International Youth Day 2019
International Youth Day is a day for us to celebrate the work of youth and youth-led organisations around the world who are creating a better world for us all. This year’s theme is 'transforming education' - highlighting the efforts being done to make education more inclusive and accessible for all youth, including efforts by youth themselves.
In honour of this theme we’ve profiled a number of young leaders from within the QCT network who are doing remarkable things in this space, succesfullly transforming education from the grassroots up, and changing the lives and opportunities for many in their local communities.
Chhavi Khandelwal, Manasi Mehan and Aayush Bansal, Saturday Art Class
Saturday Art Class was founded by Chhavi and her partners Manasi Mehan and Aayush Bansal, to provide an alternative way of learning for those who face developmental delays and require a different approach. This is particularly relevant for many of the young children based in the Mumbai slums where Chhavi, Manasi and Aayush operate.
Saturday Art Class therefore delivers a model which teaches important life skills and provides social-emotional learning through a medium that requires no specific language or background - art.
Since launching in 2017, Chhavi, Manasi, Aauysh and their team of 800 volunteer mentors, have cumulatively worked with over 4,500 children, across 15 partner institutions in Mumbai, amalgamating social-emotional learning with modern art practices to drive positive learning outcomes in the classrooms. Their ambition for the next 5 years is to reach a total 12,000 children from low-income communities not only in Mumbai, but across other cities in India, providing new solutions for learning and transforming education for many.
Ellie Besley-Gould, Hello World
Hello World was created by co-founders Ellie Besley-Gould and Katrin McMillan in order to make education accessible to all children across the world, regardless of a lack of schools, books or teachers.
Collaborating with coders, designers, researchers and engineers, they designed 'Hello Hubs'; solar-powered outdoor Internet kiosks with state-of the art technology - including; solar panels, satellite connectivity and weatherproof touchscreen ipads - which local people are trained to build and maintain themselves. One Hub can provide unlimited internet access for over 1,500 people.
To date, they have successfully installed Hello Hubs in Uganda, Nigeria and Nepal and have plans to continue expanding in the near future. Read more about their work on our Inspiration page or find and follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Jean Michel Habineza, iDebate
Jean Michel is the founder of iDebate Rwanda, an organisation that seeks to educate the next generation on debate and peaceful discussion as a means of problem solving.
Growing up in the immediate aftermath of the devastating 1994 Rwandan genocide, Jean Michel quickly saw that even as the country was working towards recovery, there were still many in the local community who felt residual anger and resentment towards the actions they had witnessed. He saw an opportunity to change the discourse from upset and violence, and instead encouarge the use of language to enable people to express their feelings and debate opposing views, without the situation having to escalate. It was this opportunity that led to the founding of iDebate.
Among its many activities, iDebate is currently working directly with 25 schools across Rwanda, holding debate classes and sessions, helping to educate thousands of young people across the country on the power of reasoned argument and critical thinking. Learn more about Jean and the work of iDebate Rwanda here or check them out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Aarti Naik, Sakhi For Girls Education
Aarti founded Sakhi For Girls Education in 2008 in order to create quality learning spaces within the community for young girls living in the slums of Mumbai, India. Since its launch, Sakhi For Girls has afforded over 400 girls from slum communities the opportunity to continue their education with confidence, holding classes in literacy and numeracy skills, as well as life skills coaching. As such, these girls have been supported in their desire to remain in education and are empowered to want to follow their dreams in the future.
Chrisann Jarrett, Let Us Learn
Chrisann Jarrett’s migration status denied her the right to higher education and her hopes of going to university were quashed. After discovering that she was not alone, Chrisann set up Let Us Learn, an equal access to higher education campaign calling for the removal of government policy that prevents young migrants from accessing a student loan.
The campaign was meant to be a short-term project but within four years Chrisann and the Let Us Learn team have submitted evidence to the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, influenced government policy, and lobbied over 16 universities to provide scholarships to young migrants. They have engaged and mobilised over 1,000 young leaders to speak out against social injustice to date, and their work isn’t done yet – read more about their ambitions for the future here and follow more of their work on Twitter.
Derick Omari, Tech Era
Derick’s work focuses on improving access to education for students with disabilities, providing affordable assistive technology and learning materials to disabled youth in Ghana. As part of its work, Tech Era has developed software that helps visually impaired students access education materials that would otherwise be inaccessible to them, helping them to progress successfully through the education system.
The impact of this project can be directly attributed to a staggering rise in literacy levels amongst Ghana's disabled youth, increasing from 5% to 25% in few, short years.
Alongside this, Tech Era is also inspiring, training and equipping other youth in the country to build innovative assistive technology solutions for themselves, including braille keyboards and calculators, 3D printed graphs and other learning materials - transforming education for those who might otherwise have been left behind. Discover more by following them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Mushfiqur Rahman Saadm and co-founder Bushra E Anjum, Wizkit
Wizkit is a STEMpowerment organization created out of the need to make education fun, hands on and accessible for everyone. When Mushfiqur and his co-founder Bushra started Wizkit, they wanted students to learn about STEM in the most engaging way possible, but this soon expanded to become so much more.
In Bangladesh's capital of Dhaka, there are plenty of options for students to engage with STEM education, throughh coding, robots, wordwork etc. However, being introduced to a small, rural community in Thanchi, Bandarban, Mushfiqur and Bushra were amazed to hear they had no school at all. It was then they decided to take their initiative and support the young people here who may otherwise have been left behind.
With help from their team, they worked hard to create the first school there, and they now have 85 students enrolled in our school, living and boarding together. These students are learning to code, learning science through experiments and have even become master chess players, while acquiring vital access to educational materials through the internet and digital access Wizkit has created there!
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