We live in a far from perfect world. Despite a high standard of living in most places, poverty, inequality, hunger, climate change, exploitation, and injustice are still forces that shape the lives of many. We need fundamental change to take place – and for that, we need brrrrrave changemakers with grrrrrreat ideas. We need young Pirates.
However, as a young person in an adult-ruled world, you might not think you can do much to change anything. What society usually tells us is to fit in and maintain the status quo; and even our own friends and family often advise us to play it safe. We are taught from an early age that change equals disruption and that only those in power can shape the world. But that is far from true! Everyone can be a changemaker, especially young people full of fresh ideas, new perspectives, and a native-like approach to the newest technologies and trends. You are probably familiar with names such as Malala Yousafzai and Greta Thunberg, but there are many more examples of young people who followed their curiosity, their passion, and their dissatisfaction and thereby had a positive impact on their local communities as well as the global world.
Mihir Garimella was 17 when he founded Firefly, a low-cost, intelligent drone that can enter dangerous environments to find people who are trapped. His curiosity for robotics was aroused at the age of 2 when his parents gave him a robotic dog, and since the age of 10, he has been building functional robots, his latest project being the drone Firefly. Imagine how different the situation would have been for the kids trapped in the Tham Luang cave in 2018 with Mihir’s drones in place?
Melati and Isabel Wijsen are two sisters from Bali, who founded Bye Bye Plastic Bags when they were 10 and 12 years old respectively. The movement was put into life with the goal of banning all plastic from Bali to save the oceans and on July 2nd it succeeded with a ban of single-use plastic items by the official lawmakers. With their success in Bali, the sisters are now spreading their movement globally.
Mari Copeny is an activist, who started her change-making career at 8 years old when she wrote a letter to President Obama about water problems in Michigan. This resulted in a visit by Obama and a national spotlight on the problem. Since then she has continued her movement for example with the hashtag #WednesdaysForWater and by partnering up with a water-filtration company that helps bring clean water to deprived communities. With initiatives like these, the UN’s goal of Clean Water and Sanitation (SDG 6) might really be reached by 2030.
Shubham Banerjee was only 14 when he founded Braigo Lab, which develops low-cost Braille printers and builds communities to support the visually impaired. His startup received funding from Intel Capital and Silicon Valley Bank and won the Edison Innovation Award. It has great potential of having a positive impact on the lives of many visually impaired people all over the world, creating more equality in the world.
Haile Thomas founded the nonprofit The HAPPY Org (Healthy Active Positive Purposeful Youth) with 15. The HAPPY Org offers programs that teach kids how to cook nutritious meals and promote physical activity. With The HAPPY Org, she has improved the lives of many kids in America and continues to do so through her program and as an international speaker, influencer, and activist.
On their own, these projects might not seem world-changing, but when put together and if given time enough for exponential growth, initiatives like these will be the ones making us achieve the 17 SDGs of the UN. What these young people did, anyone could have done – you could have done it and you can still do it.
Take your chance! Join the #beapirate challenge brought to you in cooperation with MegaCard and start changing the world today!