What were you doing at 8, 13 and 17 years old?
Fighting for female education and risking your life like Nobel Peace Prize recipient Malala Yousafzai?
Or spurring a global debate on racial profiling like 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed for inventing a clock his teachers thought was a bomb?
(It wasn’t. Barack Obama actually thought it was pretty “cool”.)
We’ve compiled a list of inspiring kids who, like Malala and Ahmed, are doing amazing things and changing the world.
Some are even turning lemons into lemonade and making a few literal waves. Have a look:
1. Mikaila Ulmer (12)
In an effort to save the bees, Mikaila Ulmer from Austin, Texas started Me & The Bees Lemonade, a product made from her granny’s special recipe and honey from the honeybees. Mikaila decided that a portion of the profits of the lemonade would be donated to organisations dedicated to saving the bees. And with an $11 million deal from Whole Foods, Mikaila’s certainly done her bit with 55 stores stocking her delicious lemonade.
2. Robbie “Kid President” Novak (13)
Robbie Novak from Hendersen Tennessee is best known on the internet as Kid President, the wise little boy in a suit and tie inspiring the world one speech at a time. Since his inauguration, Robbie started a series on awesome girls of the world and even met and interviewed the awesomest girl, Beyoncé.
- Also read: Babymoon like Beyoncé
3. Abriella Bredell (10)
10-year-old Abriella from Victory Christian School in Jeffreys Bay has been swimming and training since she was 2 years old. This December, Abriella plans on doing the 7.9km Robben Island Channel, in icey Atlantic waters, to raise R2 million for The Red Cross Children’s Hospital through crowdfunding.
- Also read: Should babies learn to swim?
4. Ezra Frech (11)
Ezra Frech from California is the 11-year-old starting quarterback for his school’s football team, a basketball player for Sterling Basketball Academy, while having 9 national track and field records, and a blue belt in karate, despite being born with congenital limb differences and missing his left leg and fingers on his left hand. Reminding other kids that “being different is okay”, he also took up public speaking and has been raising money for various non-profit organisations through his website: Team Ezra.
5. Marley Dias (12)
At the beginning of 2016 Marley Dias, who grew up in New Jersey, noticed that all the books she’d been reading were about “white boys and dogs”. Wanting to do something about it she set out to collect books that instead featured black girls as the main characters and launched the #1000BlackGirlBooks. By the end of 2016 she’d collected over 7000 books and launched Marley Mag, her own special edition magazine for Elle.
- Also read: Review: Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls
6. Braylon Beam (8)
Braylon Beam, or as the Carolina Panthers know him, Coach Braylon Beam, is an 8-year-old boy with brain cancer. After appearing on Ellen Degeneres for movingly dancing through his chemo sessions, Braylon, through the Make-A-Wish foundation, went on to coach and dance with the Carolina Panthers football team for a day, inspired people to #JustKeepDancing and help others through the Bring It 4 Braylon Foundation. “Be Brave. Be Positive. Have the Heart,” is Coach Braylon’s message to the world.
- Also see: Young stars of YouTube and Instagram
7. Rayouf Alhumedhi (15)
15-year-old Rayouf Alhumedhi, living in Germany, is the teenage hijabi who, after realising there weren’t any hijabi emojis, decided to do something about it. After trying to create a Whatsapp group with her friends with emojis in the title to represent each person in her circle, most of whom are in hijab, Rayouf decided to voice her concerns to Apple. They didn’t respond. She did however get a response from Unicode after submitting an emoji proposal and at the end of 2016, presented a revised proposal to the Unicode Technical Committee meeting in November. She hopes that with the new Unicode 10 release in spring 2017, we’ll have at least one hijab emoji.
8. Nyeeam “King Nahh” Hudson (11)
New Jersey's Nyeeam Hudson is the 11-year-old boy who’s been inspiring children and capturing the hearts of their parents with his advice on supporting and lifting each other, dealing with bullies and many more. With over 144 000 Instagram followers, King Nahh refers to himself as an “author”, “artist” and of course, “motivational speaker” in his bio.
9. Sabre Norris (12)
Sabre Norris is the Australian surfer who came in 25th place out of 100 surfers when she competed in the Sydney International Women’s Pro, an all ages surf competition. Sabre’s ambition, enthusiasm and unfiltered excitement when she was interviewed is what really made headlines though, when she accepted her $500 prize.
- Also read: Cape Town surfing kids are dominating
10. Egypt “Ify” Ufele (12)
Long Island's Ify, an ambitious little fashionista, always wanted to change the world. But when she was diagnosed with a critical asthmatic health condition she was put on medications which affected her weight. The kids at school would call her “chubby” and tease her but she wasn’t having any of it. In 2015 she started Bully Chasers, to encourage other children who are getting bullied to speak out and Chubii Line, a clothing brand for curvy girls.
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