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International Youth Foundation and Nokia honor 20 global youth leaders as YouthActionNet(TM) Fellows


Baltimore, Maryland, USA - A 21-year-old Canadian working to combat the global sex trade in children and a 28-year-old in the Philippines who provides loans to underprivileged youth to start small enterprises are among the 20 young social entrepreneurs selected as 2007 YouthActionNet(TM) Fellows.

Launched in 2001 by the International Youth Foundation (IYF) and Nokia, YouthActionNet(TM) is a program that invests in the power and promise of young people to create positive change.

“Each of this year’s Fellows has succeeded in creating and managing a social venture, achieving lasting impact with limited resources,” said IYF President and CEO William S. Reese. “In remarkable ways, they have applied the spirit of entrepreneurship to garner public support for the causes they feel passionate about.”

Martin Sandelin, Vice-President - CSR and Community Involvement at Nokia, said,“ We congratulate all of the young people who’s hard work and determination to make a difference in the communities in which they live have been recognized in these awards. Each has taken an innovative approach to making a connection with the people around them and creating real change, inspiring work.”

A sample of other 2007 YouthActionNet(TM) Fellows include:
Abhishek Bharadwaj, 28, India: Bharadwaj spent weeks talking to homeless people on the streets of Mumbai before creating Alternative Realities, an organization that conducts advocacy, mobilizes volunteers, and provides the homeless with improved access to essential services.

Maritza Morales, 23, Mexico: To increase young people’s awareness of environmental issues and sustainable living, Morales created an interactive theme park that is visited by more than 13,000 people a year. In 2006, she received the Premio UVM por el Desarrollo Social Award through the national YouthActionNet(TM) program in Mexico, created with support from the Sylvan Laureate Foundation.

Ainos Ngadya, 25, Zimbabwe: Ngadya led a team of business students in creating Soyabiz, a project that boosts the incomes of small farmers while combating hunger and malnutrition.

Neilesh Patel, 25, United States: Patel launched HealthCare Volunteer in 2005 as a free service to connect volunteers with health-related opportunities worldwide. Volunteers - including dentists, physicians, and medical students - provide free surgeries, dental care, and other services to those in need.

The 2007 Global YouthActionNet(TM) Fellows will travel to Washington, DC, USA in November to participate in a weeklong leadership retreat, to be recognized for their efforts at the Annual YouthActionNet(TM) Global Awards Ceremony, and network with leading international organizations. Each receives a $500 stipend to support their efforts.

Since the Fellowship program was launched in January 2002, 120 young social entrepreneurs have been selected, with applications received from more than 3,000 young people in over 60 countries. Fellows are chosen annually following a peer review process in which previous Fellows select the next round of winners. To learn more about YouthActionNet(TM) and this year’s Fellows, please visit


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