How These Young Leaders are Saving Lives Through Innovation

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Creativity is the key for responding to global issues from famine and epidemics to the fallout from war and there is a new generation of young leaders who are deploying technology to show the way forward. These five Ambassadors from One Young World, the leading global forum for young leaders, are saving lives through innovation.

3D Printing for building new limbs

Many survivors of the civil war in Syria have lost limbs after having been victims of shelling or having been unable to treat infections incurred during their perilous journeys as refugees.

Midia Shikh Hassan, 25, is using 3D printing technology to give these amputees a better life by building advanced prosthetic limbs at a fraction of the traditional cost. Working with colleagues at her start-up Dextra, based at the University of Ottawa, Hassan is deploying 3D printing to create sophisticated prosthetic hands capable of holding a drinks cup or a phone, and in a pleasing aesthetic that matches the skin tone of the amputee.

In its initial phase, her programme will supply 25 hands to amputees in Lebanese refugee camps at a cost of $20 (£14.50) each. Traditionally-made advanced prosthetics can cost $25,000 (£18,200).

Using social media to fight natural disaster

Horrified by famine in Somalia, Jérome Jarre mobilised his following on social media to take direct action to feed starving children. He created the hashtag #LoveArmyForSomalia and rallied a team of social media stars, including the actor Ben Stiller, to bring 95,000 people to the movement and donate $2.7m (£2m) through crowd-funding.

Jarre, 27, then persuaded Turkish Airlines to provide logistical support in the form of cargo planes which delivered 120 tonnes of food supplements for Somalian children. The campaign also provided 6m litres of clean water. The Love Army is now bringing its focus to the plight of Rohingya refugees stranded in camps in Bangladesh after fleeing persecution in Myanmar.

Saving lives through Artificial Intelligence

As a child in the Dominican Republic, Rainier Mallol’s primary health concern was avoiding the potentially lethal Dengue fever, which has grown 30-fold in the last 50 years and causes up to 100 infections globally, according to the World Health Organisation. Today Mallol, 26, is a computer engineer, a United Nations Young Leader for the Sustainable Goals, and the founder of the AIME (Artificial Intelligence in Medical Epidemics) project.

AIME has developed an AI tool to predict the time and location of Dengue epidemics and other outbreaks of deadly infectious diseases, including HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The platform, which functions at 87% accuracy, is providing life-saving early warnings to public health officials via pilot projects in Malaysia, Brazil and the Philippines.

Educating the rural poor online

Education entrepreneur Ayman Sadiq, 25, believes quality teaching should be available to all, regardless of economic or geographic circumstances. Inspired by the memory of using YouTube tutorials during his own student years, Ayman was working as a teacher when he decided to make one of his classes available online, extending his 40-strong classroom to tens of thousands of pupils.

He then founded 10 Minute School, which has grown into the biggest online learning platform in Bangladesh. The school has built a base of 700 tutorial lessons which are available free of charge to the 10 Minute School’s 150,000 subscribers. Every day 29,000 children from all over Bangladesh participate in free interactive live classes, enabling pupils in remote districts to access the same level of education as that made available in Dhaka, the capital city.

Fighting ISIS through art

Visual artist Hannah Rose Thomas travelled to northern Iraq to help women of the Yazidi faith who had been persecuted by ISIS. Many of them could not read or write and had never painted before.

But with brushes and paints and tutelage of Rose Thomas, the Yazidi women learned to use art to vent their sorrows and express defiance in the face of the terror they had experienced. ISIS overran the Yazidi city of Sinjar, resulting in the massacre of thousands of people with many more being taken into captivity. One of the young artists was a 13-year-old girl whose mother remained abducted by ISIS.

Rose Thomas, 26, an Arabic and History graduate, has taken her art to other humanitarian projects in Mozambique, Sudan, Madagascar and the notorious ‘Jungle’ former refugee camp in Calais.

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