All proposals are evaluated according to their level of creativity, sustainability, quality of research and potential for impact. Three finalists are then chosen to present their ideas and plans to a panel of highly accomplished humanitarians, entrepreneurs, and world leaders for the chance to win a $4,000 grant towards the further development of their project. All participating teams also benefit from personalized feedback and support to help refine and further develop their project plans.
Since 2017, Young Aurora has helped many student projects create a positive and long-lasting impact in their local school communities. Last year’s winners, students from Waterford Kamhlaba UWC of Southern Africa, are working in eSwatini to deliver their Seed of Hope project, designed to empower young people at Malindza refugee camp through the creation of a youth hub, serving as both an online education center and social space. Despite ongoing civil unrest in eSwatini, the Seed of Hope team impressed the judges with their unwavering commitment to improving the lives of refugees. They have since expressed the gratitude they feel for being able to bring such a project to life:
“We are extremely grateful to Young Aurora for enabling us to have hands-on experience of engaging in and positively transforming this community. Without this prize, our enthusiasm and commitment to change the lives of hundreds of young refugees would have remained just a dream, rather than a reality,” said Seed of Hope team member Prince Bashangezi (Democratic Republic of the Congo, WK UWCSA, 2020-2022).
Previous winning projects have included Beehive Divide (2020) from a team of students from UWC East Africa who constructed a beehive fence to address the human-elephant conflict in Sanya Hoyee village, Tanzania. There have also been many notable runners-up, such as Amaavasya (2018), which continues to enable women in Maharashtra, India, to engage in taboo-breaking conversations around the stigma of menstruation.
With varying COVID-19 restrictions still affecting some school campuses, this year’s program will remain online to encourage maximum participation. Aurora and its partners cannot wait to see what kinds of innovative and creative projects the UWC and ALA students will put forward this year.
Photo: 2018 Young Aurora Finalists and Final Selection Jury Members. Yerevan, Armenia, 2018