Out of our five extraordinary young finalists for the Global Citizen Prize: Cisco Youth Leadership Award, we can now announce that a winner has been chosen!

After numerous rounds of judging — including a public vote Global Citizens all around the world contributed to — the winner of the 2019 Cisco Youth Leadership Award is Priya Prakash. 

Prakash is a 28-year-old health care entrepreneur working to ensure every child across India can grow up healthy. 

She is the founder and CEO of HealthSetGo, an organization integrating technology and health care to empower parents, doctors, schools, and governments to make data-driven decisions to improve the health and lives of children. 

Hear Priya's story on Global Citizen's new podcast, Powering the Movement. Download it here.

Priya Prakash shows students at Shriram Millennium School the “HealthSetGo” box, which includes fun activities for educators to teach hand-washing and the dangers of unhealthy food.
Image: Sahiba Chawdhary for Global Citizen

Prakash was announced as the winner of the award at the Global Citizen Prize ceremony on Dec. 13 at London’s Royal Albert Hall. It was a night that brought together an incredible lineup of artists, world leaders, business leaders, philanthropists, and Global Citizens, all in honor of some of the world’s leading activists. 

“This is so overwhelming!” Prakash told the audience of Global Citizens filling the Royal Albert Hall auditorium. “What I want to say is that the Priya you see today, I’m an entrepreneur and founder, and I’m also a state-level weightlifter.” 

“But I wasn’t always the way I am right now,” she continued. “I struggled with my health and my body weight throughout my childhood, and it took years to change myself into the healthy woman and the fit woman that you see before you today.” 

“India has the second-highest number of obese children in the world; and we are the cancer capital of the world, and the diabetes capital of the world,” she continued in her speech. “And these non-communicated diseases are the cause of the biggest inequalities.” 

“So today I would like you all to imagine the world free of suffering and disease, and that’s the world that I imagine for all of us,” she said. “And it is my life’s mission to make it possible; and it is my mission to ensure that every child in every school in India grows up healthy.”

“I promise that there will be a day when no one will suffer from preventable disease and we can end the cycle of poverty in the world,” she said, to wild applause from the audience. 

I would like you all to imagine the world free of suffering and disease, and that’s the world that I imagine for all of us.

As part of the Cisco Youth Leadership Award, Prakash will receive funding of $250,000 to support her organization, HealthSetGo.

“Health access is a basic human right and everyone deserves it,” she continued. “This prize is for the millions of children in India who are suffering without access to healthcare, who cannot fulfil their potential even though they want to. So I’m very grateful to Global Citizen, for giving a small team in India the opportunity to dream the dream of impacting 1 million lives.”

Read more about more about Priya’s inspiring work here. 


Defeat Poverty

Activist Priya Prakash Wins the Cisco Youth Leadership Prize

By Imogen Calderwood