Europe is now considered the epicentre of the global COVID-19 pandemic. With rising death tolls and many countries already in full lockdown, the need for leadership in this time of crisis has never been greater. The One Young World Ambassador community in Europe has been on the frontlines of the pandemic response in a multitude of ways. Some have focused their efforts on working with European governments to craft responses while others have focused on serving their community. These responses showcase the diversity and compassion of the Ambassador community who have leapt into action to help their communities stay safe and healthy.
Senad Alibegovic, Bosnia and Herzegovina
In response to the growing numbers of pet owners in Bosnia and Herzegovina that were unable to leave their homes due to COVID-19, Senad organised a project called "Šetamo šapice" ("We walk your paws"). He gathered a team of 20 volunteers from all municipalities in Sarajevo and all citizens that rang their emergency phone were provided with free dog-walking services, twice per day.
Laura Casati, Austria
GlobeAir is working to use company resources to slow the spread of COVID-19. They are offering up planes for use transporting critical resources from one area to another. These flights can transfer medicine, supplies, organs, and medical professionals. These flights are also helping repatriate stranded Austrians and transport top-decision makers from place to place to place.
Stan Karpenko, United Kingdom
Stan Karpenko is the founder of GiveVision, a company that provides groundbreaking technical solutions for visual impairments. Many people in GiveVision’s network are elderly people in the highest risk group for the COVID-19 and are socially isolated from their friends and loved ones. GiveVision has created a program that matches young volunteers with elderly people for twenty-minute weekly phone calls.
Matthew Leopold, United Kingdom
Matthew is a volunteer with three ambulance services in the London area. Along with hundreds of other volunteers, Matthew helps respond to the inflated number of 999 calls caused by the COVID-19 epidemic and make sure that every citizen has access to emergency medical services and transportation to the hospital.
Eman Borg, Malta
Malta LGBTIQ Rights Movement, Allied Rainbow Communities, Checkpoint Malta and LGBTI Gozo have joined forces to seek to find accommodation for people at risk, or who have already become homeless. The organisations have also opened a trust fund for donations that will serve as an emergency funding in case persons living with HIV cannot afford their current medication.
Abdelhamid Idrissi, Netherlands
Abdelhamid runs a program in Amsterdam called Studiezalen in which he helps families from vulnerable neighbourhoods keep up with their children’s education. His student centres have become critical during the COVID-19 outbreak and he has provided many students with the tools they need to continue school online.
Meg Zeenat & Damian Zabielski, United Kingdom
My Mind Matters Too (MMMT) is reaching out to students and educators to check-in or their mental health during this difficult time, releasing weekly newsletters with tips on coping to this new academic reality. MMMT is also hosting Tea and Talk sessions for people to join together and discuss their mental health.
Jemima Lovatt, United Kingdom
Jemima is part of the leadership team at SpareHand, which is helping community organisations find and manage volunteers during the COVID-19 outbreak and beyond. The app enables charities to go digital with their existing volunteer base, generate volunteer availability for tasks and swiftly integrate new volunteers. They are currently onboarding local charities and community groups.
Samuel Grzybowski, France
As the leader of an interfaith movement, Samuel has put together live sessions on social media to keep the community informed about inter-religious cooperation during times of crisis. In this time the Foundation strives to bring religious people together to support one another and bond over their shared faith.
Fatima Zaman, United Kingdom
Fatima has joined the team crafting government policy towards COVID-19. In her role as the head of the UK G20 Youth Delegation, she is working with another One Young World Ambassador, Virginia Stuart-Taylor (also featured on this list) to help craft a unified international youth response to COVID-19.
Miganoush Magarian, Netherlands
TeachSurfing has started a workshop series that helps educate people about COVID-19. This series goes beyond simply informing the public and brings in experts to enlighten viewers on the central debates surrounding cutting edge treatment and technology to help those ailing from COVID-19.
Jolly Layard Horsfall, United Kingdom
Happy Space has created a campaign called #HappySpaceAtHome. They are sending the #HappySpaceGuidebook to pupils learning from home. This provides school children without the necessary educational content and support with tools and strategies to continue their learning, maintain routine, and manage their well-being. They plan to continue to offer support to vulnerable children after schools have re-opened to deal with the long-term, well-being implications for children. As a grant recipient, Happy Space has managed to provide books and support to over 2,500 children.
Virginia Stuart-Taylor, United Kingdom
Virginia has worked with young leaders from around the world to create a unified response statement to the COVID-19 pandemic:
Virginia and the UK's Y7 delegation are eager to hear young people's views on how world leaders should be dealing with the crisis, via survey:
Grigor Yeritsyan, Armenia
Grigor is using his organization Armenian Progressive Youth to help distribute food to older people in Armenia that can not leave their homes due to COVID-19. Their network of volunteers has already begun packing and delivering boxes of food. They are planning to provide groceries for 4,000 older people for a month.
Esther Marshall, United Kingdom
Esther is the author of the Sophie Says children's book series, to help children believe in themselves and achieve their dreams, regardless of gender, race, religion or class.
Sophie Says has launched a fundraising campaign to donate copies of the book to vulnerable children and children of key workers. All proceeds will go towards helping those going through abuse get back on their feet.
Ronit Kanwar, United Kingdom
Ronit has launched Fight Covid, a platform which allows for individuals to volunteer their expertise and skills to help organisations and projects with their efforts against COVID-19. The platform's goal is to make sure that no UK initiatives tackling COVID-19 are left behind just because they lack the expertise or support they need for their ideas to develop, grow and flourish.
Sara Rajabli, Azerbaijan
Given the negative impacts of COVID-19, Social Business Youth Center launched an online mentorship programme on social entrepreneurship for underprivileged youth in Azerbaijan. In partnership with Yunus & Youth, Sara and her team will be matching young people in need with top local and international professionals & social entrepreneurs.
Caritta Seppa, Finland
COVID-19 has been particularly damaging in remote areas, where the impact can be more drastic due to a lack of resources. To counter this, Tespack has developed the Solar Media Backpack, an innovative solution that converts any space into a smart classroom. Teachers can showcase and provide videos and information about COVID-19 (as well as other educational content) in off-grid regions.
Tamar Lobjanidze, United Kingdom
Tamar and her team are running a blog series on COVID-19; they are seeking contributions from people that are directly affected by the outbreak or who are working on the ground in conflict contexts.
Naz Kawan, Netherlands
Naz along with three others have established Mondmaskerfabriek, the first mask-making factory in the Netherlands. They have now begun productions and are looking to employ 28 asylum seekers (status holders) in the Netherlands.
Sal Mohammed, United Kingdom
Sal and the Connected Homeless team have developed an app called Help at Home. This platform allows isolated citizens to submit requests for help and then connects them with local volunteers capable of fulfilling those requests. This will help isolated citizens stay connected with their communities and gain access to essential services.
Layla Yarjani, United Kingdom
Layla Yarjani’s education technology company, Little Bridge, has been working with the Home Office and numerous support groups, including Local Authorities for two years to provide free access to child refugees and families learning English. Since the COVID-19 pandemic and with families on lockdown, the request from the Home Office has increased so the team has now onboarded an additional 40 local authorities for free to continue digital English language learning while at home. This is fundamental to community integration in the UK. Little Bridge is also now providing free access to 140 refugees in a project with UNICEF Jordan.
Thuy Nguyen, United Kingdom
As Head of Communications at 4SD, Thuy supports Dr David Nabarro, a Special Envoy of WHO Director-General on COVID-19, as he provides strategic advice and high-level political advocacy and engagement to help WHO coordinate the global response. At The Partnering Initiative, Thuy is launching a helpline to mobilise TPI’s global network of associates who can provide organisations with advice on effective collaboration.
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