Nadia Murad was among thousands of Yazidi women who were abducted, raped, and enslaved by the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS). She was 21 at the time. During her captivity, Nadia Murad was detained and sold as a sex slave at various EI sites before finally escaping.
Nadia Murad has since led an intense campaign to draw the attention of governments to the plight of the Yazidi, including women in sexual slavery.
In December 2015, she implored the UN Security Council to intervene against the Islamic State and became a UN Goodwill Ambassador for the dignity of victims of human trafficking on 16 September 2016. That same year, Nadia Murad received the Council of Europe Václav Havel Prize for Human Rights and the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. She has also received the Clinton World Citizen Award and the Peace Prize from the Spanish Association for the United Nations. In 2018, Nadia Murad was co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize with Dr. Denis Mukwege Mukengere.
Nadia Murad is the founder and president of Nadia’s Initiative, which is dedicated to rebuilding communities in crisis and defending the rights of victims of violence.
Memory Banda is a Malawian child rights activist who has drawn the international community’s attention to her work against early and forced marriages. Her advocacy has helped change the attitudes of traditional leaders and even the law of her country: her campaign has helped raise the minimum legal age for marriage from 15 to 18 years.
Memory Banda is a member of the Pan African Young Speakers and Activists and a member of the Freedom Speakers Bureau under the auspices of the Human Rights Foundation (HRF). It is also recognized as a guardian of global goals by the Gates Foundation.
Memory Banda then joined the campaign to end child marriages in her community through the Girls’ Empowerment Network (GENET) and RiseUp (Let Girls Lead, an American international organization). She mobilized her friends to denounce unfair traditions and early marriages. As a result, her community was the first in Malawi to ban child marriages and sexual initiation camps. Within a few years, Memory Banda has become one of the faces of the revolution against child marriage and for the empowerment of girls in Malawi and Africa. In 2015, Memory Banda joined the national movement’s campaign to raise the legal age of marriage from 15 to 18. The draft law was successfully approved on 14 February 2017.
Through her tireless work in defending girls’ rights, Memory Banda plays a key role in solving problems that affect the well-being of girls in Malawi. In 2018, Memory Banda founded the “Foundation 4 Girls Leadership”.
F4GL provides training to girls and promotes their access to education. The foundation also works to strengthen girls’ rights and access to sexual and reproductive health services, as well as to end early marriage.
Learn more about the 4 Girls Leadership Foundation
Amy and Ella Meek are the founders of the campaign and the association “Kids Against Plastic”, a social action project for young people that addresses one of the world’s biggest environmental problems – plastic pollution. The two sisters Amy and Ella Meek work with young people, schools and companies. Ella, 14, has her own show on Sky Kids.
The two sisters founded “Kids Against Plastic” in early 2016, when they first discovered the devastating impact of plastic on the environment. At the time, they were educated at home by their parents and travelling across Europe to study the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). One of the 17 objectives was of particular interest to Amy and Ella Meek the one who advocates protecting underwater life, and it is through this that they discovered the damage caused by plastic pollution. It is the magnitude of the problem, and the lack of options for people who would like to have more sustainable, i.e. non-polluting habits, that have shocked them the most. This has motivated them to take action.
Almost 4 years after this decision, what began with a small school project became an official charity: “Kids Against Plastic”. Responding to their call, young people collected nearly 70,000 pieces of single-use plastic. Amy and Ella Meek‘s goal is to collect 100,000 plastic waste, which is one waste for every marine mammal killed annually by plastic.
Amy and Ella Meek are currently focusing on their “Plastic Clever” program, a positive reward program that encourages a more judicious use of single-use plastics. To date, more than 50 cafés- restaurants, companies and public entities have joined this program, as well as more than 470 schools. To learn more about Kids Against Plastic.
Hamangaí Pataxó is an activist for the rights of indigenous peoples and the protection of nature. Hamangaí Pataxó grew up in the state of Bahia and faces the struggle of its people – the Pataxós Hã-hã-hae – for their land. Its region is valued for its major development projects.
Hamangaí Pataxó teaches their rights to indigenous communities. She is involved in reforestation programmes and is a national coordinator for Engajamundo, a youth NGO.
Hamangaí Pataxó went to COP24 in Poland in 2018, she was part of the Engajamundo delegation. In 2019 she participated in the Villagio per la Terra in Rome, where she spoke about the Amazon and the importance of protecting the people who live there. This event was attended by young people and a delegation from the European Union.
Hamangaí Pataxó took part in the III Acampamento dos Povos Indígenas da Bahia (3rd camp of indigenous peoples of Bahia) during which she developed an agenda to defend indigenous territories, to protect the rights of indigenous women – including their access to university – and to combat the climate crisis.
Find out more about the NGO Engajamundo
Rebecca Kabuo is a Congolese activist, part of LUCHA (Lutte pour le changement), a non-violent and non-partisan movement founded by young people. LUCHA is campaigning for respect for democracy and the Constitution in the DRC.
Rebecca Kabuo and LUCHA advocate for social justice and accountability through campaigns that encourage Congolese citizens to mobilize for the promotion and respect of human rights.
LUCHA and its members have played an essential role in organizing civil society’s call for respect for laws and human rights in the DRC. They have campaigned for a peaceful transition of political power.
When she was detained for 6 months, Rebecca Kabuo was described on social networks as the youngest prisoner of conscience in the world.
She received the International Women of Courage Award in 2017 and continues to actively advocate for respect for democracy and the Constitution.
Learn more about LUCHA