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SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURS IN SOUTHEAST ASIA – THE TOP 10
Social entrepreneurship is a growing trend among youths all over the world as it not only helps create an impact in society, it also enables them to eke out a living. In this issue, Top 10 of Asia shares with you its list of youths who have stood out and made a major difference in changing the lives of their community and the environment. They were also listed in Forbes and have been awarded for their efforts in social initiatives that have been widespread. These youths from Southeast Asia have come up with novel ideas in aiding the community in terms of environmental conservation, assisting the underprivileged, and transforming lives.
Melati & Isabel Wijsen (Indonesia)
Melati & Isabel Wijsen are two sisters who founded Bye Bye Plastic Bag (BBPB). The movement started on the island of Bali, Indonesia in 2013 when they were only 10 and 12 years old. It started as a campaign for their home island of Bali and it soon became the country’s biggest youth-led NGO. BBPB has become a well-known international movement of inspiration and youth empowerment. In 2016, BBPB has since established 50+ BBPB teams all around the world. BBPB has been raising awareness about the waste problem in Bali by conducting activities such as delivering school presentations and workshops, organising beach clean-ups, providing 35,000+ alternative bags and creating a plastic bag free pilot village.
Louise Emmanuelle Mabulo (Philippines)
Louise Emmanuelle Mabulo founded The Cacao Project, an initiative which provides farmers with cacao seedlings; a sustainable high in demand, high value, and resilient crop, as well as other short term crops such as bok choy, okra and pumpkins to intercrop with the cacao. The project aims to assist farmers to create
short term income. The Cacao Project also provides training to responsibly and sustainably produce Cacao beans at a quality standard. Additionally, the initiative utilises barren lands to create productive economic forests and livelihoods for the indigenous farmers of San Fernando, Camarines Sur with the goal to build sustainable, environment-friendly, disaster-resilient livelihoods for farmers.
Okka Phyo Maung (Myanmar)
Okka Phyo Maung is the co-founder of RecyGlo Company Pte Ltd, a waste management solution platform in Southeast Asia that produces zero carbon footprint. Established in 2017, RecyGlo has a holding company in Singapore and subsidiaries in Myanmar and Malaysia. It also has plans to expand its branches to Indonesia and Cambodia. Its Waste Management Report identifies, quantifies and analyses the composition of the waste stream generated to ensure compliance with the requirements suggested by the ISO 14001-2015 (Environmental Management Standard) requirement, YCDC and regional environmental agencies in South East Asia.
Kisum Chan & Lincoln Lee (Singapore)
Kisum Chan and Lincoln Lee are founders of Rice Inc, a social enterprise on a mission to solve world hunger. The company sources quality rice from Southeast Asia and reinvest profits to provide smallholder rice farmers the sustainable agritech they desperately need. These technologies help farmers reduce post-harvest losses, increase their income and is environmental friendly. Rice Inc’s work has been recognised by President Clinton, the United Nations and the International Rice Research Institute.
Richard Yim (Cambodia)
Demine Robotics was founded by Richard Yim Demine Robotics at the University of Waterloo and incorporated in January 2016 in Canada. It operates in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada and in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. It specialises in product development and engineering expertise in the context of explosive clearance operations with the mission to save land, limbs and lives of those affected by conflict by developing and delivering robotic solutions to clear landmines and remnants of war safely and efficiently. Its solutions revolutionise clearance operations of antipersonnel landmines and other small-scale unexploded ordnance, including cluster munitions and buried improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Demine Robotics also partner and work with some of the most respected global humanitarian organisations to transform explosive clearance.
Sabrina & Elena Bensawan
Founded by Sabrina and Elena Bensawan in 2014, Saab Shares House Of Learning is a non-profit organisation which focuses on education, healthcare and women empowerment. In terms of education, it focuses on providing holistic education along with character building in order for youths to be financially independent in the future. Saab Shares has over 14 branches around Indonesia, assisting the nation’s underprivileged children. In terms of healthcare, besides supporting children with terminal diseases, it holds free medical treatments and improved nutrition intake for underprivileged children. Lastly, it also provides underprivileged mothers with various skill trainings, regular seminars and intensive coaching for them to have a source of income for their family.
Swietenia Puspa Lestari (Indonesia)
Swietenia Puspa Lestari founded Divers Clean Action (DCA), a youth-led organisation in Indonesia. Being an enthusiastic diver since she was a child, her main focus for DCA is on marine debris cleanup and segregating trash. DCA started partnering with 100 divers and now, with over 1,500 volunteers across Indonesia and Southeast Asia in cleaning debris and empowering coastal communities. Other than that, DCA has also held environmental programmes and conducted many campaigns and training with the coastal community in order to educate the people about the importance of waste management.
Trang Nguyen (Vietnam)
Trang Nguyen is the founder of WildAct, an organisation that focuses on monitoring the illegal wildlife trade markets. It sets up conservation education programmes and in 2018, WildAct collaborated with the University of Vinh and organised the first master course on Combating Illegal Wildlife Trade for early career conservationists and Vietnamese students. It also provides scholarships for exceptional students to conduct their own research.
Melia Winata (Indonesia)
Melia Winata is the co-founder of Du Anyam, a social enterprise that produces wicker crafts to improve the livelihoods of women and children in Indonesia. It also provides women with the opportunity to earn an income through wicker weaving. Du Anyam has worked with more than 1,100 women across 50 villages. The products have been exported to Europe, Australia and the United States. The enterprise was appointed in 2018 as the official merchandiser of the Asian Games in Indonesia.
Wen Shin Chia (Malaysia)
Wen Shin Chia founded Green Yards, an eco-products company that makes candles, cleaning powder and soaps from recycled cooking oil. The idea stems from one of her university projects when she was studying environmental science and technology. It turned into a full-fledged business. Green Yards aims to reduce water pollution and it sources the used oil from Malaysia’s households and restaurants. It sells the products in gift shops and also online in Malaysia.