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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 2013

Donnie Seet

Singapore

Project: Youth Enterprise Academy International
Age: 30
Website: http://www.yeasingapore.com

In 2006, Donnie co-founded Youth Enterprise Academy (YEA) International to provide accessible, alternative entrepreneurship education and life skills training to children and youth, ages 7 to 25. Through his role as Education Director, Donnie has trained more than 1,200 educators and ensures that YEA trainers receive the support they need to fully engage students in meaningful learning. Donnie is especially proud of the YEA Foundation, which combats poverty through offering free entrepreneurship education. For every youth trained by YEA, the Foundation’s Train1 Gift 1 program provides free entrepreneurship education to a disadvantaged child in the developing world. In 2012, YEA International reached more than 10,000 primary, secondary, and tertiary students in Singapore, as well as low-income children and youth in China.

Gitanjali Babbar

India

Project: Kat-Katha
Age: 27
Website: http://www.kat-katha.org

Recognizing that most efforts to address the needs of women sex workers in New Delhi failed to tackle the abuse and exploitation that they suffered, Gitanjali founded Kat-Katha. Its goal: to provide these women with opportunities to learn new skills, self-confidence, and love. “For us, these women are not sex workers, they are Didi's, elder sisters, and Bacha's, our younger siblings,” says Gitanjali. Through Kat-Katha, she offers women sex workers in the city’s largest prostitution center the chance to pursue a basic education and develop job-related skills in tailoring, weaving, and craft making. She also provides classes to children living in the brothels. Gitanjali works closely with the police who provided the infrastructure to develop a training and educational center. In the future, she hopes to scale up the program to reach hundreds of additional women and children.

Katy Digovich

Botswana

Project: Positive Innovation for the Next Generation
Age: 28
Website: http://www.pingsite.org

Katy co-founded Positive Innovation for the Next Generation (PING) to develop and deploy mobile health and education tools with local government and private sector partners, while mentoring youth in IT skills, eventually enabling them to maintain deployed applications on the ground. PING uses technology to increase efficiencies and improve health and education systems in emerging markets through interventions that are sustainably designed and national in scope. Current PING products/services use SMS, USSD, and mobile sites for patients and the general population and smartphone applications for healthcare workers. Develo, its for-profit arm, develops mobile applications for African telecoms to provide value added services to their target populations and trains and hires youth to support and maintain its tools.

Kellen Ribas

Brazil

Project: Cicla Brasil (Brazil Cycle)
Age: 29
Website: http://www.ciclabrasil.com.br/

Just over 10 percent of Brazil’s estimated 800,000 waste pickers are organized into associations or cooperatives. Many of these workers have low levels of education and are excluded from the labor market. Kellen co-founded Cicla Brasil to strengthen communication between waste picker associations and businesses in an effort to bring this marginalized group into the formal economy. Among its services, Cicla Brasil offers technical advice to the National Movement of Waste Pickers, helps develop business plans for waste picker’s organizations, and develops tools to guide private investment. Kellen hopes to expand operations in other countries in Latin America and, subsequently, in Asia and Africa.

Kevin Morgan-Rothschild

United States

Project: VertiFarms
Age: 24
Website: http://growvertifarms.com

Through VertiFarms, Kevin develops rooftop, aeroponic gardens to provide fresh, locally-grown produce to residents of the city of New Orleans. The advanced technology that VertiFarms employs – plants are grown in vertical towers in a water and mineral-nutrient solution – uses 90 percent less water than traditional agriculture. The company’s carbon footprint is also reduced through eliminating the need to transport food over long distances. In one case, vegetables produced on a supermarket roof are sold downstairs to consumers. In the future, Kevin plans to develop a commercial farm in the city.

Kumari Middleton

Australia

Project: Mayibuye
Age: 28
Website: http://www.mayibuye.org.au/

Kumari is CEO of Mayibuye, a youth-led organization that runs after-school programs, camps, and more—in Australia, South Africa, and Cambodia—to engage youth through the performing arts. Participants use art, music, drama, and dance to convey important messages about issues like HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, bullying, and racism. Mayibuye (a Zulu term for “bringing back what was lost”) goes beyond empowering youth to become positive role models; it also incorporates life skills workshops, volunteerism, community service, and global connectivity into its programs. Funding comes from schools, corporate and foundation donations, international tours, fair trade product sales, and a new full-time course in community dance at the tertiary level.

Lee Crockford

Australia

Project: Spur Projects
Age: 29
Website: http://www.spurprojects.com.au

With suicide the leading cause of death among males in Australia, aged 14 to 44, Lee co-founded "Spur Projects" to break down barriers that inhibit men from seeking help. Projects include "Soften the Fck Up" which challenges the idea of masculinity in Australian culture and encourages men to actively start a dialogue; and "Make Sound," which offers creative workshops for men living in rural and remote areas. Because Spur is run by young men for young men, it addresses their needs and uses language and techniques that appeal to this demographic. To date, Spur Projects has reached over half a million people thanks to the involvement of Australian media and the country’s largest mental health organisation.

Lina Khalifeh

Jordan

Project: SheFighter
Age: 29
Website: http://www.shefighter.com

With a black belt in Taekwondo, Lina decided she had a special skill to offer Jordanian women suffering from abuse and violence. “At university, I saw many women feeling weak, getting abused, or being harassed,” she says. “I wanted to help them gain confidence—both physically and mentally.” Starting with self-defense lessons in the basement of her home, Lina eventually launched SheFighter, the first self-defense studio for women in Jordan and the Middle East. Classes are geared toward girls and women and focus on mental and physical empowerment techniques. Lina also leverages traditional and social media to encourage women to speak more publicly about sexual harassment, and shares her approach weekly on a national TV show.


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