Jelena is a professor of Spanish language & journalist from Belgrade Serbia. She truly believes that life is too short for bad people, bad thoughts and bad coffee. She keeps trying to make the world a better place by writing about true values, inspiring people and their activities. Jelena is an eternal optimist and an energy wizard.
Jelka is just one of us – an ordinary single mom trying to make the best of life in her home country of Serbia, land of struggles, transitions, and extraordinary people. After raising her daughter on her own she ended up as a manager in the cosmetics industry – but, after many years of doing the same thing, she lost interest and passion in her job, and did not know where to go next. Until she heard about the Grooming Academy of Sasa Riess. As a huge animal lover, she was thrilled with the idea of learning how to groom dogs and spend time with them, while at the same time earning money. But there was a further dimension – the academy had a special program for people from the margins of society, even ex-convicts, teaching them how to groom and giving them a chance to create a better future with decent work. Jelka’s life changed completely when she started to work alongside these people – the fact that her time and knowledge could change the trajectory of someone’s life for the better made her find a renewed purpose. She says she and her co-workers all learn together every single day and points out the most valuable lesson she has gained from this experience: when someone believes in you, you start believing in yourself.
Mihailo Martinovic (30), from Serbia, always wanted to be a Physics teacher in high school. However, life had different plans for him and instead, with a little bit of help from his Professors and thanks to his hard work through the years, he became a talented scientist with worldwide connections. He won the Youth Hero 2017 award for achievements in education and science at the age of 29 and was the youngest Doctor of Astronomy in Serbia at the time. Today, Mihailo enjoys his job working on a Solar Orbiter project as a part of an international team of scientists at the European Space Agency, exploring something called solar wind plasma! He also works in the Astronomy Department at the Faculty of Mathematics in Belgrade. He hopes his work will open doors to many talented young people who won’t rush to leave the country and will stay in Serbia to change the face of science from home.
While other kids could not wait to escape from chemistry or biology classes, Dr. Stephanie Fanucchi, was more than eager to experiment and learn something new. Her fascination with science began at an early age and continued growing as her interest and knowledge grew as well. This year, Dr. Fanucchi became one of 15 young women scientists recognised for her innovative research in cancer and auto-immune diseases – winning a prestigious award from the L’Oréal UNESCO for Women in Science programme. And while she speaks about DNA modification, genes, cells kissing and incredible cutting-edge discoveries in the world of biochemistry and cell biology, she dreams big, yet simple dreams – to work in a biotech startup company one day and to be remembered as a relentlessly curious human being.
Did you know that the memories of people with Alzheimer’s partly recover when they listen to the soothing notes of Vivaldi? Have you ever wondered why such people forget everything except how to love and give compassion? How much does genetics have to do with this cruel disease? One of the world’s leading experts in the field of Cognitive Neuroscience, Doctor Muireann Irish (36), reveals answers to these questions and gives extraordinary scientific updates regarding the study and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. The moment her beloved grandmother was diagnosed with dementia was crucial for her career – she has devoted her life to understanding how the brain works and what drives the changes that lead to disease. This year, she was recognized as one of 15 International Rising Talents by the L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science programme. She returned home determined to keep fighting for more recognition for women in science and with strong feeling of responsibility to pass on her knowledge and experience to the next generation of scientists.
After finishing High school, and only 18 at the time, Randa Natras (26) was uncertain about her life career choice. However, her passion for exploring Space, and for math and physics, brought her to studies of the scientific field called Satellite Geodesy. Today, Randa is a recognized young scientist who is discovering how space weather and changes in the ionosphere affect the modern technologies we use on Earth. This year, she was one of only 14 experts from all around the world who received financial support from the IAG (the International Association for Geodesy) to participate in an important scientific convention in Japan. In an interview with Youth Time magazine, she updates us about her impressions from Japan, her latest research, and her plans for the future.
. . . says Victoria Ibiwoye (23), an inspiring young Nigerian, African leader, and the Executive Director of the OneAfricanChildren Foundation. Miss Ibiwoye has been recognized as one of the 100 Most Influential Young Africans of 2017 by Africa Youth Awards for transforming the lives of thousands of children in marginalized communities through creative learning and empowerment initiatives. At an early age, she struggled with dyslexia, but she used her weakness to turn it into a powerful force – she realised that she was good in storytelling and started educating two kids in her neighbourhood. This small step inspired some of her friends and local students to help as well, and soon what began as a charity group turned into a social enterprise that is re-defining education in Nigeria and Kenya today. Victoria is the best example of how much one can achieve given an ability to put heart, mind, and vision to work for the sake of a higher purpose.
Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng, from Durban, South Africa, has been named one of the 100 Most Influential Young Africans of 2017 by Africa Youth Awards. Mofokeng is a Medical Doctor who specializes in sexual and reproductive health and also works as a sex educator, an activist, a writer, and a presenter. From an early age, she knew she wanted to be a doctor, helping kids in the neighbourhood with her tiny medical kit. Today, she is widely recognized and loved, people call her Dr. T, and she educates young people to intill proper sexual and reproductive knowledge regardless of their age, economic status, or sexual identity. Every week, around 2000 young African women are infected with HIV; young women and girls suffer from lack of adequate knowledge about contraception; and some die due to dangerous abortions. Many South Africans can not afford private health care – and that is where Dr. T is available to help out. This inspiring young woman says she adores her job, despite many hard days and heartbreaking moments, because she feels she is making a difference. She sees happiness in her mission, enjoying her loved ones and the fulfilling work that she does, escpecially appreciating the days when she can stay tucked into bed, with no alarm clock to wake her up in the morning.
Don’t let the looks deceive you, because young Akshay (19) from North East London is all but ordinary teenager. This incredible young man had the guts to stand for the business idea he believed in – he sold a first home during the high school lunch break for 99 pounds! About a year ago, Akshay Ruparelia set up an online real estate agency where he sells homes taking commission 10 to 50 times lower than any other agent or company. Investors, staff and customers could not believe that a 17-year old will succeed in his intention to trick the real estate market.
Her name is Tara Djokic, and once upon a time, she was a rebel bored with school. It took her five years and many silly jobs on her CV to realise she wanted to be an astrobiologist. A hiking trip to New Zealand and the stunning scenery she saw there awakened in her a curiosity to know more about the planet beneath her feet. That is how it all started. This spring, Tara (30), now a PhD student at the Australian Centre for Astrobiology at the University of New South Wales, and a team of her colleagues discovered the oldest ever known traces of life in hot springs in the Pilbara region, Australia. These remains of microbial life in land-based hot springs date back almost 3.5 billion years, which is about 3 billion years earlier than previously known hot springs were recorded in the rock record. This discovery could break the belief that life was created in the ocean and can mean it all began in hot water on land. Tara finds her purpose in studying life, the Earth, and the weirdness of the world around us. This is her story.
It’s easy for any of us to overlook our good fortune. I started realising this as our adventure was coming to the end. Seeing many unique forms of pure happiness among our local friends reminded me to appreciate my own blessings. The people of Bali express it through being. Not having. Through giving. Not taking. All of these new perspectives about life, visible in the contrasts between our two different worlds, is what we brought home with us. We left Bali dancing salsa. There was no better way to celebrate all that this journey had taught us.