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Meet the 2024 Western Union Foundation Fellows

Catherine Nakayemba, 2024 Western Union Foundation Fellow

Generously sponsored by the Western Union Foundation

Albert Juma Mutabezi | Uganda

YOBAC Nursery and Primary School

YOBAC Nursery and Primary School is a social impact non-profit committed to providing access to quality education in the Kyangwali refugee settlement. Their mission is to empower refugee children by offering a comprehensive educational program that fosters holistic development and prepares them for a better future; this includes rigorous academic curriculum, psychosocial support, and promoting community engagement. To date, the venture has raised $60,000 in funding, enrolled over 350 refugee children in its programs, with 85% of students showing progress in core subjects, and provided psychosocial support services to over 150 children who have experienced trauma and displacement.

Amina Muhammad Sani | Nigeria

Compassionate Advocacy for the Poor Initiative (CAPI)

The Compassionate Advocacy for the Poor Initiative is a for-profit organization dedicated to tackling pressing issues in Nigeria. Their primary focus revolves around addressing the socioeconomic hardships faced by marginalized groups, particularly youth and vulnerable communities, and the critical need to mitigate climate change and its repercussions within the country. To date, they have raised $82,000 in capital investment and are run by a team of 8 paid full-time employees and 35 volunteers.

Ana Rosa de Lima Tovstiga | Brazil

Meli Bees Network gUG

Meli Bees Network gUG is a non-profit organization that empowers over 50 indigenous and local communities in Brazil, championing a bottom-up approach to climate justice. They have facilitated the planting of 10,000 trees, established 150 native beehives, and in the inaugural year of their Pollinating Regeneration program, they raised $100,000 to support their climate preservation efforts. Additionally, they plan to regrant communities with at least $75,000, all managed by their dedicated team of 10 employees.

Ananya Mukherjee | India

The Khaangchu Project

The Khaangchu Project is dedicated to empowering tribal communities in North- East India through a contextualized and democratic education model. Their vision is to foster independent, critical thinkers capable of addressing local challenges collectively. With support from the Western Union Foundation, they aim to engage global leaders in problem-solving for tribal community issues and build a network of changemakers. To date, the venture has improved the reading levels of 35 learners and raised $6,000 in funding through crowdfunding.

Bhupendra Mishra | India

The Resilient Foundation

The Resilient Foundation, “Surakshit Shikshan Abhiyan,” aims to create comprehensive school safety programs that provide education on disaster risk reduction and train students in basic life support and first aid. The non-profit venture has raised $10,000 to date, which will be allocated to support 10 schools in implementing their programs, has trained over 2,000 police personnel in health and safety measures for road emergencies, and has a school safety program that serves 55,000 children across 100 tribal ashram schools.

Bianca Bearare | Brazil

Tocando em Frente

Tocando em Frente is a non-profit determined to combat the lack of inspiration in impoverished communities by offering an innovative educational journey tailored to each locality. Through gamified classes covering subjects like English, Scientific Research, and the Arts, they’ve impacted 7,600 students in Brazil’s rural regions. Additionally, they’ve empowered 90 volunteers with skill development and socioemotional support and trained 40 young leaders as changemakers. To date, Toco em Frente has raised over $6,000 to support its efforts.

Catherine Nakayemba | Uganda
Atuhurra Angella Marjorie | Uganda

Safe Girl Initiative

Safe Girl Initiative aims to empower marginalized women and girls in Uganda’s refugee settlements, rural areas, and displaced communities through education, training, and skills development to establish economic sustainability. To date, the non-profit venture has raised over $200,000, generated 300 employment opportunities for both women and men in Mpigi district, Rhino Camp refugee settlement, Nakivale refugee settlement, and Masaka district, and their menstrual awareness sensitization campaigns have successfully reached 60,000 individuals.

Catherine Sekitoleko | Uganda

Obuntu Bwa Casalina

Obuntu Bwa Casalina is a for-profit venture that specializes in transforming local produce into premium healthy snacks, enhancing their shelf life and value. Through a pioneering pilot project with CARE International and 200 smallholder farmers in Kyangwali refugee camp and nearby districts, they aim to use ingredients produced by small holder farmers for 90% of their snacks. To date, they’ve set up their factory and launched numerous food products in Uganda.

Christina Schlosch | Afghanistan

Climate Activist Defenders (CAD)

Climate Activist Defenders (CAD) is a non-profit that aims to protect the lives and well-being of front line climate justice activists (CJAs) working under oppressive and dangerous conditions. Their recent accomplishments include evacuating over 60 CJAs and family members from Afghanistan, resettling more than 40 individuals in safe countries, establishing an evolving safe house in Pakistan, and forging connections within the local human rights sector and governments. To date, CAD has raised $555,000 in funding to advance their mission.

Dhananjay Goel | MA, United States


DetoXyFi is a for-profit venture driven by a mission to provide equitable access to safe drinking water. They’ve developed a patent-pending filtration solution that utilizes waste wood and safe chemical processing to combat waterborne diseases, which claim 3.4 million lives annually. DetoXyFi’s focus is on serving disaster-affected communities through B2B2C sales to humanitarian organizations, with the goal of increasing access to clean drinking water during emergencies. To date, DetoXyFi has already raised $300,000 in capital.

Francis Obanijesu | Nigeria


AquaMax is dedicated to manufacturing and selling affordable point-of-use water purification systems that filter water from any source to 99.9% germ-free water, benefitting underserved and low-income communities grappling with water scarcity, contamination, and waterborne epidemics. With 1,931 units sold, over 12,400 people across 43 municipalities have gained access to clean water, resulting in reduced waterborne diseases, child mortality rates, rural hunger, and living costs. To date, the venture has also generated $16,000 in revenue.

Gabriella dos Santos Ferreira | Brazil


Afroricas provides media services to companies and reinvests its profits to offer free online training in finances, career development, and leadership for young Brazilian Black women aged 18 to 34 in urban areas. Afroricas Lab, their digital knowledge platform, boasts a 72.5% visitor-lead conversion rate, with 4,869 leads subscribing. Trilha Abre Caminhos, their free online training, garnered 256 leads with a 52% conversion rate and received a 4.7-star rating. To date, they have raised $40,000 in capital to further their impactful work.

Gabrielle Azevedo | Brazil
Matheus Rodrigues | Brazil


Edumi is a non-profit organization with a mission to impact the lives of young people through professionalization in technology and digital skills, addressing the lack of reference points for young Brazilians and the high unemployment rate. With $24,000 in raised capital, Edumi has impacted over 120 students, with 55% being women and 65% belonging to black communities. One-third of their students come from rural peripheries, with an average per capita income of BRL 630 (128 USD).

Gloria Niiquaye | Ghana
Sinit Negase Goitom | Ghana


COMESO is a social impact venture that revolutionizes access to healthcare by providing individuals with a secure and accessible platform. To date, the venture has supported 250 individuals in their medical payment transactions at pharmacies, ensuring access to essential healthcare services while testing the usage of their platform. To date, the venture has also raised $12,000 in capital to support its efforts.

Hammed Alabi | Nigeria

Kayode Alabi Leadership and Career Initiative (KLCI)

Kayode Alabi Leadership and Career Initiative (KLCI) is a non-profit that empowers young Nigerians aged 9 to 18 from underserved communities with vital 21st-century skills through a unique model of sponsorship by middle-class professionals who contribute $10 per student. Since 2017, KLCI has raised over $25,000, engaged 100+ volunteers, and reached more than 6,500 young people across Nigeria, including those from Internally Displaced camps.

Ibrahem Ahmad | Germany


MENTEE, a non-profit organization, is on a mission to empower marginalized individuals globally by providing mentorship, access to resources, and opportunities to break the cycle of poverty and foster personal and professional growth. Graduates supported by global mentors find employment and better- paying jobs, receive mental health and personal support, and even initiate social change ventures. To date, MENTEE is a global community that works in more than 12 countries, offering mentorship to mentees in five languages, and has raised $50,000 in capital.

Israel Concha | NV, United States

New Comienzos

New Comienzos, a non-profit organization, dedicates its core activities to supporting victims of human trafficking, offering vital services like emergency shelter, legal aid, psychological assistance, language classes, and mentorship programs. New Comienzos has assisted over 100,000 individuals, aiding them in securing employment, legal assistance, mental health support, and English language skills. Their dedicated team of 10 full-time employees and a network of 100 volunteers has raised $1,000 in capital to date.

Janet Kabugho | Uganda

Skills Centrum Rwenzori

Skills Centrum Rwenzori empowers marginalized women and youth in the Rwenzori region who are affected by flooding. The non-profit provides them with hands-on skills, particularly crafting skills, using environmentally friendly materials like banana fiber. To date, the venture has raised over $30,000 in funding, has provided training to more than 1,000 women and youth, and collaborated with 46 artisans to produce at least 11,000 craft products annually.

Joel Amani Mafigi | Uganda

UNLEASHED (Potentials in Motion)

UNLEASHED (Potentials In Motion) is a social impact venture that empowers refugees at the Nakivale refugee settlement camp through leadership development, potential discovery, business development, and social entrepreneurship. To date, the non-profit venture has raised more than $264,000 in funding, awarded scholarships to more than 750 young people, and reached over 3,000 individuals through their workshops, training sessions, and entrepreneurial endeavors.

Katie Neginskiy | CA, United States

International Women’s Resource Center (IWRC)

The IWRC is dedicated to empowering and supporting refugee and immigrant women through the provision of a safe and inclusive community-driven space. IWRC aims to enhance the lives of women, their families, and communities while promoting social justice and equity. Katie is personally connected to this work as her husband is a refugee from the former Soviet Union. To date, the non-profit venture has raised over $120,000 and served 261 participants; 96% of whom are women, with 32% being from Ukraine, constituting their highest geographic population.

Laura Trejo | Mexico


Asmovilidad is an organization dedicated to supporting migrant entrepreneurs and highlighting the significant impact of migration on both Mexican and foreign communities. Through their work at Assistance and Guidance Human Mobility, they emphasize the economic, social, and cultural dynamism generated by migrant-run businesses. To date, they’ve created a “Migrants Entrepreneurships Digital Catalog” for private, civil, and government sectors, working with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and have raised $35,000 in capital.

Luisa Romero | Colombia

Get Up and Go Colombia

Get Up and Go Colombia is a local non-profit venture dedicated to revitalizing former conflict zones in Colombia by empowering affected communities and fostering socio-economic development. They collaborate with communities to co-create solutions and offer training in English, sustainable tourism, and social entrepreneurship through their tourism-action lab. These communities then launch their own tourism agencies. With a dedicated 6-member team, they have positively impacted over 20,000 individuals and raised over $40,000 in capital.

Manthan Anand | India

The Churning Joy Foundation

The Churning Joy Foundation addresses the pressing issue of financial empowerment among marginalized refugee women from Afghanistan, Burma, and Bangladesh living in Delhi’s slums. Through the implementation of Self Help Groups (SHGs) and a micro-finance model, the project’s key strategies include building partnerships, leveraging child care centers (Anganwadis) for SHG guidance, and engaging entrepreneurial youth for micro-enterprise support. To date, the venture has mobilized over 1,000 refugee women into SHGs and secured $50,000 in funding to support women-led micro-enterprises.

Mariano Ruiz | Argentina

Derechos Humanos y Diversidad

Derechos Humanos y Diversidad is an NGO dedicated to aiding LGBTIQ+ asylum seekers and refugees in Argentina. They’ve established the nation’s first LGBTIQ+ service center and provided free resettlement services to over 300 individuals from seven nationalities, overcoming language barriers with services in Spanish, English, and Russian. They are currently involved in a consultancy with the International Migration Organization and have raised $124,000 to date to further their vital mission.

Miriam Feza | Uganda

Clay Cosmo

Clay Cosmo is a for-profit skincare brand that promotes and advocates for the self-reliance of refugee women through education and employment. They train and hire refugee women to produce facial masks, soaps, facial and hair oils, body scrubs, and shea butter all made from natural clay products. Clay Cosmo is a finalist in the UN Development Program youth ideathon and won the Because International Accelerator pitch contest in 2022. To date, they have trained 300 refugee women while serving 1,000 customers and raised $30,000 in funding.

Muhammad Ikram | Pakistan

Gulistan Socio-educational Society

Gulistan Socio-educational Society is a non-profit organization with 50 enmployees dedicated to providing free, high-quality education to children, particularly refugees, and delivering essential healthcare services to marginalized women and children. Despite limited resources in the poverty- stricken Balochistan region, the NGO has managed to establish and sustain ten charity schools, with over 1,000 students now receiving an education. Furthermore, during the 2022 flood, Gulistan Socio-educational Society provided healthcare and food aid to thousands of women in need.

Nasiyah Isra-Ul | VA, United States
Sharown Isra-Ul |
VA, United States

Canary Academy Online Inc. (CAO)

Canary Academy Online Inc. (CAO) is a non-profit online academy committed to providing equitable and affordable homeschooling solutions through free online courses and learning kits. Serving nearly 1,000 families, CAO offers financial, academic, and community support to marginalized and lower-income homeschoolers, focusing on urban and rural communities with limited resources. To date, the venture has raised over $200,00 and delivered learning kits to over 500 families.

Paulinho Muzaliwa | Uganda


Unidosprojects is on a mission to educate and empower farmers in soil assessment, sustainable land management, and organic fertilizer production, particularly in refugee camps. Their vermicompost and financial literacy training has already benefited over 1,500 farmers, resulting in increased crop yields and ecological regeneration. Unidosprojects is currently run by a team of 10 employees and has raised $10,000 in capital to date.

Purvi Tanwani | India

Anahat for Change

Anahat is a non-profit on a mission is to empower marginalized women, young people, and girls with a vision for gender equality in sexual and reproductive health rights. Through their sustainable brand, Anahat Unnati, they train marginalized women to create eco-friendly, ethically made cloth pads and baby diapers. To date, Anahat has empowered over 2,000 marginalized women, trained 5,000 more, and partnered with organizations like UNICEF and World Vision. They have distributed 400,000 hygiene kits, saved 15,000 tonnes of menstrual waste, and have raised $420,000 to date.

Ruby Ross Maribao | Nigeria
Mart Kevin Tompong | Nigeria


CHC AGRITECH AFRICA is on a mission to reach and train smallholder farmers, predominantly women and youth in rural African communities, in Microbiome technology to foster sustainable agriculture. They offer an eco-friendly, cost- effective, and user-friendly solution that enables farmers to cultivate high- quality, exportable crops while safeguarding the environment and enhancing profitability. With a team of 12 individuals and $100,000 raised, they have reached 10,000 farmers.

Shakila Ali | Afghanistan

Doste Afghan Foundation

The Doste Afghan Foundation, a non-profit organization, is committed to providing financial assistance to vulnerable families in Afghanistan, focusing on nutrition, health, youth education, and economic development. They operate through three core programs designed for long-term impact and use a direct cash assistance model to ensure transparency. The organization is currently volunteer-based, with teams in the U.S., Afghanistan, and student volunteers. Their annual virtual fundraisers have raised over $22,000 to date.

Simon Marot Touloung | Uganda
Ladu Victor Alex | Uganda

African Youth Action Network (AYAN)

The African Youth Action Network (AYAN) is a youth-led non-profit organization dedicated to empowering refugee communities, Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and youth in Uganda and South Sudan. AYAN’s initiatives include the establishment of a youth innovation and child-friendly center in Kiryandongo refugee settlement, supporting refugee entrepreneurs, conducting youth training programs, and promoting peace dialogues. To date, AYAN has secured $480,000 in funding to drive its impactful initiatives.

Suha Suleman Lalani | Pakistan


PinkDetect is a non-profit that utilizes technology and AI to empower women of color and marginalized communities in managing their breast health. Through culturally sensitive educational tutorials, personalized risk assessment, timely reminders, and local healthcare connections, their app aims to boost breast cancer awareness and early detection worldwide, particularly in underserved regions. To date, PinkDetect has secured $10,000 in grants to support their initiatives.

Titilope Adedokun | Nigeria

Sisterly HQ

Sisterly HQ is revolutionizing media representation by providing Nigerian women with a platform to share their narratives authentically. Their website and social media channels bridge the accessibility gap, offering opportunities and resources to empower Nigerian women from diverse backgrounds. Since 2021, they’ve showcased 35 Nigerian women’s stories, amassing over 27,000 views, with their current website drawing 1,300 unique monthly visitors. Their Instagram, LinkedIn, and newsletter have fostered a community of 3,600+ women positively impacted by their work.

Victórya Leal Altmayer Silva | Brazil


FIDERE is a pioneering e-commerce app connecting local thrift stores in Brazil, promoting sustainability and the circular economy (CE). These stores collectively sell and exchange 4,000 items annually, saving significant resources and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. FIDERE is available on Google Play Store, and with $1,500 in capital raised, it aims to drive positive social, environmental, and economic changes through its CE promotion efforts.

Vivek Kaushik | India
Purva Parwani | India


Claylab is a non-profit dedicated to bridging the gap in children’s exposure and awareness to career pathways by offering one-to-one mentoring for Grade 10 students aged 15-16. With the goal of creating a large-scale volunteer model, Claylab began with 100 volunteers in 2021 and has now engaged over 1,000 mentors, with plans to onboard 100,000 mentors by 2030. To date, they have reached over 3,000 students, with data showing improvements in educational continuation, self-learning, employability skills, and decision-making; they have also raised $72,000 in grants and donations to support their efforts.

Zang Luka | Nigeria

Zang Global

Zang Global is a technology-driven for-profit company committed to creating sustainable cities and communities while combating climate change. They transform electronic waste into eco-friendly products like power banks and solar lamps, and their pioneering 100% biodegradable packaging, made from agricultural waste and mycelium, replaces harmful plastics. To date, the venture has produced over 10,000 power banks and 15,000 solar lamps from recycled electronic waste and raised $7,000 in funding.

The Western Union Foundation is a separate charitable corporation from The Western Union Company that receives support from The Western Union Company, its employees, agents, consumers, and business partners. Watson Institute is the leading accelerator for next-generation entrepreneurs. Watson Institute shares Western Union Foundation’s belief that education is the surest pathway to economic opportunity. To date, the Western Union Foundation Fellowship has supported 78 Fellows and 2,216 earlier-stage entrepreneurs the Fellows impacted through the Basecamps they lead.