September 2018 Perennial Fellows

Barbara Mutabazi, Uganda

Barbara wants to build global communities of empowered girls and women with skills, resources, mentors and connections such that they fulfill their destinies regardless of their background. Barbara is the Executive Director and co-founder of Hive Colab, Uganda’s first innovation hub, business accelerator and incubator for East African technology startups. Hive Colab’s mission is to build local tech capacity and scale up ideas with positive social and economic returns. Barbara is also the founder of WITU (women in Technology Uganda), an organization that transforms and empowers lives of women and girls using technology. WITU seeks to encourage, inspire and train more women in the tech field through networking, training, mentoring and partnering.

Barbara is creating a movement of women technologists, leaders, business moguls and champions who will in-turn empower other women. She wants to work and inspire change in the lives of young women who have lost all hope because of their social and economic background. Barbara hopes to show women that they can be whatever they set their minds to, by inspiring them, teaching them and supporting them to create their own solutions.

Sushil Adhikari, Nepal

Sushil believes that disability is not an inability, but a part of a person that can be used for strength and social change. Sushil is the co-founder of Bright Star Society, an organization made of passionate individuals who have united to create, foster and institutionalize the spirit of inclusive societies through the integration of persons with and without disabilities. By profession, he is a computer programmer and developer, a radio host and a community leader. He has an absolute passion for helping people with disabilities, both in the capital city and in rural areas of Nepal, where disability is believed to be caused by a sin committed in a previous life. Sushil spearheads a disability rights movement in his community using nonviolent actions.

Sushil became blind at an early age, however he never lost his vision. His condition has not stopped him from becoming an avid reader, a community leader and a world traveler. He visits local youth clubs and runs a training program to teach personality and leadership skills, and how participants can help people with disabilities.  “Disability is not a cause of failure nor it is a problem, it is a characteristic and we need to learn how to use it to the fullest extent.” Sushil’s goal is to minimize barriers for the visually impaired by building a network of people with and without disabilities to raise awareness about, and support for, disability right.

Stefan Feurstein, Honduras/Germany

Stefan believes that honest empathy can lead to better lives, better communities and a better world. Stefan is the National Director of Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos (NPH), Honduras. NPH is a charitable organization that has provided a home for thousands of orphans and abandoned children, with the mission to provide shelter, food, clothing, healthcare and education based on unconditional acceptance and love. Self-sufficiency is a cornerstone of the NPH philosophy; thus, many NPH homes grow much of their own food and has its own primary and secondary school, clinic, and chapel. Currently there are NPH homes in nine Latin American countries.

Stefan believes in finding and embracing the joy, the optimism and the laughter in life and work, even when faced with much suffering and injustice. While he studied economics with the intention of pursuing a career in finance, Stefan had his priorities rearranged when he came to work as a volunteer in NPH 10 years ago and was privileged to live with, work with and serve the victims of the injustices of greed, violence and irresponsibility. Stefan believes that people should share responsibility for each other, and that a strategically focused team can achieve far more than an ambitious individual.

Olivia Mugabirwe, Uganda

Olivia strives to create a just and fair society where youth, children and women are empowered to utilize their full potential for self and community development. Olivia is the founder and the Executive Director of PeerLink Initiative Uganda (PELI-U). PeerLink Initiative Uganda (PELI-U) is a children, youth and women focused community rooted not-for profit organization that started in 2003, with a strong focus on education, skills development and sexual reproductive health. PELI-U puts their community at the center of development initiatives working through a community library and empowerment center model. They believe community members are knowledgeable of the issues affecting them and have the ability to transform their community if involved and empowered.  

Olivia hopes that PELI-U will be a leading organization in literacy promotion, skills development and sexual reproductive health education. “I am a product of education. Whoever I am is because of the education I received.” Her vision is to help create a community that isengaged and involved in efforts to effect change, which will lead to a country that utilizes the full potential of youth, children and women and facilitates them to take a leading role in effecting change.

Dr. Nabin Aryal, Nepal

Nabin strongly believes that the principal actor of community development should be the community members themselves. Nabin is a Freelance Development Consultant and a Co-founder of Rukmini Foundation. As a consultant, Nabin has mainly worked with international foundations, such as Niwano Peace Foundation and United Nations,  on preparing and reviewing monitoring and evaluation reports for donor funded programs in the field of education, livelihood, gender equality, health and food security. He is also the co-founder and an adviser at Rukmini Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower girls through quality education to eradicate child marriage, end gender inequality, and enable a more equitable and prosperous Nepal.

Having lived, studied and worked in many countries, Nabin has vast knowledge of different languages, cultures, norms, customs, and philosophies of different communities. He is currently exploring to see how to foster healthy and meaningful donor-recipient relationship in the communities of the developing countries. Since Nabin has worked with both donor agencies who fund grassroots NGOs and local NGOs who seek funding, this  issue is very important for him. “My goal is to create a detailed step-by- step guidebook on ‘how to create a partnership community development projects’ in the near future.”

Evans Odhiambo, Kenya

Evans is driven by his belief that anyone and everyone can be a change-maker for a more optimistic future of the world. Evans is the Executive Director of Kesho Kenya. Kesho is an organization dedicated to advancing access to education and employment for vulnerable young people living in the coast of Kenya, through a long-term holistic approach which includes: financial support to access education, academic and literacy Support, child protection and family support. His primary aim in life is supporting young people to achieve their potential.

Evans is passionate about quality education and it’s value to our communities. “I have a strong belief in the power and immense possibilities that the youth have in changing our communities if their energies are channeled in the right context.” It is against this backdrop that Evans has gained tremendous experience working with and for institutions that are at the forefront of championing systemic changes in the education and youth development sector. Seven of his working years has been dedicated to working in the education and youth impact space and he has found personal fulfillment within this space. “I have leveraged on my population studies degree to design and implement projects that have provided inspiration and tools to thousands of young people to create meaningful change in their lives and their communities.”

Dr. Nussaibah Younis, UK/Iraq

Nussaibah believes that enabling positive political transformations are key to resolving conflicts and to preventing future outbreaks of violence. Nussaibah is a Senior Advisor at the European Institute of Peace, Founder and Director of the Iraq Leadership Fellows Program and an Associate Fellow at Chatham House. Nussaibah has lead the Iraq work at the European Institute of Peace, which has involved conceptualizing the mediation work that is done in the country, developing and managing a team of senior mediators and support staff, fundraising, managing relationships with the Iraqi government and with donor governments and with the international community, and implementing the project. She also leads the Iraq Leadership Fellows Program, a program that aims to foster the growth of a generation of educated, politically and socially engaged young Iraqis with the skills to positively shape the future of their country

Nussaibah uses her academic expertise, her writing skills, her public speaking ability, and her talent for connecting people to create positive momentum and networks for change. Her goal is to harness academic expertise, local networks, and political dialogue to enable the international community to positively transform conflict systems.

Charles Odhiambo, Kenya

Charles hopes to lead a life that is meaningful to himself and others by showing kindness and support to those who are in need of it. Charles is the Executive Director of Ujima Foundation. Ujima is an old Swahili word that means “achieved with the help of others”. Founded in 2003, Ujima foundation is a sustainable urban development organization providing employability training to orphaned youngsters that are taking full responsibility for their younger siblings. Unique to Ujima’s approach, they own and run two income-generating properties and a Capacity Building program  to financially sustain their training program.

Charles hopes to be a role model in the community that he serves and strives to be the person who inspires others to realize their full potential. His passion is helping people, especially those who have limited opportunities to make informed decisions and to take responsibility for their own actions. His hard work and dedication has led to Ujima Foundation supporting over 3,000 orphaned youngsters accessing jobs and thus achieving their self reliance.