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

Aga Khan Schools students win Global Youth Action Fund from IB

07 December 2023

The Global Youth Action Fund (GYAF) is a prestigious award designed to honour students with unique ideas and innovations addressing the United Nations (UN) 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, three projects from students across the Aga Khan Schools were among the 300 youth from 48 countries that won this award, receiving grants to put their ideas into action to help their communities.  
From the Aga Khan Academy Dhaka, Middle Years Programme (MYP) students Sushruto Oikotan, Zaria Musarrat, Mahveen Arshia Mahrush and Humayra Kabir Kaynaz created “Mindful steps: Guiding youth in mental wellness journey”. Additionally, Parisa Tazmeen, Affan Tariq, Shahzaib Afnan Mahdin, Ilman Islam, Fabihha Aman and Ayesha Mehjabeen Rahgir from the Academy in Dhaka created “Probaho (Flow)”. Lastly, Diploma Programme (DP) 1 student from the Aga Khan Academy, Nairobi Maaria Janmohamed created “All About Autism”.  
Read below to see what they said about the award.

Tell us more about your project. 

All About Autism: For my project, I would like to author a book titled “All About Autism”.  This comprehensive work delves into the neurobiology of autism, offering valuable insights for teachers on effectively supporting children with autism in the classroom. To bring this knowledge to life, I plan to conduct workshops in schools across Kenya, providing live demonstrations and resources to empower educators in creating inclusive environments. Additionally, the book will extend its impact to teenagers and pre-teens, offering guidance on how to support friends with autism.  

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? 

All About Autism: I was very passionate to contribute significantly to my country by championing the cause of quality and equitable education for all students. 

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?  

All About Autism: I have been driven by a lifelong passion for science and a fascination with the intricacies of the brain, particularly in the context of autism.  

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 of 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? 

All About Autism: I am extremely grateful to be given this opportunity to make a difference in my country and promote quality education. The IB has played a pivotal role in supporting my initiative by awarding me a generous grant of $2,000. Additionally, I underwent an enlightening eight-week UN social entrepreneurship course with the IB, which has not only broadened my knowledge but has also empowered me to formulate strategic and organised plans to execute my project effectively. 

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? 

All About Autism: Through literature and hands-on workshops, my aim is to foster a greater understanding of autism and facilitate meaningful support in diverse educational settings. Please follow me on Instagram to be a part of my journey!  

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!