September 2019 Perennial Fellows

Marie Githinji, Kenya

Marie Githinji’s vision is to create and give opportunities for young women and girls. She is the founder and Executive Director at AkiraChix, an organization whose mission is to provide hands-on technical training and mentorship to young women, girls, and children. She believes that access to education and training is of paramount importance for young women to support them in moving out of the vicious cycle of low-skills, low-productivity, and low-wage employment and as a pathway to bridging the gender gap in IT.  In her spare time, she loves listening to and discovering new music.

Rafael Bermudez, Mexico

Rafael is passionate about supporting vulnerable youth and breaking the cycle of poverty and ignorance. Rafael is the National Director of the Mexico Home of Nuestros Pequeños Hermanos (NPH). NPH, is a charitable organization that has provided a home for thousands of vulnerable and abandoned children since 1954. Being an orphan himself, NPH gave Rafael opportunities that would not have been available to him otherwise. Having grown up in the NPH system, Rafael is now committed to transforming the lives of other children. Currently there are NPH homes in 9 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Whether a child in NPH is from Bolivia, Haiti, or Mexico, all of the children are connected to one another as family and share that with pride.  

Hanadi Saad, Iraq

Hanadi is a fierce advocate for women in Iraq. She is a civil society and political activist and human rights defender in Basrah. Hanadi is also the founder of Durarul Iraq Association For Humanitarian Development, an NGO that focuses on providing livelihood solutions to marginalized women in Basrah. Her work has focused on protecting and promoting the rights of Afro-descendant Iraqis, among other marginalized populations. She has been a responsible voice for reform and has advocated tirelessly for good governance. For more than a decade, Hanadi has partnered with a number of non-governmental organizations in Iraq including Save the Children, Mercy Corps, and the International Committee of the Red Cross.  

Hastings Nhlane, Malawi

Hasting envisions a society where the youth are productive, financially independent, and driving the social economic development of Malawi. Hastings is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of ACADES, a network of youth in agribusiness in Malawi with over 3000 members. ACADES promotes youth economic empowerment and employment creation through agricultural business investment. The network creates a platform where the youth are challenged to be more actively engaged in agribusiness through skills development, provision of loans and market facilitation. Hastings is a recipient of Planning for Impact Award from Social Impact Incubator. 

Dr. Jacqueline Gautier, Haiti

Jacqueline is passionate about improving healthcare in Haiti, a country with disastrous vital statistics,  a country where life means struggle. Jacqueline is an experienced pediatrician with expertise in infectious diseases and hospital management.  She is the Executive Director of Saint Damien, Nos Petits Frères et Soeurs hospital in Tabarre, Haiti. She has been involved in the development of this hospital alongside Fr Richard Fréchette, who brought NPH to Haiti, growing it from a small hospice to a well recognized teaching hospital in Haiti. NPFS/NPH is an organization founded in 1954 in Mexico and present in nine countries in Latin American and Carribean. NPH’s vision is to end poverty in the world and its mission is to help vulnerable families by supporting youth education. NPH has two primary areas of activity in Haiti: Education and Healthcare with Christian compassion for vulnerable children and mothers in labor. 

Brian Ssozi, Uganda

Brian believes in the power of youth. He is the founder and Executive Director of Rockies, a grassroots social enterprise running a performance troupe to put talented children and youth through formal education. As the last born of a family of eighteen children, Brian’s family didn’t have resources to send him to school past the fourth grade. However, receiving a scholarship to continue his studies due to his talent in the arts helped him to get an education and changed the projectory of his life. He now leads a talented group of youth in pursuing arts and music, while also getting a formal education.

Rose Wamalwa, Kenya

Rose believes in the power that women have in finding creative solutions to the world’s most pressing problem.  She is the Founder of a women led organization, Women In Water and Natural Resources Conservation (WWANC).  Born and brought up in rural Western Kenya, she experienced the gender bias present in African culture which led her to advocate for women’s involvement in community leadership and development initiatives. Rose has initiated women led WASH projects in partnership with Global Women’s Water Initiative (GWWI), providing safe water through construction of rain water harvesting tanks in grassroots communities in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Her dedication to create a platform for grassroots women to be trained in climate change adaptation and resilience has formed a consortium of Women Climate Centers International, championing for setting up community Women Climate centers and hubs where women can access, training skills, technologies for climate change resilience and adaptation.

Dr. Prakash Tyagi, India

Prakash deeply believes in humanity, bonds, and friendships. This belief has led him to work for human development through the lenses of various partnerships. Prakash is the Executive Director of GRAVIS and Founder-Director of GRAVIS Hospital in India. As the Executive Director of GRAVIS in India, he has been leading the organization for the last 14 years. GRAVIS works extensively in the Thar Desert of India with key focuses on ageing, water security, food security, and community health. GRAVIS reaches out to about 1.3 million people living in poverty with its work and has helped formation of over 3,300 Community Based Organizations. In 2000, he founded a major, rural hospital in Western Rajasthan and currently directs its administration. This 70-bed rural facility is an important medical center in the area.  He has supported various nonprofits working on health and development aspects nationally and internationally. With his global health experience, he has contributed to various international forums and has written extensively on major global health issues and priorities.

Charity Stephens, Malawi

Charity provides a safe space for young mothers to feel loved and protected. She is the Founder and Executive Director of New Beginnings Malawi, a place of healing and hope for expectant girls in abusive and difficult situations. Having had her own child at a young age, Charity relates to each and every girl that comes in her program because she was once in their shoes. Young mothers in Malawi are ridiculed and abandoned by their own families and communities. Many are forced out of school and into early marriages which usually end up being acrimonious. New Beginnings exists to remind them that they deserve to be fought for and loved, just like anyone else. New Beginnings programs are holistic, catering to their psychological, emotional, economic and social well-being. New Beginnings seeks to end stereotypes against young mothers and also break the circle of young mothers raising young mothers.

Joel Theodat, Haiti/USA

Joel is fully committed to help eradicate illiteracy and bring health care to the neediest in Haiti and its provinces. Born in Haiti, Joel came to the United States in 1971 where he continued his studies and acquired a Bachelor of Science degree in Philosophy from Suffolk University in 1980 and a Master of Science degree in Philosophy from Boston College in 1984.  For 22 years, Joel worked as a teacher and Program Director in Massachusetts schools, dealing mostly with Haitian youth who just migrated to the United States helping them adjust to the new American culture, while also preserving their Haitian culture. In 2006, his passion and love for Haiti brought him back to work as Executive Director for several non-profit organizations in Haiti providing education and health care. Joel has accompanied several Haitian students to Paraguay as their mentor to study agriculture and spent a full year there. Joel is also the Board President of CAVH (Centre Action Volontaire , Haiti) a non profit organization he co-created in 2015.  

Sylvia Kabugho, Uganda

Sylvia is passionate about sustainable development through empowering grassroots community groups and building effective, skilled, and innovative teams. Sylvia serves as the Country Director and Senior FCDE Representative for the Foundation for Community Development in Uganda and has been with the organization since inception in 2011. FCDE delivers capacity building services to organizations that work in seven key areas: health, education, small business development, social justice, women’s empowerment, HIV/AIDS, and the environment. FCDE’s philosophy is deeply rooted in and committed to positive sustainable development practices that uplift communities and make comprehensive and lasting change.  A strong believer in positive thinking and team building, Sylvia regularly engages her staff in consensus-building exercises and values the power of mentorship, collaborative communication, and spearheading strong leaders. She is energized by the Local Partner Organizations who are championing sustainable development in the communities they serve.

Leangseng Hoy, Cambodia

Leangseng’s vision is to see a world where all children are well educated and healthy. Leangeseng is the Executive Director of Cambodia Community Dream Organization (CCDO). CCDO works to improve conditions in villages surrounding Siem Reap, Cambodia by implementing three main programs: Clean Water Education, Health & Wellbeing, and Social Entrepreneurship. After years of experience with various NGOs in Cambodia, combined with his background in nursing and WASH and his managerial skills Leangseng rises to the highest challenge of effectively leading and inspiring his team on the ground. As a leader, Leangseng’s effort is to support and lead the ground team to reach the mission and vision of CCDO.   

Anande Mirisho, Tanzania

Anande believes in the power of education and its ability to transform people. She is the Managing Director at Jifundishe, a Tanzanian nonprofit that funds and manages projects for community development by providing educational opportunities. Jifundishe provides secondary school sponsorships to needy students and runs an independent study program for out-of-school youth that are unable to access formal education in the Arumeru district- of Arusha, Tanzania. The model centers around Jifundishe’s free community library that provides space for independent study, books, newspapers, computers, E-readers, Internet access, IGA programs for women, and health information programming. Anande is committed to creating future leaders and great change makers in society.

James Katumba, Uganda

James is passionate about enabling youth to discover their full potential. James is the Co-Founder of Wezesha Impact, a social enterprise enabling youth to thrive socially and economically by engaging in productive employment and active civic participation. In addition to his role at Wezesha, James is also the Chairman of Abantu Ventures which invests in for profit education and agribusiness initiatives that improve the livelihood of local communities. He is also the founding President Emeritus of the BDS Providers Network in Uganda, an association that brings together more than 300 certified enterprise development specialists. James holds a bachelor’s degree in Education from Makerere University.


Paiman Ahmad, Kurdistan

Paiman is committed to teaching the next generation of youth in Kurdistan Iraq to work towards a brighter future. Paiman holds a PhD in Public Administration and a Masters in International Affairs and Public Policy Making. She is a full time lecturer in university of Raparin in Rania, Sulaimania Kurdistan Region Iraq, teaching in the law and administration departments, while also doing research on various topics and works on leadership and social development.