Sitawa Wafula is a 31-year old mental health activist, philanthropist and entrepreneur from Nairobi, Kenya. As a result of a traumatic experience at the age of 18, Wafula suffered from severe depression which resulted in a dual diagnosis of epilepsy and bipolar disorder. With no support system, rising medical bills and little access to information, Wafula faced stigma due to her condition. Out of this experience, she decided to provide a forum for Africans going through the same experiences, to not only access information about mental health issues, but also to find support. She launched her self-titled blog as well as her mental health social enterprise; My Mind, My Funk which ran Kenya’s first free mental health support line and provided support to over 11,000 Kenyans struggling with mental health issues. She has been named as a Non Communicable Disease Champion by the Kenyan Ministry of Health, recognized among the top 40 under 40 women in Kenya and has had her work featured in various media publications including BBC and Al Jazeera.
Azza Kamel and her organisation Alwan wa Awtar are working to improve the lives of vulnerable children in Egypt and help them realise their potential.
Alwan wa Awtar aims to target young people in marginalised communities who have little or no access to after-school activities such as performing arts, music and visual art. At the Alwan wa Awtar centre young people are encouraged to explore their creative potential and intellectual abilities in a stimulating non-judgmental environment.
Many of the children supported by Azza and her team have also experienced some form of abuse – physical, psychological or sexual – and so the centre provides them with a safe haven where they can come to terms with some of the things that have happened to them, build their confidence and be surrounded by people they trust and who respect them.
The Clothing Bank mission is to "Empower Unemployed Mothers Through Enterprise Development so that they can become Financially and Socially Independent". Founded in 2010 by Tracey Chambers (CEO) and Tracey Gilmore (COO), in response to the growing problem of unemployment amongst single mothers and the lack of support that they receive from the father of their children.We believe that if you help a mother you help a child.
South Africa faces some major obstacles to address the injustices of the past and ensure that everyone participates in the economy. At the centre of these challenges is the failing education system. 58% of children do not complete school meaning that formal employment is not an option for them as many corporates use Grade 12 as an entry level requirement for even the most basic job. Unemployment rates are reported at between 25-30% and when you analyse this further you will find that unemployment amongst youth is reported at 56% with 2.8m youth being unemployed and unemployment amongst women is reported at 48%. Of all mothers in South Africa, 40% are single and for single mothers unemployment rates are over 60%. Less than 50% of father’s contribute anything towards their child’s welfare, which leaves the single mother with no choice but to rely on the state for welfare. Child grants are R280 per month per child and with an average of 2 children per household, families are surviving on welfare of R560pm. 1L of milk and 1 loaf of bread would cost R20 per day or R600 per month, so this means that if you are a child raised by a single mother, you are highly likely to live in poverty with little prospects for your future.
Passionate about health equity, women’s leadership, entrepreneurship and community development, Catherine Lajara is Founder & CEO of Novel Research of New York, an independent clinical research center in the Bronx, New York City. Their aim is to bring diversity and eliminate disparities in clinical research. "What keeps me “awake” is my community. There is a significant geographic disparity within racial and ethnic minority groups that lack access to health information and resources. In effort to eliminate this, my company is involved in community outreach and participates in health initiatives to provide free health screenings, educational material on health equity, prevention, early detection and treatment as well as providing the community with access to clinical trials." (read more) Connect with Catherine on @catlajara @nrofny http://www.nrofny.com
Ruth Ibegbuna founded RECLAIM to tackle the UK's low rates of social mobility. RECLAIM is building a new strand of working-class youth leadership with the mission of "being seen, being heard and leading change". Ruth activates the latent talents of young people that are most at risk of being excluded from meaningful life opportunities and equips them with the confidence and skills needed to influence politics, the media, and mindsets locally and nation-wide.
Ruth was named Manchester Peace Activist of the Year 2008 and received the Manchester City Council Women's award for Outstanding Contribution 2009. Ruth was also recently awarded the 2011 Business in the Communities Sieff award for collaboration with business to benefit society.
Ruth was a member of the Independent Commission on Youth Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour. The Commission brought forward strategic proposals for sustainable reform of relevant services for children and young people, including the youth justice system. Ruth is also an Ashoka UK Fellow.
Jayne Hulbert graduated from the University of Birmingham in 2003 with a Diploma in Social Work. Jayne is a qualified Social Worker with over 35 years social care experience in the statutory, voluntary and private sectors, she set up the SWEET Project (Social Work Education, Experience and Training) in March 2010 with colleague and Senior Family Support Worker, Jayne Creswell. Connect with Jayne Hulbert and Jayne Cresswell on http://www.sweetproject.co.uk/
Servane Mouazan's insight:
The concept of the SWEET Project emerged in 2009 after Jayne Hulbert and Jayne Cresswell were made redundant from a national charity as part of a process which culminated in the closure of much-needed family support services for the residents of South Birmingham. Having worked in the area for over 10 years, the two Jaynes decided they would try to re-establish a service for families in need. Between 2009 and 2010, they began to research the possibility of setting up a family support service. Many ideas offered potential. In the early days, the significant obstacles which had to be overcome included the provision of suitable office accommodation and the acquisition of financial and business expertise
Sandra Sassow is the CEO and co-founder of SEaB Energy Ltd, a multi-award-winning manufacturer of small scale micro power plants which use a patented microbial-based technology to convert food waste into energy. The product is shipping to the global market, for the purpose of converting food waste, animal/plant waste and septic waste into energy, anywhere. Connect wth Sandra on http://www.seabenergy.com/ ; and on twitter @seabenergy @sandrasassow
Fake limbs don't have to be a replacement: they can also be an upgrade. To this end, prosthetics artist Sophie de Oliveira Barata founded The Alternative Limb Project in 2011, in which she turns them into artworks. Now, she's taking the idea further with a her "gadget limbs.
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