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YouthActionNet Blog

Meet the 2018 Laureate Global Fellows

Lisa Jones | July 24, 2018

From #MeToo, to #NeverAgain, to #BlackLivesMatter, young people are driving forces in nearly every fight for social change. Today we celebrate 20 young leaders who represent a growing global movement of young people channeling their vision for a better world into everyday action in their communities.

Shattering expectations for what young people can achieve, the 2018 fellows have demonstrated resilience, creativity, and a collaborative spirit as they champion innovative and equitable solutions in healthcare, education, the environment, and the economy.

From promoting empathy and civil discourse through reading in Turkey, to providing eco-friendly livlihoods through artisinal chocolate production in rural Mexico, these founders of youth-led organizations in 16 countries have touched millions of lives with their work.

Through the Laureate Global Fellowship, made possible by Laureate International Universities, the 2018 class will spend the next year and beyond developing their leadership abilities, growing the impact of their ventures, and connecting with our network of more than 1,900 like-minded changemakers in 94 countries.

Civic Engagement


Anika Manzoor, 26, United States
Anika co-founded the Youth Activism Project (YAP) to promote teen-led action to advance the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. In 2017, 120 YAP-trained activists in the US and Mali led campaigns on girls’ education, gun violence, sex trafficking, and other issues.
 

Alberto Cabanes, 29, Spain
Alberto launched Adopta Un Abuelo (Adopt Grandparents) to ensure the elderly in Spain feel heard, accompanied, and loved. To date, more than 620 youth volunteers have been paired with 365 elders, whom they meet with once a week, gaining valuable experience and wisdom. 

Economic Empowerment


Maryam Mohiuddin Ahmed, 28, Pakistan
Maryam founded the Social Innovation Lab (SIL) to enable young change-makers to build sustainable social enterprises, create ecosystems that support social innovation, and push for human-centered policy-making. Since 2013, SIL has worked with 38 consultants and incubated 86 social enterprises, which have impacted over 3.8 million lives globally.

Cleofash Alinaitwe, 26, Uganda
Through Art Planet Academy (APA), Cleofash trains youth to replicate innovative farm technologies across five priority enterprises. Its 40 certified trainers have contributed to increased agricultural output among 1,000 rural homesteads. 
 

Maria Elisa Munoz, 25, Ecuador
Elisa launched D’Cuero to connect rural producers of handcrafted, high-quality leather footwear to expanded markets through a walk-in store and online sales platform. In 2017, D’Cuero empowered more than 30 artisans with skills training while promoting sustainable business practices.

Andrea Gonzalez Negron, 27, Peru
Through Salto Peru, Andrea connects low-income micro-entrepreneurs to trained university students, who provide business consulting services and access to expanded business networks. To date, 300+ micro-entrepreneurs have benefited from the advice of over 120 volunteer consultants.

Germán Santillán, 26, Mexico
Germán is Founder and CEO of Oaxacanita Chocolate, a company that uses artisanal chocolate production to generate positive economic, social, and environmental impact in the Mixtec region of Oaxaca. The company has created a productive and collaborative value chain that now engages 26 indigenous families.

Simotwo Zainabu, 24, Kenya
Simotwo co-founded Mashinani Hub, which offers business incubation services, along with solar-powered office space, e-learning, mentoring, and internet access. In 2017, more than 1,500 youth and women in rural Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo benefited from the Hub’s services, with 16 youth enterprises incubated. 

Education


Leonardo Capel, 25, Brazil
Leonardo co-founded A+ Educação to provide Brazil’s school teachers with a voice, resources, and recognition. The social enterprise operates a crowdfunding website where teachers publicize their needs and provides online and in-person teacher training. In 2017, 2,850 students benefited from new materials, with 100+ teachers trained.

Alparslan Demir, 25, Turkey
Through Biryudumkitap, Alparslan provides more than 250,000 email subscribers with daily five-minute readings of fiction, non-fiction, or poetry. The book previews and excerpts are designed to boost literacy, nurture empathy, and enhance communication among the public at large.
 

Muhammad Faisal Laghari, 28, Pakistan
Muhammad co-founded LearnOBots, an educational technology company that seeks to revolutionize education through creative products and services that promote STEAM education. With a special focus on girls and young women, in 2017 LearnOBots reached 2,000 students.

Jemma Phibbs, 24, United Kingdom
To address school funding cuts and community members’ need for space to carry out activities, Jemma co-founded School Space. Through facilitating the rental of school facilities, School Space has generated £500,000 for its 25 school partners, with 60,000 community members accessing school facilities monthly.

Environment


Prince Agbata, 26, Ghana
With less than two percent of plastic in Ghana recycled, Prince co-founded Coliba Waste Management Services. Among its activities, the company sets up buy-back centers for segregated plastics, establishes school recycling programs, and operates a ‘trash to wealth’ recycling program serving over 4,000 households. 

Manvendra Singh Inaniya, 27, India
Through the  Alaap People’s Foundation, Manvendra works to restore the native forests of the Himalayas. Alaap’s community-driven model mobilizes citizens to create native forests; promotes sustainable livelihoods; and empowers youth as eco-changemakers. Over 200 eco leaders are now engaged, with 7 native forests planted.

Health


Sonal Jain Padamchand, 25, India
Sonal co-founded Boondh to reduce the stigma surrounding menstruation in India while propagating affordable, eco-friendly period products. In 2017, Boondh reached 11,000 women with menstrual literacy programs, de-stigmatization workshops, and the sale of reusable menstrual cups.

Social Inclusion


Maulen Akhmetov, 22, Kazakhstan
To combat the social stigma and isolation facing individuals with mental disabilities, Maulen founded the Kunde Social Café. The organization trains and employs adults with mental disabilities while fostering a positive space for interaction with the public, including university student volunteers. In 2017, 115 individuals with disabilities received training.

Allister Chang, 27, United States
Through Wash & Learn, Allister installs curated WiFi hotspots in laundry mats enabling patrons to develop literacy and digital literacy skills with the help of in-person facilitators. An initiative of Libraries Without Borders, Wash & Learn is active in 4 states, reaching 16,000 people annually.

Daniela Retamales Gomez, 29, Chile
Through Fundación Prótesis 3D, Daniela provides free prosthetics to children and adults with upper extremity disabilities. Youth in detention contribute to the process of printing the 3D prostheses. To date, the initiative has impacted 36 families, with 12 youth trained in job readiness skills. 

Jacqueline Lawrence, 26, Tanzania
Jacqueline founded Mbeya Highlands FM Radio to give voice to the voiceless in southern Tanzania. Mbeya’s ‘media for development’ approach advances solutions to social challenges through public forums and radio programming reaching roughly 2.7 million people annually.

Luis Pazos, 29, Peru
Through Recidar, Luis bridges the needs of low-income families for household goods and individuals looking to donate items they no longer use. Recidar operates a free pick-up service for donated items that are sold through its community store, which offers fair prices and a dignified buying experience. The Recidar movement now comprises 6,000+ families and 60 institutions.

 

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