Why This Global Citizen in London Is Taking Action on Mental Health

Author: James Hitchings-Hales

Nomhle Shantel Shenxane
Why Global Citizens Should Care 
The actions taken by activists such as Nomhle Shantel Shenxane bring the world one step closer to ending extreme poverty by 2030. It is thanks to the collective voices of Global Citizens just like her that we’ve secured over 100 commitments worth $48.4 billion, affecting 880 million lives. Join the movement and take action now

The Global Citizen mission is all about ending extreme poverty by 2030. But there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution to such a complex problem — there are 736 million people who live on less than $1.90 a day, in that position due to a myriad of socio-economic issues.

That’s why the UN’s Global Goals for Sustainable Development exist: 17 clear objectives to address the root causes of extreme poverty, from gender inequality to a lack of quality education, to provide a definitive roadmap for change within the next decade. 

Global Citizen’s purpose is tied to those goals: our movement drives actions — like signing petitions, and sending tweets and emails — and those actions lead to political change. Since 2009, Global Citizens have taken over 24.2 million actions, resulting in commitments worth $48.4 billion — enough to impact the lives of 880 million people.

But we would be nothing without the dedicated activists taking action on our platform.

That includes the inspirational Nomhle Shantel Shenxane — a 22-year-graduate from the University of Westminster who spends her time passionately campaigning for quality education and youth-led empowerment.

Shenxane moved to London from South Africa in 2016 for an entrepreneurship degree.

But after facing challenges as an international student on her own in a new country, she founded a social enterprise called Trinity Wellbeing to provide personal development and resilience programmes to help students like her tackle mental health issues.

She’s also been taking action on the Global Citizen platform for several years, and even joined us for a political event in Westminster to talk to MPs about the important role of vaccines in the struggle for better global health care.

Here, Shenxane speaks to Global Citizen about why taking action is so important to her.

How long have you been a Global Citizen?

I would like to believe that I became a Global Citizen the very moment I decided to pack my bags as a young girl from South Africa after finishing my secondary education to move to another country on my own.

However, I became a Global Citizen action taker in 2018. I was in my second year [of university], learning more about the various social issues in education and the need for quality education in both developed and developing countries. 

I always say 2018 was my “action taker” year because I had made a conscious decision to get involved in various social change organisations, roles, and events to contribute to making a change in the world.

Why did you decide to become a Global Citizen?

Throughout my university years I have always known that I wanted to contribute to making the world a better place, specifically in the education sector. But I did not know how to do it or where to start. 

I remember sitting in my small dorm room in London watching the Global Citizen Festival: Mandela 100. It took place in my home country, South Africa, and I was inspired by the efforts of heads of state, dignitaries, and the world’s most successful entrepreneurs. 

I wanted to be a part of this amazing organisation and contribute to combat socio-economic issues across the world, so I began to join the Global Citizen team in the UK and participated during their social events and campaigns in London.

Can you recall the first campaign you became involved in?

I have been involved in various campaigns, specifically in education advocacy. However, my most recent and memorable campaign was a parliament event I attended at Portcullis House, London, in February 2020. 

Serving as an activist during this event was inspiring because I had the opportunity to meet a few UK Members of Parliament (MPs) and advocate for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. It was my first time advocating for the health sector with Global Citizen because I have mainly been taking action for educational issues.

The most inspirational part of the event was seeing so many young activists from London taking time from their busy schedules to engage professionally with politicians to help combat health issues in developing countries. I met an inspiring group of other young people who shared the same interests and social change aspirations as me. That experience further propelled me to continue advocating for a better world!

What campaign areas interest you the most?

Any campaign that involves education!

I believe that everyone should have equal access to quality education. Unfortunately, in developing countries, such as my home country, there is still much work to be done for under-privileged students who are intelligent but do not have financial support to further their studies.

I am grateful to have the opportunity to study and live in London but now my focus is to take what I’ve learned and make a difference in another student’s life who has aspirations to study abroad.

As an international student, I discovered the importance of taking care of my mental health while in a different country all by myself and it is definitely not easy! My experiences inspired me to start my own social enterprise to help combat some of the mental challenges that they face during their university journey.

I believe that maintaining good mental and emotional health in university is an important aspect to quality education. In order for students to perform at their full potential, their basic needs in education need to be prioritised and student personal development is definitely a basic need!

"Action Taker of the Week" is a Global Citizen series that focuses on the everyday Global Citizens taking action around the world. We’ll be featuring a Q&A with a new action taker every week.

You can join the Global Citizen movement and take action with us here to help achieve the UN's Global Goals for Sustainable Development by 2030. 

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