19 Jan Announcing our Impact Hero 2018!
Late last year, 24 changemakers in the Asia Pacific applied for the chance to be Earth Company‘s Impact Hero of the Year.
As our first open call for applications, people asked us how on earth we were going to find someone that could stand alongside our existing Impact Heroes. And we were nervous. What if we couldn’t?!
We needn’t have worried.
Each of our six finalists has the qualities of an Impact Hero, and the level was so high that our final decision took much longer that expected. But, after weeks of deliberating – both in our waking hours and in our dreams – we are now clear.
And it is with great pride and excitement that we introduce you to our…
IMPACT HERO 2018!
🎊 John-Pierre Montilla 🎊
Founder, Kabataang Gabay sa Positiong Pamumuhay (Peers for Positive Living)
Born into a world of poverty as an unwanted child, John-Pierre found himself a victim of abuse, and eventually forced out onto the streets at the tender age of 12. Like so many others,John-Pierre’s fight to survive led him into a dangerous world of drug-related crime and even child prostitution.
Having found a way to escape this dark world, John-Pierre has committed his life to serving other street children to help them do the same; using his own pain, experiences and understanding to help them to not just survive, but to fulfil their dreams and aspirations.
“I realize now that I experienced so much pain and and struggle for a purpose…I believe that my mission now is to go back to the streets where I once belonged and help street children reach their aspirations and dreams the way I did.”
John-Pierre founded a nonprofit group with the goal of doing just this. Twenty years later, there are now 16 branches across the country empowering 8,000 youths in their struggle for survival, dignity, and a brighter future.
John-Pierre now works for the government in the Department of Social Welfare and Development, reinvesting the majority of his salary into his own organization in his fight to protect vulnerable youths. Despite his position in the organization and the number of youths he has supported, John-Pierre says that he is still trying to heal the scars from his childhood, and believes that he is no different from the people he is trying to help.
We now enter a phase of working closely with John-Pierre to fully grasp his needs and those of his organization.
Runner-up : Sharad Chandra Rai
Founder and CEO, YouMe Nepal
Born and raised in a remote village in Nepal, Rai was fortunate enough to receive a high level of education and to study abroad. However, for most in Nepal, basic educational needs are still unmet. Rai founded YouMe Nepal in order to help turn this situation around. He works in Japan to earn a basic income, before reinvesting that into running his organization. His ultimate goal is to reduce educational inequality and provide educational opportunities to children in rural areas of Nepal, regardless of their caste.
Jury’s Award : Piter Harry Panjaitan
Director, Bali Life Foundation
Bali Life Foundation was founded in 2006 with the aim of providing street children with food, clothing, shelter and a basic education. However, Piter believes that saving orphans is just treating the symptoms – not the cause – of a wider problem. Since taking over the organization in 2013, Piter has also started to provide support to families in order to enable them break out of the cycle of poverty and increase their chances of staying together.
See Rai and Piter’s full profiles here →