2021 has been a year of recovery and trial but in the midst of difficult global challenges. During this pandemic and throughout lockdowns around the world, young people have continued to mobilise to raise awareness about issues that impact our lives and our communities. From access to mental healthcare to education, climate change to gender equality, these inspiring people have been championing the Global Goals through their activism at both the local and global level.
This International Youth Day, here are some inspiring changemakers who are championing the Goals that will leave you inspired to take action.
JAZZ JENNINGS | USA
Jazz Jennings has been a major voice for members of the LGBTQ+ community, particularly those identifying as transgender. Jazz serves as a Human Rights Campaign Ambassador, an organisation that envisions a world where every member of the LGBTQ+ community has the freedom to live their truth without fear, and with equality under the law. She even co-authored a children’s book titled ‘I am Jazz’ in her effort to offer educators and parents a glimpse into what it’s like to grow up questioning your gender identity.
Finally, she alongside her parents founded the TransKids Purple Rainbow Foundation, which aims to spread ‘the message of tolerance, acceptance and unconditional love which are a birthright for all trans kids.’
OLUWASEUN AYODEJI OSOWOBI | NIGERIA
Oluwaseun is the Executive Director of Stand to End Rape Initiative (STER) and a founding member of the Feminist Coalition. She is responsible for ensuring survivors of gender-based violence receive medical, legal, and psycho-social services. Through her work, she is proud to have been selected as one of 200 Obama Young Leaders: Africa. As an advocate, she is proud to have broken the culture of silence on rape in Nigeria and establishing an organiastion that provides support to victims.
ISRA HIRSI | USA
Isra Hirsi is the 16-year old Co-Founder and Co-Executive of the US Youth Climate Strike, which supports youth organisers across the country working to protect our planet and the future of the young generation. Inspired by the Flint water crisis, Isra fights for climate justice. As a black Muslim woman, she emphasises the importance of intersectionality in the movement for climate justice which is key to achieving the Global Goals.
Photo by: Adam Iverson
Lesein Mutunkei | Kenya
Lesein Mutunkei is a 16-year-old from Kenya who has made his love of football into an incentive for environmental action. For every goal he scores, he plants a tree. His dedication to reforestation was triggered after learning about the shocking impacts of pollution and deforestation at school. Lesein has encouraged his school and football club to be more sustainable, and he hopes to expand his #Trees4Goals campaign across Africa.
FAIROOZ FAIZAH BEETHER | BANGLADESH
Fairooz is the Co-Founder of Moner School, an online platform that aims to raise awareness around mental health and ensure equal access to mental healthcare across Bangladesh. Moner School is the first student-led mental health organisation in the country.
Both Fairooz and her mother experienced the stigma and lack of support around mental health issues after going through a traumatic family tragedy that impacted their mental health. Fairooz founded Moner School to support young people and to connect them with the relevant and appropriate mental health services, to get people the help she and her mother lacked. Moner School focuses on issues such as depression, suicide and anxiety and provide 24/7 online mental health first aid service, creating an anonymous and safe space for others.
Follow Fairooz on LinkedIn to support her and her work in the mental health space