Name: Bharat Wankhade
Goal of the project: India’s caste system still exists in many areas, and children deemed as “untouchables” have poor access to quality education. Bharat’s first-hand experience of marginalization prompted him to envision an integrated learning environment where the marginalized can be empowered through quality education, and children from all caste backgrounds have equal opportunities to learn.
Name: Brian Galabuzi Kakembo
Theme: Skill development - Environment
Goal of the project: Brian started WEYE - Waste to Energy Youth Project to help low-income families access clean energy for cooking, and tackle youth unemployment in Uganda. Young people will be equipped with practical skills to produce briquettes from organic waste, which reduce the harmful effects of commonly-used firewood and charcoal. They will also acquire entrepreneurial skills to start their own business.
Name: Cavin Odera
Goal of the project: When Cavin’s parents and oldest sister died of HIV/AIDS, his own community discriminated against him. This experience eventually gave him the passion to empower girls and young women, to equip them with skills to earn sustainable livelihoods without falling victim to “sex for fish”, which is rampant the Lake Victoria region.
Name: Dave Oduor
Theme: Training - Environment
Goal of the project: Dave is an artist and environment activist. His mission is to restore Lake Victoria which is being destroyed by illegal sand harvesting, pollution and fishermen’s conflicts. He founded the NAAM Festival, where young people use arts to promote the conservation and restoration of the Lake. NAAM also offers skill training for young people to find alternative means of income to ease pressure on the water resource.
Name: Gikufu Francis Ndungu
Goal of the project: Gikufu‘s story is not uncommon among those who grow up in the slums in Nairobi, Kenya. Many are denied access to formal education, live in poverty and end up indulging in drugs, crimes and living on the streets. Having overcome stigmatization and now empowered, Gikufu’s dream is to provide mentorship, media and film training for children and youth from the Mukuru slums. They will be able to tell their stories in creative ways, and develop a positive mindset on life.
Name: Ichhya KC
Theme: Education/ Skill development
Goal of the project: Icchya has been active in advocating for the disabled in Nepal. She sees the need to empower single women with disabilities like herself. She wants to establish a safe space that offers psycho-social, legal and rehabilitative support mechanisms to single women with disabilities, to help them overcome discrimination and find their own voice in society.
Name: Nurul Kabir
Theme: Disability/ Human Rights
Goal of the project: Kabir’s dream is that his brother, and all persons with intellectual disabilities and their siblings will not be sidelined at playgrounds because of stigmatization and inadequate sports facilities. Through his organisation, Oniruddah Bangladesh, Kabir's vision is to create a Bangladeshi society that thrives on solidarity and empathy towards people with disability and their family members.
Name: Kerlinda War
Theme: Alternative Education
Goal of the project: Kerlinda found joy and satisfaction in her years of work in rehabilitation for children with slow growth and physical impairment. Her dream now is to establish an early intervention centre for children with disabilities in the rural areas of Meghalaya. The centre will provide training on early identification for the rural population, referral services, and prepare children for schooling and socialisation.
Name: Limbi Blessing Tata
Goal of the project: Limbi negative effects of over-timber-harvesting on the forest in Cameroon where she comes from. She wants to train local women add value to non-timber forest products like seeds, fruits, barks and leaves, to reduce dependence on timber-selling. This will increase family incomes and increase the opportunities for local girls to get quality education.
Name: Lorena Julio
Theme: Human Rights/ Disability
Goal of the project: Lorena is the founder of Fundación Comparlante, an online accessible platform where people with disabilities can access quality products and services. Her wish is to bring a positive change in Latin Amarica where persons with disabilities are often excluded, vulnerable and invisible.
Name: Marlyse Ashu Egbe
Goal of the project: Marlyse lost interest in learning when she constantly received low grade at school. After battling to regain her self-esteem, she now wants to help children and young people in Cameroon who have the same struggle. She believes that low graders also deserve scholarships and good job opportunities, and she is on a mission to helping children discover their passions and realize that their dreams are valid.
Name: Navina Gyawali
Theme: Education/ Human Rights
Goal of the project: Navina was born blind, and her experience of inequality probed her to work to reducing the gap between people with and without disabilities. She believes that sensitizing the public about equality and human rights will lead to more equal opportunities for the disabled in education and employment. Navina's goal is to empower blind people through the creation of a cooking and catering service.
Name: Odunayo Aliu
Goal of the project: Facing a difficult and very challenging childhood inspired Odunayo to start "Love Letters Child Support Initiative", an organisation that provides free and quality education to children from socially and economically marginalized communities in Nigeria. In addition, she wants to start an alternative learning platform that promotes creative and critical thinking in rural children, and empower them to become agents of transformation in their own circles.
Name: Omona Innocent
Goal of the project: Omona’s father passed away due to HIV/AIDS when he was a child. His mum was accused of bewitching his father and was chased out of the community. Omona understands the discrimination and lack of access to healthcare and education that orphaned children and youth in rural Uganda are facing. His dream is to start a social entrepreneurship centre that provides skill training for orphans to generate income. He also wants to provide scholarships and medical services for his beneficiaries.
Name: Opiyo Peter
Theme: Education/ Human Rights
Goal of the project: Opiyo is an experienced radio producer and presenter in Uganda who wants to use his skills to mentor persons with disabilities and help them build a career in the media field. He founded Attitude Africa Media Space, a radio academy in which he will enable blind and partially sighted to use radio as a tool to advocate for the rights of the disabled and to fight stigmatization
Name: Pragya Raut
Theme: Training - entrepreneurship
Goal of the project: Pragya was trained as an architect, but sees the limitations of the current architectural practices in Nepal. Her vision is that architecture should not only be a commercial tool, but a tool for creating socio-economic impact. She will focus on earthquake-hit areas where many become homeless and unemployed, and offer training in youth entrepreneurship.
Name: Priyanka Singh
Theme: Skill development - self realisation
Goal of the project: Priyanka has extensively traveled and worked across a number of states in India. Her journey started with an internship opportunity in the Himalayas in 2014 which later proved to be the first step towards her passion for experiential learning through travel. “Like many young women, my first-time experience of traveling and living alone was full of fear and anxiety. We are conditioned to believe that the outside world is dangerous and we are safer in our houses. This mindset has kept us dependent on our families. I seek to build confidence and a sense of independence for women like me by providing experiential learning exposure opportunities”, she says.
Name: Ranya Trabelsi
Theme: Education - Training
Goal of the project: Lacking resources and exposure, children from Tunisia’s rural areas often have no choice but follow a set path determined by societal norms and pressures. Through experiencing the Arab Spring first hand, Ranya recognized a need for open debates. Through starting a human library, children have a chance to become intellectually independent so they can choose their own path and create their own future.
Name: Ruangtup Kaeokamechun
Theme: Alternative education
Goal of the project: Ruangtup’s father passed away when she was twelve, but her family did not make that known to her. Topics like death, divorce, and sexual orientation are considered taboos in Thai society. She eventually found console through a fiction book about death. Since then, she made it her mission to create children’s books that openly discuss ‘sensitive’ topics and help children face the realities of life.
Name: Satya Illa
Theme: Education - training
Goal of the project: Having witnessed his friend being electrocuted when his kite got stuck in overhead power lines, traumatized Satya for many years. India has one of the world’s highest number of fatalities due to electrical accidents, especially among farmers. Satya founded a social enterprise that addresses the lack of awareness and response preparedness among villages in Telangana. Through practical training on safety, Satya has been able to save the lives of many farmers and prevent unnecessary accidents. He is the youngest kanthari of 2018.
Name: Selassie Tay
Theme: Education - Skill development - entrepreneurship
Goal of the project: In Selassie’s community in Ghana, women constitute the majority of the population and the informal livelihood sector. They often become objects of abuse or are considered witches at old age. Selassie’s vision is to create a population of economically empowered women by providing technical, vocational and entrepreneurship skills training and microfinance to enable them to generate their own income and start formalized micro-enterprises.
Name: Sohibjamol Rakamova
Theme: Education/ Skill development
Goal of the project: While working with marginalized rural communities in Tajikistan, Sohibjamol realized the lack of facilities for disabled children to access sports and games. Being a professional chess champion herself, she started to envision a chess club for physically disabled children. She will provide training and facilities, and prepare them to enter professional competition.
Name: Trevor Paidamoyo Molife
Theme: Skill development – advocacy
Goal of the project: Trevor's vision is to establish Purple Hand Africa, a safe space for LGBTQI youth in Zimbabwe, where they can access psychosocial support; vocational and entrepreneurship skills development. His dream is that LGBTQI youth will be empowered and society will recognize them as contributing citizens.