Past Participants

Learn more about past participants from the STAND Changemakers Academy.

2023/2024 cohort

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Kidest Abebe Desalegne

Kidest is from Ethiopia and is studying an MA in International Migration, Refugee Law, and Policy at the Irish Centre for Human Rights, University of Galway. Her passion lies in serving her community and envisioning a brighter Ethiopia, free from conflict. Kidest aspires for a nation where the rights of women and children are properly safeguarded and educational opportunities are equally accessible to all. 

Personal project: "Disseminating concise yet impactful content across social media platforms, shedding light on the detrimental effects of hate speech in conflicts in Ethiopia."

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Toheeb Adeyemi Adeyiola

Toheeb is a Nigerian legal practitioner with expertise in criminal and civil litigation, human rights advocacy, and project management. His passion is for safeguarding children's rights, and he has successfully litigated cases concerning the welfare of children. Toheeb's pursuing a MA in International Human Rights Law and Public Policy at University College Cork. 

Personal project: "Conducting in-depth research to facilitate a workshop on the protection of the rights of children whose parents are incarcerated in Ireland."

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Wuraoluwa Ayodele

Wuraoluwa is a Nigerian feminist lawyer and women rights activist, currently doing an MA in Women’s Studies at University College Cork. For the last 10 years Wura has focused on gender equality, policy development, domestic-violence litigation and protection of women from gender-based violence (GBV). She is the Executive Director of Women Safe House Sustenance Initiative, a non-profit in Nigeria where she runs a women's shelter and legal clinic. 

Personal project: "Compiling media that describes victims’ lived experiences of coercive control."

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Abebaye Asrat Bekele

Abebaye is from Ethiopia and currently doing her Masters at University College Dublin in Gender, International Relations and Politics. She has worked in different civil society organisations in Ethiopia with the hopes of bringing positive change to the community. She is passionate about gender equality, seeing the positive impacts the change in the laws have made. 

Personal project: "Focusing on boys in the struggle to achieve gender equality. I think it shows there is a need to address boys and also make them part of the change."

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Ella Burkett

Ella is a final year undergraduate Politics and Economics student at Trinity College Dublin, where she leads the student publication, The Colloquium. Ella is passionate about social change and questioning the status quo through understanding the world around her, as well as creating community and representing diverse voices through writing, discussions, storytelling, and creative work.

Personal project: "An all-inclusive website for poetry and prose around the subject of food, highlighting its power to bring people together."

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Onyekachi Joe Chukwu

Born and brought up in Nigeria, Onyekachi is doing his Masters in Peace Operations, Humanitarian Law, and Conflict at the Irish Center for Human Rights, University of Galway. He desires to witness a world where in humans would have their rights respected and protected! A world where people feel at home! A world that prioritizes 'value' over 'price', 'humans over 'interest', ‘dialogue’ over ‘aggression’, 'empathy' over ‘sympathy’, and 'life' over 'choices’. 

Personal project: "Building a sense of the 'other' with colleagues in an ‘In-House Get-Together’ format."

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Loay Dieck

Loay is an architect who aspires for climate justice and social equity. He holds an M.Sc. in Architecture, Urbanism and Climate Action from University College Dublin. Loay believes in the necessity of establishing socially resilient systems that empower communities and prioritise their welfare and the whole planet over capital accumulation. 

Personal project: ‘"Architects for Gaza,’ an initiative working on reconstruction projects for Gaza post-ceasefire. Our main aim is to empower the Palestinian people in Gaza and restore their beautiful collective and resilient life despite the colonialism imposed on them for 75 years and counting."

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Thelma Feya

Thelma is pursuing a Masters in Public Health at UCD, and is driven by the desire to reduce global health inequities. Specifically, she is interested in adolescent and youth health. Ultimately, Thelma aspires to create a space where young people feel comfortable sharing their health concerns and finding solutions, particularly in areas with limited access to information. 

Personal project: "Raising awareness about critical health issues affecting adolescents and young people through infographics shared on social media platforms."

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Zimarai Hashimzai

Zimarai is from Afghanistan and has been living in Limerick since 2021 under the Irish Refugee Program. He is studying an MA in Climate, Justice and Sustainability in Mary Immaculate College. Zimarai's hope is to leave a legacy of positive change and inspire others to join him in safeguarding our planet for future generations. 

Personal project: "Conducting research on climate change-related consultancies in Ireland to identify gaps in their services, with the goal of designing my own consultancy based on these identified gaps."

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Chetanya Kandhari

Chetanya recently graduated from Trinity College Dublin with an M.Sc. in Interactive Digital Media. His passion revolves around both education and mental health. What drives Chetanya is seeing real change happen, and feeling connected to something bigger, while at the same time maintaining his autonomy, putting in efforts in his own little way. 

Personal project: "I wrote an interactive online story about social anxiety."

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Annie Lovisetto

Annie is currently undergoing her final year of Law and Human Rights at UG. Her passions are activism, social justice, and music. Annie's mother taught her from a very young age to recognise the good fortune she's been gifted in her life, and not to forget to use it. Her words have gotten Annie this far, and they will continue to carry her alongside the people who inspire and motivate her to keep fighting for what we believe to be a righteous cause. 

Personal project: "I am writing a song about a social justice issue I hold close to my heart."

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Elshaddai Mahuda

Elshaddai is studying for a Master of Public Health at University College Cork, and is passionate about addressing gaps in accessing health services amongst minority and vulnerable populations. What drives his passion is the belief that if everyone is treated equally and equitably, the world will be a better place. 

Personal project: "I’m gathering kind items (clothes, stationary, blankets etc.) for Zimbabwe Orphanage Program, a local organisation looking after and taking care of orphaned children under Nhowe Mission and Kansas Church of Christ."

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Aislinn Marmion

Aislinn is a recent graduate from the University of Galway, where she studied Law, Politics and Economics. She currently work in business development and accessibility in an ed-tech startup. Aislinn's passion lies in disability advocacy and human rights, particularly in exploring how public policy can drive meaningful change. 

Personal project: "To support the design of a cycle journey around Ireland to meet people making positive change."

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Seipati Mohoto

Seipati is a primary health care physician from South Africa. She is currently studying for Master of Business Administration at Dublin Business School. Her passion is primary health care and clinical governance, and her main aim is to see improved care and primary health care service delivery in South Africa. 

Personal project: "Reducing teenage pregnancy in the Eastern Cape province, SA. I plan to start a comprehensive project that will involve teen parents and their families. The main issues to be addressed will be psychosocial issues around teenage pregnancy."

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Kimsor Oeng

Kimsor is an aspiring facilitator of transformational change and is pursuing a MSc in Sustainable Development, Agri-food, and Co-operatives at University College Cork. Having spent four years in international diplomacy, Kimsor has found that not enough is being done to tackle the issue of silo mentality as well as the infrastructures and cultures that allow it to persist. 

Personal project: "To immerse myself in sustainability initiatives, exploring different perceptions on what sustainability is, and drawing connections between them in ways that point to systemic change."

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Liam Ó Laoide

Liam is a 20-year-old from Dublin, currently in his second year undergrad, studying Law and Human Rights at University of Galway. Liam's primary passion is Irish culture – Irish trad music, the GAA, teanga na Gaeilge. A large part of his spare time is spent playing trad music and playing hurling with his local GAA club. 

Personal project: ‘"Ceol is measc na Coimhlinte,’ a project exploring the traditional music of current, and historic, war-torn regions around the world, in order to emphasise the humanity we share with those suffering, and those who suffered, as a result of conflict."

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Alina O'Riada

Alina is passionate about how humans determine fairness and justice. She chose to pursue the theme of justice by enrolling in Law and Human Rights at the University of Galway. The academic approach to justice can seem limited at times, so Alina always tries to engage in practical movements. Her hope for the future is that we collectively agree to change our economic system as she can't find justice in capitalism! 

Personal project: "Researching the most recent reform of the 'Common European Asylum System' and its impacts."

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Emily Quinn

Emily is a 3rd year Law Student at Maynooth University. She is passionate about international criminal law, international human rights law, and using the law as a vehicle for activism. Emily always had a strong sense of justice, and in examining the landscape of justice internationally she's strongly moved to make a difference in a tangible way. 

Personal project: "A small printed poetry collection, interspersed with stories from the genocide in Gaza, sold for the purpose of donating to Aid for Gaza."

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Tilly Schaaf

Tilly's studying Physics at Trinity College Dublin. Her passion lies in creating and cleaning up chaos, and what drives that is, most recently, a grief she has for how much of ourselves is lost when we are made to feel like we shouldn't be ourselves. Her hope for the future is to contribute to safeguarding some of the genuine character of people from loss. 

Personal project: "Writing about Yemen, its crisis, the despondence in light of these crisis, its hopes for an end to the war, and the real livelihood of Yemenis."

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Adetunji Wilson-Taylor

Adetunji is a Medical Doctor from Sierra Leone, pursuing an MSc in Global Health at Trinity College Dublin. He's passionate about saving lives through medicine and improving health's social determinants. Adetunji's hope for the future is a world where empathy and understanding guide our actions, leading to a more equitable and sustainable society for everyone. 

Personal project: "A medical app that accommodates telemedicine, health blogs, and medical history storage which will be a source of medical education, reduce costs and time for people."

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Yoshii Jiawei Xu

Yoshii is a Zoology student at Trinity College Dublin. He is passionate about learning to face challenges in order to grow. As well as finding wonders in the world in the forest, in the cultures, in the tears and in the people. Imagination and drive for experience is the fundamental driver for the passion. Yoshii hopes he can explore the oceans and horizons with his own self-discipline and power and try not watch Instagram reels at 3 am in the bed. 

Personal project: "Is an understanding of life and trying to implement my systemize my learning into a project management format."