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Meet the Fellows

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Congratulations to everyone and may your dedication be an inspiration to all.

Winners of the YouthActionNet® Fellowship 2010

Kerstin Forsberg


Project: Planeta Océano
Age: 25
Website: http://www.planetaoceano.org

Kerstin Forsberg co-founded Planeta Océano (Planet Ocean) to conserve and protect coastal and marine areas in Peru. Its activities focus on research, environmental education, and sustainable development. Central to Planeta Océano's work is engaging local citizens in every step of the process - including designing, implementing, and evaluating projects. Links are forged between students, fishermen, government authorities, and scientists to ensure a comprehensive, integrated approach. Supporting Planeta Océano's research initiatives is a growing number of university students who investigate marine biology and the environmental impact of humans, including fishing. The organization's educational outreach targets teachers, students, professionals, fishermen, and the community at large. Residents learn about the challenges facing their marine and coastal environment and are empowered to become part of the solution.

Kwabena Danso


Project: Yonso Project
Age: 29
Webiste: http://www.yonsoproject.org

Kwabena Danso grew in the rural community of Yonso in south-central Ghana. Today, the very place where he once struggled against poverty is where he now works to improve educational outcomes for children and livelihood opportunities for women through the Yonso Project. Focusing its efforts on five small towns with a combined population of 12,000, the Project seeks to tackle some of the largest problems facing the developing world on an effective, manageable scale. Among its activities, the Project offers scholarships to children, renovates schools, provides textbooks and other equipment, sponsors teachers, and recognizes quality teaching through an awards program. Recognizing that families frequently can't afford to send their children to school, the Project provides business training workshops and microloans to rural women. A bamboo bicycle production initiative employs local youth, while providing rural farmers with a way to transport their goods to market. To date, the Yonso Project has renovated three rural schools, provided scholarships to over 130 students, and made loans to more than 200 women.

Lina Useche


Project: Impulso Microcredit
Age: 26
Website: http://www.impulso.org.br

Lina Useche launched Impulso Microcredit to provide microloans and technical support to low-income entrepreneurs in Brazil, while linking them to angel investors worldwide through a dynamic website. "We help start ups with great business ideas and no money or know how," says Lina in describing Impulso's unique niche. At the same time, the program connects low-income entrepreneurs to angel investors around the globe through a dynamic website. Visitors to Impulso's online marketplace are able to browse micro-enterprises in need of support, with investment minimums set at US$25. The user-friendly website highlights the amount of money each project is requesting; capital raised to date; a business plan, if available; and videos and photos of the enterprise and its products. Contributors can monitor the progress of their investment and track repayments online.

Lucinda Hartley


Project: [co]design studio
Age: 28
Website: http://www.codesignstudio.com.au

Trained as a landscape architect, Lucinda Hartley spent two years working in slum communities in Vietnam and Cambodia before launching the [co]design studio. Its goal: to develop appropriate, accessible, and sustainable design solutions for community projects. "With half of the world's population living in cities, sustainable urbanization is the greatest design challenge of our generation," says Lucinda. To prepare for the challenges of the future - including needs for shelter, education, health care, and open spaces - the [co]design studio offers emerging designers opportunities to work with partner organizations in four countries to deliver built solutions for community projects, emphasizing knowledge sharing and peer-to-peer learning. In the city of Broome in Western Australia, for example, [co]design is working with Indigenous Australians to develop a community health care center. A similar project aimed at addressing the education needs of migrant children and their families is underway in Bangalore, India. In both cases, [co]design has partnered with local nonprofit organizations to co-create solutions.

Manpreet Darroch

United Kingdom

Project: Tune Into Traffic
Age: 21
Website: http://www.tuneintotraffic.co.uk

Every month, 500 young people are killed or seriously injured on British roads, according to Manpreet Darroch, who founded Tune into Traffic to reduce the number of youth killed on U.K. roadways. Manpreet first learned of the severity of youth traffic deaths while attending the UN World Youth Assembly for Road Safety in 2007. Soon after, he was selected by Channel 4 television to participate in its Battlefront initiative, through which 20 youth annually develop social awareness campaigns. Manpreet focused his campaign on the dangers of listening to music while crossing the street. His efforts were chronicled in a documentary film, which aired as part of Channel 4's educational programming. Viewers follow Manpreet's step-by-step process in developing his idea - from designing a logo, brochures, and stickers with the pro bono help of an international marketing agency to producing a fast-paced viral video available on YouTube. Manpreet's comprehensive approach includes maximizing Tune into Traffic's web presence, where visitors can download do-it-yourself campaign materials, and training youth as peer educators.

Ori Wachtel


Project: Hevra Tova
Age: 29
Website: http://www.hevratova.org.il

While pursuing his law degree, Ori Wachtel would talk to his university peers about pressing social issues only to find that - while many were interested in making a difference - very few ever volunteered. The reason: lack of time and easy access to opportunities. To provide alternatives to long-term volunteer assignments, Ori founded Hevra Tova, (in English, "Good Society"), in 2006. A project of Nachshon, a nongovernmental organization, Hevra Tova offers a monthly array of more than 400 one-time volunteer activities throughout Israel. Visitors to its website can easily browse for information about events taking place in their vicinity, allowing almost anyone to connect to an activity that's convenient for them. In 2009 alone, more than 20,000 people accessed volunteer opportunities through Hevra Tova's online guide. Over the long-term, Ori seeks to contribute to an Israel where every person can easily and quickly access volunteer opportunities in his/her community.

Phuc Do Thi


Project: Solidarités Jeunesses Vietnam
Age: 28
Website: http://www.sjvietnam.org

Through Solidarités Jeunesses Vietnam (SJ Vietnam), Phuc Do Thi seeks to contribute to a new perception in Vietnam of what volunteering is all about, while addressing critical community needs. Each year, SJ Vietnam hosts 500 foreign and thousands of local volunteers in 70 short-term work camps and 20 long-term projects focused on helping the disadvantaged and promoting community development. The volunteers work in pediatric hospitals and homeless shelters; many assist orphans or the elderly. Long-term projects, lasting from one to twelve months, offer volunteers the chance to live and work in the communities where they serve and can involve teaching, environmental, or social work. Training courses and workshops are also offered on topics such as conflict management, leadership, and intercultural learning.

Robin Chaurasiya


Project: Kranti
Age: 25
Website: http://www.kranti-india.org

In 2009, Robin Chaurasiya co-founded Kranti (in English "Revolution") to empower girls who were sexually trafficked through providing them with a healing home, comprehensive education, and leadership opportunities to realize their full potential. Kranti bills itself as the first organization by trafficked girls - not for them. "We believe it's time for a revolutionary approach to prevention, rehabilitation, and repatriation," says Robin, who started Kranti as an alternative to mainstream anti-trafficking NGOs. Focusing its efforts on girls who do not have families or communities they can return to, Kranti provides a stable home and the chance to develop long-term goals. Its programs are co-created, with participants' monitoring and evaluating their own success.

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