2058. Joana Baptista
Joana Baptista, aged 22 , from Oxfordshire, is a multi-award winning social entrepreneur, youth activist and #iwill ambassador whose work aims to promote diversity and challenge stereotypes by allowing underrepresented and under supported individuals to shine.
Through ‘She Dot’, Joana has run talks and workshops reaching thousands and has launched a series of picture books taking a modern twist on a classic fairytale which aim to challenge stereotypes and promote inclusion. Originating as a group project with school friends, the books have since reached over 15 countries and been translated into seven different languages, and have received endorsements from Peter Tatchell, Miriam Margolyes OBE and Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE.
Alongside ‘She Dot’, Joana co-founded ‘UniPear’, an initiative helping underrepresented students successfully apply to Oxbridge through free 1:1 mentorship programmes. She is also an active inspirational speaker, having given 3 TEDx talks to over 5,000 people, with other notable appearances including speaking at Facebook’s International Women’s Day, for both Oxford and Cambridge University, and to HRH Princess Anne. Joana is the winner of multiple awards including the Diana Award, is an ambassador for #iWill and the Queens Commonwealth Trust, and sits on the youth board for organisations including The Peter Jones Foundation.
The award for Joana comes on Power of Youth Day, which celebrates the power of young people and is a key part of Volunteers’ Week. Volunteers’ Week takes place between 1-7 June and is an annual celebration of the contribution millions of people make across the UK through volunteering in their communities.
“I am absolutely elated to be honoured with a Point of Light Award. I remember being in school and first finding out about the awards and dreaming of having one, so it seems rather crazy that 5 years later I have been awarded one completely unexpectedly. I’m incredibly grateful to all the people who have opened their arms to me along the way, and I’m excited to continue giving back to the communities that matter most to me.”