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Changemakers of Today

Dec/12/2022 / by Anusuiya Mehrotra

In a world full of calamities, constant change helps us adjust to new situations, ideas and developments. However, change calls for resilience, which requires immense effort and dedication. Here are a few changemakers who helped better the global community.

Jason Momoa

An actor and environmental activist, Jason Momoa started Mananalu, a drinking water company. Mananalu aims to reduce the catastrophic impact of waste plastic in the environment. It uses recyclable aluminum cans to make their water bottles, thus ensuring zero plastic waste.  In addition it also collects plastic from coastal communities for recycling, thus reducing the plastic in landfills. Mananalu has been certified plastic negative: it removes twice as much plastic from the world as it uses.

Dylan Alcott

Other than being a gold medalist at the paralympics, having an extremely successful career in media, and being titled the Australian Paralympian of the Year in 2016 and Australian of the Year in 2022, he has relentlessly practiced charity to help people. His charity helps other disabled Australians to gain confidence, fulfill their potential and achieve their dreams by eliminating the barriers of entry to sports. The foundation provides them funds for grants, mentoring and scholarships.

Anshu Gupta

She founded social enterprise Goonj founded after an interaction with a rickshaw-puller Habib and his six-year old daughter. He realized how a few clothes could change people’s lives. He started with giving away 67 clothes he had collected. Over time, his initiative turned into an enterprise. Goonj focuses on empowering ignored communities in villages. Goonj collects vast stocks of everyday necessities, including clothes and medicines, that would otherwise have been thrown away. The villagers work on their community, building bridges, dams etc., and get a family kit as an award. This includes the basic necessities, including often ignored needs such as sanitary pads and recycled quilts. Goonj is making people in the cities and villages of India equal stakeholders.

Shiza Shahid

This is a Pakistani social entrepreneur, educator, investor, and activist. She co-founded the Malala fund, a nonprofit promoting education for girls, after her close friend, Malala Yousafzai, was shot by the Taliban on her way home from school. There are about 130 million girls not receiving education. Even more are in school but not learning. The Malala Fund aims to accelerate girls’ progress, challenging systems, policies and practices to provide 12 years of free and quality education to girls. Social norms, attitudes and policies in Pakistan have restricted opportunities for education of girls. Through programming and advocacy with local partners, the fund challenges beliefs that have prevented girls from being treated as equal to boys in education.

Regina Barzilay

Barzilay is a professor of electrical engineering and computer science at MIT. After being diagnosed with breast cancer, she decided to develop methods beyond medicine to fight it. Her work brings together both the life sciences and artificial intelligence. Her group developed an AI risk assessment model that spots precursors to breast cancer several years before the disease is noticeable. This is a life-changer for those threatened by the cancer.