In all, 25 recipients from North America.
Five Indian American teenagers are among the 25 recipients of the 2016 Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes, awarded to inspiring, public-spirited youngsters from diverse backgrounds all across North America.
The Gloria Barron Prize, established by noted author T A Barron, give the award annually to 25 outstanding young leaders between the ages of 8-18 for making tangible changes to the lives of people around them, helping the community and the environment.
The five Indian Americans who won the prize this year are: Anurudh Ganesan, Raghav Ganesh, Meghana Reddy, Pooja Nagpal and Maya Burhanpurkar.
Anurudh Ganesan: A resident of Maryland, he invented the VAXXWAGON, a wheel-powered cooling system that keeps vaccines safe during the final stages of transport to remote locations.
VAXXWAGON is a system that can be hooked to a bike or simply pulled by anyone for the critical last leg of a vaccineâ€™s journey â€“ usually five to ten miles. Anurudhâ€™s wheel powered cooling system will become handy for people in places where they face lack of water and electricity.
â€œIâ€™m committed to seeing this project through to the next phase,â€ says Anurudh. â€œI will have succeeded when the first personâ€™s life is saved because of VAXXWAGON!â€
Raghav Ganesh: A 14-year-old resident of San Jose, California, Ganesh designed a state of the art white cane thatÂ enables the blind people to detect obstacles up front in their path.
SmartWalk consist of a clip-on electronic attachment â€“ housed in a box about the size of two decks of cards â€” that allows users to sense objects well beyond the usual reach of the white cane. As people sweep SmartWalk back and forth, the cane vibrates to warn them of knee-high objects as far as 10 feet ahead.
â€œThese experiences have taught me what it takes to translate technology from a concept to the real world where it can benefit and help people,â€ says Raghav.
Meghana Reddy: A resident of San Diego, California, Reddy, 17, has already become the founder of Limbs with Love, an NGO that makes 3D printed prosthetic hands free of cost for children across the world.
Fab Lab San Diego, a local computer workshop, helps Meghana with her designs that are printed and assembledÂ using plastic andÂ 3D printer technology.Â These relatively inexpensive prosthetic limbs are then delivered locally as wellÂ as to countries like India, Brazil, Mexico and China.
â€œYou are never too young to make a difference,â€ says Meghana.
Pooja Nagpal: A resident of Manhattan Beach, California, Nagpal is a second-degree black belt in Taekwondo and the founder ofÂ For a Change, Defend, a non-profit dedicated to eliminating gender violence and empowering young women.
Pooja has worked with the government of India and former UN Police Commissioner to promote strong women and responsible men in the villages of Northern India. Â She has spoken at top venues, including the United Nations and TED Talks, and has taught teen dating violence prevention in underrepresented schools in Los Angeles.
â€œI see an opportunity for change and an obligation to serve as the changemaker,â€ says Pooja.
Maya Burhanpurkar: She created 400 PPM, a documentary film that tells the story of her expedition to the Arctic where she witnessed climate change firsthand.
She titled her film for the 2013 atmospheric measurement of carbon dioxide at 400 parts per million (ppm), the highest levels in more than 2.5 million years. Her film focuses on the Arcticâ€™s Inuit people, whose lives have been dramatically impacted by a warming climate and melting ice.
She produced her film through STAMx Youth Inc., a non-profit she founded to use Science, Technology, Arts, and Math to empower young people to take action against climate change.
â€œThere were many late nights when I contemplated giving up on my project and getting a good nightâ€™s sleep. Iâ€™m so glad I didnâ€™t,â€ said Burhanpurkar.