Aga Khan Academy Dhaka students win Global Youth Action Fund from IB | Aga Khan Academies

Aga Khan Academy Dhaka students win Global Youth Action Fund from IB

25 November 2023

The Global Youth Action Fund (GYAF) is a prestigious award designed to honour students with unique ideas and innovations addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). The GYAF is a part of the International Baccalaureate’s Festival of Hope, which was designed to create spaces for young people to come together and speak their truth. The award is open to any student or student group from aged 12 to 19 with an idea they believe will impact the community. Winners of the award receive grant funding, an eight-week online training course on social entrepreneurship and mentorship from current leaders in social entrepreneurship.  

This year, two projects from students at the Aga Khan Academy Dhaka were among the 300 youth from 48 countries that won this award. Middle Years Programme (MYP) students Sushruto Oikotan, Zaria Musarrat, Mahveen Arshia Mahrush and Humayra Kabir Kaynaz from the Mindful steps: Guiding youth in mental wellness journey project and Parisa Tazmeen, Affan Tariq, Shahzaib Afnan Mahdin, Ilman Islam, Fabihha Aman and Ayesha Mehjabeen Rahgir from the Probaho (Flow) project, received grants to put their ideas into action to support their community.  

Read below to see what they said about their projects and the award. 

Tell us more about your project.

Mindful steps: We would like to create an app that would provide an engaging, user-friendly and inclusive platform for people to seek guidance to improve their mental health and connect with others who have the same issues. Our app will provide many features such as games; soothing and relaxing playlists; checklists; reminders; self-assuring daily notes; sleep; health; stress-level tracker; drawing and colouring therapy; yoga; meditation; mindfulness exercises; and breathing exercises with tutorials.We are glad that it will help us to uphold one of the core elements of the International Baccalaureate (IB) learner profile, caring for others and ourselves.  

Probaho (Flow): Our project focuses on increasing sanitation awareness among children of various socio-economic backgrounds. We partnered with the JAAGO Foundation, a renowned non-profit organisation in Bangladesh, working to improve children’s lives. Through the Probaho platform, we will be able to nurture social responsibilities while developing ourselves by honing skills of social services, which is an aptitude we learnt through service learning in the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum.        

Why did you want to take part in this? 

Mindful steps: As the youth of today’s generation, we wanted to create a change. As responsible citizens, we felt giving back to the community by having a positive impact was important. 

Probaho (Flow): We have always been inspired to work for the community we live in. As a team, we wanted to channel our passion and empathy into working towards positively impacting children's health  

How did you think of this idea? 

Mindful steps: We felt that mental wellness, despite being a trending issue, has a significant amount of stigma surrounding it, preventing people from discussing it openly and seeking help. 

Probaho (Flow): We wanted to continue our country’s progress in raising awareness about safe water and sanitation. Inspired by the idea of giving back to the community, we found this project to be a potential way 

How do you feel winning this award? 

Mindful steps: We feel a strong sense of accomplishment knowing that we are doing our best for a better world. We secured $3,000 for our app and further endeavours to ensure mental well-being resources are available to those who need it. The IB partnered with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Solutions Network to provide two-month social entrepreneurship courses, which taught us about advancing our project. 

Probaho (Flow): As a team, we are so grateful to be able to channel our passion and empathy into working towards making a positive impact on the health of those in need. It has been amazing knowing that our hard work will eventually lead to us being able to use our position to help and promote cleaner lifestyles among students across the country. We received $2,500 for our collaborative measures to make children health conscious and advance further with our goal 

Is there anything else you want to tell readers? 

Mindful steps: Inevitable problems or conflicts motivate us to keep going. Mental health is a common issue, but we need to open up about it and understand that it is okay to seek help. We need everyone’s help to break the stigma surrounding mental health and reach out to people. Despite being a startup, we hope to provide our users with an environment where they can openly combat and tackle their mental health issues together. Please follow us on Instagram and thank you for your support!  

Probaho (Flow): We found safe water and sanitation a crucial goal to achieve for our country. We want our unique platform to be pioneering. Together, as a student-driven force, we want to create an inclusive and compassionate society where education, health and social engagement thrive! Connect with us on Instagram to extend your support!