Everywhere we look, we see the impact of an accelerating rate of change, as around the world and across sectors people find themselves facing increasingly complex societal and environmental challenges. At the same time, we also see the rise of changemakers everywhere, especially young people, who are stepping up to lead and bring forward solutions in new and powerful ways.
 We are working hand-in-hand with these young leaders to ensure that everyone has the skills they need to thrive in our rapidly changing world.

What is a changemaker?

Anyone who steps up to address a problem, big or small, or creates opportunities for the good of all is a changemaker. At Ashoka, we’re building a global movement to unleash the power of young people to address the most pressing issues faced by their schools, communities, and beyond. 

Being a changemaker means putting these qualities into action:


All changemaking begins with empathy that moves people to take action.

New Leadership

New Leadership recognizes that everyone can and needs to lead. Changemakers are leaders who empower the people around them to step up and take action.

Collaborative Teamwork

Changemakers know they can’t do it alone. They create dynamic teams to solve problems. 

Changemaking Skills

Changemakers move from ideas to real action in a way that is resourceful and entrepreneurial.

Thriving in today’s world requires adapting to and shaping change. Together with our partners, we work to help young people to grow and practice these skills and mindsets, including within the education systems where they spend a significant part of their youth years.

Changemaker Journey

The Changemaker Journey is a map of the common milestones that young people experience as they develop and advance as a changemaker. This journey was created based on interviews with young changemakers from across Ashoka’s network. While the Changemaker Journey is not the same for everyone, it can provide a helpful guide for young changemakers and the adults who support them.


Notice problems around you

Identify an issue that sparks deep passion

Gather information to understand the problem


Empathize with those experiencing the problem

Take action with different solutions on a small scale

Mobilize friends and family to join


Receive recognition for your work

Share your story with a wider audience

Apply for funding and support


Take significant action

Build an effective team



Adjust your model for scale

Develop partnerships

Measure impact

Movement Building

Support other young people to be changemakers

Recruit adult allies

Amplify changemaker voices and stories

Our Youth Initiatives

Ashoka Young Changemakers

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Ashoka Young Changemakers are a carefully selected network of young people who have found their power to create change for the good of all, and who are engaging their peers and the entire society in realizing a world where everyone is a changemaker. If you or someone you know fits this description, consider joining our community of leaders.

ashoka young CHANGEMAKERs in the U.S.

Check out the videos below to meet a few of our U.S.-based Ashoka Young Changemakers. In addition to creating change in their communities, these young people are co-leading the Everyone a Changemaker movement. 

CHANGEMAKER challenges

Ashoka Changemaker Challenges spotlight and support youth around the world through social venture and social innovation competitions run in partnership with organizations such as T-Mobile and General Motors. Through this program, we support the growth of young changemakers, helping them to reach new levels in their social impact projects and to empower their peers to join the Everyone a Changemaker movement.

T-Mobile Changemaking Challenge

T Mobile Changemaker Challenge
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T-Mobile Changemaker Challenge: In partnership with T-Mobile, Ashoka selected 30 teams of young changemakers around the US for an all-expenses paid trip to the Changemaker Lab at the T-Mobile Headquarters in Seattle for a two-day workshop to receive mentorship, skill development, and support to get their ideas off the ground. The Grand Prize winners each received $10,000 in seed funding and a second trip back to the Changemaker Lab to supercharge their projects.
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Stories of Young changemakers

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Ashoka’s storytelling initiative aims to demonstrate the power of a young person who has identified a problem, formed and led a team, and created a solution. These stories help everyone see the new reality — that in a world defined by change we must redefine what “growing up” means. This highlights the new framework for navigating the 21st century: where every person is practicing empathy, teamwork, new leadership, and changemaking.

ashoka young CHANGEMAKERs across the Globe

Ashoka supports young changemakers from around the world. Check out the videos below to meet Garvita (India), Felipe (Brazil), and Ara (Indonesia) and learn about how they are leading young. 

Changemaker Identity

Based on our research, we have found that young people begin to see changemaking as a key part of their identity at this part of the journey.


Young people tend to repeat this step multiple times before moving on to the next stage of the journey.


Youth serving organizations in our network value changemaking culture for their employees as well as the young people they work with.  They help grow changemaker mindsets in their employees and provide opportunities for youth to practice empathy and changemaking at various points in their day.


Ashoka partners with the most innovative corporations ready to co-create a multi-faceted partnership that engages various parts of their business. Ashoka looks for corporations that embrace changemaking culture internally with their employees as well as within their broader business.

Over the years Ashoka Youth Years US has partnered with over 50 corporations to encourage tens of thousands of young people to become changemakers and grow changemaking culture within their businesses.


Ashoka has many media partners that are dedicated to spreading the everyone a changemaker message. Some of our partners are below.

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School districts

We live in a world of unprecedented change. How are we preparing students to navigate and contribute to this world? We need to re-imagine education to support teachers, parents, and administrators to prepare students to thrive in their rapidly changing world. Our partner School Districts commit to shifting their culture towards one that embraces changemaking by spending a school year integrating changemaking into the mindsets of their teachers, school curriculum, larger systems, and district culture.

A changemaker identity for educators and superintendents is one that will ensure resilience and creativity to overcome the classroom’s and district’s many obstacles. 

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Ashoka has defined the field of social entrepreneurship around the idea of systems change. Our work as the Youth Years team continues this work by engaging with visionary policy makers at all levels to ensure that the outcomes which lead to an everyone a changemaker world are solidly embedded in the structure and systems of education in ways that support the next generations of changemakers.


The Unions with whom Ashoka works represent hundreds of thousands of nurses, teachers, paraprofessionals, higher education faculty and public employees who work day in and day out to teach our kids, keep our families healthy and improve our communities. Ashoka works closely with our unions partners and the communities they serve to create a future where everyone can discover their power to be a changemaker and where young people learn to thrive in this volatile and rapidly changing world.