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young advocates

Today, some of the most innovative, forward-thinking change-makers happen to be under the age of 18. Keep reading to learn more about these three top young advocates who are doing their part to address global issues from poverty to gender equality and education.

3 Young Advocates Who are Changing the World

  1. Zuriel Oduwole
    Since the age of 10, Zuriel Oduwole has been using her voice to spread awareness about the importance of educating young girls in developing countries. Now 17 years old, Oduwole has made a difference in girls’ education and gender issues in Africa by meeting with and interviewing important political figures like presidents, prime ministers and first ladies. To date, Oduwole has spoken in 14 countries to address the importance of educating young girls in developing countries, including Ethiopia, South Africa, Ghana, Tanzania and Nigeria. “They need an education so they can have good jobs when they get older,” Oduwole said in a 2013 interview with Forbes. “Especially the girl child. I am really hoping that with the interviews I do with presidents, they would see that an African girl child like me is doing things that girls in their countries can do also.”
  2. Yash Gupta
    After breaking his glasses as a high school freshman, Yash Gupta realized how much seeing affects education. He did some research and found out that millions of children do not have access to prescription lenses that would help them to excel in their studies. Gupta then founded Sight Learning, a nonprofit organization that collects and distributes eyeglasses to children in Mexico, Honduras, Haiti and India.

  3. Amika George
    At the age of 18, Amika George led a protest outside of former U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s home to convince policymakers to end “period poverty.” Period poverty is the unavailability of feminine sanitary products for girls who cannot afford them. Girls who can’t afford these products are often left to use rags or wads of tissue, which not only raises health concerns but also keeps girls from their education. In order to combat this issue, George created a petition with the goal for schools to provide feminine products to girls who receive a free or reduced lunch. As of now, George has mobilized over 200,000 signatures and helped catapult the conversation of period poverty at the political level in the U.K.

These three world-changing children prove that age does not matter when it comes to making a difference in the world.

Juliette Lopez
Photo: Flickr

shoes_for_the_homeless
According to a report from the National Center on Family Homelessness, in 2010 there were more than 1.6 million homeless children across the span of the U.S.

Lacking any sort of permanent residency, these children often stay on the streets, in shelters, motels, cars and abandoned buildings.

At the age of five, a young boy by the name of Nicholas Lowinger visited a homeless shelter with his mother. His excitement to show his new light-up sneakers to the other children was apparent, but his mother advised him not to do so.

After interacting with the children at the shelter, Nicholas soon realized that they were living under conditions quite different from his own. Lowinger recalls seeing children whose shoes were tattered, worn, and falling apart. Or there were the extremely unfortunate individuals who had no shoes at all.

Now the age of 15, Nicholas says, “I have been very fortunate to grow up in a family that is able to provide me with whatever I need. A lot of kids here in the U.S don’t have the same opportunities.”

Following this visit Nicholas began to donate his older shoes to local shelters. Although he made an effort, he soon realized that his donations were not as helpful as he had hoped.

Due to the lasting impression that his first visit to a homeless shelter left and his desire to make a difference, at the age of 12, Nicholas began a program that donates new shoes to children who are homeless.

“Homeless children shouldn’t have to worry about how they’ll be accepted or how they’ll fit in,” Nicholas said. “They shouldn’t have to worry about not being able to play sports or go to school because they don’t have a pair of shoes.”

Initially, the program began as a part of a community service project, building up to his bar mitzvah. Noticing the difference that was being made, though, Nicholas wanted to ensure that the program would go on even after his bar mitzvah ceremony ended.

With the assistance of his parents, Nicholas began the Gotta Have Sole Foundation. Since it’s start-up, this organization has provided more than 10,000 children with new footwear, in over 21 states.

“New shoes can make a child feel good about him or herself. They gain confidence; they’re able to do better in school,” Nicholas said.

In the Lowinger family garage, one would find an abundance of new shoes that have been donated by footwear companies, stores, and individuals. Any size or style that they do not already have is acquired through the organizations monetary donations.

Over 1,000 volunteers help with this organization, and Nicholas himself works 15 hours a week on it. Nicholas thoroughly encourages young individuals to not allow their age to get in the way of achieving their dreams.

– Samaria Garrett

Sources: CNN, Gotta Have Sole
Photo: 100k Homes