Are you a changemaker?
Changemakers are people who catalyse social change. They strive to be the change they want to see in the world, to make an impact for good. Changemakers want to make change happen. They do that by being active in their communities, starting their own projects, and building the capacity of local communities to bring about that change. My early conversations with social entrepreneurs are often about great, life-affirming, life-changing ideas. All that enthusiasm for change has to be channeled into a framework that allows you to test your ideas, to make them a reality and it can be hard to know where to start. So here are some key lessons you need to understand that will help you put your ideas into action:
Follow Your Passion
You will be most successful if you are passionate about the issue you want to change.
2. Think laterally
Thinking outside the square leads to amazing outcomes
An inspiring example of this is Bart Weetjens. Bart is an Ashoka Fellow pioneering a new method of de-mining and diagnosing tuberculosis through his organization APOPO: They train rats to sniff landmines and diseases and empower locals in the affected regions on how to use the rats, creating new jobs along the way. We aren’t all faced with the daunting challenges that Bart is addressing, but what amazing connections he has made between unrelated fields.
3. Work with communities
Jonathon Welsh OAM and the Choir of Hope and Inspiration use the power of community to build personal growth and connection, transforming the lives of homeless and socially isolated in Melbourne and beyond. Jonathon’s work with the then Choir of Hard Knocks was documented in an Australian ABC TV Documentary series in 2007. Jonathon established Social Inclusion Week as a way of sharing his ideas across Australian communities and inspiring local changemakers.
4. Believe in Yourself!
You have to understand the foundations of community leadership, of inspiring loyalty and the art of building a team.
Kate and Steven at SocialDeck have launched the IdeasHoist to showcase Australians who are making things happen! Check out more than 150 inspiring stories from around the country, and find the changemakers living close to you.
5. Be resilient
You have to be able to hang in there because generating change is hard work.
Not everyone sees your ideas as brilliantly as you do! Here’s another Ashoka example – do you think you could step into Nada’s shoes?
Nada and her team for the venture ‘YouTeach Science Van’ have defied all odds in creating their own organization that shares science demonstrations, experiments, and fun facts with young students. Even amidst Egypt’s political turmoil, they are still pushing their work to foster a sense of the love of learning in young students with the belief that education is now more important than ever.
Need some more inspiration to get you started?
Check out this great read! Laurie-Ann Thompson’s Be a Changemaker
When Divine Bradley was seventeen, he just wanted a safe place to hang out away from gangs and violence,and Team Revolution was born. At age eleven, Jessica Markowitz learned that girls in Rwanda are often not allowed to attend school, and Richard’s Rwanda took shape. During his sophomore year of high school, Zach Steinfeld put his love of baking to good use and started the Baking for Breast Cancer Club.
Gone are the days when kids were supposed to be “seen and not heard.” Today, young people everywhere are rising up, building new organizations, and creating the changes they want to see in their communities and around the world. Be a Changemaker gives readers the tools and confidence they need to effect real change. Readers will learn how to:
- Research ideas
- Build a strong and passionate team
- Create a business plan
- Enlist a savvy adult
- Plan events
- Work with the media
- And more!
Plus, profiles of youth-led social organizations show readers that it’s never too early to become a changemaker.