the extra mile to make sure her peers are supported every day and that their voices are heard. To do this, Nung leads the school council and the anti-bullying strategy, raises funds for a range of charities and diligently and compassionately mentors other children in school, despite facing her own adversity. As a looked after child with English as a second language, as well as her own mental health challenges, Nung has had to overcome so many obstacles. Yet, she has always sought to use her experiences in a positive way so that she can support others.
As someone who grew up with first-hand experience of the civil war in Sri Lanka, Anojitha is passionate about sustaining peace in the country. Her engagements range from grassroots to the global level, and she has worked with the ‘United Network of Young Peacebuilders’, ‘Youth Opportunities’, ‘AIESEC’, the ‘Global Refugee Education Council’ and several other initiatives. She is also part of ‘Interfaith Colombo’, an organisation that enhances mutual understanding between different religious communities. Anojitha believes that including young people is a critical component of effective efforts to overcome conflict. Therefore, not only does she engage with young people in physical spaces, but she advocates for youth empowerment on social media too.
Having noticed the negative stigma that surrounds mental health, Stasia is passionately working with other young people to improve mental health services. Stasia developed her interest in helping others’ voices get heard during her work with the ‘Dorest Youth Council’ and her role as a deputy member of the ‘Youth Parliament’. She is now part of ‘Participation People’s #YouthVoice Pioneer Team’ where she works alongside other young people and decision makers to change how it is viewed in society. Stasia has been instrumental in co-producing a series of podcasts titled ‘Covid-nine-TEENS’, which has reached over 1 million downloads.
Lakshya is empowering young people and women living in villages across India. He has supported the employability of young people from rural areas by providing them with micro-internships to gain workplace experiences. Lakshya connected over 300 rural students to industries such as advertising, marketing, consulting and design. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, Lakshya’s efforts turned towards addressing the problem of misinformation in rural areas. Combining his passion for animation and storytelling, he created an animation-based curriculum to increase awareness and help women in rural India become self-reliant. Over 5.000 women were trained to fight COVID-19 and tackle challenges relating to fake news and discrimination. Lakysha’s most recent work earned him the prestigious ‘COVID Soldiers Award’.
Fiza believes that access to education is a basic human right and so created a life-changing ‘Student Support Programme’. Fiza secured a scholarship fund that ensured that 800 promising yet disadvantaged students could access the programme in its first year. This included awarding low-income students scholarships to attend top-ranked schools while providing them academic and mental health support. Fiza also worked to provide them with workplace training which helped these students secure internships and jobs, these students are now flourishing. Straight-A student Fiza is leading a team of 20 project managers whilst skilfully managing relationships with stakeholders to make the project a success.
Ananya has created positive social change for her wider community, through fundraising, volunteering, campaigning and care work. She raised 80,000 rupees (approximately £800), which was used to buy groceries and essentials for orphanages during the COVID-19 lockdown. Around 140 girls’ lives have been impacted through Ananya’s actions and another 122 in progress. Alongside a team of doctors, she is improving the health and nutrition of underprivileged adolescent girls by trying to reduce the gap between underprivileged girls and medical access, while also sharing her knowledge of proper nutrition. Her work is ensuring that young girls can avoid facing the issues she faced or other severe issues and rectify them before it is too late.
Seher is a science enthusiast, researcher, innovator and co-founder of ‘The Tale of Humankind’, a youth leadership initiative connecting passionate young people to take on some of the greatest challenges facing humanity. From breaking taboos around life-saving organ donation to tackling threats to public health, Seher uses the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals as her framework to identify the gaps in society and decide what she might be able to do to help. Through her work, she has built a network of changemakers and young advocates, working together with empathy and kindness, and a vision to build human connections to create a more compassionate society.
Tanha is the founder of ‘TransEnd’, a youth-led nonprofit organisation empowering the transgender community in Bangladesh through education, training, entrepreneurship and employment. With the help of over 70 young volunteers across the country, the organisation aims to teach life skills such as basic computer and English language skills to members of the transgender community so that they can take up mainstream jobs. To date, ‘TransEnd’ has reached 345,000 people across Bangladesh, trained 135 transgender people with employment skills and facilitated the formal employment of 43 transgender people. Tanha has helped to create a platform for the transgender community, whilst enabling other young people in Bangladesh to find their agency as changemakers.
Tanvir Ahmed is a Bangladeshi youth leader and well-known youth parliamentarian in his community. He is passionate about engaging young people in opportunities and experiences to grow and develop themselves while creating positive change. As part of his youth parliamentary leadership, he inspires others to be active in their communities and beyond. Under Tanvir Ahmed’s leadership, 350 young people are currently working in 25 countries on a variety of social projects. Since 2009, he has driven countless initiatives including tree-planting programs, clean-up days, youth leadership training, women’s safety and anti-propaganda workshops, and the distribution of warm clothing during the cold winter months.
After speaking with women in rural areas in Bangladesh as part of a school project, Afruza became aware of the challenges many women face in gaining employment and financial independence. Afruza set out to tackle gender stereotypes and the stigma of working women by empowering women in marginalised communities to gain financial independence through skills training and workshops. To date, she has provided financial literacy classes to over 700 young girls and women, arts and crafts training for 100 women and commercialised over 1,000 artisan products, enabling hundreds of young girls and women to earn a living.
Jahzara founded ‘Jahzara Cares’ in 2018, helping children aged 7 to 16 learn to read. Noticing that children were turning up to reading lessons hungry, Jahzara fundraised to purchase ingredients for healthy meals, given to the families of children she was supporting as well as elderly individuals in the community. Through the ‘Teacher Cadet Programme’, Jahzara spends up to four hours a week tutoring children for free and has organised several book drives. By giving her time to help others, Jahzara has learned you are ‘never too young to make a difference’.
After seeing her grandparents struggle to sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine, Jacqueline launched ‘VaxconnectKY’ – a campaign to ensure every person in need in Kentucky can easily register for a vaccination. This has helped over 2000 people to organise or receive their vaccine and led to over 2650 support emails and calls with residents. Jacqueline has become an activist at both the state and local government level, advocating for senior citizens whilst juggling her school life and sports activities. Her efforts have directed attention to the vital issue of vaccine accessibility and provided crucial support to the most vulnerable at a difficult time.
Throughout her childhood, Rhea visited government schools and orphanages in India to donate clothing and spend time with the children in these institutions. It was here that she learned how little guidance existed to help these children achieve their ambitions with no support structure in place. In response, Rhea founded ‘Vishwasa’. Over the last year, Rhea and the team have made videos on mental health and created zines, poems and infographics for social media and the ‘Vishwasa’ website. During the pandemic, Rhea raised an incredible $20,000 to provide food to those who have lost their income, a feat not possible without Rhea’s tenacity and networking skills.
John has dedicated hundreds of hours to empower young people to pursue a career in STEM. As President of SFU Aerospace, John has impacted over 5,000 lives with this organisation alone. John can be found diversifying the future of the aerospace industry by leading several teams of over 30 people across aerospace projects, as well as spearheading Decode, a life education programme that teaches youth how they can make a difference through the sciences. His current project is a cube-satellite that serves as a platform for educational outreach and aids aerospace physiology research to protect future astronauts.
Viha is a social entrepreneur who has created jobs during the pandemic, helping underprivileged women to become self-reliant. Her initiative ‘Scrapwings’ uses textile waste to make useful items to sell, minimising environmental impact and creating value out of waste. The women make and sell products such as mats, table runners, purses, handbags, scrunchies and cushion covers out of the textile waste. Viha provides the raw materials and helps the women to build skills to generate the revenue they need to sustain their families during a time when a large majority of the informal economy is struggling.
Whenever Vansh volunteered tutoring underprivileged children, he noticed that boys and girls were both interested in maths and science, but girls wouldn’t pursue a career in STEM because they believed it was only for men. A committed feminist, Vansh founded an initiative focused on fostering confidence in underprivileged girls through STEM education. Vansh encourages underprivileged young girls to engage in STEM subjects by teaching them simple at-home experiments, as well as basic and advanced classes and creating opportunities to participate in competitions and scholarships. He has even authored a book about Indian women in STEM to provide girls with role models in a society that tells them STEM is not for them.
Ruby is a fierce advocate for the Fine Arts but noticed a lack of music in local schools due to budget cuts in 2016. She decided to hold a music camp, giving private piano and voice lessons to children who would otherwise have had no access to music opportunities. This inspired Ruby to create the nonprofit ‘Many Mini Musicians’, securing grants that will give thousands of students access to music and music lessons over the next ten years. Ruby has also mentored other budding advocates across the globe, empowering them to positively impact their own communities. Ruby says, ‘I can’t fix all of the world’s problems, but I can do this’.
Josh started ‘Teenage Helpline’ when he was just 14, looking to offer a service that he knew would benefit people like him for years to come. He built it from the ground up, creating an online platform for young people to support other young people. This takes place through a peer-to-peer mentoring service, as well as the dissemination of information and guides to help young people through mental health, education, relationships and employment support. Josh’s passion for the service came from his personal struggles as a teenager, which has enabled ‘Teenage Helpline’ to become a service that truly makes a difference.
Medical student Saad wants youth to be more engaged in community issues. To date, Saad has facilitated 380 hours of training on key topics including leadership skills and public health. Saad co-organised ‘medical caravans’, providing health services and education for over 25,000 people in rural communities. He has held leadership positions within the ‘International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA) for the last three years coordinating several IFMSA campaigns including one on antimicrobial resistance that reached 1,500,000 via social media and inspired student action in 55 countries. Last year, Saad co-coordinated IFMSA COVID-19 response and collaborated with youth organisations, WHO and UNESCO to engage youth to combat COVID-19 misinformation.
For the last four years, Izat has helped to provide quality education for school children in his home province of Balcochistan. He has directly supported over 5,000 young people as a career counsellor and devised and developed multiple youth-focused campaigns during the pandemic. These range from ‘Every Home Classroom’ to connect children to education whilst at home, to ‘Coping with Corona’ to raise awareness about staying safe. In addition to these achievements, Izat has volunteered with a range of organisations in Pakistan and demonstrated great integrity across multiple leadership roles. He sets a unique example through his efforts to provide equal opportunity education to young people.
Adit has channelled his fundraising and volunteer efforts to support children based in the local orphanage ‘Chavadi Ashramam’ in Telecom Nagar. Having seen the poor conditions that children in orphanages experience, Adit initiated a local fundraising campaign using websites and social media. With the money he raised, Adit was able to ensure all children at the orphanage had a health check-up and were able to access the medicines they needed. He also used the fund to buy basic health and wellbeing products, such as soaps, toothbrushes and disinfectants, and a laptop so that the children had access to opportunities for learning and recreation.
When COVID-19 hit the UK last March, Noah had started treatment for gender reassignment. Suddenly, this service and mental health support services were withdrawn. Feeling let down and unheard, Noah joined the ‘#YouthVoice Pioneers’, has volunteered for more than 350 hours over the last year. Most notably, Noah created and co-produced a podcast, ‘Covid-nine-TEENS’, covering issues including how to stay mentally well while in lockdown and supporting care leavers to have their voices heard. The podcast now has over 1,000,000 downloads. Noah is described as bringing ‘life, humour, empathy and compassion to a group of young people who need it’.
At 15, Kavin started an initiative called ‘S.M.I.L.E.Y INDIA’ (Society for Motivation Innovative Leadership and Empowerment of Youth) to address some of the most pressing issues facing young people today, from teen depression to the future of the academic experience. ‘S.M.I.L.E.Y INDIA’ works with teenagers to enhance their self-esteem and happiness, helping them to unlock their personal and social potential. They also build their skills and confidence as young leaders and changemakers. Kavin has also launched the ‘SMILEY Discussion Forum’ with 13 virtual discussion hubs, enabling hundreds of students to come together and discuss complex social issues and find solutions.
Mental health campaigner Paloma built a website under her initiative, ‘Uninhibited – Talk. Express. Share.’, as a source of information and to spark conversation on wellbeing. As a prefect and school council member, Paloma has spoken about mental health issues in schools, and, as part of her mission to make the world a better place, Paloma has helped invent prototypes such as ‘Aegis’, an air purifier that protects people from pollution. Paloma was the first-ever student awarded the title of ‘Innovation Leader’, a sign of the support she has shown to fellow students to express their own ideas. Paloma’s dream is to become a lawyer so she can devote her life to seeking justice for others.
Soren is a 23-year-old student at Imperial College London and an activist in tech-for-good initiatives. Before going to university, Soren volunteered at his local food bank. It affected him deeply and he resolved to find a way to merge his curiosity for STEM with his newfound passion for alleviating inequality. During his time at Imperial, Soren founded his own social entrepreneurship initiative, ‘Moonshot’. Through ‘Moonshot’, he runs 48-hour boot camps (Hackathons) focused on empowering STEM students to understand and develop solutions to social problems, and use business as a vehicle for social change, transforming technological ideas into impact.
After volunteering and campaigning for issues such as food poverty, homelessness and period poverty, Anika founded ‘Anika Food Charity’ in 2018. Anika’s charity is a food bank for anyone who is experiencing these issues and she also distributes emergency hampers to those in need. On average, her charity helps between 150 and 180 people each week. During the pandemic, Anika has worked to ensure those suffering from COVID-19 are also cared for. On one of her food deliveries, she delivered over 800 meals to homeless shelters. Anika also runs workshops and support groups, offering CV classes and life skills support groups.
Diagnosed with scoliosis at age 11, Philippa opted against surgery, choosing instead to wear a brace for 20 hours a day. Philippa decided to channel her energy into transforming the lives of other young people with scoliosis. She started a YouTube channel to share her experience of living with the condition and, through fundraising efforts, has raised over £4,000 for Sheffield Children’s Hospital. Philippa has been supporting a new study to improve the understanding of scoliosis, and in sharing her story, Philippa has inspired others to feel positive about their health conditions. She is now working to release her videos into schools, hospitals and doctors to raise further awareness.
Katelyn is dedicated to transforming youth activism and empowering young people to realize change within their communities. As Executive Director at LIGHT, she established the Fellowship Program which enables leaders to develop their own initiatives, and created the Policy Advocacy Branch as a catalyst for youth organization and local change. Moreover, she co-founded Young Ontarians United, a research endeavour to assess the impacts of the pandemic on youth, and in turn, advocate for a youth-informed recovery process. She has dedicated over 1,500 hours building countless projects, and has served more than 700 individuals, including over 100 youth for whom she provided direct mentorship and guidance.
After visiting a remote village in South Kalimantan, Alvian saw a need to tackle the educational inequality between the rural and urban areas of Indonesia. As part of his belief that every child has the potential to create positive change in society, Alvian founded ‘Literasi Anak Banua’ to provide children in remote areas of South Kalimantan with education. Despite initial resistance from the local community, ‘Literasi Anak Banua’ has supported schools to improve the literacy and academic attainment of elementary school students. The organisation provides tutorial classes and extracurricular activities for students and trains other young people to become leaders and changemakers. Alvian and his organisation have also built libraries in 14 villages.
Hamza believes that science education should be accessible to all, and so co-founded the student-run magazine ‘Spectra’ in 2017. The magazine aims to bring science to the general public and has published 225 science articles and mentored more than 200 students in science journalism. Hamza also helped organise the biggest public science festival in Pakistan, the ‘Lahore Science Mela’, attended by more than 60,000 people. Excelling in his own education, Hamza was awarded the prestigious ‘Rhodes Scholarship’ in recognition of his academic success, an award that is given to one student in Pakistan each year. In his outreach activities, Hamza has ‘grown as a leader, scientist and science communicator’.
Interested in giving back to her community, Amber became a St John Ambulance Cadet. She quickly qualified as a Cadet Operational First Aider, sharing her knowledge with younger cadets in her unit and delivering training sessions. As the ‘St John Ambulance London and South Regional Cadet of the Year’, Amber has been involved in regional and national initiatives in response to the COVID-19 crisis, providing volunteer training and information videos for cadets, youth leaders and parents. She also assisted in the training of 30,500 volunteers recruited to work at vaccination centres. Amber ensures that all the cadets in her districts are represented in the ‘Regional Youth Forum’, and ‘Regional and National Youth Leadership’.
Scarlett is a climate justice activist, being a leading organiser of the Birmingham school strikes which attracted turnouts of thousands shortly after becoming the youngest person in the world to have an A level in Government and Politics, which she self taught at 13. Her work saw the 2019 protest attracting 450,000 attendees nationally. Since then, she has become a prominent climate policy writer, having contributed to Bills including the English Climate Emergency Education Act which has been supported by numerous political parties. She is an award-winning journalist, and lobbies and speaks out for climate justice in Parliaments across the World.
Brad has a relentless passion for supporting his community. Following devastating floods in his South Wales community, Brad was instrumental in a leading role establishing an emergency response which collected 40 cages of essential items for families affected. An aspiring journalist, Brad uses his own news channel ‘Cynon Valley News’, youth-led magazines and his volunteer hours at a charity radio station to engage young people in community action and volunteering opportunities. This has helped raised thousands of pounds for charity and inspired his peers to do the same. Brad’s work continues, recently using his platform to petition the local authority to improve road safety near a primary school.
Carwyn has dedicated hundreds of hours to working on the ‘Healthy Image Project’, where he helps promote healthy lifestyles and physical activities. He ensures that personal barriers never stop him from encouraging and supporting others. Carwyn’s community volunteering has been involved in has been wide and varied, including school-based health education projects, non-traditional sports sessions, healthy lifestyle sessions, events for ‘Conwy Young Carers’, training sessions, residential events. Carwyn has also attended the ‘Youth Work Strategy for Wales’ consultation to help develop a young person’s version of the ‘Youth Work Strategy for Wales 2019’, as well as supporting the ‘Young Person’s Committee’.
There was no LGBT+ support where G lived in Wales, so they travelled down to YMCA Swansea’s ‘LGBT+ Good Vibes Youth Group’ each week to make friends and attend sessions. As a young person who identifies as transgender, G became a peer educator, delivering transgender awareness sessions to young people in schools, youth groups and professionals who work with young people. One attendee said, ‘G thank you for being amazing, you explained the trans world clearly, to the point and with care and consideration.’ G is described as a ‘pillar of support’ for other young people at the YMCA group, going out of their way ‘to ensure other young people feel safe, have fun and feel supported’.
Victoria was struggling with her mental health. She had low self-esteem, was sleeping during the day and had no identity beyond her studies. Until she was encouraged to join St John Ambulance, where she pushed herself outside of her comfort zone and found a new lease of life. Victoria has helped thousands of members of the public during a mentally exhausting time as part of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout. A crucial part of her role is checking up on people after they have had their vaccines, answering questions and having conversations with people who have not left their homes since last March, with one older lady telling her she was the highlight of her day.
Donating a colossal 678 hours of volunteering over the last year, Finlay is making waves with ‘Covid-nine-TEENS’, a podcast he co-produced about pandemic positivity and how to stay mentally well, as part of ‘Participation People’s #YouthVoice Pioneer Team’. Finlay invited guest speakers onto the podcast, which has now received over 1,000,000 downloads. Finlay joined the ‘Pioneers’ after two years serving as a ‘Dorset Youth Councillor’ and ‘Young Inspector’, where he was responsible for inspecting the community healthcare service. Finlay, who in the past has struggled with getting his voice heard, is a ‘shining example of being comfortable with the uncomfortable, continually pushing himself to be better, greater and louder!’
Joy was brought up in one of Toronto’s poorest neighbourhoods prior to primary school, where she recalled countless delightful memories of educational programs provided by the community despite her poor living conditions. Inspired by her community experiences, Joy has spent over 2,500 hours promoting educational accessibility since then. Through her nonprofit, ‘STREAM Syndicate’, she has supported over 125,000 people across Canada, including the ‘Student Opportunity Platform’ where over 10,000 students have connected via a virtual community. Her innovation continues in her latest project, Felicity, which is a productivity mobile/web application integrating psychological interventions for students.
In 2019, Manha started a ‘Stamp Out Stigma’ campaign to raise awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health. She now organises fundraisers to collect financial and in-kind donations to empower women and children who have experienced domestic violence, homelessness and mental health treatment. Over the past two years, the project has raised $26,550. Manha led a ‘Back to School Fundraisers’ initiative to collect backpacks and school supplies for children, provided $5,000 worth of new quality winter gear to vulnerable young mothers, donated $2,000 in new toys and books to ‘SickKids Hospital’ in Toronto, and supported ‘Canadian Mental Health Association’ to provide over 100 care boxes to patients and their families. Through her numerous fundraising efforts, Manha continues to be an inspiration for older and younger generations alike.
For the last six years, Mostofa has been a dedicated founding member and volunteer for ‘Volunteer for Bangladesh, Mymensingh District’. As a doctor, Mostofa initiated programmes related to breast cancer and cervical cancer, spreading awareness to underprivileged girls in education. Launching another programme, ‘Sanitation, Health Education & Follow Up’, he taught canteen boys proper sanitation and empowered them through the supply of their own materials. His devotion to providing medical support within his community has impacted almost 10,000 people. Leading a team of 25 volunteers, Mostofa’s leadership and knowledge motivate others to contribute to social action.
While at school, Anbid experienced bullying from teachers and peers due to their queer gender expression. Since then, they have worked tirelessly to campaign for LGBTQI rights both in their home country of Bangladesh and internationally. In 2014, they helped to found ‘Roopbaan’, Bangladesh’s first LGBT magazine. Anbid relocated to Cologne after being a target of a horrific Al-Qaeda attack, during which two of their fellow activists were killed, and continues to campaign for LGBTQI rights. They’re the President of the Board of Directors at the Global Center, where they aim to create freedom through education for LGBTI+ youth globally and currently representing LGBTIQ+ youth from across Europe and Central Asia on ‘ILGA World’s Youth Steering Committee’.
Her own struggle against anorexia motivated Ally to raise awareness of eating disorders, body dysmorphia and illness through the power of art. In 2020, Ally’s work was included in over 15 exhibitions and residencies, with her exhibition ‘One Body, My Body, No Body’ debuting in London, Glasgow and Amsterdam. Ally also created ‘The Starving Artist’, a global outreach initiative and publication covering artistic research and reflection from over 25 international artists. The publication also provided educational resources around eating disorders and can be found in over 30 universities worldwide. Ally also volunteers with eating disorder awareness groups across the UK and has worked directly with mental health organisations such as ‘Together! Disability’.
Asim worked on the frontline as a healthcare professional during the initial outbreak of COVID-19 and produced 5,000 bottles of hand sanitiser to reduce the spread of the disease. A countrywide campaign started by Asim helped to raise further awareness of the virus. Alongside this vital work, Asim has run many events and programs to raise awareness of cancer and other issuse related to the UN Sustainable Development Goals benefitting thousands of students in Bahawalpur. Asim is a leader and role model for his fellow students, with his inspirational posts amassing him a following of 40,000 people on social media.