Many people, from business leaders to young activists, make a difference every day in the lives of people struggling to get an education and fulfil their potential. 

Theirworld and our A World at School movement have honoured several of those who have shown courage or leadership in fighting for the right of every child to go to school or to stand up for the rights of girls and women.

2018 #ChangeTheCulture Awards

As part of Theirworld’s International Women’s Day 2018 event, four inspiring women were acknowledged through Theirworld’s #ChangeTheCulture awards. The #ChangeTheCulture award recognises those who work to change the culture of violence against girls and women around the world.

Annie Lennox

Scottish singer, songwriter, political activist and philanthropist Annie Lennox and her organisation The Circle were also awarded for their work empowering, supporting, connecting and inspiring women to become advocates and change agents.

Global Survivor's Movement

The award was also presented to a new Global Survivors Movement working to end sexual violence in war. The movement consists of women from 14 countries around the world and Theirworld awarded two survivors, Nadia and Esperande for their efforts to #ChangeTheCulture.

Lyse Doucet

BBC's Chief International Correspondent Lyse Doucet was also a recipient of the #ChangeTheCulture award, being honoured for bringing audiences stories from around the world for the past thirty years - and doing so from some of the most violent and terrifying situations.

2017 Inspiration Awards

Three leaders who have made outstanding contributions to give every child and young person in the world the opportunity to be educated were awarded a “Certificate of Inspiration” by Theirworld and the Global Business Coalition for Education in September 2017. The awards were presented in New York by two of Theirworld's network of Global Youth Ambassadors - Sylvia Kakyo and Joannes Paulus Yimbesalu.  

Anthony Lake

UNICEF Chief Executive Anthony Lake received his award and accepted it on behalf of the staff at the UN agency, its partners and communities.

Irina Bokova

Accepting her award, UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said: “Now we have a global movement for education.” She also mentioned the creation of a “paradigm shift to make governments and societies accountable to what they do for education”.

Jakaya Kikwete

Jakaya Kikwete, former president of Tanzania and a member of the global Education Commission, accepted his award and talked about his work with the commission’s groundbreaking Learning Generation report. 

2017 Theirworld Awards

Theirworld President Sarah Brown with Afghan sportswoman Khalida Popal and Manal from Syria's White Helmets

Photo credit: Stuart Wilson / Getty Images for Theirworld

The humanitarian work of Syria’s female White Helmets and pioneering achievements of Afghan footballer Khalida Popal were recognised at Theirworld’s #RewritingTheCode International Women’s Day Breakfast in London.

Khalida Popal

Khalida Popal received recognition with the Theirworld Challenge 2017 award for her efforts to empower women and highlight the issues they face by encouraging more girls and women to get involved in sport. Khalida established eight women’s football teams in Afghanistan in the 2000s, despite the Taliban banning women from participating in sport or attending matches. 

Syria’s female White Helmets

Manal and Gardenia, two female members of Syria’s Civil Defence force, accepted the Theirworld Hope 2017 award in honour of their courageous and life-saving missions. There are now more than 100 women volunteering for the White Helmets, who offer medical care, rebuild essential infrastructure and carry out search and  rescue operations - all in the middle of a war zone.

2015 #UpForSchool Awards

Shelly Esque and Holly Gordon accept their #UpForSchool awards

At Theirworld's #UpForSchool Town Hall event in New York, four people were honoured for their work in promoting the right to education for all.

Shelly Esque

Shelly Esque, Vice President at Intel Corporation and Global Director of the company’s Corporate Affairs Group was honoured for investing in the issue of girls education.

Holly Gordon

Holly Gordon, co-founder and CEO of Girl Rising was honoured for drawing attention to the critical issue of girls’ education through the use of the powerful Girl Rising film.

Aliko Dangote

Aliko Dangote from Nigeria was honoured for his leadership in making education a cornerstone of his philanthropic and business endeavours.

Valentino Achak Deng

Valentino Achak Deng was honoured for his transformation from "Lost Boy of South Sudan" to Minister of Education - an incredible story of perseverance, leadership and advocacy.

2014 Youth Courage Awards

These awards were presented at the launch of Theirworld's #UpForSchool Petition in New York. Nine young people, aged 17 to 27, from Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Each struggled for the rights of young people to go to school and to overcome obstacles to education such as child marriage, discrimination and disabilities. The awards were presented by the Office of the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education. 

Read about the winners.

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