The competition is only open to people between 18-34 years-old and resident in UK, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark or the Netherlands. Does this apply to you
Tell us about your personal background. Why are you passionate about this issue? Making an idea a reality takes innovation, dedication and strong leadership. Do you have the necessary entrepreneurial skills to realize your vision?
I'll start by telling a short story showing my determination and dedication.
In the summer of 2011, I was hired by the New York based NGO, LitWorld to carry out a participatory video project for a group of teenagers in one of the projects in Harlem, New York. I've developed the content of the workshops myself and this was a unique chance to test the methods and to see if it was actually possible to end up with finished films. It was a valuable learning process to work with marginalized youth in Harlem, and the premier screening at the local community center made me understand how important it is that the participants experience the results and take active part in the project from beginning to end. Seeing the newborn film makers Emily, Yasmine, Shawn, Timmothy and Daija standing on the stage answering questions from the audience made me proud and gave me the confidence that it would also be possible to create a similar film workshop in Sierra Leone. It reminded me of my professor Erica Kohl and what she has taught me in the course 'Community Development' at The New School in New York.
A few weeks later I was situated in a typical dusty African town, Koidu, in the Northeastern part of Sierra Leone, ready to run the participatory video workshop together with my co-worker Trine Berg.
I have a bachelor degree in journalism from The Danish School of Journalism (2008) and I'm currently finishing my thesis about Participatory Video Workshops and in this spring I'll be 'Master of Journalism with a special in International Development and nonprofit management.'
My co-worker Trine Berg earns a bachelor in film studies and is an award winning film maker. Together we make up a perfect match to run This is my Story.
All though, my educational background is relevant for my social business idea, I believe that my experience as a social entrepreneur is at least as important. Three years ago I co-founded Kono Business & Development. A nonprofit that provide jobs for 14 female tailors in Sierra Leone and at the same time offer further education for the tailors. Most of them only have two years of vocational training in tailoring and don't know how to read and write.
Kono is run by dedicated volunteers and all profit from sales in Denmark go back to the project for further investment.
Running this nonprofit has been a learning experience where I've learnt about business, fundraising, and not least creating positive change and impact. I'm still the project manager of Kono Business. Check it out at www.konobusiness.com
When I was back in Sierra Leone a few months ago, I realized how much the women had developed during the 2 years where I haven't had the chance to visit Sierra Leone. When I met them the first time to start Kono Business, they were all shy and didn't say much. Today they are extrovert and say their opinion. And most importantly they take responsible of their own lives. For example, they have hired a local woman to teach them English and math. It is great to see how a group characterized as marginalized by local NGO's now are role models for both their children and women in the community.
I believe I'm in this world to create change. I consider myself as a social entrepreneur and a change maker.