July 16, 2017

Our heroes: we pay tribute to the inspiring work of Global Youth Ambassadors

We’re highlighting the stories of our amazing youth advocates all week - starting with comic-style tales of how they overcame the odds.

Theirworld's Global Youth Ambassadors are a special bunch of people. There are 500 of them in more than 80 countries - campaigning on behalf of the world's children.

They work in their own communities and countries to advocate for all children to go to school and for investment in early childhood development.

This week - on our website and social media using the hashtag #GYAheroweek - we are paying tribute to our GYAs, who have been spreading the word about education for the past three years.

We'll feature a comic-style series called Presenting... that tells the stories of four of our young advocates overcoming the odds. 

We'll introduce you to our Global Youth Ambassadors of the Month. Then we'll finish off this special week with a fantastic blog by Moses Browne, a young man from Liberia who is just finishing a three-year stint as one of our ambassadors.

You can read the amazing story of Wanja Maina from Kenya in Issue 1 of our Presenting... series

Turning our GYAs' personal struggles for education into comic strips came about through a collaboration between Theirworld and Steve Nguyen, the Vietnamese-American director, writer and producer.

He said: "A little over three years ago, the good people at Theirworld invited me to join them on a journey to create an artistic platform in order to bring awareness to the wonderful Global Youth Ambassadors trying to change the world through their own passion for education.

"As an artist and education enthusiast, I was attracted to the mission and agreed to assist in any way possible."

Steve produced an amazing film called RISE for our #UpForSchool event in New York in 2015. It told the story of three GYAs and their struggle for education.

The Theirworld team later came up with an idea for a comic-style publication and asked Steve and his Studio APA to help out.

"We wanted to keep it simple, yet entertaining," he said. "Something that shone a spotlight on the individuals who have taken incredible risks to make their voices heard and their plight for education a necessity. 

"Every quarter, our teams have worked together to curate a selection of these stories that are helping to bring awareness to our cause. 

Steve Nguyen worked with Theirworld to produce the RISE film

"I have had the pleasure of being introduced to some of the most inspirational youth figures in the world, who have collaborated with me to create beautiful stories. 

"I’ve been incredibly grateful to be given the opportunity to be a part of something special."

The comic series, called "Presenting" started with Issue 1 titled "The First Step" which tells the story of Wanja Maina from Kenya.

She described how she was inspired to campaign for the rights of disabled young women by her personal experiences growing up.

Growing up in a rural village, Wanja struggled to walk after medical negligence. Her mother carried her to school and other students would embarrass her. Then came a turning point in her life.

Issue 2 - "Like Father, Like Son" - features Omang Agarwal from India, who has been a driving force in Theirworld’s #SafeSchools campaign. He reflected on the influence of his father as a role model and told us how he gained a passion for education from a young age.

Omang collected more than 40,000 petition signatures for #SafeSchools petition and gathering drawings from schoolchildren about what a safe school was to them. These went on to be handed in to international leaders at the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016.

Tomorrow: meet our GYAs of the Month

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