Humans of the World: Lailone from Myanmar

Lailone believes he could “design” people’s mindset to promote a new way of thinking. This can be done through art and for Lailone, he uses cartoons as it’s easy to make and doesn’t require effort from a team or a group of people. It’s also easier to share in this age of social media.

Being a political cartoonist was more straightforward when Myanmar was still under Military rule. But now that the country is democratic, Lailone practices a sort of self censorship, being careful with the message and the words that he uses in his cartoon drawings, because unlike before, what they have now is what is considered as the people’s government.

Lailone believes in the power of cartoons where a short message can be expressed through a drawing or illustration. He also likes the fact that this gives him the chance to develop himself as he gets to read political history, observe many things, and learn different lessons. Creating cartoons is Lailone’s hobby, work, and art.

Aside from being a freelance cartoonist, Lailone also works for an environmental NGO where he’s involved in training, implementation, and production of nature-related IEC materials for children.


Some of Lailone’s cartoons can be found here:








Humans of the World: Ken from Japan

Ken’s design background helps him raise awareness about social issues he cares deeply about. One of which is on refugees. He’s currently working on producing a photo documentary book about the plight of refugees in different places. So far he’s been to Jordan and Pakistan.

“I want to save people’s lives, especially children, from the war, but I don’t have the power to stop the war,” Ken explains. “If I was a doctor, I could help people who are injured. If I was an architect, I could rebuild their broken houses. But I can’t do these things so as a designer and photographer, what I can do is spread the message.”

Ken takes photos of these refugees trying to show what their normal life looks like. He wants more people to know about refugees especially in Japan which accepts so few refugees. 

“I thought it’s a good start to introduce refugees in the world using photos and my personal story with them,” Ken further explains. “Visiting a Syrian refugee camp changed my mind a lot. I was not so serious before that experience. Young refugees and I became good friends. They are innocent, but they have to live in a tiny tent or container house with their large family. Some have the experience of losing their brother or sister.”

Check out Ken’s work here:


Humans of the World: Maya from Indonesia

In the beginning, Maya’s parents didn’t approve of her becoming a farmer. Like in the Philippines, farming is not a career option for young people in Indonesia.

Maya and her four other friends have always wanted to be farmers. As women, they thought of having their own business where they can have more flexible time allowing them to take care of their family. Farming is a good business as everyone needs food. Organic farming, in particular, produces healthy products while protecting the environment.

In 2012, Maya and her friends put up “Twelve’s Organic,” an organic farm in East Java which is also a demo farm for the young people they train to be organic farmers.

Maya admits that it is a challenge to encourage the youth to follow the path she is on but she says the best way she can do is to show them that organic farming can be a profitable career option.

Maya (far right) together with her fellow 2018 IFOAM-Asia Organic Youth Forum participants.


Humans of the World: Molly from India

“Everyone should be dispensable,” Molly stressed while talking about the enterprises she helped develop.

Molly is the Director for Enterprises of Timbaktu Collective. She promotes organic farming and supports the following initiatives: a weaving unit with young marginalized women who work on natural dyes; sale of handmade soap made by people with disabilities; and a small organic shop of local produce providing direct income to the community.

Timbaktu Collective is a non-profit organization working for sustainable development in the drought prone Anantapuramu district of Andhra Pradesh (A.P.) India. Through the years, they have empowered women who had no access to finance, put up a school, and transformed the area damaged by fire, overgrazing, and desertification into what it is now, a flourishing forest.

Molly feels privileged living a simple life in a place where there’s community, camaraderie, and good food. It is where she wants to spend more time on the land – growing, tilling, and harvesting.

Molly and advocates of the organic movement from the Philippines. (Photo Credit: Victoriano Tagupa)



Humans of the World: Akira from Japan

Meet Akira. A wife, a mom, and a zero waste warrior.

Akira heads the Zero Waste Academy, an organization promoting the zero waste movement in Kamikatsu. In this small town in Japan, wastes are segregated into 45 categories achieving a recycling rate of 81%.

During the World Economic Forum, she was one of the six young people selected to co-chair the conference in Davos.

To further promote the idea of circular economy, she created a zero waste card game which is meant to educate both children and adults.

An epitome of a strong, independent woman, Akira is driven by the mission to do something now for our generation’s sake and that of her daughter’s otherwise there won’t be any future to speak of.

Busy as she normally is, Akira admits it’s a challenge to juggle between work and family but she tries to stop working after 6PM and devote the time to her husband and child.

Photo Credit: Kel Almazan

Humans of the World: Lena of Germany

Lena doesn’t own a smartphone as she doesn’t want to replace a perfectly working mobile phone with a new smartphone. She thinks it would have been a waste and she usually uses her stuff till it is broken.

Not being part of the horde may have been a good thing for Lena as she has more time to work with her hands. “I like to draw and paint, to sew clothes for myself, to bake and cook, to play the guitar, to work in the garden, grow flowers and vegetables,” Lena says. “When doing it you have to be right in the moment. It is kind of meditative. I also like to read, write, travel, meet with friends and play, talk, laugh and discuss. To stretch your brain and share your thoughts with others opens your mind again.”

Lena sees the great possibilities of smartphones and social media but just standing outside this big social media party over the last years, she observed that some people are nearly addicted to it. Young people standing together, not talking, not laughing. Everybody just checking their phones not living the moment.

At some point, Lena thinks she would buy herself a smartphone, a fairphone at that. And she might have a social media account eventually. But for now, she manages to communicate with her friends and family through e-mail and her good old phone.

Humans of the World: Sandrine of France

“Go where you want. Die where you have to.”

These words of Sandrine’s parents are very relevant to her especially so that her job entails a lot of traveling even to high risk countries like Afghanistan and North Korea.

Sandrine specialises in inclusion education, disability, early grade reading, training teachers and trainers, and teaching and learning material development.

She enjoys having the opportunity to meet many different cultures and people and learn from them. For her, even if the topic, inclusive education, is always the same, it never happens in the same way. Sandrine thinks that priorities, resources, and habits are different; it is always different and never boring.

“I get to go to very remote areas in this world and when I realize I am being paid to discuss with these families who have a child with disabilities in the North of Ghana in the middle of nowhere, I feel I have the best job in the world,” Sandrine remarks. “Also I have the MAD disease – Make a Difference.”

Humans of the World: Silja from Germany

She loves fashion. She likes the color red. She’s a photographer and a painter. And she’s the only blind teacher in Germany.

Silja lost her sight at age 12 and despite of people making her feel disabled, she now considers her blindness as part of her.

Getting a teaching certification was a challenge. It was also difficult to get a teaching job but with support of a blind association in Germany, she successfully managed to start doing what she loves, which is teaching. She’s been doing it for 30 years now and she says she enjoys it and finds teaching extremely special.

Check out Silja’s work here:

Humans of the World: Juan, Hernando, and Alejandra from Colombia

Juan, Hernando, and Alejandra are friends from Colombia who use design for social good.

They all studied Industrial Design together and plan to put up their own company where they can create something, not just for money, but to contribute something to the society. Design has been their passion and they feel lucky they get to do something they love. That is, to design products or systems that improve the life of people who need it.

Individually, they have created games that promote environmental advocacy as well as toys meant for people with special needs.

Humans of the World: Stephen from Kenya

Stephen handles a Special Class in Kenya that teaches pre-vocational skills to kids with physical disabilities, ages 6 to 18. Some of the lessons are on basic agriculture, bead work, activities of daily living, and math and language, among others.

He started teaching kids with special needs in 1994 and he believes the experience built him up individually. He discovered that though his students are physically challenged, they have different talents and can be very smart.

Stephen stresses that disability is not inability. People with disabilities are abled differently and it’s a matter of adjusting their environment accordingly to suit their needs