2017: Youth Uplift Challenge
Youth Empowerment

295,484 hands generated $400,000 for youth empowerment.

September 2016 - May 2017

Over 115,000 students in 28 countries made 290,000+ hands for the Youth Uplift Challenge. For every hand you made and sent in, the Bezos Family Foundation donated $1.90—up to $500,000—to Save the Children’s programs empowering youth in Nicaragua and Indonesia to rise into a life they dream for themselves.

Challenge Overview

400,000 million youth around the world live in poverty.

Around the world young people are growing up in extreme poverty. More than 400,000 million young people live on less than $1.90 a day. Growing up in poverty means these young people often don’t have access to good schools or safe places to learn.

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Poverty can impact educational opportunities.

During the Challenge, students around the world shared their stories, and connected with one another to gain a deeper understanding about how poverty and resources impact opportunities. Teams learned that one out of three youth from low-income countries will not receive secondary education, and 20% of them will earn less than $2.00 a day. Without a good education or enough money, students saw how hard it can be to realize your dreams and ambitions.

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You reached out your hands and made a difference.

Young people around the world created nearly 300,000 paper hands which the Bezos Family Foundation matched with a donation to Save the Children to help young people in Nicaragua and Indonesia start their own small businesses. Hands were painted, collaged, knit, even 3D! Although each hand was unique, they connected us together and to young people around the world who are working hard for their dreams.

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2,000 young people in Nicaragua and Indonesia received job training.

In Nicaragua and Indonesia, young people received job training, start-up funds, and mentorship to help them live into their dreams. One young woman started a business selling chicken eggs; another group of siblings started making and selling candy. In addition to supporting students in starting their own businesses, your support trained 40 teachers in Indonesia to provide financial literacy education to thousands of youth.

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Gallery

295,484 handmade hands from 28 countries

We teamed up with L.A.-based street artist Teachr to host a creative community event that celebrated the Challenge. Teachr created custom art panels inspired by your paper hands that were on display at the Pico Youth Center in Santa Monica. During the celebration, community youth used their creativity to make street art in Teachr's stencil making class and movement in an improv class. The day continued with an all-female panel on "I Wish I Knew Then" about valuable career advice. Our youth-focused day concluded with a Q&A panel with local industry music professionals on ‘Art to Action.’ See what happened when we asked students to show the world who they are.
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A beautiful hand drawn at Hancock High School.

“We pooled money for a sawmill and a hut to house the grinder,” Martha says. “And we’ve recovered that initial investment!”

Teachr, an artist based in Los Angeles, CA, created this art piece inspired by hands made during the Youth Uplift Challenge.

The Youth Uplift Challenge team at JFK HS rallying their school to create hands.

Youths participate in the My Hand campaign at Pike Place Market in Seattle, WA.

Teacher leading youth through an art workshop at the Pico Youth Center in Santa Monica, CA.

Hands by the Youth Uplift Challenge team at California State University.

Signs from the hand-making station at Northern Hunterdon.

Hands created during the Youth Uplift Challenge

Where we came from

Hands across borders

Here are the places our Youth Uplift teams call home. Click through the map to learn more about each team.
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Youth Uplift Challenge Teaching Materials

The challenge is over, but you can still make a difference.

Teaching materials from the Youth Uplift Challenge are available for free download at any time!
Find curricula, videos, and more resources from all Challenges in our resource library.