2017 Beautiful Minds Winners!

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Thank you to all of the students that submitted projects to this year’s Beautiful Minds Challenge! We loved the creativity and thought that went in to each submission. Congratulations to our 2016-17 winners!

**All of the language and art are represented here as submitted by the entrant.**

FIRST PLACE: “Listening to Silence” – by Faza Hikmatullah – Jawa Barat, Indonesia

Listening to The Silence

World Health Organization updated its article about deafness and hearing loss in 2015 and the article said 360 million people worldwide had disabling hearing loss. Then Detik.com-it’s one of Indonesia newspaper-released an article about deaf people in Indonesia. The article reported that about 5°/o of Indonesian people had hearing loss. According to WHO, hearing loss is disabling hearing greater than 40d8 in the better hearing ear in adults and a hearing loss greater than 30dB in the better hearing ear in children.

My Grandfather-named Encep Sumarna Wijaya- was born in Garut, 12 May 1935. He’s suffered deafness since 2015 in the cause of old ages and his habit in the past hearing music in a loud volume. It got me thinking that “How could I help him as he’s helped since I was a kid?”. Hearing aids, teaching sign language, writing on a paper when you want to tell him something are several methods to help people with deafness. My Grandfather did have hearing aids actually, but in the late 2015 his doctor said the hearing aid wouldn’t be able to help his hearing anymore because his hearing were broken too much. And there’s an official sign language that used in Indonesia called BISINDO but as you may know that he’s been too old to be taught sign language. So, hearing aids and sign language are not suitable solution for this kind of problem. There’s a method that my family has been using since the deafness attacked him which is writing on a paper when you want to tell him something but it’s not an efficient way to communicate with human beings. That’s the reason why this project is held. To create a system that is not only much more efficient but also can help my grandfather with his ages.

I chose “Mama of Silicon” to be name of the system because I hope that in the future the system could take care deaf people or even mature people as well as a mother does.

Video: Project Design

SECOND PLACE: “Kauai Edible Parks” – by Talia Abrams – Princeville, Hawaii

When I was working on my bill, I faced many challenges. I met with many people to get support. I wrote budgets. I reached out to find out what my community needs and concerns were. I developed a nonprofit organization, Kauai Edible Parks. I wrote many letters and wrote the bill, HB2177.

As I was working on the Beautiful Mind Challenge, at first I felt like I was just speaking to the camera, explaining this complex process. I was trying to summarize years of work into 5 minutes. It was very difficult for me. When I began to put it all together, I began to understand the deeper purpose of the beautiful minds challenge. I was not just sharing my own individual story.

I realized that I was not the only on working on this project. Many other young people are leaders in their communities like me; they are documenting their experiences, dreams, and plans. They are filming, writing and painting. I feel much less alone. There are many other young people like me: Passionate, driven and working hard to accomplish big dreams. I have others to lean on, learn from and share the journey.

Video: Let it Grow


THIRD PLACE: “Enhancing Education by Sharing Knowledge” – by Niza and Nkoli Mungabo – Lufaka, Zambia

      I heard someone say that evil prevails when goo‎d people do nothing. I would like to say that injustice prevails when those able to something about it, however small their effort, do nothing. In a world like ours, where we face large-scale problems like climate change and extreme terrorism, we tend to look to those making great strides in fighting the effects of such challenges as the only means of dealing with them, thus comforting ourselves in our inaction because we seem to have forgotten the power of one good deed, one changed attitude, one kind word. Instead of emulating the philosophy of the ripple effect when applied in the positive sense, people prefer to moan and groan about the effects of pollution but would not endeavour to go green because the amount of pollution they produce is “not as bad as China’s”. We have forgotten that it is mindsets like these that have created and continue to support the enormous challenges that we are faced with today.
    I, for one, have refused to allow the size of my effort to determine whether or not I will act against an injustice; but rather I look to see what I can do to help a cause within my means. One area I have channeled my efforts into is education. The public school system in my country, Zambia, is seen as less effective when compared to the privIMG-20161202-WA0002ate school system due to problems such as large classrooms which prevent teachers from adequately attending to each student, a shortage of qualified teachers and insuffiecient teaching aids such as textbooks and computers. One problem in particular, the lack of qualified teachers, stems from the fact that the teachers, especially those that are highly qualified, prefer to work in the private sector, thus leaving the government system short-staffed. One practical example is the situation that my friend, Joyce Mulabia, faced at the government school where she completed her education this year. Her class neither had a teacher of English, a core subject in Zambian education, nor a teacher of English Literature. The Headteacher stepped in to meet this need but it was not adequate as he had his other duties to attend to. As a result, Joyce only had one or two lessons per week, some weeks she had no lessons in these subjects at all! The reality of the plight of such students moved me to do something about their plight. This is why I joined the Underpin Project.
    The Underpin Project was created at the beginning of this year by Mwelwa Chipimo, a former classmate of mine who sought to give back to society and identified this problem as something he could channel his efforts towards. He discussed this idea with me as well as two other collegues, Kanyanta Bwalya and Hachizenge Simakoloyi, and we constitute the current membership of Underpin. The programme aims to empower underprivileged students by supplimenting their education. One of the ways this can be done is by donating texbooks to such children or their school. When the project began operating in June, we were told of a school called Camp Life Community School by Mr Chimese, a veteran in education-based charity. This school is situated in Mtendere, a high-density, working-class area in the east of the capital city, Lusaka. It was started by two remarkable women, Mrs Toza and Mrs Musonda, who saw the need for education in their area andIMG-20161202-WA0000 launched a door-to-door campaign to ask parents to send their children to their school rather than to allow them to become subject to the moral and social deterioration that was rampant due to the fact that there were no government schools in that particular part of Mtendere and the private schools that were there were above the means of most of the families in the area. The amazing efforts of these women has brought a ray of hope to many children, but this undertaking is not without many struggles as the school is far from being adequately equiped to accomplish the task it was created for. Nonetheless, the school is still offering a chance at a better future for the underprivileged children of Mtendere. In support of this outstanding institution, Underpin plans to donate a few textbooks to the school this month to help and encourage them in their efforts. This might be a small gesture, but it is still an move towards empowering those children.
    Another way Underpin aims to empower underprivileged students is by offering to tutor them for free. An example of this is the work I am doing with two children in Kabwe. When the project began, I had been living in Lusaka because I was attending school there, and this was how I met the other Underpin members. But after I completed my studies there, I had to move back to Kabwe, where I am originally from. This meant I would not be physically involved undertakings of the project as the three other members were based in Lusaka. However, I was determined to still be very actively involved in achieving the aim of the program. The opportunity to do just that came when my parents hired a new worker for the farm that we live on about two months ago. Mr Sakala, the new worker, has two children, a 13-year-old girl named Faustina and a 9-year-old boy named Festo, who were supposed to be in Grades 4 and 3 respectively but due to financial problems had beenIMG-20161202-WA0001 out of school for a year‎. After finding our about the children’s situation,I thought about perhaps tutoring them so they could resume lessons in January, when the next school year begins, and when my Father suggested the same thing to me, I could not have been happier at being given such a timely opportunity.
    Working with Faustina and Festo as well as Camp Life has had its benefits and challenges. With Camp life, I’ve been inspired by the perseverance of the school management to bring education to the children in their area despite enormous challenges: they do not own a building so they are currently squatting in a church that belongs to one of the parents; they are barely able to support the school because they only charge a small fee of ten kwacha per month (more or less a dollar) for each child which is not always met by every child. However, even with this situation they do not turn any child away, and this is a testament to their compassion.Nevertheless, despite their good intentions, the school has not reached a point where it can adequately peform its’ intended goal, particularly because it has not yet registered with the Ministry of Education, so as to be able to allow their students to sit for nationwide exams in Grades 7 and 9. This has taught me that with good intentions, there needs to be solid support ‎and proper planning.
      With regards to Festo and Faustina, I have learnt that the burdens we carry through life can shape us to b e the best version of ourselves. Faustina has a slight hearing impairment so she may only hear what is is going on very close to her. But this has taught her to be very attentive and thus has enabled her to be a very good student. I’ve also learnt that change takes time, as I have had to be very patient when teaching them, especially with Festo, who fidgets a good deal. Teaching them to read and write English as they are not accustomed to speaking it.
       All in all, change is not determined by the amount of effort. It is by the determined by the presence of ‎effort, clothed in good intentions and the right direction.


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