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.
Under 16 finalist: Himakshi Shastri
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.
Under 21 finalist: Henry Davidkhanian Wright
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.
Under 21 finalist: Riya Manas Sharma
She is a youth member of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UNSDS), which is active in educational support, including the provision of educational aids to rural schools, tutoring, fundraising for the educational infrastructure of Malaysian refugee children, and disseminating STEM knowledge through magazines, podcasts, webinars, blogs, and social media campaigns.
The Global Good Awards recognises and rewards purpose-driven sustainability and social impact across organisations, NGOs, charities and social enterprises of all shapes and sizes. The Canon award, which sits alongside other categories include Global Good Company of the Year and ‘Game Changing’ Innovation of the Year, has been running for three years and receives a heartening number of new and exciting entries every year, displaying a high level of community action and entrepreneur initiative from the candidates.
Adam Pensotti, who heads the Canon Young People Programme is excited by this years entries. “This year's finalists for the Canon Young Champion award have been inspiring,” he enthuses. “All the young people and their projects demonstrated the effort, dedication and hard work needed to make the world a better place.”
The full list of finalists for the Canon Young Champion of the year award at the Global Good Awards can be viewed here
. The two winners will be announced on 13th October during an in-person/hybrid ceremony. And in reward of their hard work, the eight runners up will receive a Canon 4000D camera + 18-55mm lens and the winners will receive a Canon 250D camera + 18-55 + 50mm lens.