24 YEARS OLD, Afghanistan
Pashtana is the founder of ‘LEARN’, a non-profit organization which has empowered 7,000 girls in Afghanistan through education. Since the Taliban’s takeover, she fled to the US from where she has continued to educate girls in underground schools in Afghanistan, and provide them with a standard curriculum in addition to concrete skills (e.g. in graphic design or IT). These skills enable girls to make money – which is decisive within an Afghan household – and to thus avoid being trapped in child marriage.
19 YEARS OLD, South Africa
Zulaikha became a symbol of the fight against Pretoria Girls High School’s policy regarding black girls’ hair in 2016, at the age of 13. She held demonstrations that led to not only a change in school policy, but also an inquiry into allegations of racism at the school. Zulaikha Patel’s actions inspired other protests in South Africa and people worldwide began sharing pictures of their own afros on social media, in solidarity with the female students of Pretoria High School. She recently wrote a children’s book titled “My Coily Crowny Hair” to make sure that no black child ever feels inferior about their hair but rather embraces and falls in love with it. Zulaikha now works on decolonizing the South African school curriculum.
21 YEARS OLD, Chile
Sebastián was born in a ‘sacrificed’ zone in Chile – Quintero y Puchuncavi – one of the world’s most polluted areas where oil leaks and pollution from heavy industry are harming the health of local citizens. From a very young age, he has engaged with youth movements to advance environmental protection and defend his community’s rights and health. His achievements include the closure of a foundry. Sebastián launched a movement called “Escazú Ahora” which rallied over 34,000 people so that the Chilean government adopts the Escazú Treaty. The latter is the first international agreement to recognize the right to a healthy environment in Latin America. Sebastián also contributed to the closure of a very polluting copper smelter. He now works on the implementation of the Treaty and on the protection of environmental defenders.
26 YEARS OLD, UK/USA
Keely founded ‘C Talent’ at the age of 18 to promote disabled talent in the movie and media industries. Left with a permanent ‘invisible’ disability following a series of wrong diagnoses, Keely places disabled talent into all roles, not just disability-specific roles. She changes the way the world views and defines disability, utilizing the entertainment industry’s massive reach and power. Through her agency, Keely has placed talent in Hollywood movies, incl. with Disney and Google Pixel, and has reached over 50 million people through their productions to date. Keely also offers consulting services in accessibility to many companies including Netflix, Twitter and Virgin Media.
22 YEARS OLD, DRC
C’est Prévue founded an orphanage called ‘La Maison des Anges’ which now hosts 13 children – aged between 5 months and 12 years old – who used to live on the streets of Kinshasa. From the age of 13, she started caring for street kids as she took part in meal distributions, and witnessed their poor living conditions. At the age of 17, she found a house to host her orphanage, which is funded by private donors through small financial contributions.
21 YEARS OLD, USA
After being bullied throughout elementary and middle school, Sameer founded The Empathy Alliance to make schools safer for LGBTQ+ students like himself. Sameer’s efforts soon expanded to include the entire school district serving over 42 schools & 35,000 students. Sameer Jha wrote a book: ‘Read This, Save Lives’ and was invited to the White House by President Joe Biden.