Meet the 2015 Laureate Global Fellows—20 change makers under 30 years of age who have developed innovative solutions to pressing global challenges. In 2014 alone, initiatives founded by these young leaders directly affected the lives of more than 100,000 people in 22 countries. Through the support of Laureate International Universities, this year's fellows will gain access to the leadership training, networks, and resources they need to pursue lifelong journeys of social impact in fields like agriculture, education, health, and women's rights.
As we celebrate 15 years of support to young social innovators, YouthActionNet welcomes the newest class of Laureate Global Fellows into our growing community of 1200+ change makers worldwide.
Africa & the Middle East
Blessing Mene Oritseweyinmi, 27, Nigeria
Mene founded UNFIRE to provide farmers with access to sustainable, low-cost animal feed and engage more youth in agriculture. UNFIRE’s highly-nutritious feed blend results in higher profits and increased availability of protein-rich foods in rural areas.
Nafula Wafula, 25, Kenya
Nafula founded the SEMA Initiative to help Kenyan youth recognize their power to combat gender-based violence (GBV). By training youth to lead workshops, events, and GBV help desks in their communities, the initiative has engaged over 4,000 Kenyan youth in GBV prevention.
Natalie Emery, 28, South Africa
Through the Change the World Trust, Natalie provides unemployed youth and disadvantaged students with free IT training to support their entry into the workforce or self-employment. In 2014, the Trust provided training to 1,200 unemployed youth and students.
Isaac Gogo, 28, Kenya
Isaac founded Linda Mtoto to provide women in the Nyatike District with free health-related messages via mobile technology aimed at improving infant health while reducing maternal and child mortality. The initiative has worked with 20 hospitals to develop a database of 1,500 mothers and children.
Ayaz Shalal Hassan, 25, Iraq
As founder of Asuda’s Gender-based Violence Prevention and Women’s Protection Project, Ayaz empowers thousands of women in Iraq’s Syrian refugee and Kurd populations through creating safe spaces at community women’s centers that offer training and resources related to legal rights, health, and family wellbeing.
Queen Baboloki Kgeresi, 25, Botswana
Queen founded The Dream Hub to help young women survivors of sexual violence regain their confidence and dignity. Through its holistic intervention, 500 young women and girls have gained access to mentorship, psychological support, and job skills training.
Asia & The Pacific
Crystal Goh, 28, Singapore
A talented singer/songwriter, Crystal founded Diamonds on the Street to empower youth at-risk, ages 13 to 21, to craft new life narratives and turn their personal reflections into art. In 2014, the initiative benefited 80 youth while sharing its message of hope and resilience with thousands of audience members at public events.
Deepa Gupta, 27, India
Deepa founded Jhatkaa.org to build a nationwide, non-partisan movement of Indian citizens who hold their decision makers accountable on issues of public welfare. Jhatkaa has used text messages, automated voice calls, email, and social networks to mobilize 100,000+ citizens to take action to combat racism, gender-based violence, and more.
Muhamad Iman Usman, 23, Indonesia
With the goal of closing Indonesia’s education gap and supporting livable wages for tutors, Iman founded Ruangguru.com, the country’s largest online marketplace for private tutors and classes. In its first year, the platform attracted 10,000 tutors who provided lessons in 100+ subjects.
Bridie Ritchie, 27, Australia
Bridie co-founded Sprout Ventures, a social enterprise, to create experiences for authentic human connection. Its flagship project is Sprout Hub™, a community facility designed to equip emerging suburban communities with the spaces and tools they need to become connected and resilient neighborhoods.
Ayşe Gökçe Bor, 29, Turkey
Through Eşya Kütüphanesi (Library of Stuff), an online platform, Ayşe enables people to lend and borrow—rather than purchase—the items they need. Its goal: to decrease depletion of natural resources while nurturing community ties. To date, more than 2,000 people have used the open-source platform.
Luke Rodgers, 24, United Kingdom
Luke founded Foster Focus to challenge the stigmas assigned to foster children and provide solutions for foster care policies and practices that incorporate the voices and experiences of the youth they serve. In 2014, the initiative reached 1,000 children in care.
Latin America & the Caribbean
Teresa Boullón, 29, Peru
Through Un Millón de Niños Lectores (One Million Readers), a social enterprise, Teresa engages parents, volunteers, and companies in building libraries in low-income schools with the goal of strengthening literacy, educational outcomes, and active citizenship. To date, the initiative has impacted over 7,500 students, 4,000 parents, and 1,200 teachers.
Leonardo Párraga, 22, Colombia
Leonardo launched the BogotArt Foundation to empower youth and community members with the training and tools needed to identify local needs and develop arts-based solutions. Through its democratization of the arts, neighborhoods once characterized by discrimination and violence are being transformed into cultural hubs.
Carolina Zuheill Candelario Rosales, 29, Mexico
Carolina founded GUIMEDIC, a system of mobile medical clinics that provides medical assistance and preventative education to Mexico’s most isolated and vulnerable communities. In 2014 alone, GUIMEDIC reached 10,600 patients.
Oscar Contreras-Villarroel, 25, Chile
Oscar founded Fundación Ciencia Joven (Youth Science Foundation) to ensure that all students recognize the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math) as viable career paths and have the skills to pursue them. Through summer camps, after-school programs, and learning publications, the venture has reached 30,000 students and teachers in four countries.
Gabriela Destephen, 27, Honduras
Gabriela co-founded Capsule, a company that designs and builds sustainable architectural solutions for people who have lost their homes or lack adequate housing. By engaging families from the start, the company nurtures a sense of ownership among those it serves.
Gustavo Reis, 22, Brazil
Gustavo founded 4YOU2, a language learning enterprise that enables residents of Brazil’s favelas to access high-quality English classes at 20% of the market rate. Through conversation-based classes taught by teachers from diverse countries, the initiative has promoted language learning and cultural exchange among 3,500+ Brazilians and 100 volunteer teachers.
Daniel Hill, 28, United States
Daniel co-founded Green Impact Campaign, which provides cloud-based tools and training to university students to conduct free energy assessments for local, small businesses, resulting in reduced carbon emissions and empowering a new generation of climate leaders. Since 2011, students at 100 universities have completed assessments for 300 small businesses.
Matthew Morantz, 29, Canada
Matthew founded Making Waves Canada to provide therapeutic swim lessons to children with severe developmental disabilities, increasing their water safety and instilling a love for staying active through swimming. The organization serves nearly 900 families each week in 14 cities across Canada, and has trained 780 student volunteers since 2009.