Laureate Here For Good Awards Winners – Where Are They Now?

The Laureate Here for Good Awards recognize the extraordinary talent and passion of Laureate staff, faculty, and students across the world. This month we catch up with past student winners Lebo Sekohtla (South Africa, 2015), Ganesh Muren (Malaysia, 2016), and Carolina Rosales (Mexico, 2017) to talk about their current and future work, and what winning the award helped them accomplish.

Lebo Sekohtla – 2015, South Africa

What project did you receive the Award for?
I co-founded a Saturday school program called Tomorrow Starts Today to drive for education empowerment. The program aims to motivate vulnerable grade 9 learners to stay in school and access further education, while exposing them to life skills and career guidance.

What are you doing these days?
For the past year, I was a Human Recourse and Wages Manager for a Community Work Program (CWP). CWP is an employment safety net whereby unemployed individuals are put on the program to do any type of useful work that will benefit their community for a basic stipend. Now, I will be moving to eastern South Africa to initiate 120 early learning centers for children (3 to 4 year olds) in the disadvantaged area, most of which are in the rural areas, through a program called Smart Start. This initiative will provide training, create jobs/businesses, and ongoing support for 120 people and 1,440 children will have access to quality early learning.

How did winning the Here for Good Award help your work?
The recognition that I got through the Here for Good award gave me exposure to the world. I received media training which boosted my confidence in public speaking. I learned the art of presenting what I do to people in a way that not only gives a clear picture, but also helps show the impact of what I do. The money from the award helped me study further and get a Post Grad degree. I have been able to create connections with people from across the world. Most of all, the award contributed to my motivational talks and I am able to inspire people with the Here for Good video that tells my story. People can relate that through education and hard work, poverty does not limit one from being the best that they can be.

Ganesh Muren – 2016, Malaysia

What project did you receive the Award for?
When I won the award, I was working on Project HAUS, a word which means “thirsty” in the Malay language. I remember trying to get funding from anyone I could get hold of, and at the same time, installing solar powered water filters in small villages in Malaysia that did not have access to safe drinking water.

What are you doing these days?
I am blessed to continue to work in the same area as when I first started, which is using green technology to enrich and uplift lives. I have learned a lot since the award in July 2016, but there is so much more to learn and still so much more that I want to do. We are growing organically, and for now, we are slowly branching out to include other interlinked aspects of community developments into our initiatives.

How did winning the Here for Good Award help your work?
Receiving the award was a personal affirmation for me, it was the encouragement and acknowledgment from a prestigious organization to continue what I’m doing and to do it even better. For the organization, it opened doors for us. We could approach bigger and much more established organizations confidently, and get their attention now that we have an international award under our belt. This recognition translated into invitations to collaborate, opportunities to grow, and a growing band of supporters.

Carolina Rosales – 2017, Mexico

What project did you receive the Award for?
I was recognized for my leadership of the GUIMEDIC AC project which seeks to provide medical services to remote areas via boats, small aircraft, machinery, and automobiles.

What are you doing these days?
I serve as founder and director of GUIMEDIC. Currently, I am seeking funding to build a medical clinic in the community of Nayarit. I am also planning to expand GUIMEDIC’s operations to the US to involve American students with our projects in Mexico. Additionally, I run a private practice that provide long-term treatment to patients of GUIMEDIC.

How did winning the Here for Good Award help your work?
The Award helped me expand my network of government contacts and has helped me elist volunteers from other service organizations. It has opened positions of leadership and influence. In March, I received the Irene Robledo Garcia Award in recognition of the work I do in defense of the human rights of inmigrant childer who arrive to the greater Guadalajara area. The video produced by Laureate on our work helped us increase our local volunteers by 35% and international volunteers by 13%. More recently, a collaboration with Georgetown University through YouthAction Net helped us update our business model and we have currently signed an agreement with Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas (UPC) where a group of CSR students are helping us create a Code of Ethics for GUIMEDIC.