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Melissa Khasbagan, USA, 17

Project: 1000 Books

Basic Human Needs: Education

Melissa traveled to visit family in rural inner Mongolia in 2017. Since learning English is considered an invaluable skill, she was shocked at the lack of resources that were available for students attempting to learn the language. Upon her return to the United States, Melissa collected 1,000 English books to send back to schools in Mongolia. To continue her work long term, Melissa then officially established 1000 Books in 2018 as a 501(c)3 organization. The organization sends books and entrepreneurship materials to rural areas across Mongolia, China, USA, Russia (Siberia), Liberia, Mexico, India, Venezuela and Australia. 1000 Books has continued to develop their English learning resources by producing an audio curriculum, building libraries and training teachers. Melissa also introduces entrepreneurship to students by conducting workshops and webinars. While her work has already impacted over 35,000 students and 400 teachers, in the near future she plans to expand to include 9 additional countries in Africa, focusing first on Liberia. By 2020, she hopes to establish a youth entrepreneurship summit in West Africa. Melissa firmly believes that education and entrepreneurship can provide equal opportunity and that young adults can come together to change the world.