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Influential young advocates for education
Influential young advocates for education


Every child on the globe has the right to an education. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), 61 million primary school-aged children were not enrolled in school in 2010. Nearly half of these children were never expected to go to school, 26 % went to school but dropped out, and the remaining 27 % are expected to go to school in the future. 

It’s reported that every additional year of schooling can boost a person's future income by 10% on average in developing, low-income nations, but who will speak for the children who do not have a voice? 

Young people are already at the forefront of combating the world's most pressing issues, such as climate change, racism, gender injustice, and educational inequity.

Standing up to patriarchal culture in order to make a difference and be a voice for others around you requires a lot of bravery, especially when you're young. We look at the top 10 most inspiring young activists (in no particular order) their hard work and devotion to ensuring that every child receives an appropriate education, how they accomplished it, and what they're doing now:


  1. Mari Copeny

Source: https://twitter.com/LittleMissFlint

For more than four years, Flint, Michigan, has been without safe drinking water. Mari Copeny, then eight years old, sent President Barack Obama a letter in 2016 requesting him to meet with Flint campaigners in Washington, D.C. Instead, President Obama paid a personal visit to Flint, and Copeny has continued to raise awareness about the Flint Water Crisis and offer pleasure, resources, and community to the children of Flint in the years following. She raised $10,000 in 2017, partnering with Pack Your Back to provide school supplies and 1,000 backpacks to Flint children. The collaboration also raised $13,000 in the same year to offer gifts and activities to Flint children for the holidays.

2.  Sonita Alizadeh

Source: https://twitter.com/sonitaalizadeh

Sonita Alizadeh has used rap to combat patriarchal norms of forced marriages in her native Afghanistan. Alizadeh was almost married twice, once when she was ten years old and again when she was sixteen, until she rebelled by producing a rap video called "Brides For Sale" which you can watch here about women who were sold into marriage by their families. It was a tremendous risk—for starters, in Iran, where she was living at the time, it is prohibited for women to sing in public. 

It paid off, though: the song became viral, and she was able to receive a scholarship to continue her high school education in the United States. She continues to perform her strong style of rap and encourage a new generation of girls in her own country to continue education and protest against the antiquated and terrible practice of child weddings.

3.  Payal Jangid

Source: https://www.patrika.com/ 

 Jangid became a children's rights activist after fleeing child slavery in India, and she is now the leader of her village's Child Parliament, which organises meetings to address "different concerns including the absence of separate bathrooms for females in schools and the need to prohibit child marriage." She promotes the value of education by visiting "door to door" to convey to parents that children need a nurturing environment in which to thrive. She met Barack and Michelle Obama when they visited India in 2015 when she was just 12 years old, as well as Kailash Satyarthi, who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Malala Yousafzai in 2014.

Not only that, but she told PEOPLE.com “We also speak with parents on the importance of their children regularly attending school in order to receive a formal education,” she says. “We also explain the ill effects and repercussions of child labour and child marriages to the parents so that they detest it.” She's had a lot of success so far, and she tells PEOPLE.com that her proudest achievement was when her village Hinsla became a community free of child marriage.

4.  Kelvin Doe


Kelvin was only six years old when Sierra Leone's infamously deadly civil war ended, and despite his age and lack of conventional engineering education, he swiftly rose to become one of the country's top technological inventors.


When he was 11, he rummaged through waste in search of discarded electronics that could be used to solve local issues. At the age of 13, he began creating his makeshift batteries by taping acid, soda, and metal together in a tin cup to power lights in people's houses. He utilised created and recovered spare components to build a generator for his town, which he used to power a community radio station he also built out of repurposed materials. 

Doe joined the MIT International Development Initiative as the youngest ever "visiting practitioner" when he was 15, where he got the opportunity to exhibit his innovations to MIT students, participate in research, and even educate and teach engineering students at Harvard. He is now a role model for Sierra Leone's youngsters. Doe joined the Honorary Board of EMERGENCY USA in 2016, which provides medical and surgical assistance to victims of conflict and poverty.

 5.  Asean Johnson


Chicago Public Schools revealed intentions to close up to 54 public schools in 2013. Then 9-year-old Asean Johnson did all he could to make sure his school was not on the list, including making a series of impassioned speeches opposing the mayor’s intentions. He even gave a speech during the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, invoking Martin Luther King Jr.: He stated, "Every school needs equitable money and resources." “I implore you all to continue Dr Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream. Assist us in our battle for liberty, racial equality, jobs, and public education, because I have a dream that we will succeed.” Johnson's political ambitions managed to save his school from closure. He has ambitions to run for mayor in 2025and already has high-profile endorsements.

6.  Zuriel Oduwole

Source: https://pro-motivate.com/

Oduwole is a Nigerian-American young filmmaker who is 17 years old. She was surprised to discover how many young girls were not in education after winning a competition to visit Ghana and produce a video, and she wanted to change that. 

“Seeing children out of school does not always make me pleased; it is a symbol of poverty and a dismal future,” Oduwole added. 

Parents in Africa may not always have enough money to buy meals and school clothes for their children, meaning they miss out on valuable education. At the age of ten, Oduwole founded the nonprofit 'Dream Up, Speak Up, Stand Up (DUSUSU)'  to inspire African girls to pursue higher education.

7.  Bana Alabed

 Source: https://theirworld.org/

 Bana Alabed, an 8-year-old Syrian refugee who used Twitter to share her nightmare experience of living in Aleppo through the siege, bombings, and starvation. Her family was finally able to flee to Turkey, but her memories stayed with her, prompting her to write Dear World: A Syrian Girl's Story of War and Plea for Peace, which was published last October. 

After missing more than a year of school in Aleppo, she is now in the third grade. Because of the fighting, her schooling had been inconsistent even before that.

According to the AFP news agency, Bana said: "I am no longer afraid to go to school. It isn't frightening."

8.  Payal Jangid

Source: https://people.com/ 

Jangid was 14 years old when she fled child slavery in Delhi, India. Children often drop out of school early due to forced labour, rarely return to work as adults and are unable to overcome poverty. Jangid began pushing for girls' education when she returned to her hometown. 

“I want to advocate for all children, particularly girls,” she says. Many young girls in Rajasthan are compelled to labour hard and marry when they are just 12 years old,” she explained.

Jangid received a World Children's Award for inspiring her community to ensure that females obtain an education.

9.  Amika George

Source: https://www.vogue.co.uk/ 

Amika George is the originator of #FreePeriods, a movement she launched when she was 17 years old in her bedroom. Her mission is to end period poverty in the UK and throughout the world, as well as to de-stigmatize menstruation. After realising that many girls were missing school due to a lack of affordable menstruation products, Amika organised a peaceful protest outside Downing Street, which drew over 2,000 people. Amika was successful in convincing the UK government to promise money to combat period poverty. She has subsequently begun a legal fight to ensure that everyone has equal access to education.

10.  Malala Yousafzai

Source: https://nypost.com/ 

Malala Yousafzai, the youngest Nobel Laureate in history, is perhaps the most well-known young activist on this list. Her tale is very compelling. On a school bus, Malala was shot by a Taliban gunman. The assassination attempt generated a worldwide outpouring of sympathy for her, prompting Taliban leaders to warn of a possible second assassination attempt. She and her family moved to the United Kingdom, where she continued her advocacy by establishing the Malala Fund and releasing her debut book, I Am Malala. In 2014, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her "fight against the repression of children and young people, and for the right of all children to education." Since last August, 

We hope you enjoyed our list of influential young people, and maybe even learned something new. These inspirational people deserve the utmost respect and admiration for their hard work. 

Thank you for being a voice to those who need it the most.







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