October – November 2022 Perennial Fellows
Nathan Okiror, Uganda
Nathan believes that true community empowerment is centered on the individual experiencing the problem as the alternate principal designer of the solution. He is the Founder and Team Leader for Imagine Her, a non-profit working to provide vulnerable young women and youth with a robust innovation skillset and essential resources to create sustainable social ventures and achieve economic independence in Uganda. Nathan is also a co-founder of Pangea Publishing, a social enterprise that focuses on producing and developing learning resources that are culturally and linguistically relevant to the young language learners of Uganda.
Kaneez Zehra, Pakistan
Ms. Zehra has dedicated her career to work on development issues related to women, peace, health and education in various national and international professional organizations. She is the Executive Director of the Society for Access to Quality Education and also leading Pakistan Coalition for Education (PCE) as National Coordinator. Ms. Zehra has conducted several researches and is the author of reports, and articles related to her area of work including education and women rights.
Yves Irakoze, Burundi
Yves is passionate about leadership and politics, he strongly believes that when you know the community you serve, better will you be your achievements. Since 2015 he is a refugee in Uganda and there he has co-founded CEBUNA, an organization that helps young refugees to become self-reliant and create in them the hope for their future.
Salwa Abdul Hayee, Pakistan/ Saudi Arabia
Salwa believes that education is crucial to female empowerment. She is currently the Head of Monitoring and Evaluation at Taleemabad where she is responsible for measuring overall impact and delivering valuable insights that drive decisions. Salwa has worked in the ed-tech industry in diverse roles over the years. Among her projects were animated educational content for out of school girls, a literacy program with 200 leveled readers for primary grades and concept creation for two TV shows, all with the aim of using technology to make quality learning accessible to everyone.
Richard Kasibante, Uganda
Richard has vast experience in designing and implementing social development programs. He has worked extensively with vulnerable and less privileged people to support social empowerment programs that aim at restoring dignity of the vulnerable while ensuring sustainability of such programs. Currently, Richard serves the Hemophilia Foundation of Uganda, a local NGO that is also a member organization of the World Federation of Hemophilia that supports patient identification, awareness and advocacy, patient management and social empowerment programs for families and youths with the bleeding disorder known as Hemophilia.
Rajan Parajuli, Nepal
Rajan is a social and behavior-change communicator and mass media program implementor. He has spent 20 years of his career motivating people to apply good practices on gender, health, peacebuilding, democracy, and education in Nepal. He is the Nepal Country Director for Population Media Center (PMC) a global NGO that aims to change people’s lives.
Virginie Niyizigama, Burundi
Virginie is passionate about seeing equity among people, she truely believes in the right of everyone to be respected without any discrimination. She is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Faith in Action, an community-based organization that coaches and supports disadvantaged and at risk women in Burundi through a holistic community and family-based approach so that they become active, contributing members of their communities.
Henry Makumbi, Uganda
Henry is an Entrepreneur, transformationist and cofounder of Rabboni Group Ltd, a regional Agricultural processing, and distribution social enterprise based in Uganda, East Africa focusing on cereals. His work’s mission is to reduce risk, increase productivity and create wealth by democratizing access to value addition and equitable markets for agricultural produce countrywide and in the East African Region. Henry is also a husband and father to 3 daughters.
Sabeena Abbasi, Pakistan
Sabeena has a long history of establishing, running, and being a part of initiatives that challenge the status quo and push for improvements in the lives of those living at the bottom of the pyramid. She has extensively worked on girls’ education and pushed for the economic empowerment of women. Her forte is to work in the field, develop an understanding of root causes and create sustainable and scalable solutions. Her philosophy is to empower learners and equip them with relevant skills to become lifelong learners while also being extremely conscious about moral values.
Mohammed Awchi, Iraq
Mohammed is a medical student and young Turkmen Iraqi activist. He is the founder of Voiceless Graduate, an online platform for defending Iraqi students’ rights and freedoms by helping victims of academic mobbing and raising awareness. His organization was inspired by his personal experience being the first student who has managed to sue his university administration. Aside from that, Mohammed works with different organizations for a better Iraq for Turkmens and all other ethnicities.
Sarah Lindeire, Malawi
Sarah is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Tingathe, a local organization in Malawi. She has partnered with the most vulnerable people in the most underserved communities in Malawi since she was 15, teaching vocational and life skills. She believes that the youthful population in Malawi has an opportunity to spearhead sustainable community centered solutions that build sustainable wealth.
Dhanusha Amarasinghe, Sri Lanka
Dhanusha is a development practitioner with over 10 years of experience. He is currently directing local operations of ‘Educate Lanka Foundation’ – a U.S and Sri Lanka based social enterprise that empowers the underprivileged youth in Sri Lanka by enhancing their access to uninterrupted and quality learning opportunities through a global sponsorship platform for education financing and complementary programming for 21st Century Skills learning. Dhanusha is driven by his need for creating positive, sustainable, and progressive impact, and in his downtime, he likes to teach children and youth to expand their perspectives.
Lucy Maina, Kenya
Lucy has devoted her life and her career to improving the lives of children, youth, and women in Kenya and in East Africa. She serves as Program Director of Grassroots nest for Innovations and change, a capacity building organization that works with community-based organizations and which serve thousands of disadvantaged communities’ children across pastoralist and the urban informal communities in Kenya. Lucy has been working in Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, and South Sudan serving communities in both health and education for over 18 years working with international organizations that aim at improving the quality of life through education and health to ensure thriving communities.
Ashvini Sawant, India
Ashvini is a development sector professional with an academic background-Masters in Social work. She has 10 years of experience working with education, life skills, livelihood development and women empowerment. She worked with organizations like Pratham, Dhriiti, Saajha, and Nalanda Project. She has comprehensive experience in Life skills content development & facilitation, Program Operation and Government partnerships.
She currently works as a Senior Manager of Government partnerships and relations at Slam Out Loud. She describes herself as a person with a positive mind, and constructive attitude and is open to change.
Mirna Rebeca Valencia Vargas, El Salvador
Rebeca is a kind person that enjoys sharing with others and, specially, to promote respect and protection for nature. She studied biology and had the opportunity to finish a master in education. That was a great opportunity for her to learn how to connect the necessity of nature’s conservation with the community’s need to empower to save and protect their means of life. Her work has focused on Agriculture/Food Security, Conservation or Climate Change and humans rights
Lucy Rebecca Namayanja, Uganda
Lucy Rebecca Namayanja is the Country Director at Komo Learning Centres. She is a lawyer by profession with a deep-seated passion for coaching and mentoring young people into world changers and leaders. Lucy is a change advocate and believes in putting up the best systems for people productivity both in organizations and in communities. She has a background organization finance/ budget management, staff capacity building and is currently pursing her Master of Arts in Development Studies with bias in NGO Management on one hand, and also attending the Perennial Leaders Fellowship.