Meet the first recipients of the Covid-19 Young Leaders Fund

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One Young World is excited to announce the launch the COVID-19 Young Leaders Fund. Around the world, young people are stepping up to help their communities face the challenging circumstances caused by the pandemic. By directing money to young leaders on the frontlines, the fund will ensure that resources are accessed by those who need them most.

A recent survey by One Young World which gained responses from over 1000 young people globally revealed that only 38% of young people believe that their respective government has adequately addressed the concerns of young people during the pandemic. These concerns include health, employment, mental well-being and education to name a few.

It also established the more inspiring and optimistic conclusion that over 70% of young leaders surveyed have volunteered their time to help others during this crisis. One Young World is dedicated to helping these young leaders who are giving their time, energy and resources to tackle the consequences of the pandemic on vulnerable people, families and communities.

If you would like to find out more about the fund, how to apply, or the current Grant Holders, please visit the Covid-19 Young Leaders Fund website.

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One Young World is delighted to be able to announce the first five recipients of grants from the Covid-19 Young Leaders Fund. These five initiatives are examples of the impactful, necessary, and selfless work of young people all over the world during these times.


Achaleke Christian - Local Youth Corner Cameroon

Achaleke producing Hand Sanitiser

Achaleke leads Local Youth Corner Cameroon. The organisation’s first step has been to transform its office into a rapid response lab, producing bottles of home-made hand sanitiser as part of their 'One Person One Hand Sanitizer' initiative. They have produced over 15,000 bottles of sanitiser and distributed them to 12,000 separate households without access to hygiene resources. While the government has taken measures to curb the spread, Human Rights Watch have raised concerns about Cameroon’s prisons which are exceptionally overcrowded, making it impossible to keep social distance, practice self-isolation, and take basic sanitation methods to prevent infection.

Achaleke is launching an initiative to build resilience against the virus in four prisons, in four separate regions in Cameroon. Together these are host to over 2,500 staff and inmates who are hugely vulnerable because of congestion, misinformation, poor hygiene, and poor healthcare access. The team will visit each prison weekly to provide awareness on preventive measures and will work with existing vocational skills departments in prisons to produce the preventive hygiene kit and train the prison staff on how to detect and respond to symptoms.


Heidy Quah - Refuge for the Refugees

Heidy founded Refuge for the Refugees to help vulnerable, displaced people in Malaysia access basic education facilities and equip them with entrepreneurial skills so that they can generate income for their families. In response to the crisis, Heidy and her organisation Refuge for Refugees have been organising weekly grocery deliveries including house to house deliveries to migrants and refugees who are unable to leave their homes. Each grocery bag costs RM60 and can feed a family for up to one month. To date, they have provided 5,878 bags across 461 locations, reaching 29,390 vulnerable people, with the distribution support from Malaysian Red Crescent Society and BMW Malaysia.

Other projects Heidy coordinates include translating government directives into six languages to ensure vital Covid-19 response information is communicated accurately to refugee communities. Refuge for the Refugees is also running a rent relief programme, partnering with hotels to shelter victims of Domestic Abuse, coordinating local NGOs to ensure an efficient and collaborative response to the crisis, and covering hospital bills of expectant, refugee mothers.



Refuge for the Refugees staff packing groceries


Jolyon Layard Horsfall - Happy Space

Children using Happy Space guidebooks

Jolyon is the CFO and Co-Founder of Happy Space, a charity dedicated to preventative mental wellbeing. His team launched a campaign last year called 'Reclaiming our Happy Space', giving away wellbeing guidebooks and lesson plans for schools supporting students from a difficult, socio-economic background. Happy Space has provided mental wellbeing guidebooks to over 100 schools, colleges, and universities, benefitting over 2,000 students.

School closure in the UK has created stressful and challenging conditions, particularly for school children from disadvantaged, socioeconomic backgrounds. Experts fear that for children with mental health conditions, there will be considerable difficulties adjusting back to normal life when school resumes. In response, Happy Space has created a campaign called #HappySpaceAtHome, distributing mental wellbeing guidebooks with information collated by industry experts, to support families in-need. They are also designing a curriculum with partner schools to work alongside their guidebooks and help the back-to-school transition for at-risk children once schools re-open.


Dr Radhika Batra - Every Infant Matters

Radhika founded Every Infant Matters (EIM) to give all children in India a healthy start to life. They have since branched out their operations to Nigeria and Kenya through partnerships they established in the One Young World Community. In response to the pandemic, EIM has launched an initiative, leveraging its network of partners to provide vital resources to at-risk people in India and Kenya, with plans to expand operations to Nigeria.

In India, the organisation provides protective materials (e.g. hand sanitisers, face shields, gloves, N-95 masks) to frontline healthcare providers, including doctors, nurses, and low paid hospital workers such as housekeeping and sanitary staff, ambulance drivers, and security guards. It also distributes grocery kits to migrant workers who have lost their jobs as a result of the crisis. In Kenya, EIM is distributing vital hygiene resources to prevent the spread of the virus in low-income "slum" communities outside surrounding Nairobi.

Doctors using protective equipment provided by EIM


Rinesh Sharma - Smart Farms Fiji

Hydroponics Essential Greens Kit

Rinesh is Founder of Smart Farms Fiji, an agro-technology initiative providing opportunities for farming around Lautoka City. Despite the low infection rates in the Pacific, the pandemic threatens to cripple Fiji’s economy because of the international travel ban. This will exacerbate the devastation caused by three tropical cyclones which struck the island at the beginning of the year.

In response, Smart Farms has developed the “Growing Essential Greens Homekit System” as an innovative solution to the food security and health consequences of the pandemic. Rinesh launched the project at the end of April but has been limited in his ability to reach vulnerable families around Lautoka City due to the damage caused by the afore-mentioned cyclones. The team are delivering the kits to ensure emergency food needs of vulnerable families are met, while recipients can stay safe from the virus in their homes. Recipients are educated and enabled to pursue hydroponic home-gardening to safeguard their food security and nutritional health, with a climate-resilient method of personal food production which can be used during lockdown.

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