Young Leaders Directory 2020

To celebrate 2020's International Day of the Girl, explore our directory of incredible young activists, leaders and campaigners. These girls and non-binary young leaders are working to change the world across issues including social justice, LGBTIQAI+ rights, climate action, education activism, sexual and reproductive health and rights activism and gender equality. With thanks to Purposeful for their support in identifying these inspiring activists.

You can also explore 2021's Young Leaders Directory here.

Heba Rose Ahmed

Heba Rose Ahmed is a 16-year-old human rights & anti-racism activist from Manchester. She is known for creating the Manchester March Instagram page for Black Lives Matter, which was instigated by the death of George Floyd. Heba was responsible for 15,000 people attending the BLM protest at Piccadilly Gardens. She organised the event, scheduled the speakers and conducted the protest walk, leading thousands of people to march for Black people's equality - the largest civil rights march in Manchester's history. When asked why, Heba said that her father always told her to fight for what she believes in. So with the help of her family and friends she did. In the future Heba hopes to push an anti racist campaign. Definitely a political face to look out for in the future!

One action Heba would like you to do:

"Follow @Manchestermarch on instagram for weekly news and updates on an array of global issues."

Heba Rose Ahmed

Dola Akter Reba

Dola is a 16-year-old who works with the National Child Forum of Bangladesh, an organisation that works to protect children's rights. Dola is a public speaker and Dola and Dola's team campaign in schools and colleges to help raise awareness about the detrimental effects of child marriage. During 2017-2018, the team stopped 600 child marriages taking place.

In 2019 Dola was invited to attend a UN programme for International Day of the Girl in Switzerland, where they spoke about ending child marriage. Dola’s own mother was married at a young age - Dola told us that when they asked her mother to share her childhood story, she couldn’t because from childhood she was maintaining a family. Dola believes that every girl has the right to enjoy their childhood. With thanks to British Council for their support in identifying inspiring young activist Dola.

One action Dola would like you to do:

“We all should give priority and respect to girls around us, because girls are not a burden, they can fly like a bird, they can go further than we imagine. Give your helping hands for everyone.”

Follow Dola on Twitter here and read this article to find out more about her work.

Dola Akter Reba

Selin Alara Örnek

Selin is 14-years-old and lives in Istanbul with her parents and dog Bailey. She is currently a student in the 9th grade at Irmak High School and can speak English, Turkish and French. When she was nine-years-old she learnt to code and started building robots by the age of 10. She is learning C++ and Python through online courses and has five robots; ic4u, ic4u2, BB4All, Hashmet the Android and DO. In 2018 Selin won first prize at Coolest Projects International in Dublin with her robot ic4u. The same year she (and ic4u) was also a finalist in the European Youth Awards Open Innovation category. She has recently won the 2019 European Digital Girl of the Year Award by the Ada Awards in Brussels and Microsoft Youth Tech Star Award in the 2020 Women Leaders in Technology Awards.

One action Selin would like you to do:

“When there is something to celebrate everyone is there to be a part of that success, however when there are challenges and failures people become judgmental and distant apart from a few. I wish people would be kinder with their actions at all times.”

You can follow Selina on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and subscribe to her blog.

Selin Alara Örnek

Peace Ayo Adegbola

Peace Ayo Adegbola is an 18-year-old education enthusiast. She is the first child of three children. Growing up in Waru, an underserved community in Nigeria’s Abuja where girl child education is undermined, became a motivation for her to co-found Youth Advocates for Sustainable Development -a non-governmental organisation with her father, who is also her best friend. Since age 13, Peace Ayo has carried out series of campaigns such as the ' Back to school' project where book donations was organised for school children who couldn't afford books to resume school at the summer break; The 'Sanitary Pad' project where donations were made to adolescent girls who could not afford sanitary pads; and the 'Girls Must Go To School' project with 17 girls currently enrolled in secondary school and 70 children in primary school.

Peace Ayo is also a Malala Fund Girl child advocate, At age 15, Peace Ayo represented Malala Yousafzai at the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London speaking on the Importance of Girl child education. Peace wishes to see a world where every woman and girl in the world take center stage in decision making.

One action Peace would like you to do:

"I would really like people to keep talking, keep tweeting and keep advocating for policies that promote free, quality and safe education for every Nigerian child."

Peace Ayo Adegbola

Rym Badran

Rym Badran is a 17-year-old youth activist from Beirut, Lebanon. She served as a Teen Advisor for Girl Up - the UN's initiative to help support UN agencies that focus on adolescent girls and to advance girls’ skills, rights, and opportunities to be leaders. During her tenure, Rym founded Girl Up Lebanon and Girl Up Arab World and currently is serving as Girl Up’s Regional Leader in the Arab region.

Rym has also recently founded her own organisation/ platform Arab Girls For Peace; a by girls for girls movement aiming to bring tangible change to the Arab region while tackling gender equality, girls leadership, women political and peace building leadership. Its mission is to empower Arab girls to be leaders and agents of peace, promote and protect their rights, and to offer Arab girls a supportive community and a learning platform.

One action Rym would like you to do:

“Educate yourself about your biases and be more reflective about stereotypes.”

Follow Rym on Instagram and read this article to find out more.

Rym Badran

Rebecca Butler

Rebecca Butler is involved in Lights! Climate! Action!, a Kilkenny based youth led climate group that explores what they can do to help the world to be more environmentally friendly and conscious of what's happening around the world. They have held many protests to make people aware of the world crisis. The group meets weekly to discuss issues such as use of fossil fuels, the use of plastic in the society and how we can all reduce our own carbon footprint by making changes in our daily lives. Rebecca is involved in green schools where they talk about how they can get more schools and individuals involved with climate action and how people can get involved with it.

“I would like it if people became more aware of what is happening around the world and how to help. I would also like if you could follow my climate group on Instagram.”

Rebecca Butler

Gabriela Cerezo

Gabriela Cerezo is a 16-year-old and from Puerto Rico. Currently a student in 11th grade at Dr. Carlos González, Gabriela loves spending quality time with family and friends. She belongs to an organisation called Corónate Princesa; a group of youth activists who fight for girls rights, and empower young people (especially girls) to take part in issues they care about.

One action Gabriela would like you to do:

“The first correct thing to do for us to empower young girls is to provide them the right information and make them clear about their rights as girls.”

Follow Corónate Princesa on Facebook and Instagram, and find out more here.

Gabriela Cerezo

Supitcha Chailom

Maynu or Supitcha Chailom is a Thai influencer. They coordinate all aspects of the Chiang Mai Student Organization for Democracy, including Youth Assembly for Change Making, and Education for Liberation of Siam.

They help children and juveniles to be the claimant for their human rights.

One action Supitcha would like you to do:

“I would like people to spread the news about what happens in Thailand.”

Follow Supitcha on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Supitcha Chalom

Amelia Chenzaie

Amelia is 15-years-old and currently studying abroad in the International School of Kuala Lumpur. Amelia is of American Afghan origin and has lived in four different countries. They strive to be helpful and use their cheerful personality to lift others around me! Amelia works with refugees living in Kuala Lumpur. Sports are also a big component in their life and Amelia spends a lot of time on the soccer field, and the volleyball and tennis court!

One action Amelia would like you to do:

"By using this platform, I would like to raise awareness of poverty in Southeast Asia, primarily Laos, a country that I recently visited and spent over a week with a few of my classmates in a remote village. There I learned how fortunate I was in terms of material wealth and educational opportunities afforded to me. For example, I was sharing a hut with an entire family of villagers who did not have any power or electronic gadgets. They couldn't afford to send their daughter to school because the tuition was $0.60 per month. Ever since my return, I have thought about different ways of how I can give back and help."

Find out more about Amelia's action above by reading this webpage that draws attention to the shocking facts and figures but also the UNDP's goals in action.

Deborah Chumbu

Deborah’s full name is Mwinono Deborah chumbu, Blantyre Malawi. She is 17-years-old and a raising African youth activist and gender equality advocate. She is the Founder of Afroactivists and a Girl Up’s Teen Advisor in Malawi. Deborah engages in international cooperation to help make a better environment for young girls and women, and she focuses her activism on policy change for the development of females. Deborah loves reading, traveling but mostly loves taking action for the better!

One action Deborah would like you to do:

“I would love people to support me so that I am encouraged to make more impact and changes in the work I do by following up with my activism.”

Follow Deborah on Instagram and find out more about her work on Afro Activists and Girls Up’s Instagram.

Deborah Chumbu

Annelise Eileraas-Liu

Annelise Eileraas-Liu is a high school senior at North Hollywood High School Highly Gifted Magnet who established Womxn of Wonder with generous support from Youth Activism Project, Youth Creating Change, Student Voice, Girls Learn International, FutureCoalition, Women Win, and Purposeful. After attending a BLM protest by lucky chance, she felt enabled to take action against intersectional injustice using her multiracial, female voice. She hopes Womxn of Wonder will mobilise youth to create sustainable justice extending to marginalised communities across the globe. This will begin with the virtual summit December 19 & 20, 2020, where 200+ female-identifying, non-binary, and male accomplice high school and college activists will unite, engage, and be empowered in conversation alongside inspiring thought leaders and change-makers.

One action Annelise would like you to do:

"Pre-summit, if you are interested in being a Womxn of Wonder speaker, presenter, facilitator, sponsor, partner, or attendee, please email womxnofwonder@gmail.com with your name, intent, and best way to stay in contact. I look forward to empowering together!"

Follow Womxn of Wonder on Instagram to find out more.

Annelise Eileraas-Liu

Yousra El Meeyuf

Yousra El-Meeyuf is currently in college studying Business and English Literature in the UK and activism takes up a huge part of their life. Yousra is constantly trying to learn and unlearn things in order to create a safe environment for friends, peers and strangers. They believe it’s incredibly important for society to be able to hold conversations like the ones they have witnessed every time they have attended a WOW Festival. Yousra believes we must celebrate life and critique it so that we can unpick the biases sewn into our societies.

“There's this book I recently read that I'd like everyone to read called Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. It's about the slave trade and how two sisters went through two different routes and the effect that had on their future generations. It's beautifully written and incredibly insightful.”

Follow Yousra on Twitter.

Lola Fayokun

Lola is a youth campaigner and activist whose work focuses on the climate crisis. She works heavily with the UK Student Climate Network, the grassroots network which hosts youth climate strikes in England and Wales. Her role with the network has seen her involvement in the organisation and delivery of Britain's largest climate protests in history! Lola has also been part of several educational projects and collaborative actions with groups such as Greenpeace and Green New Deal UK. Her work is centred around promoting an anti-racist vision of climate justice.

One action Lola would like you to do:

“I would love for people to join a protest movement! Any young person can start a climate strike in their area or join an existing group in their area. It is an incredible opportunity to take up space and demand political power as a young person, while developing essential skills for any budding activist, such as event promotion and protest logistics. Whether you're striking for the climate or marching for racial justice, protest is power!"

Watch Lola on BBC News (from 10 mins) and follow her on Instagram here.

Lola Fayokun

Maya Ghassali

Maya is a 19-year old Syrian migrant residing in Melbourne, Australia. She is a Youth Activist with Plan International Australia, where she advocates for girls rights and gender equality. Recently, Maya and her team presented their report that highlights the impact that COVID-19 has had on girls and young women around the world at the United Nations 75th General Assembly, and encouraged members to implement the policy recommendations made in the report. Maya is passionate about refugee rights and co-founded the Refugees on Air podcast with her sister, Sarah, in 2017. The podcast aims to provide a platform for refugees to reclaim their narrative and share their own story in their own unique way. Maya has also been part of the Victorian Youth Parliament in 2018, where she advocated for free sanitary products in government buildings with her school team. She is currently studying at Monash University and hopes to further her career in advocacy in empowering young people to take part in issues they care about.

One action Maya would like you to do:

"Listen to the Refugees on Air podcast, available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Omny FM."

Stay up to date with Maya's work on Instagram and Twitter.

Maya Ghassali

Sarah Ghassali

Sarah is a 19-year-old refugee advocate and film student based in Melbourne, Australia. Sarah and her family migrated to Melbourne from Aleppo, Syria in 2012, forcibly fleeing their home and starting a new life in a foreign country. In 2017, Sarah and her twin sister Maya founded their podcast Refugees on Air with SYN Media, establishing a platform to radiate the voices of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants like themselves, after becoming aware of the media’s negative portrayal of these communities. They wanted to rightfully reclaim their own narratives, in their own words, and help others do the same. After graduating High School as the valedictorian, Sarah is currently studying at Swinburne University, where she continues to share more stories through her podcast and her films. Sarah aspires to create authentic documentaries to change people’s narrow perspectives on the refugee crisis, and to widen her platform for others yet to share their truths.

One action Sarah would like you to do:

"Listen to the stories that we are honoured to share with the world. Follow our Facebook page for updates and news on refugee advocacy in Melbourne and around the world."

Sarah Ghassali

Nawal Haider Butt

Nawal is a 14-year-old IB student in 10th grade from Lahore, Pakistan. Nawal has a keen interest in child rights and initiated an online petition on child marriage in Punjab, Pakistan, endorsed by over 22700 signatures so far.

One action Nawal would like you to do:

“I would love it if people can join in and endorse the online petition that I initiated under a leading organisation of youth development in Pakistan.

"After 50,000 people sign, the petition will be submitted to the Provincial Assembly of Punjab, the largest province of Pakistan."

Find out more at the Pakistan Youth Tube YouTube channel..

Nawal Haider Butt

Ishita Islam

Ishitha is a Year 13 student at Mulberry School for Girls in Tower Hamlets. They are passionate about climate change and eradicating poverty in the developing world. Ishita aims to increase awareness of domestic violence for young people - they have worked within their local community, particularly with younger women and girls, educating them about domestic violence statistics and helping raise awareness. Ishita aspires to be a diplomat at the UN; in doing so they want to create a better world for future generations, and give a platform to those who are typically voiceless, and be an advocate for them.

One action Ishita would like you to do:

“I would like people to read this article because it will open your eyes to how much lockdown has exacerbated other people's precarious situations. During lockdown, we have become more insular in our worlds, but this article will help us to think outside the box about how different people are affected by lockdown in different ways.”

Imaan Jufeer

Imaan Jufeer is an 18-year-old who was born in the eastern province of Sri Lanka. A student and full-time mixed media artist, Imaan started drawing when they were 14. Her passion for art grew over the years and Imaan learned various different arts such as realism, hyperrealism, surrealism, contemporary, abstract, ceramic painting, illustration, and digital art; concentrating now on her amazingly realistic portraits with graphite and charcoal.

Imaan wants to use her exceptional talents to do something useful and helpful to the community as well as create an identity for themselves.

One action Imaan would like you to do:

“Support my work by following me on Instagram and Facebook!”

Imaan Jufeer

Saru Khadka

Saru is Girls Empowered by Travel’s Executive Secretary, an NGO in Nepal that aims to empower females through travel by providing different travel opportunities to underprivileged people. She has also previously advocated on Comprehensive Sexuality Education and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights as a Youth Activist Leadership Council Member at Yuwa, and worked with organisations including Centre for Awareness Promotion and Girls Kick. She believes that the first step to empower females is by providing them with the correct information, and is currently studying for her bachelor's degree in Social Work

One action Saru would like you to do:

“I want people to consider that real change happens from the local level. Getting informed about the right news and sharing opportunities to all is the first step to developing a community. All I want you to do is spread the correct information you know to all.”

Follow Saru's work on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Saru Khadka

Sirjana Kunwar

Shrijana Kunwar is from Achham, Nepal, and is one of the leaders of the Baijanath Girls Empowerment Group in Achham district of Nepal. The Baijanath Grils Empowerment Group is formed by SAMABIKAS Nepal. Sirjana is also a student and studies in a government school in their village where they live with their parents and siblings. Over the past two years, Sirjana has taken initiatives to organise different social movements in their school to empower and educate more young girls. After taking training on gender equality, Sirjana committed themselves to abandon the chhaupdai tradition (menstruating girls and women are kept in cowshed or huts) and implemented this in their own home. Sirjana even encouraged siblings, friends, and cousins to take this step as this practice was criminalised by the government. There are 25 young girls in the Baijanath Girls Empowerment Group in Achham and all are committed to stop child marriage in the village..

One action Shrijana would like you to do:

"I believe that every girl has the right to decide when to marry and whom to marry. Child-marriage is one of the main reasons why there is gender inequality as many girls are forced to marry before the age of 20. Since we live in a very remote part of Nepal, it is really difficult for us to make our voices heard. So I would be glad if people will support us by helping us by involving us in events where we can meet young leaders around the world and share our experiences."

Sirjana Kunwar

Wahiba Lachheb

Wahiba Lachheb is a young girl from a small town in Morocco. In 2019 they started work with Project Soar, a project that inspires Wahiba and helps their activism.

Although education is obligatory in Morocco until age 16, socio-economic barriers often get in the way of making education equal and accessible for girls. Project Soar’s mission is to empower teenage girls in the developing world - they provide 50 lessons of empowerment to keep the girls in school and to prepare them for more productive, fulfilled futures.

One action Wahiba would like you to do:

“If people from my society interact with our work , activism and our thoughts, it would give girls more chances to be themselves and let young people use their power to enhance their level.”

Follow Wahiba’s work on Instagram.

Catarina Lorenzo

Catarina Lorenzo is a 13-year-old global activist and surfer from Salvador, Bahia in Brasil! She loves horses, reading, skateboarding and is really passionate about the environment. Catarina is part of the petition Children.vs.climate crisis, and together with 15 other youths from all around the world went to the United Nations to demand climate action from world leaders; powerfully reminding them that the new generations are the ones which are going to be there in the future. She is also part of the S.O.S Vale Encantado, Heirs to Our Oceans, Irregular Labs, KidsRight Changemakers and is a Jovem Embaixadora Eco Women. Recently Catarina created Eco Club Sustentare, a project focused on environmental and sustainable education.

One action Catarina would like you to do:

“Try and be more conscious of the power of your actions. By being conscious you will start changing your actions from negative to positive, always thinking in a sustainable way. Getting conscious makes the people that surround you also mindful of the power of their actions. Change starts in us, and then it spreads all around.”

Follow Catarina's work on Instagram and read this interview to find out more.

Catarina Lorenzo

Iva Milošević'

Iva from Serbia is a girls rights activist. They work for their mother in a flower shop where they have gained good communication skills, and they volunteer in the SOS Corner for Girls.

This has included working on and leading workshops where they “learned a lot of good things and I got rid of anxiety in front of the audience!”

Agnes Mokami

Agnes was born and raised up in Kenya, in the small tribe of Kuria where female genital mutilation and other oppressive cultural practices are enforced with impunity. Being with some form of disability, Agnes completely relied on their mother to escape the cut that came at the age of none. Agnes’ mother’s intervention led to her divorce. The divorce opened up windows for trouble both socially and economically. Agnes’ mother worked hard to get them through preliminary school, but society did not accept them since Agnes’ mother was considered an outcast due to divorce and Agnes not being cut. This experience led Agnes to join an activism group to fight for a voice of feminism and women in our society. Agnes found young girls with similar experience and teamed up to be a voice of the voiceless, creating Kuria Girl child Empowerment

One action Agnes would like you to do:

“Recognise the voices of the girls speaking against sexual and gender based violence in Kuria by supporting their outreach programs locally.”

Find out more on Universal Relief Foundation’s Facebook page, who have highlighted Kuria Girl Child Empowerment’s work.

Agnes Mokami

Tawananyasha Musengi

Tawananyasha is 15-years-old and lives in Zimbabwe. She is currently pursuing her ordinary level studies and is passionate about girls and women's rights. She has young girls suffering in her community because they do not have parents; some are from poor backgrounds and cannot afford basics like sanitary wear while others live in squalid conditions. It is her passion to contribute to improving the quality of life for underprivileged girls in her community. Tawananyasha’s vision is to someday establish a state of the art shelter for underprivileged girls. This shelter will enable them to access basic education and cater for their basic needs like food, shelter, health care and sanitary wear.

In her spare time Tawananyasha is an avid reader and likes music.

One action Agnes would like you to do:

“To help in establishing a team of like minded people who will help to mobilise resources for establishing the shelter.”

Follow Tawananyasha and her work on Twitter and Instagram.

Ariadne Papatheodorou

Ariadne Papatheodorou is a 16-year-old climate justice, gender equality and human rights activist from Athens. She is one of the lead organisers for Fridays for Future Greece and a core member for PeriodLink, an organisation that provides sexual and menstrual health education for girls in Ghana. She is a co-founder for Re-Earth Initiative, an international climate organisation fighting for social justice. Ariadne has been volunteering with refugees in Greece for many years and has also played an active role in organising international events such as Talks for Future, People of the Planet and other campaigns for Fridays for Future Internationally. Ariadne is creating an app to help teenage refugees have a way for education.

One action Ariadne would like you to do:

"Personal growth is one of the paths to achieving a well educated and critically minded society - this can be anything from picking up rubbish at the beach, going to strikes or using your social media platform to inform others about important issues. Reposting people’s work and signing their petitions is an easy way to show your support."

Follow Ariadne on Instagram and read this article to find out more.

Ariadne Papatheodorou

Grace Namutebi

Grace Namutebi is 17-years-old from Uganda. They are the Administrator for Girl's Forum Uganda, an organisation led by girls under the age of 19 taking care of vulnerable girls, especially in this Covid situation. As the Administrator, Grace helps to provide food and educational materials to vulnerable young people, for example pencils, pens and books. Grace supports adolescent girls, young people, women and disabled people to get access to basic needs, such as healthcare like ARVs for HIV positive people or sanitary pads.

One action Grace would like you to do:

“We need support for the girl child both in health, education and advocating for their human rights. Girl's Forum Uganda needs help to aid in the regulation of the activities, like buying materials for girls and food for vulnerable women.”

Grace Namutebi

Maryam and Nivaal Rehman

Maryam and Nivaal Rehman became activists when they were eight years old, and started inspiring girls in their village in Pakistan to continue their education, when poverty was leading them to quit school and work instead. The twins have since worked in their local and global community for causes including girls’ education in Pakistan and around the world, climate justice, gender equality and inclusivity. Their non-for-profit organisation, The World With MNR, uses advocacy, storytelling and development to take action and inspire others to do the same.

They are continuing their activism through volunteering, traveling and sharing their experiences through their social media and their YouTube channel. They’ve used their platform to cover major events and interview global figures including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, and Madame Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank. Most recently, they released a documentary on the status of girls’ education in Pakistan.

One action Maryam and Nivaal would like you to do:

“We’d like people to help our work by following our Beyond the Post - Learning, Activism and Advocacy Guides on various topics and take at least one action from a guide that interests them.”

Follow Maryam and Nivaal's work on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Maryam and Nivaal Rehman

Alexxa Roderiguez

Alexxa Rodríguez is 16-years-old and from Aguadilla in Puerto Rico. In their last year of high school, Alexxa is a new member of Corónate Princesa. The student organisation seeks to empower women in leadership, self-esteem, entrepreneurship and spiritual issues. They help each young person find their space in society and support others to do so.

One action Alexxa would like you to do:

“Since this is about women, leadership and partnership; I would like people to help women when needed. In any circumstances or situation, we should start by all helping and supporting each other if we want to make a real change.”

Follow Corónate Princesa on Instagram, Facebook and find out more about its work here.

Theresa Rose Sebastian

Theresa is a climate and social justice activist. Her passion for environmental justice was ignited when her family and herself found themselves stuck in the Kerala floods of 2018. These floods opened up Theresa's eyes to the reality of the climate crisis. Fortunately having the privilege to come home to Ireland where she is living currently, she realised how unfair this crisis will affect people, her native home and her family. She then started her journey to raise more awareness and education. Her work currently revolves around increasing educational awareness through curriculum, social media as well as working on policy reform to ensure a sustainable city to pass on to the next generation.

One action Theresa would like you to do:

“Actively accept the fact that this is not just climate change - it is a climate crisis and an emergency. Accept and understand that you might unknowingly be privileged and not be as badly affected as people from the global South, and use this privilege to fight now. Fight for the person you haven't met yet, fight for your neighbour in a country on the opposite side of the world. We need to fight with each other and alongside each other. And the first step to achieve that is acceptance of truth and privilege.”

Follow Theresa's work on Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. Read this article to find out more.

Theresa Rose Sebastian

Seravi Victoria Silva Harris

Seravi Silva Harris identifies as a queer intersectional feminist and activist. She joined the EveryStory Sri Lanka team as an intern in 2020 and has been working as a part-time researcher and editor for their Young Feminist Network newsletter committee. EveryStory is a collective of young feminists who create spaces in Sri Lanka and South Asia for underrepresented, historically marginalised and alternative narratives not seen in mainstream spaces. Its work focuses on democratising feminist information and recognising the contribution of Sri Lankan women in history and at present.

Seravi is passionate about youth activism and encouraging the awareness of youth voices. She recently represented Sri Lanka in the South Asian Youth X-Change Summit, a student-led initiative partnered with the Young Changemakers Conclave, connecting the youth of eight nations to discuss topics concerning their future. As president of the Z club of Colombo and a member of the Save the Children Youth Advisory council, she has used her platform to work towards gaining more recognition for the voices of Sri Lankan youth. She is also interested in understanding the complexities around identity and gender issues, and hopes to study international human-rights law and counterterrorism after she completes her A levels.

One action Seravi would like you to do:

“Read. Sign up for the Young Feminist Network Newsletter by EveryStory Sri Lanka or other newsletters that can provide you with reading resources of alternative narratives and feminist/political information. The more we read, learn, and unlearn, the more we can reevaluate our own biases, prejudice and privilege and create more objective thought and action.”

Follow Seravi Instagram and read this article to find out more about EveryStory.

Seravi Harris

Jacobina Smith

Jacobina Smith is an 18-year-old who lives in Windhoek, Namibia, but their home town is in Tsumeb. They were raised by their mom and aunt. Jacobina describes themselves as a “kind , caring , humble and generous person who gets really jealous when I see that someone can provide for another another person while I can't, so that's why I always try my level best to give a helping hand where it's needed.” When they are not busy with school work or helping around the house, Jacobina goes to an old age home to help with cleaning and organising to help make sure that the people who live there are comfortable. Jacobina also helps other students with subjects they are struggling with and motivates them to always have a positive mindset, no matter what situation they are in.

One action Jacobina would like you to do:

“I believe the only way people can help make my work strong is by changing their attitude and the way they act - if we are not helping each other then who will. There are so many ways people can change lives, such as contributing to old age homes and orphanages by giving their old clothes or money, but they seem to turn a blind eye on that . Nowadays woman and children are being abused, raped and worst of all they're are disappearing without a trace because of human trafficking. I believe there will be no development if we don't help each other to create a better and a safer world. I believe [young people] can build a legacy if we all work together and get rid of all the poverty and violence that is shaking our world.”

Viktorija Milošević

Viktorija is a talented drummer from a small town in Serbia called Smederevo. She attended the First Rock camp for girls in her country, and in 2019 attended an International camp in Iceland.

Film director Mina Petrović made a documentary about her called Viktorija, 15. After doing gigs with Serbian bands, she is currently working on music for her own band.

One action Viktorija would like you to do:

"Be more open-minded, understanding, tolerant and supportive and loving."

Follow Viktorija on Instagram and watch her in action here!

Viktorija Milošević

Mariam Mohamed Hussein

Mariam is a feminist activist advocating for the safety, equality, justice, rights and dignity of young women and girls in Somalia where women bear an unequal brunt of hardships occasioned by poverty, conflict and clan-based culture which promotes strict male hierarchy and authority.

Mariam is part of the Hawa Feminist Coalition, which was established by young feminists with aim of promoting the safety, equality, justice, rights and dignity of young women and girls in Somalia where women bear an unequal brunt of hardships.

One action Mariam would like you to do:

“I would like people to help my work by signing a petition for stopping rape against girls.”

Follow Hawa Feminist Coalition on Twitter and Facebook.

Mariam Mohamed Hussein

Hayat Muse

Hayat Muse is a 18-year-old youth activist from Minneapolis, Minnesota. In 2018, Hayat co-founded youth education reform organisation Kow iyo Labo as a result of her own struggles within the education system and witnessing first hand the inequity present within it. The organisation provides individual tutoring to students, personal and academic mentorships, and support workshops for parents and teachers. They also advocate on the political front, from lobbying to fighting for diverse student representation on school boards to their advocacy initiative working alongside lawmakers. Since 2018, Kow iyo Labo has impacted 600+ students, parents and teachers, with a team of 60 mentors and tutors.

One action Hayat would like you to do:

"Visit your school board meetings, town halls, city council meetings etc! Be in every room that is making decision about you or those you care about's future. Participation is so important so make sure your voice is being heard."

Follow Hayat on Instagram and read more about Hayat's work in this article.

Hayat Muse

Grace Salomy Sichula

During Grace’s time at her government secondary school in Malawi she was selected to attend a National Youth Conference in the country’s capital city Lilongwe and was also named Most Outstanding Leader when she graduated. Grace has been involved with many organisations, including being a youth parliamentarian and volunteering for District Youth Office. She is a second year university student and is pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Gender and Development. She is also an ambassador for Malawi Creation Care Network, an organisation that campaigns for the environment and climate change issues.

One action Grace would like you to do:

“The only thing I would like people to do for me is to have their ears hear, listen and implement what they learn concerning gender equality and environmental stuff.”

Grace is part of Acting National Gender and Development Affairs Officer for the African Union Youth Charter in Malawi. Follow them on Twitter.

Grace Salomy Sichula

Jaiden West

Jaiden West is 13-years-old from Pennsylvania. She is fluent in French and quite shy until you get to know her. In 2017, Jaiden was the first recipient of the Delores Caper Leadership Youth Award for community service. Prior to COVID, every year during thanksgiving and Christmas with her father in tow they serve food, give out toiletries and books. She also donates clothing to various charities on a regular basis. Her passion is to eliminate worldwide poverty and hunger.

One action Jaiden would like you to do:

"To create a resource directory for people globally to have access to co-op farming and other affordable food options."

Jaiden West

Mishca Wright

Mishca’s work is surrounded by having difficult and uncomfortable conversations with people, to open dialogue. When working with a mentoring programme, they were able to hear about domestic violence and poverty related circumstances occurring for younger students.

For intersectional women’s day, Mishca worked with SquareCircle and gave a few sessions about Tokenism and diversity to employers, in want of change within the workplace. Mishca lives in the UK.

One of Mishca’s aims is to promote open minds and understanding.

One action Mishca would like you to do:

“Step out of your comfort zone.”

Mischa Wright

Kate Yeo

Kate is an 18 year-old sustainability advocate from Singapore. Within her own community, she founded the BYO (Bring Your Own) Bottle Singapore campaign which aims to reduce the usage of single-use disposables through working with F&B businesses. Internationally, she is one of the co-founders of youth NGO Re-Earth Initiative, and a youth member of the UN Environment Programme.

Through these different platforms, Kate strives to raise awareness on climate justice issues, as well as build a stronger global network of youth environmentalists.

One action Kate would like you to do:

“Volunteer with Re-Earth Initiative here and stay updated via @byobottlesg on Instagram

Follow BYO on Instagram and find out more here.

Kate Yeo

Explore 2021's Young Leaders Directory