The majority of Ashoka’s leading social entrepreneurs, also known as Ashoka Fellows, had their first changemaking experience before age 20.  As we explore the Fellows’ changemaking journies, we begin to see why the importance of supporting young changemaking -- indeed, the mantra LeadYoung -- serves as the guiding principle for changing the way young people grow up.

Stories


#LeadYoung - At 17, Gino Tubaro started transforming kids with disabilities into super heroes

At the age of 17, Gino Tubaro received a letter from a desperate mother. “Please make my boy, Felipe, a hand,” it said. “We cannot afford a prosthetic.” Gino had been inventing things since the age of 13. His own mother had taken him to science fairs and invention workshops, pushing him to follow his passion for technology.

"Where would I be if I only had one hand?” Gino acquired a 3D printer the year before and saw endless possibilities for his own future as an inventor. But Felipe’s hand soon became his obsession.

#LeadYoung - Jeroo Billimoria: a global movement that started with a simple gesture in her teens

A social entrepreneur known for building huge, global coalitions, Jeroo first started in Mumbai, working with street children. She gave them her private phone number in case of emergencies.

Soon every night it was ringing.

From that caring and then recognition of system need came Childline. Any street child could call a free number and be answered by a trained and sympathetic street child. Shortly thereafter help would be on the way.

#LeadYoung - Robin Chase: leading one entrepreneurial coup after another, like Zipcar

If anyone understands the profound transformation of society that is now upon us, it is Robin Chase. (See her admired book, Peers Inc.)

She not only sees it clearly; but she also, in one entrepreneurial coup after another, is putting its new architecture in place. She co-founded Zipcar and was its first CEO. Then she created and led Buzzcar. A bit like AirBnB, it allows you to rent out your idle car or truck to others.

#LeadYoung - Anshul Tewari Created India’s Largest Youth Media Platform at Age 17

Anshul Tewari was dismayed that cultural taboos are producing “a culture of silence that is pushing an entire generation away from changemaking.”

#LeadYoung - Eli Beer: Revolutionizing emergency response and uniting people in Israel and the world

When he was only 6-years-old, Eli Beer and his brother witnessed a bus bombing while walking home from school in Jerusalem. Eli heard someone calling out for help from amidst the chaos, but he didn’t know what to do and ran from the scene.  

#LeadYoung - Dario Riccobono: mobilizing young Italians against the Sicilian mob in Italy since he was 13 years old

When Dario Riccobono was 13, his little-known hometown of Capaci in Sicily, Italy was suddenly thrust onto the world stage.  A massive explosion orchestrated by the mafia took down a portion of the nearby highway and with it the renowned anti-mafia prosecutor, Judge Giovanni Falcone, who was driving to his home.  

#LeadYoung - Peter Eigen: fearless since 13, he's changed the world’s mindset about corruption

Corruption long was a taboo subject. Bribes in some countries were tax-deductible. That mindset changed when Peter, having seen the untold damage it was doing, especially in his earlier work in development, founded and built up Transparency International.

#LeadYoung - Temple Grandin: “The thing about changing something is that it’s long, hard, sustained work.”

Temple Grandin, diagnosed with autism as a child, has revolutionized the livestock industry. By putting herself in the place of the cattle, she developed a series of equipment designs and a simple rating system to help the industry adopt new practices that reduce animals’ stress and injuries to both animals and workers.

#LeadYoung - How Kevin Ochi is Part of a Movement that is Transforming the Lives of 15,000 Young People in Argentina

Kevin spent his adolescence in an institution. Upon graduation, he realized that his experience could be useful to others. Together with his peers at Guía Egreso, a group of youth which arose from Doncel NGO, Kevin is transforming the lives of 15,000 young people from Argentina who, just like him, are forced to leave the care system when they turn 18.

Saving gorillas by saving people: how Gladys Kalema transformed her teenage passion for animals into a radical social innovation

As a new graduate from veterinary school, Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka invented her first job. She wrote to the Ugandan Wildlife Authority, laying out her research explaining just how critical it was to create a role for a veterinarian within the organization.

#LeadYoung - DIY Environmentalist

Forming global communities to protect the environment, Ashoka Fellow Shannon Dosemagen invented do-it-yourself environmentalism.

Richard Branson: finding new ways to do business and impact the world since he was 16

There are few if any entrepreneurs who have ventured more successfully in more businesses than Richard Branson.  And who can compete with him in terms of flair?

#LeadYoung - Where the wild things start: How Nicole Rycroft’s early love of nature inspired her environmental career

Ashoka Fellow Nicole Rycroft is protecting ancient forests by working with global book publishers, newspapers, magazines, and fashion brands to shift to alternative and sustainably produced wood-based fabrics and paper. Her environmental NGO Canopy counts more than 750 large customer companies from H&M to publishers of the Harry Potter series as partners in this fight.

#LeadYoung - Ximena Abogabir: "If you are deeply convinced that your child is a changemaker, he or she will become one"

As part two of this two-part LeadYoung series, Ashoka asks Ashoka Fellow Ximena Abogabir, mother to Ashoka Fellow Gonzalo Muñoz, about her childhood, her role as a mother and her philosophy for parenting Gonzalo and her two other changemaker children.

#LeadYoung - Sarah Toumi: Leading change in rural areas of Tunisia since the age of 11

Starting your journey as a changemaker in your teams sticks with you for a lifetime. Climate change mitigator and Ashoka Fellow Sarah Toumi’s story of starting her changemaking journey at 11 shows this link: that in a world of rapid change where following the rules is no longer enough, success means being a changemaker and the earlier you start the better.

#LeadYoung - Gonzalo Muñoz: "It is impossible to deny that most of the inspiration my three siblings and I received came from our parents"

In today’s rapidly changing world, a young person’s ability to lead, be part of a team, practice changemaking and express empathy are increasingly important skills. Ashoka turned to Ashoka Fellows Gonzalo Muñoz and Ximena Abogabir to understand what it takes to raise children who can contribute to positive change.

#LeadYoung - JP Maunes: putting accessibility and inclusion center stage in the Philippines

In April 2016, JP Maunes became a household name in the Philippines when his sign language interpretation for a heated presidential debate led a number of prominent media personalities to name him as the winner.

Memes with JP’s exhausted hands bursting into flames went viral on social media.He was under the spotlight. And ready to play along.

#LeadYoung - Overcoming Her Shyness, She Helped Hundreds Become Changemakers

Greta is pursuing a vision of helping all youth become leaders in Mexico’s society.

#LeadYoung - Felipe Vergara: redefining access to education through a multi-million dollar financing innovation

For many young people around the world, paying for college tuition locks them into decades of debt. It forces them to forego purpose-oriented jobs like teaching because those salaries will not cover their loan payments. For those who can’t find employment or lose their jobs, their fixed loan payments can drag them into even greater debt that is hard to recover from. Colombian social entrepreneur, Felipe Vergara, created Lumni to give students new options for funding their college tuition.

More For You