Ambassador Spotlights: October 2021

One Young World Ambassadors are leading projects in every country of the world, creating substantial social impact across all 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Every month our Coordinating Ambassadors select someone from their region who has created significant social impact locally, regionally or even worldwide.

New Zealand

Rez Gardi

As the Co-Managing Director for Refugees Seeking Equal Access at the Table (R-SEAT), Rez Gardi works to promote the role of refugees in determining their own futures through their participation at all levels of the global refugee regime. R-SEAT aims to strengthen the efficacy of international responses to refugee crises by emphasising the unique capacity of refugees themselves for leadership within the global response system, in particular the decision-making bodies of the global refugee regime like the Executive Committee of the UNHCR (ExCom).

 

The inclusion of refugee perspectives and leadership within the global refugee framework would legitimise and humanise international mechanisms, strengthening their capacity to promote effective solutions to refugee crises. To this end, R-SEAT works to secure commitments from 20 ExCom members to institutionalise refugee participation within national delegations by 2023. The initiative also seeks to establish networking opportunities between refugee leaders and suitable stakeholders in policy-making and non-profit spaces, so as to increase the influence of refugees upon those sectors which most directly impact their lives.

 

Rez Gardi has an extensive background in human rights and refugee issues. She is also the founder of 'Empower', an organisation dedicated to correcting the underrepresentation of refugees in higher education. Her work has impacted over 20,000 refugee youth.

20 K+

refugee youth impacted across all projects

The Netherlands

Nizar Ben Messaoud

Passionate about inspiring others to make a difference, Nizar Ben Messaoud organised volunteers from his company, Unilever, to cook for homeless people in the city of Rotterdam alongside another NGO, 'Stichting Salaam'. Unilever in turn supported the project by announcing that for every meal cooked by the volunteers, the company would donate four. The project took place with the COVID-19 pandemic raging in the background, when vulnerable groups were exposed to even more hardship than usual. Volunteers often added handwritten messages so that receivers would know that they were not alone. Partnership between volunteers and between organisations was key to the smooth-running of the project, Nizar firmly believes that the aggregation of resources can lead to greater impact. As such, working alongside volunteers like Rachid, Mohamed, Ikrame and Ikrame, Semir and Samira, amongst countless others, fostered a strong sense of community feeling.

 

By the end of Ramadan, the project had provided much-needed meals for 1,200 people, while the volunteers also delivered thousands of home and personal care products to low-income families in need throughout the city. The families received gift cards for vital clothing and groceries, and money was raised so that families could surprise their childen with new clothing. Nizar's work was deeply influenced by the charitable principles of the Ramadan season, and formed a key component of Unilever's bond with the local community during this period.

1200

people received cooked meals

South Africa

Nozipho Mpanza

Amidst a unemployment crisis in South Africa, Building Blocks Entrepreneurship Academy - a black female owned business - was established in order to provide entrepreneurial education to South African youth from the high school level up. The Academy, co-founded by Nozipho Mpanza, aims to build the skill-set of its students so that they can better succeed in the current economic climate of South Africa. The organisation operates through bootcamps, both online and in-person, during school holidays, running over 5 days and providing participants with a comprehensive curriculum which centres critical thinking.

 

Building Blocks Entrepreneurship Academy also hosts an interactive e-learning platform through which students can work on their emotional intelligence, conflict management skills, negotiation skills and problem-solving abilities. The project's core team also makes itself readily available for one-on-one sessions for young people interested in entrepreneurship and career development. Since 2018, the Academy has worked with over 4,000 young people in South Africa, Hong Kong, and Rwanda. Building Blocks Entrepreneurship Academy also operates an alumni programme for top students that pass through its educational platform.

 

4 K

students have worked with Building Blocks Entrepreneurship Academy since its founding

Portugal

Lucija Matic

In a time of increasing economic and financial change, Crypto Cheetahs has tasked itself with addressing the gender imbalance among people who hold crypto-currency. Although blockchain technology allows people irrespective of their background or identity to access financial services without any need for conventional financial institutions, no more than 10-15% of people with crypto-currency investments are women. The brainchild of Lucija Matic, Crypto Cheetahs operates as an online platform and community to help women become more financially and crypto literate so as to ensure they are fully able to take advantage of crypto-currency's accessibility.

 

The project offers an online cohort-based course which teaches women about cryptocurrency, blockchain technology more broadly, and investment strategies in an approachable and intelligible manner. The aim of the project is to instil in a new generation of women the possibilities of financial independence. The intimacy of the course means that every participant receives attention and that engagement levels remain high throughout. Crypto Cheetahs maintains an empowering educational environment in which financial knowledge is transmitted through lectures accompanied by Q&A sessions, hands-on practical work, and a growing Telegram channel.

 

China

Levin Shu

Levin Shu founded Future Stars with the goal of overcoming the gap between university education and the skills needed to excel in the post-academic, particularly corporate, world. The programme has worked with people in four continents and numerous renowned academic and third-level institutions covering STEM subjects, the humanities, business studies, medicine, and law. Over 340 students received assistance, with many going on to receive offers of employment at large, prestigious companies and multinationals. The mentorship helps students develop their soft skills in a fast-paced, ever-changing marketplace. The programme aims to inspire youth, rebuild their skills, accelerate learning and deliver impactful outcomes for its students.

 

Deloitte, Levin's employer, also recognised the worth of Future Stars, adopting it as an official programme of the Deloitte Impact Foundation. Future Stars operates through a workshop and webinar system in which topics of interest, often revolving around sought-after career paths, are discussed within a university setting, though they are also available to view through online platforms. The programme is also noteworthy for being free for users, and has received excellent reviews from past participants.

340

students upskilled

Albania

Luis Bekteshi

Youth Center Perspektiva is an non-governmental organisation based in Albania which seeks to promote and engage young people across the Western Balkans through intercultural dialogue, peer-to-peer education and human rights awareness. In a region so recently racked by conflict, Youth Center Perspektiva focuses on young people from marginalised communities and demographics, including those with disabilities, those from impoverished and rural areas, and traditionally maligned and persecuted minorities such as the Roma. The organisation aims to raise awareness, assist vulnerable groups, and promote youth participation particularly to further human rights in Albania.

 

The NGO also works to research human rights and the role of young people in promoting them within that country, providing educational and artistic avenues to these ends. Youth Center Perspektiva has fostered links with governmental and international bodies, having received different grants from the Council of Europe, European Commission and other donors, which has enabled it to conduct awareness campaigns at all levels. The organisation currently has 5 full-time staff and over 50 youth volunteers. The project instituted educational methods to train 25 youth workers on digital media literacy and non-discrimination in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with participants developing skills related to identifying fake news and running online awareness campaigns. They also learned how the pandemic has furthered the challenges faced by marginalised groups and how to foster cross-community engagement within Albania.

25

youth leaders trained in digital literacy and media ethics in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Luxembourg

Anthony Harivelomandimby

After hearing about the devastating drought underway in Madagascar's southern Androy region, the Leo Club Feierwon Luxembourg decided to launch a campaign to build water cisterns in badly affected areas. They successfully raised over €7,000, and have since entered the preparatory phase for the construction of 2 tanks holding 20,000 litres in collaboration with a local organisation.

 

The project aims to alleviate the suffering of the local people, with over 75% of the region impacted by severe or extreme drought, the consequences of which include 135,000 malnourished children and 1.3 million people desperately in need of humanitarian assistance as of January 2021. Once complete, clean water will be available to upwards of 3,000 people, as each cistern will serve around 1,500 people from Tsihombe District and neighbouring areas through the construction of an in-situ cistern regularly supplied from fresh water sources further afield. The tanks will be cleaned and maintained by agents hired from the local population and a filtration system operating at each cistern. Water will be sold at a break-even price, on average 50% cheaper than alternatives.

 

2

cisterns of 20,000 litres

7000

raised for the construction of a cistern network

The Bahamas

Shanaye Smith

In response to COVID-19, Shanaye Smith created a 15 minute documentary entitled 'Is Everything Okay?' highlighting the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of a group of young Bahamians. Gathering together a group of her friends who had experienced hardships as a result of the pandemic. and following her own struggles with mental health during lockdown, the documentary emerged as a way to both deal with the consequences of the pandemic personally for her and also as a way of helping others. The aim of the documentary was to legitimize the mental health experiences of young people experiencing personal crises in the aftermath of COVID lockdowns and in the face of cultural taboos and stigma.

 

The pandemic sparked a rise in mental health struggles in the region and also an uptake in people seeking professional support, with the documentary highlighting the perspectives of both healthcare professionals and ordinary Bahamians. Since its release, "Is Everything Okay?" has been viewed by almost 8,000 people through social media channels like Facebook, receiving news coverage within the country. The documentary also received a "Special Recognition Award" from the Art Gallery of the Central Bank of the Bahamas in a recent exhibition for its unique contribution to the discussion around mental health in the country.

 

7900

documentary views on Facebook

27 %

of Caribbean youth report feelings of anxiety stemming from their economic situation during the pandemic

India

Aashraya Seth

As an independent programme of The Intelligent Indian (TIIx) NGO founded by Aashraya Seth, Menstrual Hygiene Friendly Spaces (MHFS) aims to provide the resources necessary to ensure menstrual health and hygiene in schools across central India. To accomplish this, Aashraya invented India's most affordable and non-electric sanitary pad vending machine, known as a Pad Bank, each of which holds 25 biodegradable pads and costs only £20. An environmentally friendly and cost-effective product, MHFS initially provided access to safe and indispensable menstrual health in 4 all-girls public schools, 2 shelter homes and 2 home-schools for people with special needs, helping to maintain the health of nearly 2000 women and girls.

 

The project has since grown to 40 public schools with more than 20,000 feminine hygiene kits distributed impacting upwards of 15,000 menstruators. The portability and easy usability of the MHFS vending machine also allows impoverished rural areas, often left behind, to gain better access to menstrual health and hygiene. The programme has branched out beyond providing a menstrual health infrastructure, tackling stigma and providing sexual and reproductive health education in a cultural context where menstruation is often considered a social taboo. Additionally, MHFS empowers and educates young girls on preventing various non-communicable diseases and making informed decisions about their health. Other initiatives designed and led by Aashraya can be founded at The Intelligent Indian website.

 

40

Pad Banks installed

33

public schools participating

20 K+

feminine hygiene kits distributed

Ghana

Salomey Ampadu

Since beginning ground operations in 2019, MEYFUND Foundation has tackled institutional gaps in Ghana's education system by providing educational programmes to underprivileged children. The aim is to undermine the societal barriers that are reinforced when marginalised children do not receive access to quality education. Founded by Salomey Ampadu, MEYFUND addresses the imbalance by educating children on social skills, emotional stability and technological ability, in order to further their cognitive development.

 

The foundation's strength lies in its extensive workshop programme which, in addition to providing a stable source of education, also allows MEYFUND to consistently monitor the progress of the children, directly benefiting marginalised communities in the long-term. The non-profit also focuses attention on inclusive practices, with a target age-range of between 4-11 years and a programme divided into two stages aimed at early and middle childhood development respectively. Through their workshops, MEYFUND has directly impacted nearly 30 children across Ghana and Kenya, with plans to increase this number to at least 500 children supported annually. Additionally, in Kenya the organisation has worked through a partnership to provide participating schools with tablets and other useful technologies, with emphasis on aiding children with special needs in orphanages. MEYFUND hopes to open an educational hub to provide a safe learning space for children from marginalised communities within the next five years.

30

children impacted directly

31 %

of children in Ghana are not considered developmentally on track

Thailand

Emmy Boonsakulcharoen

As a Creative Lead at Love Frankie, Emmy helps non-profits, development agencies, and corporations drive their social impact missions through storytelling and creative communication campaigns. The social change agency specializes in research and creative communications across APAC and works on various human rights and social issues.

Mental health is a topic that is close to Emmy's heart since she was diagnosed with depression and ADHD at a young age, and growing up she never felt comfortable expressing the emotional challenges she faced. Her struggles resonate with Thai youth today. As a result of the pandemic, political instability and a generational divide, young Thais are struggling with mental health more than ever, exacerbated by the lack of safe spaces in a country where mental health conversations are still highly stigmatized.

Love Frankie aims to raise awareness and break stigmas around mental health through a number of campaigns. The team has produced hundreds of content pieces ranging from infographics, panel discussion, toolkits, journal prompts, workshops, videos and much more. Outside of her role at Love Frankie, Emmy regularly advocates for mental health on her social media. She hopes to create safe spaces for youth struggling with mental health challenges to feel heard, understood and accepted.
 

United States

Geoffrey Bishop

Harvest Craft was founded in 2013 and is an international agricultural development non-profit. Harvest Craft seeks to equip, educate and empower communities in developing countries through sustainable food production systems.

 

To date, Harvest Craft has developed farms and agroecological systems in community centres in Mexico, orphanages in Haiti and human trafficking rehabilitation centres in Cambodia. In 2018, Harvest Craft developed the Haiti Center for Agroecology (HCA) on 30 acres, near Jacmel, Haiti. The HCA is a research and education centre, staffed entirely by local Haitian agronomists that engage in agricultural research, training and education for the empowerment of local farmers in the area. Presently, the HCA hosts monthly training sessions and provides tens of thousands of mixed vegetable seedlings for over 400+ local farmers enrolled in our program. Harvest Craft employs approximately a dozen Haitians to run and work at the HCA.

 

Harvest Craft, through the HCA, empowers the local agrarian community with increased knowledge about sustainable agriculture, increased production from their land and increased sales to improve their socio-economic status.

400 +

local farmers enrolled in programmes

10 K+

mixed vegetable seedlings provided

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