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Malcolm Asher, USA, 17

Project: ArtPass

Basic Human Needs: Education, Health

Upon entering a hospital in one of Ghana’s largest cities, Malcolm unexpectedly stumbled upon a significant, unaddressed need in foreign aid. His intentions were to bring his art therapy program to the children’s ward but he was completely taken aback by the surrounding conditions. Rooms were at unbearably high temperatures, up to 105° F, and many patients were staring at the walls or walking laps around their beds for entertainment. It was evident that any available resources should be put toward the immediate needs of proper medical treatment and the hospital’s basic living conditions. However, from spending time in villages, schools and community centers surrounding Cape Coast, Malcolm understood that the same abysmal conditions he had observed in the local hospital were deterring children from seeking medical care. To help address this issue, Malcolm evolved his art therapy program into ArtPass, an international 501(c)(3), which works to remold and reimagine how children perceive and experience the hospital. He developed an art-centric education and advocacy curriculum to destigmatize and bring more transparency to hospitalization in communities with poor medical infrastructure. ArtPass collects and distributes art supplies to healthcare facilities in hundreds of communities across 70+ countries, working to create sustainable cycles of kids positively and effectively interacting with their local healthcare systems. To date, ArtPass has registered 130 student-led chapters across the world, and has impacted 20,000 children. While ArtPass is rapidly growing its network of 400 Global Ambassadors, Malcolm wants to further accelerate its impact through policy reform.