Rolex Awards: The five young visionaries

Rolex award

An Indian engineer working on developing Braille smartphone and an environmentalist trying to restore a lake were among five people selected for an international award for excellence in enterprise instituted by Rolex.

The awardees, called 'Young Laureates', were introduced recently to the international media in New Delhi and will be honoured in Switzerland next year. The Laureates were chosen by a jury of eminent scientists, explorers, conservationists, doctors, educators and entrepreneurs from around the world.

All five winners – who have inspirational projects in Mexico, India, Afghanistan and Paraguay – impressed the jury with their passion and commitment to create positive change in their own communities and beyond.

Among the Laureats, Sumit Dagar wants India's millions of blind people to participate more fully in society by giving them access to the digital revolution through a Braille smartphone developed for their local conditions while Arun Krishnamurthy is motivating students and community volunteers to restore severely polluted urban lakes in Chennai, before taking on other urban water bodies in the region.

Karina Atkinson is developing a scientific research centre at a biologically rich reserve in Paraguay. This Scottish laureate is using community outreach to educate the surrounding impoverished communities about the value of conservation.

Another young Laureat, Selene Biffi is establishing a storytelling school in Afghanistan. She came all the way from Italy to the war-torn country to preserve its oral heritage, and provide youth with the skills to help NGOs deliver vital health and development information.

Maritza Morales Casanova of Mexico is building an environmental park in the Yucatán where children can have fun learning about conservation and become involved themselves in educating other young people on sustainability.

"These young pioneers have an amazing social consciousness, the commitment to help others, and the determination to turn enterprising ideas into reality. We believe the Rolex Awards will help these inspiring young leaders reach their full potential and propel their inspiring projects forward," said Rebecca Irvin, head of philanthropy at Rolex.

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