We get excited every time the Do Something Awards comes around, but this year’s show is going to be especially amazing. MTV Act favorite and nerd prom queen Sophia Bush is hosting the show, and stars like Lucy Hale, Kelly Osbourne, J. Cole, and Jennifer Hudson are scheduled to attend! The best part of the night, however, involves 5 young finalists who are in the running for $100,000 for their world-changing organizations.
All of the finalists are 25 years old or younger, which makes their accomplishments even more inspiring. Because you can help vote for the activist you want to win the $100,000, we wanted to introduce you to the do-gooders. We’ve interviewed each finalist, so read up, choose your favorite, and scroll down to the end to see how you can vote for your favorite. Even if your choice doesn’t win, it’s not all bad: the four nominees who don’t take home the grand prize will receive a $10,000 community grant for their organizations!
Photo: The people of Rwanda clearly want you to vote for Sasha! (Facebook)
After graduating from college, Sasha Fisher moved to East Africa to start Spark Microgrants. Since 2011, her organization has awarded 32 grants in 50 communities, which means the 24-year-old has helped improve the lives of more than 15,000 people!
To learn more about microfunding, what song gets Sasha ready to give back, and more, check out Sasha’s interview below.
ACT: Who is your Do Something role model?
SASHA: All the mothers in the world who have started projects without any recognition and with the world against them to build something selflessly so their children can have a better future. Whether they started a local support group, a small business, built a school, voluntarily taught at that school or simply fed their children before feeding themselves. I find these mothers exemplify the most beautiful and powerful actions of good in our world, from India to Rwanda to the USA.
Photo: Women of east Africa. (Facebook)
ACT: What is your favorite song to volunteer to?
ACT: What are your words to live by?
SASHA: ‘Turi Kumwe’. It is a Rwandan expression that means we are together. What else is more important than our human relationships and working together in solidarity to improve our communities?
ACT: What do we need to know about your organization?
SASHA: Our generation is fed up by the slow progress in ending global poverty — and by ending poverty we mean that every single person has nutritious food, clean water, health care, education and is living a life with dignity. Spark is revolutionizing global aid by providing rural poor communities in east Africa their first opportunity to launch a desperately needed project, such as a school for their children, a farm to grow food or a health center to take care of people when they are sick.
Spark’s approach is unique; we’ve designed the first ever facilitated microgranting model. This differs from microloans that provide money to individuals to start businesses and the money must be paid back. Microgrants are revolutionary because we give money and facilitation directly to villages facing poverty allowing them to finally launch a project that generates impact, not just money. Our grants are between $2,000 – $10,000 and allow communities to meet their own dreams.
Photo: The women of Gahunga celebrate receiving their first goat. (Facebook)
ACT: How can someone reading this get involved with Spark Microgrants?
SASHA: Join the movement for microgrants and locally-led development on our website. Sign up for special opportunities such as MicroVolunteering remotely to support villages in east Africa. You don’t need to travel thousands of miles to support local initiatives in east Africa, we put volunteer projects up online that you can do within a few hours so you can chip in from home, school or work!
ACT: You wake up with a world-changing superpower. What is it?
SASHA: Unlimited power to microgrant. The most challenging part of our work is how big the problem is. Extreme poverty is something we have been working on since the end of World War Two. It has never seemed so feasible yet so distant to think of ending it. The millions of communities faced with poverty deserve a microgrant and the chance to drive their own future. We believe everyone has power though, and every time a group donates $5,000 we can provide another microgrant to a village that deserves it. I am a deep believer in community power and if our global community is big enough, it will have this superpower.
ACT: You wake up to a tweet from your favorite celeb offering to help your cause. Who is it and why are you freaking out?
SASHA: Hillary Clinton because she can help us bring spark to scale and make it a prominent model for development.
For the first time ever, you can now vote for your favorite finalist via SMS. To vote for Sasha to win the $100,000 grand prize, text: SASHA to 38383. To learn more about Spark Microgrants and microfunding, check out the action widgets below.
Tune in to the 2013 Do Something Awards on VH1 tonight at 8/7c.
Learn more about to end poverty with Spark Microgrants!
Learn more about Kiva and how their loans are helping entrepreneurs around the world.