More Trees Campaign

The More Trees Campaign is much more than trees. Our aim is to address the true cause of environmental degradation: lack of self-awareness.

As we have seen over the past decades, simply raising awareness of environmental issues is not enough. This is especially true when so many of us are leading stressed, burnt-out lives that narrow our vision, closing us off from how we really feel and from the world around us. Through raising self-awareness we can enable people to reconnect to themselves, reconnect to nature, and truly comprehend humanity’s impact on the planet.

Why does the world need the More Trees Campaign?

More trees campaign in India

So much effort has gone into saving the environment and yet the problem persists. What we have done until now has helped but overall what we have done is not working as much as we had hoped. We worked on Einstein’s quote: the answer cannot come from the same level of consciousness that created the problem in the first place.

So the most cutting-edge idea we have found is that self-awareness is the answer.

Why trees and self-awareness?

More trees in UK

At MTC we maintain that the true and long-term solution to the problems of the environment cannot come by solely addressing the external environment (like planting more trees) but must also be accompanied by a change of the inner environment- the environment within us as human beings.

This inner change can be aided by a work on self-awareness which is strongly connected to developing a global vision, a vision for our own life on this planet in the time that is given to us. As our own individual self-awareness grows, the interconnectivity of us as humans and the environment goes from something fantastical or theoretical to a verified reality.

As a result, our choices change and only better choices will truly save the environment. This is why we want to support LSSA and other like-minded projects. We want to help people understand that their life is in their hands and create a better inner and outer environment through practices and group work. We are learning to work with others to reach a common aim: happiness.

What inspired you to start?

Founded in January 2020, THE MORE TREES CAMPAIGN was set up by a group of friends who met at the London School of Self-Awareness (LSSA). Recognising the world’s need during this particular period in history we set up the campaign with two objectives:

What have you achieved so far?

In our first year, we aimed to plant 500 trees and raise £5,000. In March 2021 we hit these first milestones and planted 500 trees in Horsham. Through our partners, The Conservation Volunteers (where David Attenborough serves as a Vice President), we even had the very rare honour of planting 8 mature trees in the prestigious Regents Park in central London.

Where next for the More Trees Campaign?

For the 2021-22 planting season we have decided to aim higher by doing 10 times more: planting 5,000 trees and raise £50,000.

Find out more:

Follow More Trees on Instagram for more info or check out their website:

https://opencollective.com/the-more-trees-campaign

Photo credits: More Trees Campaign

Third Story Project

Describe Third Story Project

Third Story Project is a non-profit social enterprise. We create children's storybooks with positive messages which reflect every child in Myanmar. We mainly produce Myanmar, English, Bilingual, and other Ethnic Myanmar Languages. These stories are for 4 to 11 years old kids.

We are going to produce storybooks for adolescents in the near future as our audiences since 2014 are getting older.  Now we have 67 storybooks with a teacher guidebook and activities book. We do a lot of training related to Storytelling, Story Writing, Doing Activities with kids, Children's Rights Training, and Peace Training for adolescents, teachers, librarians, and youth volunteers.

Why does the world need Third Story Project ?

Especially in Myanmar, we need to learn more about the beauty of diversity because we have been living with people from different backgrounds and have a lot of conflicts based on diversity. Since we have had bad experiences of civil war, we have to learn how to live harmoniously with different people or people with different opinions.

We are trying to solve socio-economic problems in the simplest way by using a story because everyone likes a story that is immensely powerful. While we are using a story, we need to use simple words and only deal with a single problem. That is why it is extremely easy to understand not only for adults but also for children.

Furthermore, we share how to use stories to teach positive messages in order for people to use them in their daily lives. One-time storytelling or without practicing in daily lives cannot achieve our goal which is towards a peaceful society through the art of storytelling. Therefore, we have to encourage the practice of positive messaging to create a platform that is a safe zone to share our feelings, learn from each other, and practice empathy. The platform can be anywhere or at any time, but we start with a story and have a conversation about it.

We do not know what kind of problems we are going to face in the future but we do know that we need to have humanity, empathy, critical thinking, kindness, problem-solving skills, hopes, and other adaptable capabilities to face all kinds of challenges. We are creating a world that is full of people who can be understanding and help each with their hearts, despite living in an increasingly technological age.

What inspired you to start?

I have been volunteering since 2007 and visited a lot of Monastics Education establishments that provide educational supplies with food and clothes for children who are less fortunate. I had to work hard for the opportunity to read a storybook or comic when I was young. Even though our family could afford to buy a book, I would like to give a chance to kids from the monastery or orphanage to enjoy reading. That is why I bought some books and made a small library for them. We realised that there were no new books for children or that most books were only related to children from majority areas, about Buddhism or they came from foreign countries which do not reflect our culture and traditions. Besides, a lot of children from Myanmar never had a chance to own a storybook in their own language.

Another reason is I had a bad experience with conflicts based on religion. In 2012, unfortunately, we had religious conflict in the western part of Myanmar, and we had a civil war in the northern part of Myanmar.  Even though I live in Capital City, Yangon, I did feel unsafe since I come from another ethnic group. I do understand that we need to solve our problems. Since then, we have been doing fundraising and donating some money to Kids and Elders from IDP (internally displaced person) camps. But we know that donations alone cannot solve real problems such as misunderstanding of diversity.

We decided to create a storybook for children which can address those issues in a positive and simple way so both children and adults can learn.

What have you achieved so far?

We won the best social enterprise award in 2016. We created over seventy children’s storybooks and printed 1,040,374 books by August 2020 which were distributed all over Myanmar. We translated books into 18 different Myanmar Ethnic Languages over a period of six years.

We provided a lot of training in storytelling, story creating, information, and Digital literacy for teachers, librarians, parents, and young adults.

We hosted our very first Myanmar Storytelling Forum in 2019 where 300 storytellers joined, and 200 visitors participated.

What do you wish you'd known at the beginning?

There are countless things that I wish I knew at the beginning. I have been facing a lot of challenges each and every step of this project. I did not know how to manage - even though I know policies are important, I paid less attention because I had to earn more money to achieve the social mission we created and to sustain our project.

It is hard to explain how we run a social enterprise as a small registered company to the group of people who do not understand anything about social enterprise, but we are still trying to educate.

However, our group is kept going and still trying because we know that we are doing our best and the effort we are making has a great impact on our society. Every time we create a new story, we are excited about it and so we get a new illustration. Every time we receive feedback from children who love our books, and teachers tell us how good it is to teach children about positive messages, our tiredness fades away.

What's the one piece of advice you'd give an aspiring change maker?

I would like to suggest that creating something new is important, at the same time we have to plan, recheck, rethink, and communicate with the team. Do not be afraid to make mistakes, learn from them, forgive yourself, and be a better person in the future.

How can people get involved in your project?

Read our books, Endorse us. Buy more books for children from less unfortunate areas.

What are your plans for the future?

We have been facing difficulties because of the pandemic. We are trying to survive. Most of our future plans have had to be revised. What is certain is that we are going to create more books for adolescents. We are going to survive. We are going to change the world as we agreed to. We are going to create more books with more new positive messages, and we are going to train more storytellers to become trainers for children’s rights.

Anything else you'd like to share?

There is a small project called Pass It On (Hla Day) which was created a long time ago and we are trying to promote it again. An exclusive program at Pass It On is where you can choose to pass on a book yourself, we pass it on for you or you pass it on to a library. We have donated dozens to libraries and many books since it started. Thanks to those who spread fun and learning!

Recycling Plastic Waste into Ecoboats for Fishermen

Describe Ecoboats for Fishermen - what makes your project unique?

Madiba & Nature has launched its program to involve fishermen in the sustainable management of coastal fisheries through community mobilization around the recycling of marine plastic waste since 2017.

The organization focuses its program around three major projects in order to have a significant impact and boost the blue economy in the country:

Recycling plastic waste into Ecoboats, aims to make ecological canoes out of plastic bottles. These Ecoboats are affordable and are targeting vulnerable communities. To achieve this, Madiba & Nature has invented an ecological garbage can called Ecobin, which enables it to set up an innovative system for selective sorting of plastics in cities and on beaches. An Ecobin allows the collection of more than 1000 plastic bottles from households, thus limiting marine pollution.

This project is also the part that energizes communities in fishing villages through the organization of beach cleanup campaigns, and the diversification of household incomes through the sale of plastics as raw materials. Riparian communities organized in association ensure the collection and storage of marine plastics which are sold to Madiba & Nature for the production of Ecoboats used for fishing and ecotourism on the beaches. Thus, nearly 5 tons of plastic waste is collected through 150 Ecoboats installed in the cities of Kribi and Douala. Forty-five Ecoboats have already been manufactured and are used by more than 150 fishermen and by the ecotourism sectors in Kribi and Londji.

The second project is the promotion of ecotourism. In three years, Ecoboats has become the vector of tourism development in the cities and beaches of South Cameroon. Thus, Madiba & Nature ensures the reinforcement of the capacities of the associations of fishermen tourist guides. This contributes to the promotion of natural landscapes and encourages the conservation of biodiversity. Bookings are made through different social networks and the organization's website. Nearly 300 visitors are registered each year, increasing the household incomes of 20 fishermen and their wives to over US$300 per month.

The third project is the organization and promotion of environmental education and the accentuation of consideration of environmental issues by public opinion and the Cameroonian authorities. To reach this goal, Madiba & Nature has created an environmental education module that operates in 12 High Schools and colleges and 2 universities in Douala and Kribi. The program consists of environmental awareness courses and educational talks that take place once a term per school, and which sensitize both students and teachers.

The program also consists of the organization of an environmental awareness seminar, which brings together more than 1000 students once a year per college. With the universities, the organization launched in 2019 its Green Business Leadership in Entrepreneurship program, which is taken online and on-site in Douala. Here, young graduates and non-graduates are trained in recycling in particular and green business in general.

Madiba & Nature now operates with a team of 11 permanent staff and about 30 temporary volunteers. The project takes place simultaneously in 3 cities and impacts more than 1,000,000 people each month.

Man putting plastic bottles into an ecobin

Why does the world need your project?

Cameroon is particularly threatened by climate change. Owing to population growth and increasing urbanization, the harmful effects of plastic pollution make life almost impossible for millions of people, while threatening marine life and destroying fisheries. Madiba & Nature was funded to help preserve the livelihoods of fishermen while also addressing the issue of marine plastic pollution. Plastics are collected through beach cleanup activities and used to create Ecoboats for fishermen. Our strategy is about expanding the use of Ecobins through the installation of the first innovative system of waste management on beaches and cities to limit pollution and promote green businesses.

With around 150 Ecobins, up to 5 tons of plastic waste are collected each month allowing 50 Ecoboats to be built and used by 150 fishermen and ecotourists in Londji. To date, ecotourism has created 15 jobs within the Londji community. 15 youths are trained every year in our Entrepreneurship in Green Business Mentoring Program.

What inspired you to start?

My dad's a fisherman and his dad before him was a fisherman too. We are Sawa which means the people of the water. I learned to fish when I was a child, but as I grew up I saw this work decline to the point where nowadays in families, children are born with a different orientation of professional life. Plastic has become the more invasive species of fisheries.

I founded Madiba & Nature in 2016 as an organization that promotes sustainable development with the main goal of improving the livelihood of fishermen and the communities exposed to the harmful effects of climate change.

Nearly 250,000 people in Cameroon directly depend on fishing according to the World Food Program, however, with the rise of pollution and plastic in fisheries and the ocean, their future is threatened. As there is no serious national program to tackle these issues and help local communities affected to build a strong resilience to climate change, I chose to be the one fishermen in need they could rely on.

What have you achieved so far?

The Madiba & Nature initiative has impacted the fisheries of Kribi, Londji, and Douala with the provision of 50 Ecoboats used by 150 fishermen and tourist guides. Since the beginning of 2020, ten other Ecoboats have been added to reach 180 fishermen.

From the selective and sorting system in waste management, Madiba & Nature is now managing 150 Ecobins for a quantity of 60 tons of plastic waste annually. For 2020, through a planned partnership with urban councils and city halls, Madiba & Nature has added 100 Ecobins and created 250 Ecobins in 3 cities, collecting an additional 10 tons of plastic waste in these communities.

The Capacity building and training program of Madiba & Nature is now impacting an average of 40 people per year, with a goal to reach 50 fishermen and women in villages by the end of 2020. From next year we are targeting 100 people to be trained each year to reach a total of around 450 people.

How can people get involved in your project or help out?

People around the world can support our project by making donations through our crowdfunding link, allowing us to continue our actions in the field; https://www.givingway.com/donate/madiba--nature?fromGWWidget=true

They can fund our project: https://www.givingway.com/organization/madiba--nature?context=projects

Helping us meet with donors of development and environmental projects, you can recommend us to the relevant institutions in your country or internationally.

By registering as a volunteer to participate in our environmental education and awareness-raising on cleanup and recycling of plastic bottles into Ecoboats. Assisting with scientific research (writing protocols and scientific articles on marine research), fundraising, crowdfunding; distance learning in entrepreneurship and project management; web design via this link:

https://www.givingway.com/organization/madiba--nature?context=Online_Volunteering

What are your plans for the future?

Madiba & Nature will use the innovative sorting system of plastic waste based on 200 Ecobins in Douala and Kribi and increase the plastic collected from 3 tons to 6 tons each month and add incomes to around 33% from waste processing.

• The areas of beaches and City Rivers will look 70% cleaner in the areas covered by the project
• 100 Ecoboats will be added to the 45 actually used in the fisheries, helping at least 200 fishermen
• 20 Young fishermen will gain capacity building in tour guiding
• 20 Women will gain capacity building in the recycling and craft valorization of plastic
• 15 secondary schools and a university will link to the environmental education program
• The volunteering and internship program will allow work with more than 30 students and youths who will be trained and receive capacity building for at least six months
• The online sensitization and newsletter will allow us to teach and sensitize more than 1 000 000 followers
• A monthly report of activities and annual report will evaluate and record the goals reached by the end of the project.
• National and international TV/radio and newspapers will cover at least one of the projects and impact millions of viewers and subscribers.

What's the one piece of advice you'd give an aspiring change maker?

Do what you love and love what you do; work hard till the end!

The Friendship Bench

Describe The Friendship Bench

The Friendship Bench program is an evidence-based intervention developed in Zimbabwe to bridge the mental health treatment gap. Our mission is to create safe spaces and a sense of belonging in communities so as to enhance mental well-being and improve quality of life through the use of problem-solving therapy delivered by trained lay health workers, known as Ambuya Utano - Community Grandmothers.

Guided by our values of empathy and connection, and anchored in over a decade of rigorous research (including a RCT published in the Journal of American Medical Association, JAMA) we have re-imagined the delivery of evidence-based mental healthcare.

We deliver the talk therapy and behavioral activation intervention to people with mild to moderate levels of common mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression, known locally as ‘kufungisisa’- thinking too much. When people visit the Friendship Bench they are screened with a locally validated tool called the Shona Symptom Questionnaire (SSQ-14). If a person scores above the cut-off point, they are advised to stay and receive one-on-one problem-solving therapy.

In practical terms, participants are taught a structured approach to identify problems and finding workable solutions. Once they have had their one-on-one sessions, they are then referred to a peer-led support group, known as Circle Kubatana Tose in Shona, which translates as 'Holding Hands Together'.

Why does the world need The Friendship Bench?

264 million people suffer from depression globally. Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. In under-resourced communities, there is 1 mental health professional for every 1.5 million people.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 15 - 28 and the most common cause is depression. Close to 800 000 people die due to suicide every year. That's one suicide every 40 seconds. 79% of global suicides occur in low- and middle-income countries.

76% to 85% of people in under-resourced settings who need treatment do not get or cannot access care.

By 2030, mental health problems will cost the global economy US$16 trillion in lost productivity per year!

What is unique about The Friendship Bench?

We are not conventional. Our therapy rooms are outdoors under trees and our therapists are elderly Zimbabwean women. These women are city lay health workers who have become known as Community grandmothers.

What inspired you to start?

In 2005 the Zimbabwean government launched a large-scale campaign called Operation Murambatsvina (“remove the filth”), also officially known as Operation Restore Order. The campaign was set to forcibly clear slums across the country. According to the United Nations, it directly affected 700,000 people by leaving them homeless or taking away their livelihood and indirectly affected about 2.4 million people.

In 2006, I (Dixon Chibanda) was one of only eleven psychiatrists in Zimbabwe, and at the time the only one in the country working in the public health space where we were struggling to provide care to the 12 million-strong population. Carrying out my fieldwork for a Master’s in public health, I found “extremely high” rates of common mental disorders (CMD) such as depression, anxiety, and stress-related disorders as well as substance use disorders. When I approached my supervisors with these findings I was told there were no resources. Not long after that one of my patients, Erica, took her own life.

Erica hadn't come for her follow-up session and then her mother called me to say that she had hung herself from a mango tree. When I asked why they hadn’t come for review, her response was: ‘We couldn’t come because I didn’t have the bus fare’. They did not have the $10 needed to come to Harare.

Lacking any other options, I decided to go back to what the supervisors had to offer me.... 14 Grandmothers (Lay Health Workers) and space outdoors at the clinic grounds.

What have you learned from the experience?

I am always inspired and motivated by the Friendship Bench Grandmothers. Their lived experience and subsequent accumulation of wisdom combined with their ability to empathically connect with people in their communities is something we can all learn from.

What's the one piece of advice you'd give an aspiring change maker?

Initially, I thought: how could this possibly work, with these grandmothers? They are not educated. I was thinking, in a very Western, biomedical kind of sense that you would need psychologists or psychiatrists. to run such a project So my advice would be: Don't rely on the textbook!

What have you achieved so far?

The Friendship Bench has:

• Trained over 700 lay/community health workers

• Seen more than 60 000 clients

• Is active in 5 countries; Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zanzibar, Kenya & New York City ​

The Friendship Bench Impact, published in the Journal of American Medical Association:

• Showed an 80% reduction in depression and suicide ideation

• 60% improvement in quality of life

What are your plans for the future?

The Friendship Bench is currently running a Digital Mental Health Trial, it's essentially a virtual Friendship Bench, it was planned before the Covid-19 pandemic but it is needed now more than ever, as we continue to make evidence-based mental health care accessible and affordable for all.

We are also developing the Friendship Bench for University campuses within our Youth Bench program, and that too is being trialed right now.

To mention a few things, we have a lot going on - you will have to follow our links to keep up!

Share Shed - A Library of Things

Describe Share Shed - A Library of Things

Based in Devon, the Share Shed is the world's first mobile library of things. It allows people to live better lives by borrowing things they would otherwise have to buy. It offers over 350 useful items like tools, appliances tents, bikes, and musical instruments for its members to borrow at a minimal fee. This helps people to do things they otherwise couldn’t do – because they cannot afford the equipment or because they don’t have space to store it. It also helps to reduce consumption and waste.

Why does the world need your project?

On average, an electrical drill is used for up to 13 minutes in its lifetime. We want to spread the message about the difference between "I need a drill" and "I need a hole in the wall." At the Share Shed, we aim to support a more collaborative and sustainable lifestyle, by helping people save money, space, resources and reducing clutter.

We want to bridge people’s needs and wants with the resources available in our community, inspiring people to engage in social change. It's good for the pocket and it's good for the planet.

What inspired you to start?

We originally heard about the ShareShop in Frome, a similar project, and thought the idea of sharing items we just need occasionally makes a lot of sense, so we decided to do the same in our own community, in Totnes (Devon, UK).

Share Shed banner

After three years, we were very fortunate to receive a grant from the National Lottery Community Fund to help us pioneer the world's first mobile library of things.

What do you wish you'd known at the beginning?

Social/community projects are very dependent on grants as it takes a lot of time for the project to become financially self-sustaining.

What's the one piece of advice you'd give an aspiring change maker?

Always expect the best from people, and at the same time keep following your dreams.

How can people get involved in your project or help out?

• Becoming a member of the Share Shed
• Borrowing from our collection of over 350 items
• Volunteering your time and skills
• Donating items (check out our Wish List) and/or money
• Helping spread the word via Facebook and Instagram

What are your plans for the future?

We’d like to expand the project and serve other communities (we’ve received requests from various towns) as well as further develop our ethos of collaboration and sustainability by offering a mobile repair station and hosting skillshare events.

Check them out here: https://www.shareshed.org.uk/

Pupils Profit Schoolyard Enterprises

Pupils Profit work with school-age children. We provide enterprise training materials to enable children to set up sustainable schoolyard businesses and then supply responsible products to sell in them.

The businesses include a healthy tuck shop and an eco refill station. The children running the businesses develop workplace skills and aspiration, whilst actively encouraging healthy eating or plastic waste reduction in their school community. They create their own business plan, present to their Headteacher, and assess their skills in relation to the workplace as they apply for the different job roles. The businesses are measurable and focused on creating responsible and sustainable habits for a better life.

Pupils Profit

Why does the world need Pupils Profit?

Pupils Profit enterprises encourage school children to make healthy choices and to support the environment. The children running the businesses learn workplace skills and develop aspiration towards the workplace, contributing to 'levelling up' opportunity.

We hear repeatedly about the problems of obesity, of plastic waste, and of a lack of workplace skills. The Pupils Profit initiatives address all of these issues. ‘The Healthy Tuck Shop has been a massive success story at our school! ‘The children thoroughly enjoyed the enterprise training sessions. … Each session taught the children a real-life skill, whilst ensuring that a range of areas of the curriculum were covered - from Maths to PSHE.’

Pupils Profit Snack Shop

What inspired you to start?

My inspirations included a vegan detox, which really illustrated the power of nutrition. I spent many exciting years working in retail throughout Europe, and the Healthy Tuck Shop initiative combines that retail buzz with good nutrition. The Eco Refill Station has been born out of my incredible ability to forget to take a refill bottle with me when visiting an area close to a refill shop! Being able to put a refill bottle in a school bag is an absolutely great answer!

What keeps you going?

The enthusiasm of children for positive change and their energy is a real source of inspiration. For the eco refill station, I am struck by how many items we simply throw away having never taken any pleasure in owning them, for example, a washing-up liquid bottle. We have to be better than we are, and change can be simple.

What's the one piece of advice you'd give an aspiring change-maker?

Keep things simple and grow from there.

How can people get involved in your project or help out?

There are several ways people can get involved. Funding or part funding enterprise training makes the sustainable enterprise experience possible for more schools. Subsidising the costs of products sold, means that more children can access healthy snacks, and more families can engage in reducing plastic waste by refilling household products through the school eco refill station.

What are your plans for the future?

In the next 6 months, I'd like to see schools engaging in enterprise training as a dynamic way to work with children during the COVID crisis. Health has never been more important, and I'd like to see schools try to find ways to make the enterprise work with the social distancing restrictions; this not only supports healthy eating but it's a fantastic way for children to learn that adapting and changing a business model is positive. Aside from the pandemic I'm working to raise awareness of the launch of the Eco Refill Initiative.

Anything else you'd like to share?

Our goal is building positive sustainable learning experiences for children that create actual change. We'd like to engage as many schools as possible, and we're open to suggestions.

For a longer read check out Pupils Profit Interview in QA Education.

Wawa Laptop - The First Eco-friendly Laptop Made in Peru.

Describe Wawa Laptop

WAWA Laptop, the first laptop developed in Peru, made from recycled material and powered by a portable solar panel, is aimed at democratizing access to technology and education for children and youth in Peru, the region, and the world. We are aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals developed by the United Nations Organisation, with emphasis on the SDG 4 Quality Education.

Our proposal has received national and international recognition, among these being startups Peru 7G-2019 and our CEO Alejandra Carrasco, has been recognized in the list of "50 female founders you need to know" in Peru, published by Ruta Startup on January 15, 2020. During these challenging times, we received a mini-grant of COVenture19 to keep helping children during the pandemic crisis through our donation campaign.

Wawa Laptop is an invention with a patent per utility model granted by the National Institute for the Defense of Competition and Protection of Intellectual Property (INDECOPI, Peru). We have the support of the Peruvian Ministry of Production (PRODUCE), the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurial Development of the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (CIDE PUCP), and the Association of Inventors (ASONIP).

Why do we need Wawa Laptop?

More than 2.5 million children in Peru don't have access to technology and more than 800 million children around the world don't know what a computer is. In order to provide a technological tool, we decided to work on developing a product focused on creating awareness about climate change, improving educational systems, and promoting innovation through easy-tech devices.

We are dedicated to providing opportunities to students, teachers, families, and communities living in urban and rural areas of Peru through providing an eco-sustainable product. Since the case is made of recycled wood, it can be energized with solar panels, works with free software, and contributes to a circular economy. In addition, we have a comprehensive action plan that seeks to train students in the development of their soft skills and techniques.

What inspired you to start?

We encountered this problem when my family traveled for work to the interior of Peru and found a sad reality in education. They went to Iñapari, a beautiful town between the border of Peru and Brazil, a school without a teacher, without educational materials, and without technology.

From this experience, we decided to take action and in 2017 we launched Wawa Laptop. We are beneficiaries of the 7G (Seventh Generation) of Startup Peru, we have a patent as a utility model. We have been impacting in 03 public schools, benefiting 700 students in the pandemic and due to donations made, we have had about 4500 communications requesting information so we launched a donation campaign called "Donate a WAWA Laptop, educate a child", (https://www.wawalaptop.com) which seeks to benefit 1200 students in 19 departments in the country.

Has inspiration come from unexpected places?

Yes, we had life-changing experiences around the idea to take action. My mom and my dad shared their experiences traveling around Peru and that's how we made a decision to create "something" to close the digital gap in education.

What's the one piece of advice you'd give an aspiring change maker?

Believe in your dreams and make them come true, trust in your community and keep building it. Most of us have amazing ideas to create change but sometimes we don't have enough support. Try to find out the best practices to materialize your projects and stop the limitations.

How can people get involved in your project or help out?

If you want to help us close the digital gap in education, you can donate at: www.wawalaptop.com/en/ and together we can make Peruvian students' dreams come true.

What are your plans for the future?

We were able to contact MENTOR DAY, a social enterprise accelerator in Spain, and were part of the acceleration week that took place in May. We are now on a mentoring program, which will allow us to scale up our solution to different populations in Latin America (LATAM), Africa, and the Middle East.

Anything else you'd like to share?

We are very happy to be considered change-makers of TRVST. Our effort to close the digital gap in education is strengthened by you!

Vrikshit Foundation

Vrikshit is a foundation founded by and made up of young people who want to see change in India. We are willing to strive to make India not only clean but also green. Our ongoing efforts help to raise awareness about the sanitation gap that impacts so many people’s lives in India.

Today the foundation is spread over about 15 states. We have cleared tons of waste and cleaned up more than 150 locations whilst the cleaning of two rivers is in progress.

We believe in action and hence have an action-centric approach. We don't wait for funds, equipment, or support to arrive. We work with whatever we have and are driven towards having a cleaner India very soon. We realize how urgent the need for climate change is, hence we act and we act fast.

We have yet been supported by many Bollywood celebrities, National media channels including CM Of Delhi, and were even invited by our CM, Mr. Arvind Kejriwal for his oath-taking ceremony. We also want to create more awareness around issues centered around the environment and hence actively engage in activism both physically and digitally through our campaigns.

We’ve planted more than 5000 trees and our team of hardworking and committed volunteers monitors their health to help them thrive. 

During the tough times of COVID19 Vrikshit provided rations and basic necessities to 2500 people.

Vrikshit Foundation Clean Up

What inspired you to start?

Vrikshit foundation was founded in 2019 when founder, Shankar Singh, decided to act and step up to address a number of environmental concerns in India as a result of poor waste management, trees being eroded for commercial purposes, and pollution increasing by the passing second.

He asked himself the question, who was to blame? The officials? No

Instead, he personally took responsibility to take charge and clean the mess that we humans and residents had created in the first place.

Starting small, initially, Vrikshit chose local areas to clean up, removing rubbish and debris. We then joined hands with local officials to maintain improved sanitation in these areas. 

“I have grown up in Delhi which ranks the most polluted state in India and after all my years here, it still tops the scale. I am an ardent believer that one must protect the resources we use to live and grow our food. I grew up witnessing all around me no proper waste disposal and pollution levels rising each day. With a vision in my mind to start small but change big I started Vrikshit.”

What do you wish you'd known at the beginning?

When you start a small non-profit organization, it's not all sunshine and rainbows. Starting Vrikshit has been a turning point in my life. From life as a student who chilled in weekends to becoming a responsible youth, I’ve learned so many things across my own journey. At least a few times I wish I had a reality check and known few things before I started Vrikshit

  1. It is hard to run an organization where you run errands to make ends meet.
  2. Growth is bumpy, we started small and faced infinite difficulties in achieving goals that we set
  3. There was a safety net to go back to being chill and not caring about the environment again, but it sucks. Raising your voice and consciousness is a difficult thing to do but what's more difficult is to shush it back too.
  4. Criticism was always there. The responses to Vrikshit were varied and were often looked at with narrow minds. In turn, we had to learn to deal with criticism and stay true to ourselves and our vision.

What's the one piece of advice you'd give an aspiring change-maker?

A piece of advice to anyone who wants to start a change would be,

  1. Address excuses, countless people dream of making a change, but only few are able to do it. Be amongst the few.
  2. Absorb everything, keep yourself open to appreciation and criticism. It fuels the growth of you and your organization at large. What you can achieve with kindness is never achievable by force. Be a solution to people's problems.
  3. Imagine yourself with zero achievements, that will help you with planning and preparation.
  4. Be genuine, just do the hard work. Nothing is impossible

How can people get involved in your project or help out?

Because Vrikshit is a Non-governmental organization we face difficulties in gathering the necessary funds to enable us to undertake our clean-up drives through to providing accommodation for the needy.

Vrikshit falls short on making ends meet

Vrikshit aspires to reach more young people who we can invite to join hands with us and work towards making the world cleaner and greener again. 

For offers of support please dm us on instagram or whatsapp us at +91 7827552596

What are your plans for the future?

In the next 6 months, we’re focused on creating as much awareness as we can and we all are waiting to resume our groundwork as soon as possible. In the near future, we will be focusing on planting another 10000 trees and will continue to be highly active on social media in order to influence more people to join the cause until the situations resume to normal. Also, we will work on providing sex education to underprivileged kids working with renowned teachers.

Vrikshit River Clean Up
Vrikshit River Clean Up

Komb Green Solutions - Creating Nairobi's First 'People's Park'

Komb Green Solutions is a community-based organization formed in 2017 and located in Korogocho, Nairobi, Kenya. Korogocho is home to up to 200,000 people and is one of the largest slum neighborhoods in the area. Here Christopher Wairimu, their secretary, shares their story working to create green and safe places along the Nairobi River:

How did Komb Green Solutions Start?

Our motivation was simple, if we have no clean water and fresh air what will we do? So we set out to find a solution.

Prior to 2017, young people in Korogocho were engaged in all sorts of crime to earn a living. A heavy price was paid with 50 of their peers losing their lives as a result of mob justice, gunfights, and police killings.

In 2017, under a slum upgrading program, a new bridge linking Dandora and Korogocho was constructed as a way of improving mobility. The construction of the bridge employed several young people from Korogocho as casual laborers and security officers. After the completion of the bridge in January 2018, the young men and women feared they might slide back to a life of crime with a risk of being killed. At this juncture, three locals, Mzee Muchina, Dredrick Okinda, and Christopher Waithaka, mobilized other young people in the area to get rid of the dumpsite next to the bridge and along the Nairobi River to create a safe space for ourselves and our community.

Further, the dumpsite acted as a den for thieves and was a place where drug peddlers and users would hide to do their illegal activities. We saw a huge need to create a green and safe space for children to play and for young people to relax without being harassed by police. Providing a safe space for women to just rest was the other motivating factor.

Initially, we wrote a proposal requesting resources to upgrade and slum and it was successful. In turn, we received gabions, stones, and also some trees. We were successful because the organizers of the slum upgrade knew how hard we worked to provide security to look after the materials used to construct the bridge - and the togetherness we have within ourselves.

The restoration of the river banks along Nairobi River in Korogocho entailed removing solid and human waste that had piled up for nearly 20 years. It took one year to remove all the waste and construct a gabion. The team planted grass and trees. Komb green solutions chose Bamboo trees since they absorb more carbon and release more Oxygen more than other trees. The park was officially opened to the public on 19th November 2018. The park was named the "people's park" and it's the only resident-initiated green zone along the Nairobi River.

Download a summary of Komb and their work here

Watch Christopher talk about the project below or here:

What have you achieved?

What next?

Our community has started to see the changes since we became active in increasing security in the area. No more robbing, snatching mugging, raping, harassment or any criminal activity is taking place in our area. The news of our work spread to the crime officers who now point to us as an example of what can be done. In turn, demonstrating how we were able to create good relationships with both police and residents through community dialogue.

Through changing faces competition under the public space network we showed that we can have spaces where we have successfully engaged the local community to remove the rubbish. And it's good to share knowledge and compete with other youth projects in our county.

Our village is near the biggest dumpsite in Dandora where air pollution is a big problem. So we are trying to extend our project to make more green space and plant more Bamboo trees so that we can breathe fresh air.

We have started piloting within our society new initiatives to help people stop pollution and we have engaged many young people here in the slum which is where the river pollution noticeably increases.
For example, due to a lack of pit latrines, we're looking to build septic tanks along the river to avoid human waste entering it.  Meanwhile, we are trying our best to fight plastic pollution entering our Oceans, since all of the water bodies run there.

Next up we're looking to extend our work to cover two more kilometers of river restoration. We hope to be able to buy a stone crusher machine since we have a lot of stones in the river. With this, we can generate some income and with that campaign for more river restoration.

To help achieve all of this, we are hoping to have more partners so that we can achieve our goal: TO SAVE OUR PLANET EARTH

What's the one piece of advice you'd give an aspiring change-maker?

THE CHANGE STARTS WITH US AND WE SHOULD BE PASSIONATE ABOUT THE TRANSFORMATION AND PASS THE KNOWLEDGE TO THE UPCOMING GENERATIONS. FOR A BETTER FUTURE OF OUR CHILDREN AND THE WORLD AS A WHOLE

Get Involved or Help Out:

If you're interested in getting in touch or supporting Komb's work drop Chris an email at: reformistchriswise [at] gmail.com

Wareologie - Empowering People With Magnetic Button Adaptors

Ware·ologie, LLC is a social venture startup, dedicated to solving a compounding problem that affects over 30 million Americans with hand disabilities. The company designs innovative, stylish products to restore independence and empower people to carry out essential activities of daily living, such as getting dressed. Limitations in dexterity are common symptoms of many illnesses.

Ware·ologie has developed a pipeline of consumer essential goods. They launched the company with the transformative Buttons 2 Button Magnetic Adapters because it solves a massive problem for people who cannot button. Sold in sets of 10, adapters attach to any shirt button in minutes, creating a magnetic closure to overcome limitations in fine motor skills.

The patent-pending design allows the adapters to be used on different shirts and withstand regular washing and drying. Convert any traditional button shirt at a fraction of the price of buying new, disabled-specific garments. This empowers people with the freedom to express their unique individuality and regain levels of independence, self-confidence, and dignity. B2B adapters eliminate frustration and restore valuable time for both the end-users and their caregivers.

Why do we need Wareologie?

Limitations of dexterity are a common characteristic of many disabilities. Whether suffering from a chronic illness such as arthritis or Parkinson’s, an accident or recovering from surgery, the simple act of dressing oneself independently for 1 out of 6 people is a daily struggle. Accomplishing this essential activity takes excessive time for both the individuals and their caregivers. Furthermore, disabled-specific clothing brands are expensive and have a limited selection. There is a ripple effect on caregivers who, on average, spend between 14-34 hours per week providing assistance. In fact, people with disabilities (PWD) depend on approximately 105 million unpaid, US caregivers to help carry out essential daily activities of living.

What inspired you to start?

The Ware·ologie team understands firsthand, both the physical and emotional impact disabilities have on the individual and family members. This inspired the company to develop assistive products to help restore independence, self-confidence, and well-being.

What do you wish you'd known at the beginning? Has inspiration come from unexpected places?

You can't do it alone. Team is everything. James Murtha, our Chief Innovation Officer, lives independently with a high spinal cord injury (SPI) and gives me the strength to persevere. Being an entrepreneur is challenging and, at times, exhausting. Work/life balance is nearly impossible due to limited funding and time. Despite careful planning and affirmation for our products, I wish I had understood the business challenges and stress involved in launching a company.

What's the one piece of advice you'd give an aspiring change-maker?

Confirm the need first and then create the solution. Make sure you calculate and secure the necessary financial resources before you begin. Good intentions will only get you so far. I would also recommend contracts guaranteeing people's work. Design errors are very expensive when developing physical products.

How can people get involved in your project or help out?

Our biggest challenges are customer awareness about our product and funding for our startup. No one is searching for magnetic button adaptor dressing aides because it's a first-to-market product. We would like senior living, rehabilitation centers, and in-home care providers to buy our product. We are seeking capital investment to help cover overhead and marketing costs in order to promote and let the world know about our helpful products.

Give Weareologie a follow, like or show your support on twitter, facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.

What are your plans for the future?

We will be ramping up sales to grow business and currently have several new developments in progress.

BizGees - Transforming Refugees into Entrepreneurs

What is BizGees All About?

We transform refugees into entrepreneurs using FinTech. We custom-designed alternative finance-based services to support refugee communities to take ownership of their own lives. We are winners of the Infosys Challenge for Financial Inclusion at the UNICEF FinTech Jam for Good.

We are currently working with two refugee communities - female artisans in the Swat Valley and female refugees who want to become entrepreneurs in Northern Uganda.

We are looking to grow our presence in other regions - Latin America is a key target region for us as well.

For more information take a look at our website.

Related: For more information on the refugee crisis check out our compilation of refugee facts from across the world.

Why do we need BizGees?

Refugees experience severe problems in accessing mainstream financial services, and even when they do gain access, their 'high-risk' rating makes it very difficult for them to progress. The 3 biggest causes of refugees are:

1. Climate Change
2. Conflict
3. Economic Collapse.

Over 85% of the refugees are based in the developing world. They suffer from social exclusion, poverty premium, and the digital divide along with mental health concerns.

Their numbers are growing by 300,000 a year. Since BizGees won the Infosys Challenge for Financial Inclusion at the UNICEF FinTech Jam for Good in April 2016, the refugee populations have grown from 68 million to 70 million globally, not taking into account the hidden refugees who aren't counted.

Biz Gees Collage

What inspired you to start?

During the UNICEF FinTech Jam for Good, we discovered the Zaatari UN Camp home to 100,000 refugees, 3,000 micro businesses, generating a monthly turnover of $11 million USD a month. Yet, nobody had access to business-level finance. This shocked and inspired us to pursue this idea. We verified this situation was the norm among other refugee communities. Our co-founder’s friends based in the Swat Valley, face similar challenges.

We felt the peer-to-peer model can be custom designed for their unique needs to help them take ownership of their own lives. We believe the paradigm shift technology is bringing can be used to support this growing number of people to take ownership of their own lives.

What do you wish you'd known at the beginning?

We are taking a human-centred design base approach - this process ensures any unexpected issues that come can be taken into consideration as and when they arise.

This isn't to say it's easy to cope with these unexpected / emergent concerns. For example, we had to pivot the business away from the Middle East because of the security situation / political risk very difficult for us to cope with.

What's the one piece of advice you'd give an aspiring change-maker?

"Social Impact is about people - focus on the human needs they have and then customise your solution :)"

How can people get involved?

We have an open volunteer program where we support talent upskill/ reskill themselves. Just look up our website.

What are your plans for the future?

Scale the business and raise funds to help pay the bills 🙂 We have been bootstrapping the project to date!

Erase All Kittens: Teaching Girls To Code

Erase All Kittens is a revolutionary, online game that's changing how we approach teaching coding, especially for girls. Bringing creativity and engaging storytelling to the fore, equipping them with the coding skills essential for 21st Century degrees and careers.

According to a recent nationwide study by Childwise, most girls aged 9-12 think that coding is ‘more for boys’ and ‘too difficult’.  My team and I believe that this is because computer science has been introduced in a way that has not been inspirational for most girls, or maintained their interest.  According to a recent US Department of Labor report, 65% of today’s school children will eventually be employed in jobs that don’t yet exist. It’s safe to say that the vast majority of these jobs will require digital skills, so it’s essential that girls are encouraged to code and code.

EAK
Photo credit: Erase All Kittens

In order to solve this problem, we carried out twelve months of research interviewing hundreds of students aged 8-13, and immersing ourselves in their culture – analysing the most popular cartoons, games, movies, and books (which don’t pander to gender stereotypes) before creating our learning tool. During our research, we also found that boys are encouraged to “try harder” at STEM subjects, and girls are discouraged, through unconscious biases. We don’t want to see one more girl afraid of learning to code, so we designed E.A.K. to eliminate these fears.

Erase All Kittens is the first game designed from the ground up to inspire girls to code, and teach them professional languages – via story-driven gameplay.  Our goal is to completely transform how girls perceive coding and to empower them with ‘real-world’ skills.

As players progress they can edit the real code that governs the game environment – building and fixing levels as they play. Young children can learn coding languages such as HTML and CSS, to save kittens in a fantasy internet universe.

Our approach has been to design a game that girls genuinely love – one that places a huge emphasis on creativity and feels more like a mainstream game than a coding tool. There are different ways to progress, girls can see instant results as they code, and learning is seamlessly blended with storytelling. The story features kitten gifs and quirky characters – for example, one of the characters, Tarquin Glitterquiff is a half unicorn, half mermaid serial entrepreneur –  He introduces the concept of ‘entrepreneurism’ to kids.

We beta-tested E.A.K. with several Oasis Academies in the UK – and the response was overwhelmingly positive. It was found that students were encouraged to become teachers, team-builders, writers and designers, as well as coders.

Teachers also became the facilitators of autonomous, independent learning – since the game greatly encourages collaboration and is highly engaging to both boys and girls.

Solely through word-of-mouth, E.A.K. has 120,000 players in over 100 countries. Over half of all players are girls, and our 12,000 feedback forms have shown that 95% of them want to learn more about code after playing.

Erase All Kittens Screen Shot
Preview of the game. Photo Credit: Erase All Kittens

Last year, we started holding free coding workshops in developing countries, to inspire young girls to code. Our first one was in Homs, Syria, where we partnered with IT-Advice and Techfugees, to set up an event to encourage girls to learn more about coding and technology. The event was a huge success, and we plan on launching our ‘E.A.K. Academy for Girls’ initiative later this year – which will involve coding, mini game-jams, hackathons and talks from inspiring female role models.

We have two main aspirations – the first would be to empower girls and boys with the practical skills which would allow them to become tomorrow’s “Makers” and innovators. It would be fantastic if Erase All Kittens could provide the spark of inspiration to help generate breakthroughs in areas that still don’t have solutions: global warming, reducing poverty etc.

Erase All Kittens Girls At Screens
Photo credit: Erase All Kittens

Our second aspiration is that E.A.K. will eliminate any fears that girls have of technology, and to inspire them to become creative problem solvers and engineers.  Our long-term goal is to inspire girls to learn digital skills, globally, so that we can help to close the gender gap in tech.

After an incredible year, winning six global tech awards, partnering with MIT Solve, and overfunding on Kickstarter (thanks to you lovely humans!) we’re finally on our way to fulfilling our dream – giving girls all over the world the confidence to code, and skills to create.

Want to empower girls you know through Erase All Kittens? Find out more at https://eraseallkittens.com/

Phoenix Cultural Centre

Phoenix Cultural Centre CIC/Fiery Bird Live Music Venue is a local project to bring a non-profit live music/cultural/arts/training venue to Woking. Though specific to Woking its founders have connected up with other social and community businesses nationally to share practice. It is currently unique because we are opening a music venue against the odds in a climate that is not encouraging to grassroots arts and culture and offering training as well in creative industries and supported work experience, accessible music lessons, and confidence-building platforms. Started in 2011 it has grown from street and pub performances to a small acoustic shop to a large nightclub run by volunteers from and for the community and despite enormous setbacks it still prevails.

Why do we need Phoenix Cultural Centre?

Woking is a town of apparent wealth yet with pockets of deprivation amongst the highest in the UK. The schism is rather less between the diverse multicultural communities but the postcodes representing the wide gap in wealth in the area and where life expectancy from one postcode to another can differ by 20 years. Woking has the largest ethnic diversity in Surrey, yet no cultural venue, no current youth centre, no live music venue, and no grassroots arts venue, yet a population of 100k residents. Its nighttime economy was not welcoming to many.

The town centre is rapidly regenerating yet there felt like there was no place that had a cultural identity that reflected the people of the area and that didn’t depend on having a disposable income to be part of, with mainly chain shops, coffee shops, and restaurants. The town had a reputation for having no soul. People were feeling left behind and marginalised and others who may appear successful were lonely and exhausted; mental health and wellbeing issues becoming a priority. Those who were able would leave the town to socialise in London thus leaving people further divided and surrounding villages did not have an identity with the town. Community members on local housing estate undergoing unpopular, extensive regeneration reported feeling further marginalised.

What inspired you to start?

It was built as a project from the Founders’ experience in community development and activism, working with vulnerable people and working as musicians on the grassroots scene as well as writing and community radio. There were empty buildings and people were telling us how they felt left behind. There was no venue for bands to grow, and people kept moaning about it and how the famous sons of the town should make one happen.

We get irritated by moaning so we announced if we wanted one we should do it ourselves and make it include everybody, one place where people can be regardless of who they are. There are some great projects in Woking but they are very often faith led and some people wouldn’t engage so we made it clear it would not be affiliated to enable it to be a cultural venue for all. We spoke to others doing the same around the country, researched community assets legislation, and made a case to the council.

We are still making it 8 years later. We wanted to combine all the principles we aspire to in life and our creative projects - equality, welcoming, ethical, diverse, and community-led, and we still believe in it now.

What have you achieved so far with Phoenix Cultural Centre?

We have reached people who otherwise would be socially and economically isolated, who feel that there is nowhere they feel welcome. We have given a platform to new and emerging artists where they can learn and hone their creativity in a safe welcoming space and attracted some high profile artists to our town. Where we have worked we have reached every age group and broken down barriers to accessing music teaching and making music. We have put the need for grassroots culture to be on the agenda in the regeneration and many of our proposals have been adopted by Council and their funded organisations making them part of the mainstream. Our project proposal for a community event to welcome all were adopted by Woking Council and is now their flagship event Party In The Park attracting 20k visitors. We have opened a music venue and despite all the barriers, we have kept going and not given up.

What do you wish you'd known at the beginning? Has inspiration come from unexpected places?

To trust our vision and that people will come on board if they see you won't give up. To not to give too much energy and knowledge away that would be better concentrated into my project. There have been several barriers put up that we have had to negotiate around. Inspiration has sometimes come from the difficult times and people by virtue of creating conflict to spur us on to dig deep and keep on going as well as being connected to like-minded projects and founders in other areas who are ploughing ahead as well.

What's the one piece of advice you'd give an aspiring changemaker?

If you believe in it, keep doing it, not everyone will get what you are doing and that is fine, it doesn't mean what you are doing is foolish or you should give up -you started it for a reason. It is ok to be frustrated and vent so find others running projects with social outcomes even in a different sector to bounce off - they will understand. Enjoy your work and cut yourself some slack and work on your boundaries. Check back regularly as it develops that you are on course with your principles as well as your growth.

How can people get involved or help out?

We are looking for a permanent space and want to bring together a core of developers, investors, and other social projects in one place to create a powerhouse of practice and knowledge that can not only serve our local community but be able to connect and inspire others to do the same where they see the need. We have a long term plan and are looking for partners to help us shape the future. With a commitment to finding a permanent space for the project, it unlocks funding that will enable us to set up a solid project

What are your plans for the future of Phoenix Cultural Centre?

We have more local and beginners music events, an Americana festival showcasing some emerging talent coming through on this genre as well as a diverse range of genre nights, women in music events, Q& A’s with national figures of music and radio, club nights for adults with special needs, training for people with special educational needs. Though in our short term building we run informal training we look to set up apprenticeships within creative industries, offering a pipeline to help it grow especially in terms of those disadvantaged or under-represented.

Phoenix Cultural Centre

ShowerBox: Free, Secure Spaces For Those Who Sleep Rough To Wash In London

ShowerBox was borne out of the human need to feel good and lead a safe life. Through funds raised, a trailer was bought at the end of 2018, servicing a winter shelter on Tottenham Court Road, London. Without this trailer, over twenty guests would not have had access to showering facilities.

One guest said that he had not showered in months, and for another, they "made Christmas".

Being powerless to maintain personal hygiene compromises mental and physical well-being, exacerbating feelings of inadequacy and ensuring the lack of motivation and confidence needed to create positive change. If that wasn't enough, the spread of preventable, debilitating diseases costs the NHS millions each year.

On average, homeless people die at 47, compared to the national average of 81.

Almost 7,500 people sleep rough every year in London.

Related: More homelessness facts and statistics

ShowerBox will support as many of them as possible, so each day is less of a challenge.

The trailer is now servicing a second winter shelter in Hornsey, London, until the end of April 2019. And then, the goal is: more care, for more people, with more portable showers and a fixed facility from an incredible £15k Navitron donation of solar-powered showers!

ShowerBox - Together We Can Make A Difference
ShowerBox - Together We Can Make A Difference

What inspired you to start?

Whilst volunteering at a winter shelter, a guest who had experienced homelessness in other parts of Europe told me what a difference having access to basic hygiene facilities makes. An article and then a petition ensued, and I decided to get going on it myself.

What are the future plans for ShowerBox?

I am working to create a green, safe well-being space with an incredible £15k solar-power shower donation at the centre, in London, from meanwhile use land. This fixed facility will boost physical and mental health and boost a sense of unity amongst those in need.

How can people get involved or help out?

Donations are so appreciated, via JustGiving. Anyone with access to meanwhile to useable land, vehicles to be converted into showers, and vehicles to pull showers - get in touch!

ShowerBox Sarah Lamptey

WellBoring: Clean Water Solutions For Primary Schools in Africa

What happens when a leadership company takes a couple of engineers to Kenya?  That combination of vision and practical know-how can make magic happen and that's exactly what happened back in 2011 and WellBoring was, well, born.

"Millions of people lack clean water. We can get it to them. Why wouldn't we?"

It all started when Nigel Linacre, cofounder of Extraordinary Leadership, simply had a wish to serve schools in Kenya, initially through teaching.  This seed of an idea quickly grew roots and Nigel's Global Leadership Programme was born, giving the opportunity for executives to join him for a unique experience with a purpose.

WellBoring

However, while working at one particular school, the water problem was apparent.  Two engineers, Colin Brown and Graeme Vousden, said they could fix it, so the whole focus of their visit changed.  It had to take precedence. This became the very first project for what is now an established charity, WellBoring.

Nigel says

"I spent most of my life on my priorities, but this makes such a big difference and we can reach so many people, it's irresistible."

Tens of millions of people lack access to clean water, fetching water from seasonal streams and polluted rivers, and suffering regular ill-health.  Water-borne diseases kill tens of thousands of children in Kenya alone every year, while dehydration and water-carrying blight the lives of the rest, making further development almost impossible.

And, what happens when clean water is available?  There's an immediate reduction in water-borne diseases, children can attend school, food can be grown and a safer platform is established for further development. Clean water is the starting point.  We asked Nigel a few questions about his journey and WellBoring:

What's been achieved so far?

We thought it was a big deal to bring clean water to one school, and we've now completed wells at 60 schools, and can see our way to 100 within a year. We've built some great relationships and practices.  When clean water arrives, children missing school falls from over 20% to under 5%, some 5,000 more children are at school every school day, which is a start.  We know water is a game-changer.

Right from the start we felt we could make a difference. We've been inspired by the teachers and children who work and learn in almost impossible conditions.  They are delighted to get something we take for granted and moved by our wish to serve. It was harder than we thought early on because we hadn't worked out a consistent model and we had too many unknowns, but we never thought about giving up. That was always, and remains, impossible. Now it's about scale.

How can people get involved in your project or help out?

We are developing a range of roles for volunteer strategists, enthusiasts, fund-raisers, connectors, and more. Oh yes, you can.  Just go to Wellboring.org and contact us.

What are your plans for the future?

A first major corporate partner will announce their plans on World Water Day, 22nd March 2019. We are working to reach the 100 wells milestone and then kick on.

What's the one piece of advice you'd give an aspiring changemaker?

See it, believe it, feel it and live it.