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#LeadYoung - Bill Drayton: "Once a young person has had a dream, built a team, and changed their world… they will be a changemaker for life"

In elementary school I could not imagine why I was being tortured by Latin or Math, and my perception of soccer was chiefly that of being a crashee.

But I loved starting things, especially newspapers. Once I had saved enough to buy a mimeograph machine (the prior technology being typing hard with as many carbon copy sheets as possible), I was unstoppable.

#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 - Growing up in a world of change: two girls in Bangalore fighting water waste

Two girls in Bangalore saw the problem of waste around them. With inspiration and guidance from the work of Ashoka Fellow Kuldeep Dantewadia, they launched their own initiative to reduce water waste. Their story of how to #LeadYoung highlights the new way of growing up in a world of change.  It takes caring and empathy to understand issues that affect us all and teamwork and collaboration to develop solutions that resonate with everyone.

#LeadYoung - 17-year-old Tura, founder of Street Children’s Theater in Bangladesh, shared her thoughts on what it takes to LeadYoung

When she was just 13,  Tahua Tura of Bangladesh started expanding her theater troupe to include street children, primarily living in closed-off communities once referred to as “untouchables”.  Her early experiences accompanying her aunt, Ashoka Fellow Safura Begum, to poor communities and interacting with the children had helped her see that, like her, they enjoyed creative arts but simply didn’t have access to them.

#LeadYoung - Three Kolkata teenagers shows what it takes to grow up solving social problems in today’s world

In a world where social problems are on the rise, a growing number of young people are leading the solutions. Ashoka Youth Venturer, Prateek Agarwal resisted the pressures to focus only on academic studies when faced with a dire issue: the proliferation of plastic bags choking the environment in Kolkata.  His deep-rooted passion for the environment and volunteerism exposed him early to waste issues and gave him the confidence to #LeadYoung.

#LeadYoung - 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. Prior to her letter, the general practice was that wildlife should be left to the circle of life, without any intervention. At the same time, public health programs were managed separately from conservation programs in wildlife-protected areas, using a parallel set of institutions.

Allan van der Meulen: How to become a changemaker inspiring others to thrive in a challenging context

At 19, Allan van der Meulen stumbled upon Ashoka Fellow Marlon Parker’s RLabs where he was put in charge of helping other young people like himself learn new skills and knowledge.  He soon started facilitating classes, leading new programs and putting his own ideas into practice. “I started developing new ways to communicate the ideas and concepts we were learning young person-to-young person in ways adults couldn’t.”  

#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.

ASHOKA CHANGEMAKER SCHOOLS IN NETHERLANDS

It is no longer enough to be able to read, write, count or master particular know-how in order to play a decisive role in an increasingly complex and uncertain world: everyone must have both the confidence and the essential human qualities - empathy, more collaborative leadership, teamwork, risk and initiative, etc. - to be able to contribute actively to positively transform society. The Ashoka Changemaker Schools allow all students to become actors of change: young people with the skills and self-confidence to change the w