Leaders driving the COVID-19 response across Asia

The first extensive outbreak of COVID-19 took place in China at the end of 2019. Since then, countries in Asia have been working to slow the spread of the virus and control further outbreaks. However, most have limited resources to keep their health systems stable and fear that hospitals will soon become overwhelmed. One Young World Ambassadors in Asia have been working tirelessly to prepare their communities for COVID-19 outbreaks and create innovative solutions to prevent community spread and safeguard vulnerable members of their community.

Ankit Kawatra photo

Ankit Kawatra, India

As the crisis around the COVID-19 pandemic grows, the livelihoods of a large number of families surviving on daily wages are becoming increasingly precarious. In response to this, Zomato Feeding India has initiated the 'Feed the Daily Wager' project to provide food support to such families, giving them a reliable supply of meals in the absence of employment opportunities. So far, the team have served more than 1 million kits, providing an incredible 10 million meals in 20 cities.


Ankit Kawatra photo
Ankit Kawatra photo
Ankit Kawatra photo

Mark Sultan Gersava, Philippines

Bambuhay is a social enterprise which promotes responsible production and consumption by creating high-impact solutions to plastic pollution. Since the start of the pandemic, Mark and his team have pivoted their products towards medical supplies, creating reusable respirator masks using activated charcoal as an anti-viral, microbial and bacterial agent. He is also in the process of testing bamboo distillate as a natural disinfectant and is testing the efficacy of virgin coconut oil serum against COVID-19.


Lezeth Garcia, Philippines

Lezeth is working with Johnson & Johnson on their measures to provide support to their employees and community during these challenging times. For their employees, Johnson & Johnson have since introduced work from home measures, released thirteen months pay early, allowed workers ten days of sick leave, and have delivered hygiene kits to their home. In the community, the team have donated more than 20,000 care packages to local hospitals and NGOs.


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Suman Kumar, Nepal

Suman is currently collaborating with the National Innovation Center in Nepal and renowned universities such as Stanford University and the University of California Berkeley to create COVID-19 response technologies.

Their most recent innovations include developing a ventilator and a Powered Air-Purifying Respirator (PAPR) PPE that use local resources in order to reduce the price of mass production. Suman is also working on a reusable Pneumask project for frontline health workers, and UVC chamber box that can disinfect masks and gloves so they can be used over 10 times. Mass production has started on the chamber boxes and they have been sent to several hospitals. 


Heidy Quah thumbnail



Heidy Quah image

Heidy Quah, Malaysia

Heidy is helping refugees impacted by the outbreak in Malaysia as Founder and Director of Refuge for The Refugees. She has personally overseen teams of 40 volunteers, who have packed food for 2,819 refugee families (over 14,000 beneficiaries), providing them with food on the table to last the next 2 weeks. This is all delivered safely to help them maintain social distancing. Heidy has used the Covid Young Leaders Fund grant to reach over 1,100 families in phase 8 of her operation, with food to last a month, and is currently planning the next phase to reach a further 1,000 vulnerable households.

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Khairunnisa Ash'ari image

Khairunnisa Ash'ari, Brunei

Khairunnisa and her team have responded to the shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) by creating DIY face shields. With their initiative, their aim is to make sure that all frontline staff, medical personnel and support teams have access to basic PPE to protect themselves and provide peace of mind.



Tanjila Mazumder Drishti, Bangladesh

Tanjila led the formation of a partnership between BRAC and P&G to support adolescent girls and women in poor households with sanitary pads for safe menstruation amid the pandemic. The initiative has brought together the best of business and development to directly support more than 100,000 adolescent girls and women across the country through BRAC’s nationwide door-to-door networks, and engaged 49,000 people over the internet to build awareness about the issue.


Holly O'Keeffe, Singapore

Holly leads the social impact efforts for Experian, a leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools around the world. She empowered colleagues to connect remotely in 7 countries which helped to put 16,5000 vulnerable people in the Philippines on the map in under two hours.


Michael de la Pena, Philippines

Michael stopped his work as an Intensive Care (ICU) nurse several years ago to join the UNILAB Foundation, a non-profit organisation focussed on building a healthier Philippines. As the start of the pandemic, Michael returned to work as a community nurse to capitalise on his years of experience and to ensure that the health system does not become overloaded.



Yashovardhan Lohia, Thailand

Indorama Ventures is a world-class chemicals company and a global integrated leader in PET, a polyester fibre used in face masks made from recycled plastic waste. They have increased their production of PET to meet the growing global demand for face masks amidst the crisis, as well as donating PPE resources to two local hospitals on the frontlines of the COVID-19 outbreak in Bangkok.

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Nabila Rubaiyat, Bangladesh

AIM Initiative Foundation, a registered non-profit organization in Dhaka, Bangladesh is working on various sustainable development goals including quality education, poverty, and gender equality.

Amid this crisis, the organization launched the COVID-19 Support Campaign in March with the distribution of masks, soaps and hand sanitizers to the families of Meradiya, Dhaka and is continuing with the food distribution campaign till now. The campaign also includes the distribution of Personal Protective Equipment for doctors and health workers and different healthcare professionals. Till date, AIM Initiative Foundation has served more than 550 low-income families (2200 people).

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Wangchuk Rapten Lama, Nepal

Wangchuk is an outreach health worker and the director of a monastery-run clinic in the Highlands of Nepal, providing healthcare to the local community for the equivalent of just 0.04 USD. He is leading a campaign to disinfect a number of other clinics and monasteries in the region and has turned his sights on building a hospital in his village.

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Girish Ananthanarayanan, India

Peepul is a non-profit that partners with governments to transform learning in public schools in India. Girish and his team at Peepul are looking to alleviate the COVID-19 impact across the education ecosystem by ensuring relief on the ground to local communities and launching an e-training capsule programme focussed on a typical government teachers' realities and needs.

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A call out to the Ambassador community: Radikha Batra, Founder of Every Infant Matters

What Every Infant Matters is doing

1. Distributing masks and hand sanitisers to homeless people, especially children, who are malnourished and vulnerable in Delhi.

They live in unhygienic conditions and survive on meagre scraps of food. Even though the disease progression in children is mild, they may pass on the virus to others who fall in the high risk category. This small step taken in the right direction may help flatten the curve. They have partnered with an NGO, pharmaceutical supplier and donors to help with the distribution process of supplies, meals and shelter.

2. Distributing masks and soaps to women and children living in remote areas of the North East.

They work in partnership with CDI, Centre for Development Initiative, based out of Gawhati, Assam. They have sent bales of cloth to support the nuns in their project of stitching 30,000 masks for domestic workers and their children.

3. Supporting those who have lost their jobs.

Thousands of migrants are trying to leave Delhi. The exodus has started. Men women children, hungry and thirsty and tired and exhausted, on long marches on foot, trying to reach their native villages. Most are labourers or other daily wagers who have lost their jobs. There are chaotic scenes everywhere. Every Infant Matters raising funds to provide food and groceries. They have raised enough to feed 40 families of e people each, for a full month. 

How you can help

In collaboration with Delhi based NGO- Donate A Meal, they are providing groceries for several families for a whole month for each family. Each relief pack has 20 kg of flour, 20 kg rice, lentils, oil, salt and spices. 

For Rs.500 you can provide a week’s groceries for a family,

For Rs. 2000 you can provide the same for a month's time. 

To contribute to this cause you can make a donation, contact +919899760178.



Ambassador causes you can support

Have some regional Ambassador news you'd like to share? Please email [email protected].


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