Congratulations to everyone and may your dedication be an inspiration to all.
Winners of the YouthActionNet® Fellowship 2007
John Miller Beauvoir
Project The Pathway Toward the Future Age 26 Site
Just over half of all primary-school age children in Haiti are enrolled in school, with less that two percent of the nation’s young people finishing secondary school. The the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, Haiti suffers from the consequences of misgovernment and civic inertia that have plagued the country since its founding more than 200 years ago. Within such an environment, John Miller Beauvoir started Pathway Toward the Future, a project designed to address the needs of children on the isolated island of Gonave, where poverty and lack of educational opportunities result in many children working on farms from an early age. Pathway Toward the Future trains youth in leadership, civic engagement, environmental protection, and health. These young people, in turn, offer educational support to children during Saturday meetings. In this way, Pathway Toward the Future seeks to empower the emerging generation of young citizens in Haiti to be active contributors to their communities and nation.
Project: Psycho-Behavior Intervention Group Age: 27 Site:
Li Shen founded the Psycho-Behavioral Intervention Group (PBIG) in Shenyang, China in 2003 to combat discrimination against homosexuals and those with HIV/AIDS, while preventing the spread of the disease. Among its activities, PBIG distributes materials (posters, pamphlets), conducts HIV/AIDS awareness training, hosts weekly educational seminars, trains peer educators to conduct outreach among college students, and offers free testing for sexually-transmitted diseases. PBIG also organizes monthly leisure activities designed to provide its 50-plus members and others with a safe, supportive environment for discussing sensitive issues. A critical component of PBIG’s activities is increasing awareness of HIV/AIDS and the importance of preventive measures, such as condom use, among Shenyang’s mainstream population. In the future, Shen seeks to expand PBIG’s efforts to include seminars on gay rights and legal issues.
To increase young people’s awareness of environmental issues and sustainable living, Morales created an interactive theme park that is visited by more than 13,000 people in Merida each year. Exhibits explore themes such as recycling, water scarcity, preserving fisheries, the protection of endangered species, and sustainable handicraft production. Visitors have the opportunity to make crafts out of natural products and cook with natural ingredients. Morales was awarded the National Youth Prize in 1998 and began working on environmental issues at the age of 12.
Patel launched HealthCare Volunteer in 2005 as a free service to connect volunteers with health-related opportunities around the world. “Since health volunteers are busy, we wanted to create an online system that would enable them to quickly and seamlessly find volunteering opportunities anywhere they wish,” says Patel. Today, the HealthCare Volunteer Network encompasses 2,600 volunteers spanning over 150 countries. These volunteers – including dentists, physicians, medical students, and dental assistants – provide a range of services to those in need, including free surgeries and dental care. HealthCare Volunteer’s online database has facilitated more than 16,000 volunteer connections through its listing of over 2,200 volunteering organizations. HealthCare Volunteer is currently establishing relationships with Ministries of Health in various developing countries in order to place volunteers in understaffed government hospitals and clinics. Its “Project Requirements” offers up-to-date information on laws, licensing, visa requirements, and application procedures related to volunteering within a range of countries.
Project: EcoWatch Age: 29 Site:
Nampinga founded EcoWatch to raise awareness of the threat of climate change and to empower people to live in an environmentally sustainable way. Among its activities, EcoWatch conducts advocacy campaigns via radio and has mobilized Ugandan students to plant trees. It also teaches communities about sustainable agriculture and ways of limiting climate change activities. EcoWatch currently has 200 youth members and has conducted educational outreach in more than 200 schools.
Project: SAHER Age: 27 Site:
Shyam co-founded the Society for Awareness, Harmony, and Equal Rights (SAHER) to combat social alienation and violence among Muslim and Hindu youth in the Mumbai district of Jogeshwari. Through advocacy, workshops, multi-cultural education, and sporting and cultural activities, SAHER promotes communal harmony and respect for differences. Its Parwaaz project is dedicated to mobilizing youth toward social action, while promoting interaction among diverse peers. SAHER’s overarching goal, says Shyam, “is to create a beautiful mosaic, rather than a fractured society.”
Sphamandia Trevor Mzobe
Project: Wala-Wala Productions Age: 28 Site:
An actor, scriptwriter, and artistic director, Mzobe founded Wala-Wala Productions to educate and engage youth through performances that celebrate South African culture and explore critical social issues such as crime, HIV/AIDS, and poverty. Wala-Wala empowers youth through involving them in drama performances that deal with issues affecting the community. Mzobe’s stage credits include: Shame (performed at The Playhouse Durban), Wall (performed at The Playhouse and in Denmark), Journey Without Words (performed in Grahamstown), and School Fever, an educational play for schools.
Having received a Master's degree in Business Administration (MBA) himself, Dehtiar realized that not all MBA graduates are motivated by big money and corporate jobs. Many MBAs are eager to use their knowledge and skills to make a lasting social contribution. To help them do so, Dehtiar co-founded MBAs Without Borders (MWB) in 2004. Since then, the organization has sent more than 30 MBAs to work in more than 15 developing countries. Their efforts have enabled Kenyan women to access loans, helped Rwandan women to generate income, and resulted in more than one million malaria nets being delivered to communities in Pakistan, Nigeria and Sierra Leone. MWB focuses its efforts in five areas – healthcare, agriculture, finance, income-generation, and the environment – linking MBAs with businesses and nonprofits in developing countries for a period of 1-12 months. To date, more than 5,000 MBAs with expertise in strategic planning, finance, marketing, management, operations, and human resources have registered with MWB and connect via its various online social networks. Tal has traveled, worked, studied or lived in over 50 countries and speaks English, Russian, Hebrew and Spanish. He is a recipient of the 2004 Ontario Global Trader Award, 2005 Arch Award, was nominated for the 2005 YMCA Peace Award and Canada's Top 40 Under 40 in 2005 and 2006.