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.
Hazeem has started two non-profits – ‘ALittleChange’ in 2016 to support low-income families and ‘The Signpost Project’ in 2019 to support retrenched elderly workers who have to resort to selling tissues to make a living. One of ‘ALittleChange’s‘ flagship programmes addressed the communications gap and the lack of quality time between shift-working parents and school-going children. Hazeem started ‘The Signpost Project’ to assist tissue sellers by connecting them with the relevant support agencies and highlighting their untold struggles. The organisation was one of the founding members of the ‘Vulnerable-in-Community Network’ in Singapore, which coordinated and personalised resources to support the urban poor.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Afghanistan, Mohammad quickly took two initiatives: first, he established a charity organisation to recruit and mobilise volunteers to raise awareness and distribute COVID-19 kits as well as daily necessities to the most affected families. Next, since the COVID-19 pandemic decimated the education system in Afghanistan, Mohammad also created an online learning and networking platform called ‘YOUTH for YOUTH’ for Afghan youth and established a wider network of Afghan intellectuals to deliver talks on a range of topics. His goal is to lift Afghanistan, a country severely struck by poverty arising from a high illiteracy rate, by empowering its young people through education.
Aiza has been a life-long advocate for children’s rights. In 2013, she founded her non-profit, ‘Aiza’s Teddybear Foundation’ with a mission to provide physical and emotional support to children in need around the world. It has since grown into a movement that, to date, has repurposed hundreds of thousands of donated items to provide books to help under-resourced youth create their own home-libraries; good quality clothing to low-income and refugee families; toys and crafts to children residing at local homeless shelters; and warm sweaters and backpacks filled with school supplies for students in need globally.
‘StandWeSpeak’ is a social impact organisation led by Priyal, to build “a 21st-century sexual health ecosystem for millennials and GenZ.” ‘StandWeSpeak’ has built a chat platform, ‘Mae’, allowing clients to anonymously ask questions and receive non-judgmental and sex-positive information. This platform is a blend of artificial intelligence and expert professional help to ensure that young people receive tailor-made solutions based on their needs. Priyal herself has conducted workshops with over 10,000 young people on topics such as menstruation, abuse, contraception, consent and more to promote bodily autonomy and empower them to make informed decisions about their bodies, relationships, and lives.
Nafira has always felt a profound sense of injustice at her unfair society, saying, “while my only problem in life was finishing homework, someone my age had to lift bricks for a mere meal. Tell me how that is fair”. To redress the balance, in 2019, she founded ‘Amplitude’ – a non-profit organisation, supporting underprivileged communities in Bangladesh. She has led eight charity events helping marginalised people following their maiden event art exhibition and open mic night. The event consisted of marginalised artists and renowned artists and revenue from the tickets and paintings sold was used to buy art supplies for children of an orphanage home
In June 2018, Alli was about to write one of his final exams: ‘JAMB’. It was a computer-based test that is done to gain admission into the university – terrifying for students with poor computer literacy. He realised that, when students fail, it is not because they are not smart but because they had never used a computer and embarked on a project called ‘DesignIT Africa’ to teach disadvantaged kids how to prepare for computer-based examinations and train them on IT skills. Since its inception, they have managed to directly impact 912 students and reach over 20,000 teenagers bimonthly via social media.
Zikora’s passion lies in advocating for racial and gender justice, education equity, and developing sustainable policy solutions to the world’s most pressing social issues. Through research, writing, service, and advocacy, she seeks to advance social change and equity. She is the founder and executive director of ‘GenZHER’, an entirely student-led organisation dedicated to encouraging Generation Z girls to pursue activism, explore community service, and express their creativity through media, education, and community-based advocacy. With its five international chapters, annual mentorship program, events, podcast, and social media content, ‘GenZHER’ has reached 75,000 students in over eighty countries.
Oluwadamilola is creating safe spaces for adolescent girls and young women to share their experiences with gender-based violence without fear or shame, and empowering them to use their voices to demand better. She founded ‘Forbidden Topics’ to destigmatise and demystify subjects deemed taboo in her society, and advocate for change. The initiative recently set in motion a petition to review the rules and punishments for sexual offences on her university campus, which will help to protect over 2,5000 students from sexual violence. Oluwadamilola recently launched a sister programme, ‘She-Village’ where she mentors 15 female university students in personal and professional development, providing them with advocacy tools to fight against gender inequality.
From only knowing a few words of English, Arqam is now a multi-national and international award-winning speaker and youth leader. As an elected youth MP, he represented over 180,000 young people of Leeds in the House of Commons, speaking passionately to end knife crime. He has been recognised nationally for his tireless efforts to unite all races, religions, and cultures. He was the British Muslim Award 2019 winner from across the country while his efforts for promoting human rights were awarded by the Prime Minister of Pakistan. He is now running dozens of local, regional, national, and international campaigns while raising thousands of pounds for these causes.
Almas has volunteered and led various initiatives for student advocacy, climate change, mental health, women’s empowerment and health equity. She worked with 68 at-risk youth from low-income families to support their academic, social and emotional development in an after-school programme and emphasised the importance of mental health. She also served as a dedicated healthcare worker during the pandemic. As a woman of colour, she educates teenage girls from rural backgrounds to break stigmas around menstrual health and raised nearly £500 to provide menstrual products to girls from marginalised communities, motivating and inspiring other women to do the same.
Nina set up a non-profit community project when she was just 16 years old. ‘Community Senior Letters’, matches primary schools with care homes, enabling pupils to write letters, providing the elderly residents with a form of human connection that helps to ease feelings of isolation and loneliness exacerbated by the pandemic. Over 250 care homes and schools have joined the scheme, exchanging letters that lift spirits and bring joy to residents while students develop valuable skills – not just writing, but kindness and empathy too. Nina has also published a book featuring students’ motivational artwork and residents’ words of wisdom. The project forges strong intergenerational connections and friendships, building a sense of community in a typically isolated setting.
As a clinical psychology student, Murad realised that mental health is still greatly stigmatised in Bangladesh. This leads to a lack of mental health professionals, which itself leads to worsening mental health. Murad wanted to break this cycle, so he started a mental health platform, ‘Psycure’, where people seeking mental health support can access the best mental health professionals, regular workshops and extensive offline and online awareness programs. To help break the stigma around mental health, they continuously run campaigns like Unwind Mind, Spreading Mental health Awareness, a national mother’s campaign, reaching 1.2 million people.
Divyanshi envisions a world where each and every child has access to education which is their fundamental right. As the Secretary at ‘Leo Club, University of Delhi’, she is working to combat inaccessibility of food, education and menstrual equipment for poor and marginalised people, especially during the pandemic. To this end, she coordinated an international food distribution campaign in six countries to feed more than 3,200 people. To bridge the digital education divide during the pandemic, she created video modules that were broadcast on regional channels and in rural schools. She also promotes PCOS and menstrual hygiene awareness through sessions with gynaecologists and pad distribution drives.
As Faryal first experienced harassment growing up, she questioned why women did not have the support they needed. AT just 17 years of age, it led her to establish her own NGO, ‘The Mirror’, to fight against gender-based violence in Pakistan. She reached out to survivors of assault, working to give them the confidence to speak out about their experiences and come to terms with how they felt when forced to keep their silence. As the first such platform for young girls in Pakistan, ‘The Mirror’ was to become a voice for those who felt unheard, unsafe, and not believed.
Shloka founded ‘InternMee‘, a platform that provides internship, volunteering and leadership opportunities to high schoolers, free of charge. Launched in December 2020, ‘InternMee‘ has helped over 35,000 students from over 85 countries and was featured in the top 10 internship search websites by the Telegraph’s Edugraph programme. In August 2020, Shloka also co-founded ‘Dildaan‘, a social organisation that supports and raises money to fund girls’ education in India. They began by educating 11 girls and are working towards reaching out to more. Shloka also founded a social service club at school which aims to expand their reach inspiring within the school community.
Sana is determined to better the lives of the people around her. She harbours strong beliefs on women empowerment and her work through her non-profit organisation, ‘For-Her’, has been successful at helping women through various spheres of struggle. Sana established the organisation with multiple goals, all falling under the same vision: women’s empowerment. Her first initiative under ‘For-Her’ was Project Phoenix, which has helped rehabilitate more than 100 sexual assault victims, ensuring a safe space aided by therapeutic support. Aside from trauma relief, Sana also helps provide empowerment through education as a founding director of ‘Superposition Dubai’, a non-profit organisation dedicated to involving more women in the fields of STEM.
William was elected as the first Young Mayor of Croydon in 2018 and has done incredible work representing the voices of young people in the borough. He created and chaired a youth panel that ran independently of any council or adult oversight and gave voice to young people who would normally avoid engaging with local authorities. The group met regularly to discuss and debate local issues, and he would then feedback their concerns to the Croydon council. Through his work, he has been a great advocate for young people and a role model who has inspired other young people to become active in the community.
As an Eco-Warrior, Anirudh has always worked hard towards the collection of paper and e-waste. His goal has been to reduce, reuse and recycle paper so to save trees and protect the planet. So far, he has recycled 5,268 kilos of paper and 250 kilos of e-waste. Has taken part in afforestation campaigns, planting 11 trees towards his goal of protecting the environment. He has also been involved in volunteering activities towards covid relief, educational projects, and has raised money by holding a poetry recital and donating the proceeds from ticket sales to charity.
As an Eco-Warrior, Anirudh has always worked hard towards the collection of paper and e-waste. His goal has been to reduce, reuse and recycle paper so to save trees and protect the planet. So far, he has recycled 5,268 kilos of paper and 250 kilos of e-waste. Has taken part in afforestation campaigns, planting 11 trees towards his goal of protecting the environment. He has also been involved in volunteering activities towards covid relief, educational projects, and has raised money by holding a poetry recital and donating the proceeds from ticket sales to charity.
Growing up in Dehli, every day Sakshi saw thousands of people living in extreme poverty and wanted to create a system that would break the cycle, offering fair and equal access to education. At 19, she launched ‘Project LEAP’ and trained 300 volunteers, who taught 1,600 families in the underprivileged areas of Delhi, India. Uniquely, Sakshi focused on investing in her volunteers, creating a training programme to tackle common issues like increasing absenteeism, lack of motivation and low self-esteem in young people. She delivered her skills-based training on fundamental principles of vulnerability, communication, project management and kindness, all free of charge.
Since 2014, Faezuddin has been working hard to ensure gender equality, reduce inequality, ensure quality education, create decent work opportunities, empower women and develop agriculture throughout his career. Faezuddin helped found the ‘Girls’ Summit’, – a network of girls in marginalised and climate change-torn areas developing their soft skills and leadership qualities. Through this project, he has worked with 600 girls from 30 different wards of Barisal. He also created the ‘Avoy app’, which helps girls know their rights and connect to the nearest police station to ensure the safety of women and girls in public places in an emergency, so far reaching more than half-million women and girls.
Benita is a young visionary and a budding environmentalist focusing on three Rs. In an era where waste is a significant issue, she strives to promote a sustainable lifestyle. For 3 years she led a team of eco-warriors to keep track of water and energy usage and took measures to significantly reduce the usage within the school premises and community. On World Food Day, she organised events to educate students and staff about the food they ate and avoid food wastage, and she has initiated campaigns to promote organic farming, zero-waste projects, and reducing plastic and e-waste pollution.
Parv Bhadra has been an animal lover since his childhood. Realising the sorry plight of abandoned and stray pets, he set about creating a positive change in the lives of unloved animals who are at times, in terrible conditions of desert heat, without food and shelter. For three years now, Parv has been actively involved in animal welfare on multiple fronts such as assisting ‘Animals and Us Fujairah’, an animal rescue and care facility, developing their online portal to ease adoption and fostering processes and setting-up a student-led initiative ‘Pawsitive’, to create awareness and mobilise support from school children.
On a routine trip to the salon for a haircut, Jovita was intrigued with a hairdresser neatly packing the chopped hair, that is when she learnt about how our hair can be used to create wigs for chemotherapy patients. The more she researched the pains of being a cancer patient, she became aware of breast cancer and how early detection can save lives, as well as the stigma and isolation many patients face. Jovita donated her hair in 2020 and went on to inspire 33 others to do the same with a hair donation drive, while raising awareness in her community.
Iqra started her journey of volunteerism at the age of 8 by doing small projects in her school. Now a mental health activist, she has built a listeners society called ‘TALK’ (Time Attention Listening Knowing) to listen to those who need mental health support. ‘TALK’ is Pakistan’s first listeners’ society providing listening support to people, with over 50 fully trained listeners serving the community. She has also played leading roles in more than 15 National and International Organisations on the SDGs and conducted more than 100 youth engagement sessions during the pandemic including virtual gatherings, meetups, events, workshops, and awareness sessions to promote the positive use of social media.
Hajar’s involvement with ‘International Pharmaceutical Students’ Federation’ (IPSF) began four years ago. Now as Chairperson of the Eastern Mediterranean Region, she uses her influence to create opportunities for others, such as through the ‘Skill-Up’ programme for pharmacy students where participants are introduced to debate, diplomacy, body language, and entrepreneurship. Hajar founded the ‘Great Debaters FMPC’ club helping over 250 students feel more empowered and confident to speak at high-level meetings, congresses and scientific conferences. Hajar has also trained hundreds of people aged 13–30, spearheaded several public health advocacy campaigns, and last year served as the ‘IPSF’ Head of Delegation of the 68th ‘WHO EMRO Regional Committee’.
Tabitha has prided herself on constantly pushing and challenging herself. Parallel to reading Law and International Relations at university, she has founded her own publication, Res Publica, aimed at encouraging discourse and helping young people, particularly those marginalised, to embrace their identity, as she is a strong advocate for women’s rights, LGBTQ+ and racial equality. She has led and orchestrated several panels and conferences and has started her own mentoring program to help students develop and establish useful networks alongside providing opportunities to gain experience for their future careers.
On her 17th birthday, Alexandria was given $100. She used this money to create ‘The Human Projects’ – a global non-profit empowering young leaders to solve human rights issues in their own communities and providing human rights education to individuals around the world. Under her leadership, project has grown to over 1.6 million programme participants in 118 countries and has 106 registered clubs in 31 countries developing youth-led grassroots solutions to community human rights issues. ‘The Human Projects’ has received funding and recognition from organisations including the ‘Jane Goodall Institute’, ‘Ashoka’, and ‘General Motors’.
Hannah sustained a spinal cord injury in a trampoline accident in 2018; her injury means that she now uses a wheelchair part-time. She first met the organisation ‘Back Up’ at a wheelchair skills training session and decided to join the charity’s Youth Advisory Group. Throughout the pandemic, Hannah has helped ‘Back up’ to reach people through blogs, new virtual support, and interactive sessions to adapt to life with spinal cord injury and gain new skills and confidence. On average, only 100 under-18s a year sustain a spinal cord injury in the UK, adding to the need for specific peer-led support, which Hannah has been tirelessly and enthusiastically providing.
Terry has always been passionate about sustainability. However, he soon realised that in China, though many other students shared this love for the environment, they did not have the skills or the opportunity to engage with its protection in a meaningful way. Determined to help those around him, he joined ‘Young Sustainable Impact’, a sustainability-focused start-up incubator in 2020, and quickly became the organisation’s youngest-ever director. In the past year, Terry has helped incubate a dozen sustainability-focused, youth-led startups, – from new bio-degradable straws, to non-profits tackling education inequality in rural China – and has spearheaded sustainability-focused community events for youths around the world.
Bethel’s vision has always been to use science and technology to make the world a better place for others. He is the School Lead of ‘LightEd Kids’, a non-profit that provides access to free solar reading lamps to children in rural communities in Nigeria so they can study at night. Beginning in 2021, he has since distributed over 150 lamps to children who study by the light of candles and kerosene lamps. He has also provided renewable energy training for 400 children in three different schools in his community, as well as raised $1,000 to provide locally constructed reading lamps.
In August of 2019, Hwa Lang founded the ‘Orange County Student Law Review’, initially a local law journal dedicated towards emphasising the importance of local legislation. However, since the pandemic, the organisation has taken a global presence, developing an educational curriculum, producing podcasts and YouTube videos, and analysing over thirty-two different nations on its political history. The organisation has paired up with four major educational organisations in Southern California, South Korea, and the Philippines to implement the judicial curriculum. Not losing touch with its original roots though, the review has distributed its printed journals at numerous community venues throughout Orange County.
Pear is the founder and leader of ‘HER’, a youth-led organisation providing period products, menstrual hygiene education, healthcare, and employment to underserved communities. ‘HER’ has impacted over 800 menstruators in Thailand ages 10–50 in the past year alone. With a network of approximately 12,000 students in Thailand and the United States, ‘HER’ garnered more than 30,000 THB in ongoing donations in the first week of fundraising – enough to produce at least 120 reusable pads. To sew the pads, Pear employs formerly incarcerated women – a group that experiences greater period poverty and stigma – offering training to build their skillsets for employability, and provide them with job opportunities.
Anusha, aside from being a successful entrepreneur, has been working tirelessly to promote mental health and wellbeing through her organisation. Her journey in the field of mental health started when she lost her best friend to suicide. Watching young individuals suffering from mental illness, she co-founded ‘Let’s Talk Mental Health’ to normalise the discussion of volatile mental states. More than 37,000 people around the world have benefited from the organisation’s safe environment, where they can express themselves without fear of being judged. With her self-funded ‘Bringing Smiles’ campaign, she has also ensured the mental wellbeing of 12,000 young people across Bangladesh.
Lanai, a student nurse, is helping protect young people in her community through her work with various organisations, such as the #iwill movement and ‘UK Youth’ with their #YoungandBlack campaign, helping to build their recourse to raise the voices of black youth. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic she volunteered for ‘Volunteering Matters’, leading weekly calls with a primary-aged youth social action team on internet safety, diversity, and inclusion. She was also funded by the Suffolk Police Crime Commissioner to take part in the ‘Rotary Youth Leadership Awards’ in an intensive week-long camp.
Chanel has taken a sensitive issue – exposing pervasive misogynistic attitudes and behaviours within Australian schools through more than 6,700 testimonies from women and girls who have been sexually assaulted by men and boys – and used her voice to improve sexual education around consent, breaking cultures of silence around sexual harassment, abuse and rape culture. Her vision has created a fundamental shift in the mindset of all Australians. She has taken what was seen as a “woman’s problem” and created a solution based on the whole of society taking responsibility. Because of Chanel’s work over the past 14 months, Australia’s politicians have unanimously committed to mandate holistic, age-appropriate sex education in every Australian school, commencing in 2023.
Mya-Rose is passionate about halting biodiversity loss and climate change whilst fighting for indigenous peoples and global climate justice. She uses her love of nature to improve the lives of the most marginalised communities by fighting for equal access to nature with its health benefits and reducing the educational attainment gap by empowering young people. Mya-Rose has faced racism and islamophobia since a young age, and has been a young carer since she was 8 years old. Despite all this, she founded ‘Black2Nature’ in 2016, organising nature camps and events for marginalised children, as well as educating through campaigning, consultancy, training, and media work.
In 2019, Adhi Daiv raised funds to provide water wheels to Rajasthani rural women who had to walk miles every day to fetch water. It was a good temporary fix but Adhi, originally from a farming community himself, needed a sustainable solution. He met with farmers, local leaders and elders to devise a unique afforestation model that recharges the ever-depleting groundwater table by planting native trees, preventing soil degradation and enhancing biodiversity. Adhi’s initiative has ensured the plantation of more than 2,200 trees with a survival rate of 95% across 5.2 million sq. feet of arid land. This has effectively saved 725,000 liters of water, enough for 10,357 households per day.
Hailing from a drought-prone area of Maharashtra, Sanskruti understood the problem of declining groundwater. Over the course of three years, Sanskruti and her team of 25 other girls started spreading awareness and generating volunteers to build water management infrastructure like trenches, rainwater harvesting systems and drip irrigation. At first, it was not easy; people didn’t believe girls should or could do the kinds of work they were promoting, and they faced opposition and discrimination from all sides. But following a heavy rainfall, the resources she and her team had built started to work, and the tide began to turn – for both water management and attitudes towards women and girls in her community.
Dev was a high school student when the COVID-19 lockdown was imposed in India. It was then that he started a home kitchen to provide meals to street children, and mobilised over 300 other students cook meals at their homes during the pandemic. Together they provided over 135,000 meals to the underprivileged children on the streets of Mumbai. Rather than simply providing bland, high-volume foods, Dev inspired his co-volunteers to make meals that they would want themselves. Despite the limitations of lockdown, Dev and his friends were making pizzas, noodles, burgers, burritos, nachos, cupcakes, and what not – much to the delight of the children receiving them.
Krusha’s organisation, ‘Elysian’, has launched numerous activities based on the UN Sustainable Development Goal of Clean Water. She realised that realise that access to clean water is not the only half the solution, and proper sanitation is the crucial other half. Krusha linked up with an NGO called ‘Tejaswini Sanskriti Dham’ and recruited 100 people to provide access to clean water to the villagers of Wasurna by helping construct a well. Since completing the project she has begun several new endeavours, including building more wells in unmapped parts of India and campaigning alongside the Government of India to improve public sanitation.
Two years ago, Nikita founded ‘Youth for Animals’, a non-profit, fighting against animal captivity and promoting animal rights. Recently, Nikita visited a lawyer and played a video clip of Shankar, an African elephant in the Delhi Zoo. The Indian government banned the exhibition of elephants in zoos back in 2009, but this is rarely enforced. Nikita is working to change that; she was determined to free Shankar and wanted to go to court. The court ordered the zoo and the Indian government to present solutions for Shankar. Nikita’s campaign has received worldwide support, and she is effectively using her campaign to free one elephant as a megaphone to promote the need for all animal rights.
Brielle became passionate about the mission of the ‘Be A Friend Project’ after being cast in the anti-bullying, middle school show, “IT’S EASY! The Friend Strong Musical” in New York. Having experienced bullying herself, the show’s message taught her that everyone has the power to be part of the solution to end bullying. The ‘Be a Friend Project’ is an organisation of “Upstanders” bringing hope back to victims of bullying and building kinder communities. As a founding member of the ‘BAFP Teen Kindness-In-Action Board’, Brielle, now 16, shares her passion and experience on a global platform though hosting webinars to students ready to make a difference.
At just 11 years old, Ben is making an incredible effort to help people. Through two fundraising campaigns, Ben has raised money and awareness to help terminally ill children, and feed disadvantaged children and adults throughout the UK. In February 2021, Ben ran a mile a day for 26 days, raising over £7,300 for the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice. Then in March 2022, Ben started a 10-day, 64-mile trek, from Larne to Old Trafford. His target was to provide 50,000 meals through the food poverty charity ‘Fareshare’. After smashing his target in just six days, Ben raised his ambitions and provided 115,000 meals while raising awareness for food poverty in the UK.
Carson has been involved in causes relating to innocence and criminal justice reform since high school. As the vice chair and co-founder of the ‘Liberation Foundation’, she is dedicated to creating a more compassionate justice system in the U.S. by bringing wrongfully convicted people home and assisting with their re-entry process. In just over two years with the ‘Liberation Foundation’, Carson has built a strong team, developed a successful re-entry programme, and most importantly, helped to free their first client, who was released in 2021 after 24 years in prison. She has since worked to assist him with finding employment, securing his government papers, and securing an apartment.
Derin has always wanted to “be the change”, but after realising that she had to be over 18 to contribute to an NGO, she took matters into her own hands and set up her own. As the founder of Turkey’s biggest NGO for high schoolers ‘Liseli Gonulluler’; Derin has brought together 3500+ students who, regardless of their age, can participate in social responsibility projects, contribute to the 17 sustainable development goals, create change, and build on this platform where they can all create a positive impact on a common agenda.
At 19, Kess Eruteya founded ‘InclusionZ‘ – an e-learning platform that is helping more than 10,000 young professionals in over 20 countries gain the professional skills they need to thrive. She has spent countless hours creating educational programmes, mentoring sessions, events and corporate partnerships that will allow young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to succeed in the workplace and beyond. Outside of ‘InclusionZ‘, Kess volunteers with CodeYourFuture, a non-profit helping to provide coding courses to refugees and asylum seekers. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (FRSA), where she campaigns to promote education and gender equality.
Inspired by her non-verbal brother Lucus, Isabella started creating videos to provide a fun and engaging way to communicate. Her video channel, ‘Isabella Signs’, quickly gained followers, with many families, children and young adults tuning in to learn Makaton sign language with Isabella and Lucus. Isabella works daily to give her brother Lucus a voice online, and she has been able to provide many families with inclusive content that brings digital joy to children who need to be seen and heard. As well as being an ambassador for ‘Merlin’s Magic Wand’, Isabella is also a UK youth representative for ‘NATO’.
Lee is a second-year medical student at Imperial College, but spends much of his time as the director of mentorship for the organisation ‘In2Medschool’. Lee became involved as a volunteer because he wanted to level the playing field for aspiring medics, and has dedicated countless evenings and weekends to the charity since its inception 18 months ago. Having originally joined as a mentor, Lee is now the director of mentorship in England; he coordinates mentorship programmes across all medical schools in England, matching mentors to disadvantaged children aspiring to study medicine at university. To date, the scheme has matched 1,800 underprivileged 16 to 18-year-olds with their free mentor.
Antonio spends most of the time when he is not studying advocating and campaigning for change within the mental health sector. As a young black male with schizophrenia and EUPD, Antonio has experienced first-hand the systemic inequalities that lie within the UK’s mental health service. Throughout the year Antonio has consulted – for free – with the production team and cast of Eastenders on their schizophrenia storyline to ensure accuracy that ultimately prompted a rise in national understanding and empathy of the illness. He has also spearheaded multiple campaigns, including his anti-racism campaign that single-handedly held senior leaders in the mental health sector to account for their anti-racist promises.
In 2018 when visiting an underprivileged school in Kenya, Khushi asked “Why do these kids not have any storybooks to read? Where is their library?”. Upon learning her privilege, Khushi set up a book donation initiative ‘Old Books for New Eyes’ in 2019. The project entails collecting used storybooks in UAE which are then used to set up libraries in underprivileged schools in Kenya. From humble beginnings with 500 books collected in June 2019, it has rapidly grown to over 100,000 books, with 30 schools donating, and 60 libraries set up in areas of Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania impacting the literacy of more than 40,000 students.
When the pandemic hit India in April 2020, 17-year-old Ayush worked with over 5,000 doctors to take care of their wellbeing. He organised online events, games and musical nights to de-stress doctors fighting on the frontline and carried out fundraisers to provide 2,500 PPE-kits to hospitals. In 2021, Ayush collected data from 200+ healthcare workers and using established psychometric tools, wrote a research paper that assessed the levels of anxiety, stress, depression, and coping mechanisms of healthcare workers prior to and during the pandemic. This provided substantial evidence and awareness for the problem that he is working to solve.
Natasha is committed to social change across several fields, including climate justice, eliminating gender-based violence, access to education and access to legal justice. She was selected by ‘Humanitarian Affairs Asia’ to take on the role of Chair of the ‘Green Summit Youth Steering Committee’. She is leading a team of young people to gather passionate green advocates from around the world to attend the Green Summit – a youth climate conference to be held at the United Nations in Bangkok in December 2022. Over four days, 1,000 young delegates will learn from keynote speakers, join green workshops, and participate in a day of sustainable volunteering across Thailand.
The seed for ‘Apart But Not Alone’ was planted when Aayush was eleven years old. That is when his family introduced him to mindfulness practices to help him grapple with school-related anxiety. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Aayush and his younger sister co-founded the non-profit to provide a free online platform to practice mindfulness led by certified industry leaders. Their workshops have been attended by over 2,400 people across Europe, Asia, and the US. Aayush also developed a ‘Care for Caregivers’ programme to provide mental health support for essential workers who put the safety and needs of others before themselves during the pandemic.
For a school assignment, Prakhar interviewed an NGO founder, who pointed at a Coke bottle in his bag and explained that the money spent on that bottle could feed a child. This inspired Prakhar to start ‘The Bombay Food Project’, which has blossomed into an organisation that has fed 55,000 underprivileged people and provided education to slum-dwelling children. Separately, while watching the news, Prakhar realised that panic had induced misinformation regarding COVID resources in India. He designed a website to provide verified information daily regarding COVID-related medical necessities in Mumbai, which he expanded to cover other cities, helping 22,000 users.
Anahita joined ‘The Period Society’ motivated by personally experiencing the menstrual taboo and first hand, witnessing the impact of period poverty on the lives of women and girls. Now head chapter coordinator at ‘The Period Society’, Anahita mobilises 500+ young people all over India to end the stigma surrounding menstruation. ‘The Period Society’ is India’s largest organisation in the field of menstrual and reproductive health, and Anahita is directly involved in all operations, including onboarding new chapters, and individually connecting with an extensive network to help plan events to benefit local underprivileged communities with menstrual health education and free period products.
While working with NGOs, Vinay met many disabled children who were not being provided with proper education. Being disabled himself, he was moved to raise funds and announced his ambitions of providing quality education to disabled children. He then organised various fundraisers and awareness campaigns, as well as motivating corporate donors to contribute meaningfully and raised around $10,000 in six months. Vinay also decided to create a platform where people are not defined by their disability and can gain equal access to career opportunities. He co-founded ‘The Advantage India’ and works personally with disabled people to help them with resume writing, interviewing and career development.
In 2020, Isabella had the idea for ‘Sask Girls United’ after discovering there weren’t any virtual opportunities in Saskatchewan for girls to gain important life and career skills. Since then, she has pioneered the path for over 700 members, providing educational sessions and mentorship opportunities for girls ages 8-14. Over 31% of participants are Indigenous, which is crucial for reconciliation efforts as Indigenous women and girls are disproportionately underrepresented in leadership roles and education opportunities. All programming is completely free to the participants, ensuring all girls have access to programmes including mental health, empowerment, confidence, leadership, global citizenship, goal setting, social media awareness, STEM, and healthy relationships.
In 2015, when Akriti was 17, her father’s treatment for cancer started. She soon realised that there was a lack of awareness about cancer in India, and began campaigning towards cancer education and early detection, focusing on behaviour change. Mobilising over 100 youth volunteers, the campaigns were organised in colleges, schools, offices, and rural areas, cumulatively educating over 100,000 people in partnership with more than 70 organisations. Along with her mother, Akriti also designed a textile-based breast prosthesis which is distributed free to needy breast cancer patients across India. In 2020, she started a social enterprise ‘Canfem’, where she has developed a platform to enable cancer patients to live their life with dignity.
At the age of 13, through an exchange program, Mahi visited Japan and stayed with a local family. Mahi wanted to inspire other young kids to expand their horizons and, on her return, started a youth club called ‘World Exploration’ for kids to explore and understand different countries and cultures. Mahi also started a program called ‘English with Friends’ to bring Japanese and American teenagers together and converse in English. The program has already helped 200+ students, by offering Japanese teens a judgment-free zone to practice their English-speaking skills and allowing American teens to get to know someone from across the world.
Sri believes education is a basic right, as it unlocks vast potential, and proved age is not a barrier to philanthropy by taking his first initiation at the age of five, when he donated his toys and books to orphanages and raised funds to educate underprivileged children. Over the years, he has become an experienced counsellor to his peers on topics like child begging and environmental issues and created the project ‘Let Earth Breathe’ to raise awareness amongst his peers and families. He submitted 2000 kg of plastic, 1500 kg of paper, to recycling centers and planted more than 50 plants in India and UAE to save the environment.
Lale and her organisation ‘Speak Out!’, is the first in Turkey to approach women’s rights and empowerment through education. Though many organisations speak up for women, Lale noticed that very few allow them to speak for themselves. ‘Speak Out!’ aims to fix that. Starting as a small platform for young people to share their thoughts on women’s rights, it has since held its first seminar with various women experts in different fields reaching 300 attendees. Helped teach more than 200 girls how to code, and has just recently launched a developmental programme to improve girls’ and women’s leadership, entrepreneur, and project development skills.
Isabella created the ‘I Matter’ programme during the time of social unrest that followed the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Seeing the video of George Floyd’s death, and reading about the killing of Breonna Taylor, changed this 14-year-old’s view of the world and inspired her to take action. The ‘I Matter’ initiative that she created has become an inclusive and powerful platform used by youth around the world to create poetry and art about the important topics of social justice and equality. In addition to the ‘I Matter’ competition, Isabella organises speaking opportunities for the winners and she prints hardcover books of the top entries.
Mariam founded ‘MAYBAL Global Foundation’ at 21, which focused on improving the lives of poor and marginalised people, especially women and children. Through her foundation, she has helped to provide clothing and food to over 5,000 people, promoted the recycling and reusing of clothes. As a volunteer, she has provided menstrual hygiene and sexual and reproductive health education for over 500 young women. During the pandemic, Mariam along with other volunteers launched the #COVID19InMyLanguage campaign, creating videos containing information about COVID-19 in different languages and sharing them online, to ensure that information about the virus and safety measures were accessible to all.
James has been concerned about the environment since he was 8 years old. During the first lockdown in 2020, he co-wrote ‘Changing the Climate’, to encourage people to take action on climate justice, selling over 600 copies in the first few months, including to school libraries and church groups. He gives talks about plastic waste and climate change in his community, and has written letters to newspapers, organisations and even his headteacher about ways to reduce carbon emissions. He personally does what he can to reduce his carbon emissions.
When ten-year-old Oliver heard his dad talking about a sponsored trail running challenge to raise money for the ‘Liam Fairhurst Foundation’, he immediately asked if he could join, because he wanted to help other children. Throughout the month of January, he ran an incredible 120 miles, fitting it between school, football and the day-to-day business of being a 10-year-old boy, raising £2,500 for the foundation. He ran with adults – many of whom did not do as many runs as him – inspiring his fellow runners to dig deep and carry on. Oliver has since organised another event to continue his fundraising and will go on to raise funds for those in need.
When the pandemic shut down schools and summer programs in 2020, Karly saw an urgent need to support students and families. This eventually led her to found ‘Wave Learning Festival’, a non-profit combating long-standing educational inequities in the US. Her online platform makes high-quality educational programmes and resources widely accessible by rallying thousands of college students to provide free, live, daily online tutoring, diverse courses, mentorship and more for low-income K-12 students and schools. In less than two years, her work has served 17,000+ students and 600+ schools. She is dedicated to transforming education and ultimately building a world where every student, regardless of background, is empowered to succeed.
Sulaiman grew up on the Havelock estate in Southall where, for many young people, opportunities are hard to come by. He was determined to improve the odds for young people from less-privileged backgrounds and help them to achieve their potential. In 2019, he founded ‘Team Upside’, a youth-driven community initiative that provides academic and career support, free of charge. With a small team of dedicated committee members and a growing group of volunteers, Sulaiman has provided support to thousands of young people through summer drop-in clinics, online learning schools, an email help desk, and a newsletter.
Shalmali believes in leading with empathy. When she was at school, she saw how one of her friends struggled with depression and realised that many other young people were facing the same problems, but no one was talking about it. This sparked the desire to establish ‘Empathy For You’, to create non-judgmental spaces for mental health conversations and break the taboo. Through ‘E4U’, she has conducted over 250 workshops, community engagement summits and events such as Letters of Empathy, where the community gathers to write letters of kindness and support to people with depression. She has also engaged psychologists to provide online therapy for over 300 people at subsidised rate.
Growing up, Vaishnavi had always been scared to dream of a career in STEM because of the lack of opportunities, mentors and resources for women and girls. As a child of a low-income background and a first-generation student, Vaishnavi is especially drawn to understand the lack of education and inequality experience as a woman. She is a motivated activist driven to promote gender equality and access to education for all. Her non-profit, ‘Salubrious’ has impacted over 50,000 women, by offering educational courses, vocational training, job opportunities and workshops on a range of topics, encouraging all women to explore their potential and pursue their dreams.
Peter Anto’s research and community initiatives have culminated in significant impacts for youth and vulnerable populations across Canada and the world. His graduate research at the ‘Centre for the Studies of Asphyxia & Resuscitation’ validated the use of a smartphone app and readily accessible technologies for more efficient resuscitation of new-born infants, particularly in low-resource and developing countries. As president of ‘RuSH’, Peter Anto collectively raised over $50,000 in 2 years for various causes, including youth homelessness and provision of shelters, disadvantaged and starving families, and the promotion of health, research, and awareness. Through the creation of the ‘Physical Literacy for Active Youth’ programme, Peter Anto has had a regional impact as its founder.
John leverages his work to benefit persons with disability and mental illness. As a driven and independent youth, in 2020 he took initiative to create a COVID-19 youth literacy program that has turned into a $2 million internship. He is also the co-founder of two disability-based social enterprises, ‘Click&Push Accessibility Inc.’ and ‘UMove’, both of which are dedicated towards improving health equity, inclusive social landscapes, and improved standards of medical care. His work with accessible design has won him Canada’s ‘Innovative Design in Accessibility’ competition, the ‘Dr. Gary McPherson Leadership Scholarship’, and the ‘$25K Stephanie Chipeur Accessibility Research Fund’.
Shraman has been a long-time volunteer at local food banks and kitchens. He and his friends collect food from local neighborhoods and deliver them to the food banks. To increase his impact even further, he invented the ‘Foodle system’, that enables communities to donate and collect good and excess food and in real time. Two years ago, he also co-founded the non-profit organisation ‘Community AI’, an organisation is devoted to teaching middle and high school students the basics of data science and machine learning and using those skills to build tools and apps that benefit the environment and the community – like ‘Foodle‘ has for his Shraman’s community.
As president of ‘Nirmaan-BITS Pilani Chapter’, a student-led non-profit initiative in Rajasthan with over 150 volunteers, Rimen has raised more than ₹1.5 million for projects focussing on education, women’s empowerment, healthcare, and nutrition. Her team ensured hundreds of families received food during the pandemic, provided oxygen concentrators, promoted vaccinations, enrolled children in schools and provided livelihoods to rural women. Starting from a volunteer with little experience in leadership, Rimen taught herself the soft and technical skills needed to lead an organisation. Her approach promotes participation and inclusion, encouraging volunteers to bring in and take ownership of new ideas, and consulting with beneficiaries to understand their needs and perspectives.
Leshan is an award-winning youth leader and anti-female genital mutilation activist. He founded ‘Tareto Africa’, a grassroots organisation that advocates against harmful practices in his own Maasai Community in Kenya. His advocacy against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and for better sexual health care and education has directly benefitted around 4,700 girls in different parts of the country, as well as sensitising 1,700 university students and building six steering committees being capacity built to be involved in research and collecting data on FGM. Leshan’s publications have also received national and international accolades, further boosting the campaign to end FGM and inspiring and uniting many young people to advocate against it.
In 2018, Godwin began leading entrepreneurship seminars and workshops in schools throughout his city of Calabar, Nigeria. He was disappointed to learn how few students had a basic awareness of entrepreneurship. He was determined to help teenagers access information and provide opportunities for Nigeria’s 211 million young people. Godwin leads a team of 20 volunteers, and 30 mentors from over 20 countries on four continents. His work has so far impacted over 2,000 young Africans from 10 countries through mentorship, interactive seminars, workshops, and opportunities to develop their talents. He has ambitions to more than double this to reach 5,000 young people by 2025.
Raima has played a pivotal role in making a change in the community by supporting children with disabilities. She works closely with them, mentors and guides them so that they can overcome the challenges with independent learning. To help financially, she makes and sells jewellery, donating the profit to ‘Manzil’ – an organisation that supports disabled students. She is also deeply concerned about climate change, acting to combat climate change by spreading awareness, setting an example and participating in various recycling campaigns and planting drives. She has also been raising funds constantly for the past three years for a variety of causes, amounting to approximately AED 5000/- in total.
In 2016, Alizey established the ‘Ruhil Foundation’ to combat food poverty, delivering 5,500 monthly food parcels and 10,000 meals. She soon realised the multidimensional nature of poverty and felt providing food alone wasn’t enough to break the cycle. She pivoted to also focus on education and shelter, raising over $150,000, as well as financing 200 weddings, distributing 600 sanitary pads, providing 1,100 blankets in winter, disbursing 1,000 interest-free emergency loans and providing monthly stipends to 25 transgender people and widows. She is also helping to provide education to 150 children of sex workers and is an honorary fund-raising director for Begum Inayat Welfare Society, an orphanage which houses 77 children.
Growing up in a male-dominated society and having experienced patriarchal oppression first-hand, Amimul started questioning the discriminatory social norms. Amimul envisions building an equal world free of discrimination and safe for everyone. He is a proud feminist and an ardent advocate for gender equality. He has organised over 30 women’s empowerment workshops, menstrual equity projects, and WASH awareness campaigns, overcoming initial distrust from both men and women in his community to directly benefit more than 2,500 people. He is the Senior Regional Officer of the global non-profit ‘Awareness 360’, where he has been volunteering for the past four years, empowering 500+ young people from over 40 countries.
In 2017 Sonny, then a low-income first-generation college student at the ‘University of Michigan’, founded ‘Paani’ with other Pakistani-American students to build water wells in Pakistan, one of the countries most affected by lack of secure access to clean water. The group has grown from Sonny and his roommate Arhum selling donuts on campus to fund ‘Paani’s’ first well, to raising over $3.1 million from over 20,000 donors to build over 9,300 water wells that serve more than 732,500 villagers. ‘Paani’ has also donated $500,000 in medical supplies to COVID-19 clinics, distributed over 1 million meals, and built schools for refugees while galvanising thousands of youths globally through community-based awareness.
Amir has been working in underprivileged areas of Pakistan, where he has provided food to 700 families during the pandemic, installed water pumps in arid regions, and risked his life during lockdown to provide sewing machines to underprivileged women, enabling them to earn a sustainable livelihood. He also opened two free schools to provide education, food, books and uniforms for children living in slum areas, even in the face of opposition and threats to his personal safety from people who did not want the school built. Despite this, he remains committed to supporting his community and inspiring others to do the same.
Grace founded ‘The Mini Moon Project’ in 2019 when she discovered a friend of hers had to resort to taking sanitary pads from their church because the orphanage where she lived couldn’t provide enough to go around. ‘The Mini Moon Project’ works through advocacy and action – by advocating and fundraising for the cause, Grace then takes action to purchase menstrual kits to distribute to orphanages and educate young girls about their own bodies and menstruation. As of 2022, she has supported over a thousand girls with menstrual kits in six countries: South Korea, South Africa, Kenya, Thailand, Laos, and India, and distributed 3,000 packs of educational materials.
Justin grew up in Hong Kong, a hub of economic migration. Having befriended domestic workers and refugees, he was appalled to learn about the inequities, often based on race and class, that many of his friends faced. Justin founded ‘Kick Action HK’, and has created numerous programs in sports, debate, and technology to build skills and confidence for domestic workers, refugees, and under-resourced students. He goes even further by challenging the underlying systems that disempower and devalue individuals by creating platforms where everyone, especially those benefiting from structural inequality, can engage in important socio-political discourse.
After realising that traditional banking excluded impoverished women by denying them loans due to a lack of financial resources, Gobhanu wanted to offer an alternative. At just 14 years old, and despite being underestimated by many of the adults around him, he launched ‘SWIFT’ (Sustaining Women in Financial Turmoil), a micro-financial NGO to offer funds and loans for women in poor and marginalised communities. The vast majority of loans are used to help female entrepreneurs establish a sustainable business to help them become financially independent. Through his work, Gobhanu has been able to offer microfinance funding to over 1,200 women in 71 countries to date.
Atyantika founded ‘The Red Lotus’ to advocate for sustainable menstruation, after witnessing the dangers sanitation workers faced due to the improper disposal of menstrual waste – often having to sort through waste by hand. Atyantika developed the मैं (“me” in Hindi) packet that prevents the spillage of menstrual waste, is biodegradable, and prevents disease and infections for sanitation workers. To date, ‘The Red Lotus’ has distributed 4,000 packets to more than 1,000 menstruators across 10 Indian states. A third of the funds raised from drives in privileged areas go to support sanitation workers, while the rest funds the free distribution of packets in rural areas and orphanages.
The water supply in Vedant’s small town in arid southwest India has been dwindling to nothing, and he is determined to do something about it. In less than three years, he helped organise more than 50 Model UN Conferences, partnering with dozens of NGOs, and empowering over 6,500 young people each year. He mentors and connects thousands of youths with UN officials. He was appointed by ‘UNFCCC’ youth constituency as head of the delegation for the ‘UN COP26’ and delivered the ‘Global Youth Statement’: 77-page climate policy recommendations, encompassing 47,000+ youth voices from across 140 countries, of which several were adopted at the COP26 and formulated in the Glasgow climate pact.
Shivansh’s involvement with the field of linguistics began in 2020 after witnessing his recently deafened grandfather struggle to communicate with him over video calling apps such as Zoom, because of their inability to provide live speech captioning in Indian languages, Shivansh became aware of the way technology could exclude vulnerable communities, and he was devoted to changing that. Shivansh created ‘Lingocap‘, a video communication portal for hearing-impaired and speech-impaired people using live speech captioning and ISL translation. Since then, the platform has garnered over 7000 users which includes hearing-impaired students, employees, and their friends and family.
Aged only 9, Milan was awarded the ‘British Citizen Award 2021’ for charitable fundraising to support children and families most affected by COVID-19. During the first lockdown, he read 50 books in 3 months and was inspired to join the ‘National Literacy Trust’, where for ten days he cycled 50 laps of the University of Bolton Stadium. Milan completed another challenge in 2021 which involved 5 days of hiking, cycling and skiing. He wrote and self-published his own book, ‘Covid Christmas Parade’, with all proceeds going to the charity, and was congratulated by the Prime Minister. He also took part in the ‘My Dear New Friend’ scheme, supporting 15 care home residents to help combat isolation and loneliness.
In recent years, the isolation and pressures of the pandemic have exacerbated gender-based violence and economic vulnerability for women and girls. As a young woman who has witnessed the devastating impact of gender-based violence, Imane founded ‘Concealed Narratives’ – a local youth-led initiative using storytelling and digital advocacy to raise awareness around gender-based violence, promote mental, sexual, and reproductive health and rights, empower women and girls, and amplify marginalised voices in Morocco. Since its launch a year ago, ‘Concealed Narratives’ has reached 7,500 women and girls through various social media campaigns and events that serve as safe spaces for women and girls.
Moiz has competed at the national/international level in various forms of martial arts. After winning the ‘Global Impact Challenge’ and being presented the award by the representative of the UN Secretary-General, he was awarded seed funding and mentorship to implement ‘Ninja Girls’. ‘Ninja Girls’ is a non-profit which empowers women and girls by teaching them self-defence techniques they can use to defend themselves in emergency situations, combatting the issue of sexual/physical abuse. Moiz has been invited to speak at the World Innovation Summit for Education, and the Youth Assembly on international advocacy and policy development, youth impact, and social entrepreneurship.
Amanda’s work focuses on two of her passions and talents: music and medicine. During the pandemic, Amanda returned to Hong Kong to be with her family. She thought of children in local orphanages who would be struggling even more due to further limitations and isolation. Remembering how she had used music as a form of escapism in the past, she co-founded ‘Music for Youths’ to provide free music lessons and instruments taught online by a community of professional volunteer music teachers. Amanda’s interest in the medical field led to the creation of ‘Fresh Dose’ to share information about medical advances, volunteering opportunities and events, growing to include a podcast and over 1,100 community members.
In the ‘Ithink Human Library’, “readers” listen to the stories of “human books”. As one of its directors, Zhimin led 10 human book-lending activities in 10 communities, directly affecting more than 200 people. Through a 45-minute face-to-face conversation, these events build a platform for readers and human books to communicate with each other. People have the opportunity to have a face-to-face in-depth discussion on topics like different beliefs, lifestyles and living environments, to listen sincerely, cultivate empathy and try to break down prejudice, as well as connect with marginalised groups such as disabled people or LGBTQ+.
In 2020, Jean founded ‘Leaders Across the World’ (LATW) to democratise the study abroad experience and make it accessible to youth worldwide. As a first-generation immigrant from Taiwan, Jean understood the importance of understanding diversity and other cultures. Her goal was to allow everyone to have the opportunity to gain cross-cultural knowledge and develop their global understanding no matter their financial or ethnic background. After committing hundreds of hours to establish ‘LATW’, Jean has provided the exchange experience at no cost to 400+ young people ages 11-18 from over 45 countries.
Dejea has dedicated herself to working for a better future for her home, the Cayman Islands. As a leader of ‘Protect Our Future’, a youth-led environmental organisation with members from schools across the Cayman Islands, Dejea is changing how young people are taking action in their communities. Her campaigns have helped bring policy forward regarding the banning of single-use plastics and have halted the construction of a marine port in Georgetown harbour. In 2021, Dejea was invited to represent the Caribbean as the youth speaker for the region at ‘COP26’ in Glasgow. Dejea used this platform to demand action for a sustainable future for the next generation of Caribbean youth.
Aditya has a strong belief in the power of youth leadership and in 2017 he founded ‘The Alpha Urbane Project’ to provide young people with a platform to develop their leadership skills and their own social action projects. Over the last five years, Aditya has continuously developed this platform and it has now reached over 15000 students in India. He has also organised clean up drives on the banks of the Mithi river in Mumbai, voter awareness campaigns, the #QuarantinedButNotConfined campaign, a free leadership development program for students, and crowdfunding over Indian rupee INR 15 crore (£1.5 million) for a COVID-19 relief fund.
Shyam learnt about environmental issues and sustainable living from school teachers and documentaries. His passion started when he saw his sister’s work in recycling and was inspired to recycle materials through school programs, ‘Aster Volunteer’ and ‘EEG’. During neighbourhood campaigns, he prepared handmade flyers requesting people to support his recycling drive and PowerPoint presentations to educate the community on how plastics enter the ocean, circulate in our ecosystem and affect life on earth. Among other charitable works, Shyam volunteered in the ‘FAB expo’, 2021 and invented the Rattack device, to detect and warn rodent attack in non-ambulatory hospital patients in India.
Christina works closely with the non-profit organisation, ‘Green Globe’, where she engages in charitable and social awareness campaigns. Christina’s charity-drives and creative contributions have supported the lives of many. She has packed and distributed 1600 meals and assisted in contributing to the basic needs of refugees to support the emergency appeal in Ukraine, and supported cancer patients by donating toys and music through ‘Locks of Hope’ and ‘Color My World’ campaigns. Her responsibility towards a sustainable environment has made her an active environmentalist, whereby she has supported in clean-ups, planting, and environmental innovations. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Christina also supported students by reading to them and distributing self-written COVID-19 awareness books.
Ellie has campaigned for change in Northern Ireland on the issue of Period Dignity since 2018. Her initial research confirmed the challenge that Period Poverty presents to girls around the world, but further investigation led her to the realisation that a lack of period products is also a problem in Northern Ireland. From undertaking research, finding support for her cause, writing letters to policy-makers and eventually using her voice to deliver a presentation directly to the Minster with responsibility for enacting change, Ellie has worked tirelessly on her campaign and is now part of a steering group which is delivering Period Dignity in schools.
Cidney has been volunteering since the age of 11, first getting involved in social action when she signed up to do 50 hours of volunteering to gain her Yoni Jesner Award. She led youth services at her local synagogue for young people aged 7-11 and became a volunteer teaching assistant with young people at her dance school. Cidney is passionate about making a difference to the lives of young people and inspiring them to take part in social action and volunteering. She is still volunteering herself, playing a key role in helping young Jewish people access opportunities and programmes, as well as in providing and running these provisions.
Since just 13, Shaheim has been an activist at ‘Integrate UK’, helping work towards gender and racial equality and cross-cultural cohesion. He is a dedicated outreach worker, ambassador, and Junior Trustee, instrumental in shaping much of charity’s educational media resources tackling wide-ranging issues from gang culture to feminism, to Pride. He’s also a freelance journalist for Bristol 24/7 and Rife Magazine, writing on racism, toxic masculinity, and the climate crisis. Through his work, Shaheim has gained confidence in speaking publicly about his struggles, his art and his activism. He aims to continue doing this work and one day open up his own charity, supporting young people of colour.
From a young age, Hasti has been driven by passion and purpose. At 15, she started an NGO in her hometown, Bhavnagar. In her first initiative, she mobilised over 100 community volunteers of all ages to plant and nurture tree saplings in the courtyard of a church. Since then, she has been actively advocating, fundraising, conducting, and managing tree planting and nurturing drives in India, France, and United Kingdom. Most recently, Hasti led a team of 20 university volunteers at a high-level meeting on carbon-negative food systems hosted by the ‘Global Alliance for a Sustainable Planet’ at ‘COP26’ in Glasgow.
Oluwaseyi is a passionate and proactive environmentalist based in Nigeria, educating the next generation of young leaders about climate action, and helping them build the knowledge and skills they need to take action on the environment. Since co-founding ‘U-recycle Initiative Africa’, Oluwaseyi has engaged over 7,000 young people across 11 countries, helping to promote a circular economy model and tackling pollution and waste at the root- the mind. In 2021, they launched an unconventional fellowship with the support of the ‘National Geographic Society’, which scaled their environmental and youth development projects across seven states in Nigeria enlightening thousands of teens.
Mariam is a young Palestinian refugee living in Lebanon. Despite the challenges of life as a refugee, at age 19, Mariam founded her own initiative, ‘Alam W Mahay’, to erase illiteracy among street children in Lebanon and to introduce volunteerism among young people to help enhance their skills. Mariam has mentored over 3,200 youths, internationally, on various platforms and programmes. She provides training sessions such as time management, public speaking, storytelling, and project planning – all skills she believes are essential for developing leaders. Mariam also gives motivational and inspirational talks, long-term mentorship, and capacity-building workshops.
Elina is truly passionate about ensuring that every child has access to a well-rounded education. With the onset of the pandemic, in 2020, Elina set out to fulfil her goal, beginning by tutoring one child in public speaking. The venture grew as she urged her friends to contribute and, together, they built partnerships with many NGOs and government schools. From that first tutoring session, the initiative has since snowballed into tutoring for more than 85 students by a group of 25 skilled student mentors. With her efforts, the students she has mentored have participated in more than one public speaking contest over a span of six months.
Maureen grew up in a socially unequal environment in Paraguay, where the priority was always survival, and gifted and talented students didn’t have the opportunity to realise their abilities. Maureen fights for the rights of the invisible gifted children and adolescents in Paraguay through the ‘Aikumby Laboratory’ project. Gathering a team of 12 professionals in education and mental health and training them in talent detection, she and the team assessed 1,220 students in 17 public, private and subsidised schools; 32 were identified as top 10% gifted, while 22 were top 5%, and 14 were top 1%. The team provided feedback and support for them to reach their potential.
Shamim Ahmed Mridha from Bangladesh is the founder of ‘Eco-Network’ – one of the largest youth groups in Global South countries. Through his ‘Climate School’ project, he has organised various workshops and training programs that provided climate education to more than 50,000 youth and kids. He has registered almost 10,000 “climate ambassadors” on his team, and they are using social and print media to spread their messages on climate change and the environment. As well as advocacy, Shamim helps people build resilience to climate disasters. Due to the vulnerability of Bangladesh’s coastal areas to cyclones and floods, he organised a fundraising event that benefited 350 high-risk households.
Michelle and her family live in Kisumu, Kenya, near the shores of Nam Lolwe. She remembers when people played on the beaches and fished in the clear waters. By the time her younger sisters were her age, the waters were murky, and they couldn’t play without getting tangled in garbage. This sparked Michelle’s mission, and with her brother Jeremy, she created the ‘Osiepe Sango Rescue Team’. In the last two years, the pair have hosted community clean-ups along the lake shores; met with leaders, agencies, and organisations to gain support; developed an app to quantify waste; and hosted the Nam Lolwe Youth Summit to galvanise youth support.
Jeremy and his family live in Kisumu, Kenya, within walking distance from the shores of Nam Lolwe. He can’t remember a time when the waters and shorelines of the lake were not choked with litter and plastic waste and, since the age of 12, Jeremy and his sister Michelle have been working to clean up the lake’s polluted shores. In the last two years, the pair has established the ‘Osiepe Sango Rescue Team’, hosting community clean-ups along the lake shores; meeting with leaders, agencies, and organisations to support their work; developing an app to quantify waste; and hosting the Nam Lolwe Youth Summit to galvanise youth support from around the lake.
When Phuc lost his grandma to cancer, he was devastated, but he channelled his grief into research into the disease. He went on to publish seven cancer research papers in national and international scientific journals. He prototyped an early-cancer-detecting toothbrush, discovered a potential drug for late-stage treatments, and founded a data-storing accuracy-enhancing program for breast-cancer-detecting robots. After his experience, Phuc realised the tremendous strength adversity can instil in young people, and founded ‘FITA’ for like-minded teens to share their stories and inspire each other. ‘FITA’ provides updates programmes, scholarships or competitions around the world, as well as providing volunteer opportunities and all the resources members need to start their own organisations and initiatives.
Due to the family’s financial constraints, Tuyet, aged 8, was sent away to live with her grandparents, where she thankfully could continue her education. When she returned, she became the valedictorian at the best school in her province. Tuyet says that education has helped her become financially independent – an opportunity closed to many of her friends. Drawing on her experiences, she has started multiple initiatives to promote affordable education, directly benefiting 500 students and indirectly 80,000 students. These range from free academic tutoring, research training, and professional training in digital skills, as well as funding for educational resources for underprivileged schools.
One of the causes that Nam cares deeply about is mental health. When one of Nam’s friends shared how he experienced suicidal thoughts, Nam began thinking about a way to help other students in a similar situation and partnered with two other students who were also committed to helping college students with stress and anxiety. The team developed a handheld gadget that aids meditation by tracking respiration and heart rate through vibration patterns, coloured light sequences, and peaceful audio for productive meditation sessions. They called device MeditationOrb. Nam also serves as a Crisis Counselor with ‘Crisis Text Line’ and has dedicated more than 200 hours to supporting people in pain.
At 16, Bach is the founder and CEO of ‘Sciencious’, a non-profit that provides innovative STEM programs and resources to underprivileged and under-resourced students worldwide. His non-profit work ranges from providing a dedicated publishing platform for students to conducting online lessons for underprivileged students in Vietnam. The organisation has gathered over 300 volunteers from countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Kuwait, Ethiopia, the USA, the UK, and more, has 15 established chapters in countries such as Australia, India, UAE, New Zealand, Kuwait and the US, and the main publishing website has over 30,000 users as of March 2022.
Manisha Meem Nipun Hijra is a trans youth trainer and human rights activist from the southern part of Bangladesh. She identifies as a trans woman and has been working as the representative of the transgender community in the remote areas of Bangladesh including the hill tracts. In 2019, she started working for ‘Pathchola Foundation’ as a founding member. She provides a variety of programmes and emergency aid that have significantly impacted more than 3,000 transgender/Hijra people. The organisation has also rescued ten transgender individuals from sex work in 2020-2021 and helped them build sustainable livelihood.
Maddison is a Master of Clinical Psychology/ PhD candidate at UNSW and mental health lived experience advocate. Her research focuses on improving the assessment of mental health in young people, particularly Indigenous young people. She is the co-founder of the ‘Orygen Global Youth Mental Health Advocacy Fellowship’, which is an online education and mentoring programme for youth advocates globally, and Project Officer of an Indigenous mentoring program. For her work in mental health, Maddison was the first person from Oceania to win Dalai Lama Peace Fellowship and was named in the top 100 most influential women in Australia.
Goodness is dedicated to shaping her community positively through advocacy, research and interventions on health systems strengthening, gender equality and young people’s development. She currently volunteers with ‘Global Health Focus Africa’ as the Lead for Women in Leadership, mentoring more than 50 young women in leadership, research writing and publications in international peer-reviewed journals. Goodness has also been actively working to bridge the health equity gap in Africa in developing the first-ever youth-friendly sexual reproductive health and rights policy in the country. This will ensure that over a million young people in the region will have their rights and needs met without limitations.
Gabriel is changing the narrative through journalism and research. He is interested in health systems strengthening, health communications, thought leadership and health advocacy. He wishes to see an African continent where everyone can access and afford healthcare services and has written over 30 peer-reviewed health articles and blogs to that end. He is the Founder of ‘MedLabConvo‘, a community of young medical students and professionals supporting over 2,000 students’ and young healthcare professionals’ development to strengthen future human resources for healthcare. Through the programme, he has also reached another 2,000 secondary school Nigerian through its career day initiatives.
Ever since Irfan joined the ‘Team Iftar Initiative’. He and a few friends and family have been distributing over 1,000 free Iftar food kits to blue collar laborers for the 30 days of the month of Ramadan, totalling 240,000 food kits over the last eight years. In January 2022, they adapted this model to pack and distribute sanitation kits to help protect against COVID-19. Irfan also founded the ‘Balakauthukam Teens Club’, a community club for teens all over the city to come together, share their ideas, learn and improve themselves. They organised several events, chess competitions, dialogues and workshops on subjects like the importance of volunteering and achieving your goals.
Kwame is a trainee pharmacist and social activist who has been recognised for his works in mental health advocacy using his social media platform and talks at online conferences. He was also a frontline healthcare worker who continued to serve his community throughout the pandemic. Through his advocacy work, he shares his personal experience with depression and the measures he has been taking to maintain a positive mental health after his recovery. His tenure as the chairman of the Enfield Youth Parliament in 2013 enabled him to champion for positive causes later when he was elected as the President of the Afro-Caribbean Society (ACS) at his university.
Arsh began painting at the age of 8, and when he started accompanying his mother to her work in nursing home, he realised that many residents were lonely and in pain, and just talking to them, playing games brought a smile to their faces. He has taught many others to paint, from children to older adults in nursing homes. He sells his paintings and donates to charitable causes and has raised more than $15,000 in 4 years for organisations such as ‘St. Jude Research Hospital’, ‘Easter Seals’ and ‘Make a Wish Foundation’. His aim to is provide healing through art.
The COVID-19 pandemic saw increasing mortality rates in rural villages in India due to lack of nearby medical care. Ramya Paladugu’s project, ‘health4all’, aims to provide rural areas with access to medical care through establishing telemedicine centres, allowing patients to receive virtual medical attention from local doctors and specialists. So far, Ramya has been able to establish a functioning telemedicine centre in the village Veleru, a village located over an hour from the nearest medical centre, where over 1,000 locals are now able to receive necessary immediate medical care from required specialists.
Priya is the founder and director of ‘Peer Responders’, an organisation that combats depression and suicide through friendship and peer training. She has spent years recruiting a diverse plethora of our nation’s leaders as speakers, including a Harvard Fellow, an ex-prison inmate, an FBI negotiator, a multi-millionaire, Stanford professor, and many more, to teach friends of teenagers how to respond to peer crises. Priya has helped start 15 chapters of ‘Peer Responders’ internationally, created a free online course viewed by over 200 students, been requested as a guest on a panel for suicide prevention, been spotlighted on ‘PyschologyToday.com’, and saved many young people from suicide from her movement of kind, informed training for leaders.
During the pandemic, Shreya noticed her grandmother becoming more and more isolated until, one day, her grandmother shared a letter written to her by a friend, which she read to Shreya every day the following week. Inspired, Shreya took action and started reaching out to local nursing homes, eventually founding ‘Letters Against Isolation’. The organisation has over 18,000 volunteers from 25 countries to write friendly letters to isolated older people. Many volunteers are older people themselves; these volunteers report numerous benefits as writers able to reach out to others, giving their own lives meaning and purpose. To date, the organisation has sent over 300,000 letters to seniors on five continents.
At age 18, Rianna established the ‘Dominica Dementia Foundation’ – a youth led dementia charity in memory of her grandfather. It is the only dementia-focused charity in the Dominica to this day. Through the foundation, she has supported over 500 older people in care homes and reached over 20,000 people through awareness-raising across the Caribbean region, and has raised over £6,000 for dementia causes. Outside of her charity, Rianna gives talks and workshops on youth entrepreneurship, climate change and gender equality, and is currently working with the Government of Dominica to develop a ‘National Plan for Dementia’ for Dominica.
When Sophie started at Bristol University, she faced hostility and prejudice because of her working-class background. In response, she founded ‘The 93% Club’ – a student society dedicated to making university a more inclusive space for state-educated students. It has since grown into a nationwide social mobility charity and a members club for state educated individuals (past and present) that has supported thousands of students at over 50 universities across the country. Despite her peers’ prejudices, Sophie is a leading figure in the social mobility space, and has worked with countless companies, charities, public bodies and education institutions to advance the social mobility agenda and improve the poor state of social mobility in the UK.
Shannon is the Chairperson of the ‘Canadian Federation of Fiji Organizations’, and advocates for youth, mental health awareness, climate change action, and cultural education. Having dedicated 5000+ hours towards volunteer work, she has impacted hundreds of lives both locally and internationally. She runs events and projects that increase youth participation in her community while also organising several charitable fundraising activities to provide aid for marginalised and vulnerable groups. She uses influence to ensure that no young person ever feels as though they do not have someone in their corner and that they are given the resources and opportunities to be able to flourish.
After both of his grandmothers were diagnosed with breast cancer, Sai, at the age of 18, spearheaded the development of South Asia’s first mobile app on breast health, available in English and 11 regional Indian Languages. The app recorded 9000+ downloads within the first month and aims to empower women all over India with accurate information about breast health. Then in 2020, while studying medicine in the UK, Sai recognised a gap in the representation of international medical students like him and founded the ‘BIDA Student Wing’– the very first organisation to represent international medical students studying in the UK.
Dipro’s organisation, ‘DP Tutorials’, is the only educational consultancy in South Asia that provides need-based financial aid to those wishing to enrol in the courses. Dipro has helped more than a thousand lower-income students from Bangladesh, India, and Nepal so that they could pursue their further studies around the world with good scholarships and financial aid. He has charged as low as $1 per month to help students pass SAT and IELTS by providing the best lectures and resources possible. His students have been accepted to over 450 colleges around the world with scholarships that exceed millions of dollars.
Subhadeep started the organisation called ‘Eco Alarmist’ when he was 16 years old to work on environmental conservation. He began by adopting and promoting simple ways to transform how businesses and people can be more ecologically sustainable with a bigger goal to create sustainable cities. They work with food delivery start-ups and street food vendors to curb the use of plastic utensils and cutlery and provide them with cheap, eco-friendly and alternatives made from paper or leaves. Subhadeep initially worked with online videos and later progressed to organising offline campaigns like plantation drives, workshops, sustainable donation drives, as well as food, paper and water wastage campaigns for restaurants.
Growing up in Indian-Occupied Kashmir, Alazne witnessed conflict and social injustice from a young age. Determined to do something about it, she used advocacy as a means of spreading awareness about the suffering happening in her homeland. In 2017, she immigrated to Canada and her continued passion for journalism and politics evolved into the creation of ‘The Written Revolutions’, an internationally-recognised youth journalism platform amplifying student voices through various creative mediums. Through journalism, debate, and poetry, she gives youth a space to share their ideas on global issues, while tackling the age-old notion of ‘you are too young for politics.’
When Anban was 16, he and his classmates were introduced to a higher level of mathematics in which many of his peers struggled. He came up with his own special set of notes and after many painstaking hours of preparation, freely shared his notes with his classmates. Anban believes that with quality education, one could change the world given the opportunity. More recently, his ambitions to make education more accessible for all have grown, and he is now the Head Mentor for the ‘Youth Leaders Programme’, independently leading a team of international young leaders towards youth empowerment and leadership education.
Isha’s vision is to create a greener world through her environmental initiatives. She has held the role of the Ambassador for ‘Green Gratitude’, a student led initiative for the preservation of environment, since the age of 4 and, more recently, school Head of Environment. She is responsible for mobilising volunteers to recycle used paper and reduce the usage of single use plastics. She also launched an ambitious and successful campaign to collect and donate pre-loved books to under-privileged schools who lack libraries in rural India. Currently Isha is working on more projects to set up libraries in North Eastern parts of India for children at the tea plantations.
In 2020, as the pandemic hit, Aswini started ‘Law Rewired’ – a portal aimed at enhancing legal awareness and legal aid amongst the lower-earning members of the society. Simultaneously, she also worked with several organisations and projects towards improving medical access for underprivileged children, promoting menstrual health and hygiene and combatting bullying. Through these initiatives, Aswini founded the first anti-bullying committee for her school, facilitated medical camps that have impacted over 3,800 students aged 5-17, and helped identify and refer 40 individuals requiring immediate medical attention and distributed biodegradable sanitary napkins to around 10,000 women who lacked access to basic menstrual hygiene products.
In 2018, Aanya was accompanying her father to his dialysis sessions, when she was struck by the monochromatic feel in the dialysis centre. In June 2020, Aanya founded ‘Art:Connect’, a student-led initiative connecting the student art community with residents and patients of healthcare centres. Their philosophy is underpinned by the slogan, “Art can, and will, heal the world”. In the last 18 months, the organisation has grown to 40+ volunteers from schools across Singapore, aiming to showcase the immense talent of young people and their art for the good of the community, and leverage the “healing power of art” to help patients and healthcare workers through their most difficult times.
Kanto founded ‘Better Tomorrow’ in 2021, as a global youth organisation that works to give underprivileged young people the opportunity to study in a safe educational environment. Lack of access to adequate facilities and learning materials can lower educational achievement in schools, which is why Kanto launched this program in developing countries, where they renovate schools, provide water and adequate sanitation facilities, and offer resources and materials they need to thrive. Over the last 14 months, ‘Better Tomorrow’ has impacted over 200 lives and empowered over 80 local volunteers through chapters and programs in seven different countries and created a community of 120 changemakers from eight different countries around the world.
Ayan has been an advocate for social change from an early age. He has made a considerable impact in raising funds and developing digital solutions that support underprivileged children, assist senior citizens with everyday tasks, and providing critical resources during the pandemic. His dedication towards the prevention of child abuse and passion towards empowering children led to the formation of ‘Tavishi Children Foundation’. Over the years, he has grown from leading a team of five people, to that of over forty that work to educate children and parents on topics such as anti-bullying, abuse prevention, and gender sensitisation.
Anwisha, founder of ‘Incredible Art’, strives to bring about economic development in local artisan communities. Having identified a core problem among these communities – lack of market access – she was prompted to take action, building an e-commerce platform to bring the market to the artisans. Unfortunately, the pandemic made communicating with the remote artisans impossible, and the platform had to be shut down. Yet she persevered, and learning from this experience, initiated phase two of her project, creating a self-sustaining, teachable, replicable platform to be owned by the artisans themselves. Since then, she has taught her platform to five artisan communities and helped over 1,100 people.
Abijith’s project ‘Amma’, has initiated a sense of responsibility and goodwill in his school through its branches: ‘Warm Love’ – a campaign that aims to ensure that no one prays for warmth by donating clothes, ‘Nature’s Breath’– an initiative that has generated funds to several charities over the years, and ‘A Letter to Tomorrow’– a program that has reduced the usage of newspapers. During the holy month of Ramadan, Abijith has also visited labour camps for the past five years to distribute over 10,000 food packets to labourers so that they are able to break their fast, and over 5,000 labour kits for their safety and hygiene.
Gabrielle believes inequality in computer science education impacts equality in society. Her non-profit, ‘Code Your Chances’, offers free introductory computer science workshops focused on the creative uses of code including AR, VR, game development, visual effects, virtual production and creative uses of AI. The number of women in computer science has declined since the 90s, but the programmes Gabrielle runs for young girls are closing the gap, building confidence and preparing her students for success in the face of prejudice. Last year, Gabrielle expanded ‘Code Your Chances’ to include a Youth Leadership Board, with an international team of young leaders in STEM, many of whom Gabrielle has personally mentored.
When she was nine, Isabela shouldered many of the childcare responsibilities that her single working mother could not, including for her older brother who has cerebral palsy. It meant she couldn’t attend school full time, but instead she got up at 3 am every morning to study independently, investing in extra Spanish lessons, which she then taught to others in her community for free. In admiration for her mother’s strength in raising her and her siblings alone, she and her twin sister decided to honour strong women through campaigns, lectures and workshops on women’s rights, impacting a total of 300 people.
Jacob is passionate about creating a food system that makes it easy for all children and young people to be healthy, no matter who they are or where they live. Currently Vice-Chair of ‘Bite Back 2030’s National Youth Board’, he has played a central role in developing engaging campaigns, working to ensure the voices of other young people are heard by decision-makers, businesses, and the general public. Jacob’s advocacy work has been wide-ranging, from advising a BBC documentary team to giving evidence to government ministers. Whether he’s improving school food or making sports environments healthier, Jacob is changing the way we eat for the better.
Vini’s overarching vision in university has been to empower youth to unlock their full potential and act on their dreams. She was instrumental in organising the first ever international chapter of the ‘Alpha Lambda Delta Honours Society’ at AUS and in doing so helped establish a community of young scholars and connect them with hundreds of other bright students across the USA. She also created a podcast called ‘TeaWithGenZ’ that has thousands of listeners in over 30 countries, helping them to become more comfortable with their vulnerabilities, while providing them with tactile advice on how to overcome the challenges they are facing.
Twelve years ago, Alfredo Lorenzo saw the need for urgent help to solve the lack of quality education and youth empowerment opportunities in his community. Starting back in high school, he taught children from a nearby slums area during the weekends, and his interest in making a positive impact in the community and lives of young people started to grow. As part of the ‘Movers Programme’, he has conducted 40 workshops for over 1,800 young people, aiming to help youth reach their full potential through awareness, knowledge, and meaningful engagement. Seeing the urgent need of fellow physicians, frontliners, and communities, he co-created an initiative providing relief and assistance during the start of the pandemic.
Ramna was brought up in a male-dominated society, where she has seen women suffering under patriarchal oppression inside and outside their homes. After seeing a documentary on the honour killing of a girl from her city in 2016, she dedicated herself to pursuing a career in media and journalism to give a voice to the voiceless. As well as shining a light on the issues, she has also set up mentoring sessions for the victims and survivors of domestic abuse and bullying and helped create safe spaces for girls and women in her community to speak about sexual harassment and bullying they experience on a day-to-day basis.
For over a year now, Ziya has conducted and organised nearly 400 activities at ‘Adore India’, a network of students and professionals that volunteer to create positive societal change in India. Her volunteering journey has included sessions for school students, workshops and webinars for college students besides several other initiatives like ‘Down-to-Earth’ and ‘Young Leaders Program’. From career development webinars to yoga workshops to arts and crafts sessions, Ziya is helping to create a positive impact on young people, enabling them to learn, grow and improve their knowledge and skills for better personal, professional, physical and mental wellbeing.
In the summer of 2015, during Zain’s family vacation, he met one of his distant uncles for the very first time. He was shocked to learn that his uncle was paralyzed, unable to even use a spoon. Since then, Zain has strived to make robotics rehabilitation more affordable and accessible for paralysed patients. He started his initiative, ExoHeal at the age of 16 and has since helped more than 50 patients have faster rehabilitation and has enabled over 100 patients to feel empowered. In addition, Zain is an avid advocate for mental health, now developing a platform to eliminate loneliness.
Rafa has always been passionate about women’s and children’s rights and was alarmed by the scale of learning losses during a nationwide school shutdown in Bangladesh. As she began remotely teaching English at a girls’ orphanage, she was saddened to see her students losing their motivation to pursue higher studies. During school shutdowns, Rafa founded a non-profit and a global teaching fellowship from the United States to provide remote schooling and tele-health services to disadvantaged children in Bangladesh. For the past two years, she has coordinated 100 weekly online classes for 450+ underprivileged children in four orphanages, six village schools, and a childcare center in the Daulatdia brothel.
In April 2020, governments were looking for ways to increase detection and control of COVID-19, to break the chain of transmission of this deadly virus while keeping healthcare workers safe. Shrey thought of an innovative solution and delivered a world-class mobile testing clinic, made on a 30ft-long bus which had artificial intelligence and self-sanitation equipment for the safety of doctors. The mobile clinic could go to rural areas to carry out testing services. The first two clinics were operational by April 2020 and, in 2021, he deployed three mobile vaccination clinics reaching over 200,000 since the beginning of the pandemic. The mobile clinics were blended with biofuels.
In 2019, Victoria was elected President of ‘Headucate’ – a university student-led society, established in 2012 at the University of East Anglia, that promotes mental health awareness, tackles stigma and combats discrimination. When the pandemic hit, Victoria led the team in developing innovative online interactive webinars, reaching over 1,000 students throughout the academic year, as well as leading several outreach and fundraising projects and events, including 24-hour live stream shows about mental health, sponsored walks, fundraising galas, a mental health conference and Q&A sessions. Her efforts have raised almost £3,500 for 11 different mental health and wellbeing-related charities in 2020 alone.
Aakansha’s parents worked night and day to ensure she received a good education like they never had. This instilled in her a passion for inclusive education that drove Aakansha to become the Head of ‘Project Dhruvtara‘ – a social initiative under the motto “empowering with education”. She works tirelessly on collaborations such as with ‘eVidyaloka‘, which prepares educational modules to be broadcasted in rural and underprivileged schools. She has also conducted various drives to provide books, stationery, clothes, and food, as well as providing peer support and educational resources for victims of human trafficking and others in need in India.
At the age of 18, Akshat co-founded the organisation, ‘Change Is Us’ with a friend, holding regular beach cleans up at the Girgaum Chowpatty Beach, spreading environmental and societal awareness while offering an active solution for the problem. To date, the organisation has diverted more than 150 tonnes of waste from the beach. Akshat has also coordinated distribution of food and menstrual products to people in need, as well as conducting webinars and online competitions aimed at motivating thousands of people to make small or big positive changes and adopt a more sustainable lifestyle.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Sidhant enabled uninterrupted education for over 9,000 children from economically challenged homes, while supporting reading literacy. In 2019, seeing the state of public-school libraries, he founded ‘Get Set Read’, with curated library kits and reading programs. He then created and distributed story videos reaching 300,000 views. Recognising the large digital divide, Sidhant initiated ‘Get Set Learn’, raising an initial ₹ 9.5 million, which grew with ‘YUVA’ and corporate support, for digital devices to help students continue their education. Almost 70% of tablets have been given to girls. Sidhant also initiated a drive involving free internet connectivity to young people taking the COVID-19 vaccine.
Uditi founded her non-profit organisation, ‘Elevate Tech’, with a mission to empower gender minorities – women and nonbinary people – in technology and entrepreneurship. She has now been running the organisation for nearly two years, leading a team of over 30 members internationally, impacting over 5,000 individuals in over 35 countries through various initiatives like the hackathons, fellowship programmes, mentorship programmes, workshops, and online Discord community. She continues to work at the intersection of technology and social justice to encourage more young girls to join STEM and ensure that no young girl is left behind due to lack of finances or opportunities.
Growing up in a household of women, Prithak noticed that menstruation was a taboo topic and how women were subject to certain rules and regulations during their periods. He realised that most of the menstrual hygiene challenges are rooted in gender inequality and that entrenched patriarchy and societal gender norms were acting as major barriers. As a Project Coordinator for ‘In Her Hands’, he has passionately led the menstrual hygiene management projects specifically for men and boys, training over 700 of them on their role in bridging the gender gap, fighting patriarchy and changing the narrative.
In 2020, Avni realised that the already-existing gaps in the Indian education system were quickly turning into chasms. As she and her classmates adjusted to online lessons during the pandemic, Avni learnt that 64% of rural school children were forced to drop out of school. This led to ‘Project Neev’, later transforming into the ‘Society for Inclusive Education’ (‘SIE’). Through ‘SIE’, Avni has partnered with over 200 member schools and garnered more than 1,100 members. Based on her own experience, Avni created a model for ‘SIE’ members to fundraise for their beneficiaries and mentor them in academics and extracurriculars.
During the pandemic, Harmanjot used his spare time at home to teach himself to code, and began developing free apps that help to address social issues, including women’s safety, mental health, and cyber-bullying. The ‘Raksha-Women Safety app’ provides features like messaging family members instantly, finding and calling nearby police stations, and guiding users through various safety tips. The ‘Calmify-Mental Healthcare app’ has helped many to adapt to changes and adversity during the pandemic, and the ‘CyberBuddy-Anti Cyber Bullying app’ has helped many children in the school to use technology safely and responsibly.
Prasiddhi has always been interested in nature, drawing her inspiration from trees, bees, and seas. In 2018, she founded ‘Prasiddhi Forest Foundation’ with two missions: to keep planting trees to enhance biodiversity, and to bring people together to continue to spread awareness about the environment and climate change. Prasiddhi has planted 45,000 saplings and created 28 fruit forests to enhance biodiversity, curb climate change and support the local community. With over 16,000 eco-warriors across the globe, she has conducted over 200 awareness sessions and inspired over 50,000 participants to get involved. For all her efforts, she has been awarded ‘Prime Minister National Child’ and ‘Earth Day Rising Star’.
Gitali firmly believes that education is for improving the lives of others. When she contacted the ‘Bachpan Bachao Foundation’ in Delhi, it was struggling to support all the underprivileged children it serves. Gitali persuaded her mother, who has her own online education platform, to create a programme to provide them with online education, as well as providing the funds to provide books, a projector, and a laptop. For the past year, she has been working on this program, gathering more than 50 volunteers worldwide to teach, and providing syllabus to teachers, creating timetables/schedules for the classes, and ensuring that the children are provided with the quality of education they deserve.
Rosalind is driving an important conversation about the climate crisis in Northern Ireland. She is passionate about the importance of a ‘just transition’ and ensuring that no one is left behind in the transition to a low-carbon economy. Through her outreach work at ‘Keep Northern Ireland Beautiful’ and her voluntary contribution to non-profits like Friends of the Earth and Tearfund, she has educated diverse groups of people on climate change and delivered countless climate action projects across communities. As an environmental journalist and youth advocate, she promotes youth participation in environmental policymaking, encouraging young people to engage in politics and inspiring them to use their voices to shape the future.
Divyasree has been actively involved in spreading breast cancer awareness for the past seven years. She is the founder of ‘Save Your Queen’ and director, brand ambassador, and volunteer of the ‘Protect Your Mom’ campaign through which she has spread awareness about self-examination and early detection. She has conducted many awareness campaigns in schools, colleges, and other social platforms, donated her hair three times and interviewed doctors to share authentic information. She has conducted pink chess tournaments and art competitions to spread the message to young people in a simple and effective way.
Since 2014, Harishri has been actively involved in spreading breast cancer awareness. She is a brand ambassador of the ‘Protect Your Mom’ campaign, which aims to spread awareness about breast cancer. She co-founded the ‘Save Your Queen’ campaign along with her sister, which uses innovative methods to spread awareness about self-examination and early detection. She has conducted many awareness campaigns in schools, colleges, and other social platforms, and donated her hair three times to make natural wigs for cancer patients. Through her work with ‘Hair to Hope,’ Harishri supports in motivating more people to donate their hair.
As a young child, Moazzam was lucky enough to attend an excellent private school, but that all changed when his family experienced a huge financial crisis. Experiencing the stark difference between the best and the rest of educational opportunities became his inspiration to build a school that would help all children get a good quality education regardless of their financial status. Through ‘The Walkaway School’, Moazzam has provided early childhood education to over 3,000 children, sent over 1,400 children to schools for sustainable education on scholarships, and has recently opened multiple schools for over 1,500 children in remote villages near the Indo-Pak border.
Whether speaking at global conferences or designing innovative programmes, Eden is unyielding in her commitment to serve others. In response to Africa’s worst refugee crisis, Eden founded ‘Invicta’, an award-winning, tech-enabled, social impact platform that helps refugees and internally displaced people find opportunities for remote work, skills development, mental health counselling, digital education, and entrepreneurship. So far, ‘Invicta’ has enrolled 29,000 refugees and internally displaced youth in more than 80 countries. Through this and other impact ventures, Eden works relentlessly to educate, enable, and empower young people. She is also an award-winning journalist, digital innovator, and activist. She is passionate about economic justice, refugee empowerment, gender equality, digital rights, and financial inclusion.
Naman since the age of 14 has actively helped make a difference not only in India but also all over the world. This started with his involvement in painting a local railway station along with a group of other students to raise awareness for renewable-energy three years ago. Seeing such influential work inspired him to start his own Initiative in 2020 called ‘Project Z’ where he created a team and taught over 30 younger children nationally and internationally how to code and build websites, apps and programmes. Over the course of his volunteering, Naman has impacted over 750 lives, taught technology to 80 families, taught computer science to 20 students, fed over 200 underprivileged children, cleaned two beaches, and academically mentored 25 underprivileged children.
Shreya was one of two girls in the eighth grade who decided to pursue Additional Mathematics and became determined to encourage girls in her community to join and enrol in higher-level mathematics and physics classes. Her success inspired her to help establish ‘Dream Equal’, a youth-led organisation tackling gender stereotypes and pushing little girls to receive an education centred around their interests rather than societal norms. Today, ‘Dream Equal’ has 39 chapters in 18 countries. Additionally, Shreya helps host workshops explaining STEM’s importance and relevance in our daily lives and the career prospects it presents for girls.
As the President of ‘ONEWORLD Indonesia’, Melody strives to support marginalised and often overlooked communities in Indonesia, such as people with disabilities who are unable to cover the additional costs of their needs. Melody has initiated collaborative events, consulted with communities, and been on the front line to raise funds whilst advocating for the disabled community through posts on social media and webinars. Since April 2020, ‘ONEWORLD Indonesia’ has collaborated with other organisations to donate adaptive wheelchairs to improve the lives of disabled people in the Yogyakarta area. Through these donations, 25 disabled people in the area are now better able to go to school, open their shops, cook, and live.
At just 17, Matthew set up ‘Pure Mental’ with a school friend, a charity run entirely by young people advocating the introduction of mental health education in schools, after receiving little support himself. As his first act, he organised a protest in Belfast to demand action from politicians on the mental health crisis facing young people in Northern Ireland. Matthew now leads a team of 17 volunteers that has since designed a mental health curriculum for a pilot in 25 primary schools and published a detailed policy paper on primary school counselling, which prompted the Department of Education to safeguard the continuation of counselling currently provided to children should the pilot be discontinued.
Born and raised in a developing country, Tri was lucky to receive the support he needed to access higher education, and he is always looking for ways to pay it forwards. As a social entrepreneur, Tri has contributed to Vietnam’s poverty reduction and pandemic recovery by growing several initiatives and organisations including a Fintech fundraising platform that contributed nearly $40,000 in 2021. Representing the youth voice at ‘APEC CEO Summit’, Tri also mentors’ others in navigating their career path and strategising to achieve their career goals, and helps students increase financial literacy through 15+ events and knowledge-sharing sessions a year.
At the age of 15, Gillian became a certified yoga teacher and founded the ‘Child’s Pose Yoga Project Philippines’. Coming from a low-income background herself, she began her practice as a form of therapy and wanted to help others do the same by making yoga and meditation accessible to everyone. She began teaching mindfulness-based activities to underprivileged communities of children with special needs, homeless and abandoned children, children in conflict with the law, cultural minority children, as well as abused children who are victims of domestic violence, human trafficking, and forced labour. During the pandemic, she was also able to offer mental health support to people through her practice.
Through her tireless online activism and award-winning radio show, ‘The Nila Extract’, Nila Varman strives to amplify the voices of marginalised communities – including her own south-Asian Tamil community. Despite being a full-time student with a part-time job, she pours hours every day into raising awareness for pressing social topics that are neglected or taboo in mainstream media and public discourse. At the beginning of her journey, Nila was nervous but undeterred in trying her hand at a brand-new skillset. Now, a year and a half later, her successful radio show has brought her a loyal audience, critical acclaim and the confidence to speak up for the things she believes in.
Adrika is an advocate, educator, leader, and service provider. Her work with ‘Operation Smile’, an organisation that provides free and timely surgeries for people with cleft lips and/or cleft palate, has allowed her to help patients and their families. As an ambassador for ‘Operation Smile UAE’, she has organised multiple events and personally supported more than 15 patients and their families by attending three local medical missions, in which patients receive life-changing surgery. She gave parents presentations on speech therapy and post-surgical care (after being trained by medical volunteers) while also providing emotional support for the families.
Netra set up her organisation ‘SpunkGo’ in July 2020, which brings together over 5,000 young girls from over 20 countries and from all walks of life to one community platform with the objective of using social media for good. Netra is a very passionate young entrepreneur who is on a relentless mission to educate and empower girls from developing countries in Asia and Africa. Through her ‘SpunkGo’, she organises free life skill webinars featuring inspiring women speakers, to impart knowledge to girls around the world. These members mostly come from impoverished backgrounds and for whom this opportunity to learn and network globally provides enormous opportunities of personal growth.
After living through Kenya’s 2007/08 post-election violence that saw 1,300 killed and 600,000 people displaced and witnessing his best friend’s slide into debilitating poverty. As a result, Quentin was determined to create meaningful work opportunities by 2026 for at least 5,000 young Africans aged 18–35. He joined the ‘Hult Prize Challenge’, as a community builder. He managed upwards of 100 campus directors, helped over 350 students start businesses and established programs in over 200 universities across ten African countries. Going above and beyond his duties, Quentin also ran regular virtual and in-person training sessions and raised funds to help ‘Hult Prize Challenge’ runners-up still develop and implement their ideas.
Ethan co-founded ‘Balls 4 Eyeballs’, a youth-led non-profit with a mission to make tennis ‘greener’ while funding eye research. To date, he has 30 partner clubs and has kept over 50,000 tennis balls out of landfill, which he then resells and donates the profits to fund Canadian eye research. ‘Balls 4 Eyeballs’ combines Ethan’s passion for the environment, research, and giving back to his community, by helping fund eye research and improve the lives of the blind and visually impaired. Ethan also volunteered to conduct eye research over the past three years in the UK, Canada and the U.S. and has co-authored over 10 papers in top research journals.
Emily, in collaboration with her sister, has raised £176,820 for ‘Cancer Research Wales’ in memory of their brother Tom, who was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia on June 13 2018, and he died the following day after failing to recover from the operation he needed to start his treatment. Their amazing fund-raising efforts through sponsored swims, sings and hikes have led to the first research recipient of the Tom Walker PhD Scholarship taking up his post at Cardiff University. The recipient, Theo Morin, has been carrying out PhD research into Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML), and whose discoveries and insights will benefit people with cancer across the country.
In a collective effort with her sister, Holly has raised £176,820 for ‘Cancer Research Wales’ in memory of their brother, Tom, who was just 13 years old when he died of acute myeloid leukaemia in 2018. The pair’s efforts will fund the Tom Walker PhD Scholarship whose first recipient, Theo Morin took up his post at Cardiff University to carry out research into Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. During the first round of fund-raising, the sisters successfully raised £100,000 to fund the post, and then went on to raise an additional £76,820 towards another scholarship for a second PhD student to carry out further research work into Acute Myeloid Leukaemia.
While a second-year pharmacy student Daniel learned about the devastating effects of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) in children living in urban settlements and set up ‘Students Against Superbugs Africa’ to promote behaviour change and education on how to reduce this threat. He aims to educate communities about the rational use of antimicrobials and help to build sustainable strategies that could reduce exposure to their diseases, such as promoting hygiene and sanitation, and lobbying for the government to improve infrastructural development in these areas. Through his leadership, the organisation has empowered more than 20,000 young people in Africa through their different programmes.
Kieran has volunteered over 800 hours in his local covid vaccination centre, for ‘St John Ambulance’ – the most by an under-18 in the country. Kieran volunteered his time in the recovery area and his actions have enabled tens of thousands of people to have their vaccinations in a safe secure environment. Kieran volunteered due to his urge to make his district as safe a place as possible for everyone, especially vulnerable and elderly people in his community. He is also trained as a ‘buddy’ within the organisation which means he can look after and mentor both new young people and adults in the organisation.
Nadja has positively changed the lives of thousands of people through her engineering, sustainability and intercultural work. She is the president of the ‘European Young Engineers’ (EYE), the largest European non-profit organisation of its kind that represents over 500,000 members, bridging the gap between policy and technology. Deeply passionate about saving the planet and its people, she believes engineering technologies are key to tackle grand challenges like global warming and COVID-19. As young engineers are often barely represented in youth activism or policy to date, she provides a platform to speak up and create innovative solutions.
Matthew grew up in poverty, which greatly impacted his early education. Now, as the founder of the ‘Global Scholars Union’ (GSU), Matthew refuses to let another child experience his past. ‘GSU’ is a youth organisation with its primary goal to defy education inequality by providing in-class lessons to students in need worldwide. Recognising the importance of children’s mental health, ‘GSU’ focuses on developing moral principles and emotional intelligence in students so that future generations can grow up to be vigorous global citizens. As of 2021, the ‘GSU’ has influenced thousands of impoverished youths globally.
Hugo set up a not-for-profit organisation ‘Math for Humanity’ in May 2020, to give online maths tutoring to students and donate his earnings to charity. Hugo so far has raised £5,400 and distributed the funds to various purposes: orphanages, disability foundations, nursing homes, COVID-19 volunteers, cancer patients, and the UNICEF Children Warrior Programme. Seeing an overwhelming interest from the students and parents, Hugo decided to scout and encourage his friends to join ‘Math for Humanity’, and now leads a team of 10, who are working together to raise awareness within their community.
At school, Ayesha loved to take part in international conferences such as the ‘Model United Nations’ but struggled to find support for this passion and the opportunities it would bring. Taking matters into her own hands at the age of 15, Ayesha went on to create her non-profit organisation, ‘Gores Denai’. So far, Ayesha has helped more than 400 Indonesian students to gain international exposure and maximize global opportunities through mentoring, hands-on programmes, and online learning platforms. ‘Gores Denai‘ also launched a curriculum programme to train and fund high school students to compete in international competitions and has collaborated with more than 30 organisations and renowned Indonesian universities.
Yazan is the founder of the ‘Ray of Hope’ initiative, which aims to provide equitable educational and career opportunities for refugees. Through his initiative, he has reached 4,300 refugees to provide quality education, helped 250 students find jobs, and reach many more young people online. Yazan designed three programmes: one to promote education for children refugees aged 6-14, a professional development programme for youth aged 17-24, and a skills development programme for parents aged 25-35. Yazan is also an active participant in ‘Model United Nations’, where he participates in discussions, resolutions, and conferences related to children’s rights to education.
After losing two loved ones to cancer, Olivia was pushed to take action. At 14, Olivia founded ‘Cancer Kids First’ (CKF) – an organisation that works towards lessening the challenges paediatric cancer patients face. ‘CKF’ provides support through five diverse programs: Arts, Toys/Books, Care Packages, Treatment Services, and Patient Interaction, and hosts a variety of online events, webinars, and fundraisers. In two years, ‘CKF’ has built coalitions with 55 hospitals and has helped thousands of patients in 15 countries. The organisation has sent over 30,000 cards/crafts to young cancer patients, donated over 15,000 resources to 48 paediatric cancer hospitals and delivered dream gifts to 230 patients worldwide.
As the founder and CEO of ‘Coders of Colour’ Tolúlọpẹ́ has inspired many young Black people to join the programmes she runs, enabling them to acquire new skills and get jobs in the technology industry. Passionate about democratising education, she has taught over 750 people to code through her work with ‘Coders of Colour’ and supported the mathematics education of over 350 school students in Nigeria. At the end of 2020, she began a Laptop Drive, raising £7,400 to tackle the Digital Divide by ensuring that all young people in the UK have access to education.