Akhilesh Sharma (24), India

A Portrait of Akhilesh Sharma

Growing up under many financial constraints, Akhilesh still managed to make it through college. His objective is to improve e-waste management and to provide education/training to empower children who live in slums.
He wants to collect second hand/broken computers, repair and distribute and ensure computer skill training among slum children in Sanjay Colony, Delhi.

Carolina Ortiz Ardaya (41), Bolivia

A Portrait of Carolina Ortiz

Poverty in Bolivia affects around 60% of the population, mainly women, children and indigenous communities. One in three women face domestic violence. Carolina wants to work together with these women to change this situation. Through counseling and comprehensive training, she wants to empower women from low-income classes who have little or no education. The tools she uses are education and skill training that lead to economic resources. The process would also increase self-confidence.

Emmanuel Otim, (28) Uganda

Smiling image of Emmanuel

Being an artist, Emmanuel uses creative and performing art as a medium to advocate for, inspire, empower and heal the hearts and minds of homeless children. This includes skills development, capacity building, counseling and guidance and above all occupational therapy.

Emmy Matuga, (25) Uganda

Smiling image of Emmy

When his mother became disabled, Emmy experienced the hardship, psychological trauma, stigma and discrimination she had to go through. Witnessing this worked as a catalyst for Emmy to empower women.
His goal is to provide entrepreneurial skills, skill development in book-keeping, business management to women and children with disabilities and creating awareness towards safe and hygienic health facilities.

Faruk Musema, (29) Uganda

Smiling image of Faruk

In Uganda, due to many years of civil war, the rate of disability is very high. Faruk is passionate about sports and his goal is to empower children and youth by running adaptive sports and literacy programs. He wants to change the society's negative attitude towards people with disability as well as building confidence in disabled children and promoting social inclusion both in school and the community.

Jones Shamalambo, (36) Zambia

Smiling image of Jones

After a road traffic accident, Jones suffered a permanent disability. His experience inspired him to start Arrive Alive Africa, an NGO that provides post care support to victims of traffic accidents through prevention, rehabilitation and policy advocacy. He wants other victims to live independently while coping and adapting to their new environment.

Joshua Njeke Egbe, (29) Cameroon

Smiling image of Joshua

Growing up in an orphanage inspired Joshua to set up food crop farms and vegetable gardens in local orphanages. The goal is to offer organic agriculture training, so orphanages in Cameroon become less dependent, orphans get healthier food and it will add to a more peaceful society.

Keith Ndlovu (24), Zimbabwe

Smiling image of Keith

Being a member of the LGBTIQ+ community Keith moved from Zimbabwe to South Africa. To strengthen the rights, self-confidence and means for financial independence, he wants to create a space of empowerment and development for migrant LGBTIQ+ members. His program provides psychosocial support, counseling and livelihood skill training.

Yasinto Oyat (32), Uganda

Smiling image of Yasinto

Uganda's civil war resulted in many children losing their parents. Metal waste is not much recycled in his community; therefore, Yasinto will provide vocational training to build the capacity of young orphans by teaching them modern techniques in recycling scrap metal materials into products that help disabled people, such as ramps for wheelchairs and other aids.

Lalita Singh (25), India

Smiling image of Lalita

Lalita faced gender inequality that drove her to stand up and start an own venture to empower women and create awareness about their rights, promoting education for girls, safe hygiene practices, health and advocating against gender discrimination.

Mark Sabwami (32), Kenya

Smiling image of Mark

Growing up in Kenya, Mark faced what challenges come along with being visually impaired. Blind people are looked down upon and there is a big stigma attached. Mark wishes to break this status Quo. Through skill training, guidance and counseling he wants to boost the individual's self-esteem, raise self-awareness, self-actualization and assertiveness so the visually impaired, especially those in the rural areas in Kenya, are ready to integrate themselves in society.

Meghana Raveendra (32), India

Smiling image of Meghana

Meghana’s journey of working with children from urban communities, low income, lesser privileged, disadvantaged communities started at the age of 20 through volunteering in different schools, after school centers and with non-profit organisations. Dissatisfied with the current schooling and educational system as a child, Meghana believes that there is a pressing need to provide a platform for children to identify and utilize their strengths to become more self-aware, understand and manifest hidden talents and potential, make choices and take decisions independently, irrespective of the communities they come from.

Sunday Olyel (31), Uganda

Smiling image of Sunday

Sunday started an organization with the name PESA which stands for Persons with Special Abilities).
Sunday, who is affected by Polio, wants to empower persons with disabilities by providing ICT, graphic design and other skills. This would provide opportunities for them to become economically independent and instilling self-worth within themselves.

Norbu Lhagyal (24)

Smiling image of Norbu

Being a refugee who does not know what his future will look like, Norbu wants to work on an open society in which people are not afraid of taking risks, and where there is a solution-oriented mindset. He wants to provide skills to today’s children to adapt to a rapidly changing world by hosting experiential learning workshop for schools to empower children to take charge of their own futures.

Olubodun Akinyele (36), Nigeria

Smiling image of Olubodun

Olubodun grew up in Bariga, a dangerous neighbourhood in Lagos State. He first hand witnessed a lot of violence and he was harassed everyday by the miscreants and hoodlums. Poverty was not his families only problem; they were helpless and hopeless. These experiences in his youth inspired him to start Access for Youths to Information Technology Initiative (http://ayiti.com.ng) providing underprivileged children and teenagers of Nigeria with computer programming skills and coding. The goal is to reduce crime rate among youth and instead they should acquire creative problem-solving skills that will help to them to get jobs.

Prasad Thete (22), India

Smiling image of Prasad

Disagreement about expectations set by his parents made prasad leave home at an early age. Prasad always was looking how he can contribute to society in an impactful way. On a journey to find himself, he got inspired by a few architects who worked on cost effective architecture using Eco-friendly locally available resources for a rural population in Maharashtra. Prasad wants to promote learning/skill training for people in rural areas to construct cost effective housing which will generate employment, thus setting them on the path of being a sustainable village.

Wurok Chan (42), South Sudan

Smiling image of Wurok

In order to save his life, Wurok had to flee from his country. Now his goal is to reduce violence among vulnerable communities in South Sudan by providing education about legal support as well as awareness on peace building (Transformation and Empowerment). Wurok works for a civil community that respects human dignity and fixes socio-economic and political imbalances in South Sudan.

Ragunath Veeravel (34), India

Smiling image of Ragunath

Growing up in a farm, I enjoyed nature to the fullest. One day, everything changed. Forests were cut to make space for factories. The river I used to swim in got polluted and the ground water became undrinkable. 30 years later, i got a request to sign a petition against the construction of a four-lane highway through the Auroville forest. This triggered me to stand up and start to work on afforestation.

Samantha Mudiriro (25), Zimbabwe

Smiling image of Samantha

The first few years of her life, Samantha lived on the streets with her mother. She was lucky to be placed in a SOS children's home. Growing up there, inspired her to start a rehabilitation center for street children in Zimbabwe, so they have access to education, shelter, a safe environment, health facilities, and job opportunities.

Siddhesh Sakore (24), India

Smiling image of Siddhesh

Growing up, Siddhesh witnessed the misery and poverty which seemed to be the inevitable fate of a farmer in Maharashtra. The combination of economic crisis, the use of toxic chemicals that leads to unsustainable farming methods, as well as the effects of climate change form a heavy burden. Often so heavy that it becomes unbearable. For many farmers, struggling financially and facing serious health issues, suicide seems to be the only way out.
With his organisation Agro-Rangers, Siddhesh will work on technical as well as methodical organic farming solutions that will ensure that farmers and their families have a future.