Melissa Malzkuhn on digital storybooks for Deaf children and why the future is 3-D

Motion Light Lab founder Melissa Malzkuhn, alongside the character protagonist of The Baobab, her team’s first digital storybook for Deaf children, now available in 10+ languages.

Last weekend, the Academy Awards lifted up Deaf creatives across the movie industry — from “Sound of Metal,” a film about a drummer who learns American Sign Language after losing his hearing, receiving two Oscars (nominated for six), to Deaf actress Marlee Matlin presenting an award in ASL. Movie fans can continue to see this excitement with the release this month of “Godzilla and Kong,” which also features a young Deaf character.

Films are just one touch point for the growing interest in (and curiosity about) Deaf culture and language, says Melissa Malzkuhn, founder and creative force behind Motion Light…


An intro to institutional changemaking from Ashoka’s courses for corporate employees

How can I contribute to a better world — one that’s more sustainable and just? For some business people, this question sparked the decision to pack up the office desk and embark on becoming a social entrepreneur.

But changemaking doesn’t only happen in the social sector. In fact, some of the most powerful change occurs within companies, when people bring an entrepreneurial mindset to their day job, asking how they can positively impact society through their work.

It’s time we talk more about social entrepreneurship’s institutional cousin: intrapreneurship.

Ashoka, the organization that pioneered the field of social entrepreneurship, has been using courses to advance to social impact from within corporations since…


Two social entrepreneurs on how the pandemic is hitting young people and where we go from here

One year in, how are students navigating social isolation and, for many, mental health challenges? And what creative ideas have surfaced this year that point the way forward, to a new culture of health? For perspective, we tapped two Ashoka Fellows leading networks by and for young people: Louise Langheier and David Flink.

Meet Louise

With her co-founders, Louise started Peer Health Exchange as a college student, in response to what high school students said they wanted — information about mental and sexual health, delivered by someone closer to a peer than a classroom teacher. …


How Tim Lampkin is supporting and expanding Black business ownership in the U.S.

HPC Business Members Jason and Kenesha Lewis, owners of Kay’s Kute Fruit, and Tyler Sturdevant, owner of Bush Family Health & Wellness, with Tim Lampkin. Photo Credit: Ivory Cancer, Higher Purpose Co

Social entrepreneur Tim Lampkin founded Higher Purpose Co. (HPC) five years ago to build community wealth and resource a network of Black entrepreneurs, artists, and farmers across the Mississippi Delta in the U.S. Working now with 200 entrepreneurs and business owners — many of them Black women — Tim and his team are creating a vibrant changemaker culture with deep roots in the region and a future economy that works for everyone.

Ashoka’s Marc Carr spoke with Tim last week at Welcome Change, Ashoka’s weekly news series with the world’s social entrepreneurs. Watch the full conversation.


Young leaders in the U.S. reflect on 12 months of hardship, transition, resilience, and more.

March 2021 marked one year since the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a global pandemic. When Changemaker Challenge winners from across the U.S. and Puerto Rico arrived at the T-Mobile headquarters in Bellevue, Washington in early February 2020 for the 3-day Changemaker Lab, no one knew the state’s first Covid-19 death would be confirmed the following week—or what was to unfold in the months to come.

Coronavirus has since taken 2.8 million lives and led to a vast mental health crisis and widespread economic hardship. As the pandemic was hitting marginalized communities especially hard, activists were raising…


A social entrepreneur and business leader share lessons for trust-based teamwork.

By Sarah Holcomb and Lena Borsoi

Heidi Wang and Hilke Rosskamp act like old friends — but the two real-world leaders come from different worlds. Those worlds collided thanks to Ashoka’s Executive-in-Residence program, which matches social innovators with business leaders who can help grow their impact.

A social entrepreneur who is revolutionizing dementia care in her country, Heidi teamed up with Hilke, Global Senior Manager of Healthcare Innovation at the multinational pharmaceutical company Boehringer Ingelheim. Together, they set out to scale Heidi’s solution and reach dementia patients outside Norway’s borders.

Heidi is an extrovert; Hilke an introvert. Heidi lives in…


Creating learning environments rooted in community wisdom

Village of Wisdom parents and children in Durham, North Carolina. (Photo from pre-Covid times before masks.) Photo credit: VOW

How can we help all teachers unlock the gifts, talents, and prior knowledge of Black learners? How can parents protect the Black genius of their kids — and transform the U.S. education system in the process?

Few groups are thinking more deeply and creatively about this than Village of Wisdom, a community of parents, educators, and changemakers in Durham, North Carolina. As Village of Wisdom gears up to launch a new project — a clearinghouse for culturally-affirming instructional materials that are validated by Black parents — we tapped the core team for insights. Watch the full conversation in our Welcome…


Is it still possible to launch a new project during a pandemic? We’re seeing changemakers around the world step up to say “yes.”

The platforms we use to connect with each other can also enable us to create solutions that help our communities to thrive, even during difficult times. Read on to discover how to innovate right where you are, whether it’s on Instagram, Zoom, or even a platform that you will dream up yourself!


GM’s Geraldine Barnuevo cared about environmental justice from an early age— now she’s bringing others on board.

By Sarah Holcomb

Growing up in Ecuador, Geraldine Barnuevo loved visiting the Amazon with her grandparents, where she was surrounded by monkeys, birds, and beautiful rivers — that is, before the rivers were polluted with oil.

In the 1970s and 80s, oil spills devastated the Amazon rainforest. Deforestation spread. Local tribes couldn’t access clean water. Heartbreaking images flashed on the news.

When Geraldine took part in the model United Nations as a teen, she decided to take a stand on the issue. She read interviews of people impacted by the oil spills, learned their stories, and discovered how representatives of…


From Brazil to the U.K., changemakers reflect on inclusion, community, the power of poetry, and more.

Mídria and three of her university friends created a social venture that enables young people to freely speak up on social issues and create more inclusive spaces.

By Shafat Khan

The COVID-19 pandemic is leaving a deep socio-economic impact on young people. Nevertheless, young people are among the most active responders: not only as frontline health workers, but as researchers, activists, communicators and innovators lifting up their communities.

Despite their contributions, young people are often neglected in the decision-making process. Youth deserve to actively participate in solutions for the issues they’re facing— from education and future job opportunities to health and wellbeing. Decision-makers must not think of young people only as voices to hear, but as leaders to follow.

At the Ashoka Changemaker Summit, we brought together…

Ashoka

We bring together social entrepreneurs, educators, businesses, parents & youth to support a world in which everyone is equipped & empowered to be a changemaker.

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