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Diana Vicezar, Paraguay, 18

Project: Mymba Rayhu

Basic Human Needs: Environment, Shelter

Growing up in Asunción, Paraguay, Diana constantly noticed many stray animals in the streets. As she learned more about the problem, she discovered that approximately 150,000 dogs were abandoned in Paraguay. Another problem she noticed in the streets of her hometown, was the vast quantity of garbage, an amount equal to 2,000 tons of waste per day. In September 2017, determined to help, Diana created Mamba Rayhu, which translates to “animal love” in English. Mamba Rayhu is a nonprofit organization that improves the lives of abandoned animals while raising awareness about the importance of recycling in Paraguay. Since its inception, Mamba Rayhu has built dozens of dog shelters throughout the country, made entirely from recycled material, and has saved more than 300 dogs. Diana has reached citizens all over South America through international media outlets including ABC News, Ultima Hora and La Nación Argentina. This year, Diana was recognized by her hometown of Asuncion with the 2018 Youth Excellence Award. Diana dreams that Mymba Rayhu will become an internationally recognized organization and create awareness worldwide about the plight of abandoned animals and the importance of taking care of our environment.