How the next generation can help to tackle global issues
Ten finalists for the Canon Young Champion of the Year at the annual Global Good Awards have been shortlisted from a huge number of applications, demonstrating the hard work and achievements of young sustainability campaigners across the world. The shortlisted entrants, who are driving social and environmental change, and inspiring others to get involved in sustainable development, are from Australia, India, USA, Nigeria and Dubai. Let’s meet some of these exciting young changemakers.
Young environmental and social sustainability advocate, Himakshi Shastri is based in Dubai and has been recognised for her work around climate change. After learning about the devastating impacts of climate change in school, she wrote an open letter to the United Nations Secretary General, which was recognised and awarded by The Trust for Sustainable Living Organisation and Oxford University. Passionate about writing, Himakshi has become a journalist for Young Times, a newspaper in the UAE, every month writing about eco-friendly activities that children can join.
After being inspired to help those experiencing hair loss after seeing her grandmother lose her hair during chemotherapy treatment, Himakshi decided that for her twelfth birthday, she would donate 12 inches of her own hair to a charitable cause. After realising it takes 8-9 donations to make a single wig, Himakshi decided to expand the hair donation campaign and set up CoviDONATE, an initiative that resulted in 19 individuals from all around the world donating their hair for cancer patients across a period of 19 days.
She has spoken publicly at Expo 2020 Dubai, TedX and The National Festival of Tolerance about Climate Justice. Himakshi is also a member of the United Nations SDG7 Youth Constituency (for Sustainable Energy), the Emirates Environmental Group (where she has been awarded as a top recycler of paper in the region, having a tree planted in her name) and a Hack4EarthAmbassador, where she worked with the Swedish Pavilion at Expo to encourage young individuals to take part in a Climate Based Hackathon.
In 2021, at just 18 years old, Henry Davidkhanian Wright was elected as a Global Youth Representative at the United Nations Fund for Education in Emergencies, making him the first young person democratically elected to the governing body of a global humanitarian fund.
As Global Youth Representative, Henry's work on increasing aid to Syrian refugees has reached former Prime Minister of the UK, Gordon Brown, UNHCR Chief Filippo Grandi, and numerous Ministers of Education and Development representing countries across Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.
Henry’s journey has taken him across continents in an effort to shine a light on the plight of Syrian refugees. At the age of fifteen, he was sharing stories of Syrian integration and the rise of German nationalism on the streets of Berlin. By the age of 18, he was advocating directly to world leaders for increased support of Syrian refugees. At each step of the way, he worked to bridge the gap between the human and the high-level, using only a pen, a notebook, his iPhone’s camera, and the stories he learned along the way. As a result, his photo essays have been published in Wanted in Rome, The Paris Globalist, and the International Press Syndicate.