Announcing the 2021 Waislitz Global Citizen Award Winners


Bina Shrestha

Build Up Nepal | Co-Founder and Director

The grand prize winner of the Waislitz Global Citizen Award and the cash prize of $100,000 is Bina Shrestha, Co-founder & Director of Build Up Nepal. After a devastating earthquake destroyed hundreds of thousands of houses in Nepal in 2015, Bina co-founded Build Up Nepal, a social business that helps rural families build homes with environmentally friendly materials and offers entrepreneurial opportunities to people in need for long-term income stability.

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Waislitz Global Citizen Disruptor Award

Tania Rosas

Fundación el Origen (Origin Learning Fund) | Founder and CEO

The winner of the Waislitz Global Citizen Disruptor Award and a $50,000 cash prize is Tania Rosas, Founder & CEO of Fundacion el origen (Origin Learning Fund). Her nonprofit's mission is to provide young people from rural populations, particularly in the Indigenous and refugee communities of Colombia with access to inclusive digital education by designing and implementing technologies and training local teachers so that no child is left behind.​

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Waislitz Global Citizens’ Choice Award

Jimmy Pham

KOTO (Know One Teach One) | Founder and CEO

The winner of the Waislitz Global Citizens' Choice Award and a $50,000 cash prize is Jimmy Pham, Founder & CEO of KOTO (Know One Teach One). His social enterprise KOTO has grown from a small sandwich shop employing teenagers to an organization that provides training in hospitality, life skills, English, and IT literacy, as well as board and welfare support to disadvantaged youth in Hanoi, Vietnam.

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Waislitz Global Citizen COVID-19 Response Award

Dr. Abiodun Adereni

HelpMum | Founder and CEO

The winner of the Waislitz Global Citizen COVID-19 Response Award and a $50,000 cash prize is Dr. Abiodun Adereni, Founder & CEO of HelpMum. HelpMum’s mission is to eradicate maternal and infant mortality in Nigeria using simple low cost and digital innovations. In response to the pandemic, HelpMum manufactured and distributed protective masks to pregnant mothers and launched the first publicly available e-learning platform to train childbirth attendants in rural areas remotely and prevent cases of maternal mortality.

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Waislitz Stories

About the Awards

The Waislitz Global Citizen Awards are annual cash prizes totaling $250,000 that recognize the excellence of individuals in their work to end extreme poverty. The grand prize is $100,000 with three additional prizes at $50,000 each, for a total of four prizes. The awards are presented by the Waislitz Foundation and Global Citizen, and in 2020 are supported by the leading US and Australian based cellular medicines company, Mesoblast Ltd and global fund management group Paradice Investment Management Pty Ltd. 

“Ending extreme poverty is not a choice, it's an obligation. My hope is that it will inspire many thousands of people around the world to do what they can to improve the living standards of those in dire need," Chairman and Founder of the Melbourne-based Waislitz Foundation, Alex Waislitz.

The Waislitz foundation exists to create a positive social impact locally and globally through innovative projects that empower individuals to meet their full potential and make a measurable difference to the world.

Past Winners


Haroon Yasin founded his first company at the age of 19, setting up slum schools that taught street children. In the nine years since then, he has founded Orenda, which produces a uniquely entertaining digital curriculum that embeds education in the child’s daily life so they can learn better. Their mobile app has now reached over half a million children, and the learning material has been vetted by the Government of Pakistan and broadcast on national television to an audience of over 54 million people across the country, many of whom do not have access to education. 

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Charlot Magayi, founder and CEO of Mukuru Stoves, is an eco-entrepreneur on a mission to eradicate household air pollution in Africa. With over 5 years’ experience in the cookstove industry, Charlot believes in a world where every household is smoke-free and has dedicated her time, skills and knowledge to work towards achieving this dream.

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Koketso Moeti saw the potential of cell phones to amplify the voices of poor women and hold government accountable. Working to turn every cell phone into an active citizenship tool, Koketso founded, a movement of over 200,000 active citizens across South Africa who campaign against poverty.

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Wilma Rodrigues, founder and CEO of Saahas Zero Waste believes in persistence and practicality. Wilma has had a diverse career path – from being a tour guide and German language translator in the eighties, to a business journalist in the nineties, and for the past 16 years a pioneer in the Waste Management Industry. When not at work, Wilma likes to spend her time planting and nurturing trees, making compost and being around family.

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Clarisse Uwineza, whose Environmental Protection and Organics organization focuses on converting organic waste into fertilizer in Rwanda, said that her project will “help reduce waste and empower farmers to produce more food.” Her BIORGOFERT project converts bio-organic waste into an environmentally friendly and clean fertilizer.

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Twesigye Jackson Kaguri, the director of Nyaka AIDS Orphans Project, won the 2015 prize for his work in making education more accessible to AIDS orphans in Uganda. This includes developing schools but also helping the women - or “grandmothers” as he calls them - who raise these orphans.

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Anoop Jain, the founder of Humanure Power, won the 2014 prize for his work in rural India building sanitation facilities. Anoop believes that building toilets addresses the underlying causes of poverty, which affect broader health, social, and economic change desperately needed in India.

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