India, 16 years
Nominated by Shahid Shamsher (individual)
We look at science as something very difficult, which only a few genius people can learn and understand. But that’s just not true. If we have the right tools we can design and build the most extraordinary things and solve the biggest of problems.
Nikhiya, 16, lives in Bangalore, India. Five years ago, Nikhiya realized that many children didn’t have the access to education that she enjoyed, and she has fought for universal access ever since. Through her project Yearn to Learn, Nikhiya has set up 103 laboratories of science and math in 26 schools, benefiting 10,500 students. Through Bags, Books and Blessings she collects surplus school resources and redistributes them to schools that need them, reaching 9,200 students so far. She has launched her own e-commerce website to fund these activities and registered a non-profit organization, Women Have the Same Set of Teeth as Men. Nikhiya mentors and sponsors students, and wrote the book, The Secret of Ada’s Wisdom, to inspire children to study and dream big.