Last time you heard from me, I promised I would write about every YIM (Young Impact Maker) I would come across. What I did not tell you is how the first YIM I ever met, shaped these three letters into something meaningful. So let me share with you a story.
20 years ago, in Switzerland, a boy was born. A boy born to become the face of positivity. But I will take you a little forward in time, to last year, when I met him! At first sight, Leander seemed like a shy young man. That did not last long. When he opened his mouth and started talking about empowerment, I saw a spark inside him. I was fascinated by the passion behind each word he would use to describe how him leaving Switzerland set in motion his journey to create impact, and later on enable other people to do the same.
Leander left for Bali, Indonesia when he was just 13, to attend the Green School - a place that was meant to shape him into a young leader seeking positive impact with his every step - and moved there with his whole family in order to study in a natural, holistic and empowering environment. One day, the stepfather of one of his friends met with an accident while working on the rice-fields, losing his leg. When the doctors failed to reattach his leg to his body, Leander wanting to help started researching prosthetic leg. To his own surprise, he found out that there were quite some options for people with amputated legs. However, what didn't already exist, was options for people with amputated hands. And so, with the support of Green School, he started a project named "Bionic Hand Of Hope", creating 3D-printed bionic hands for people living in developing countries.
"And so, with the support of Green School..." If only every young individual had this kind of empowerment through the education system, I reckon society would be substantially different and the world would be full of Leanders. Education holds the power to transform the course our world has taken. I had to ask Leander how education impacted his course and how he defines it. He confidently replied, as if he had been working with this question in his mind for a long time, "Education is everything you do. For me, a highlight in education has always been the people you learn from. These can be teachers, family, friends, but also just people who do what they do with all they've got. Now, referring to the schools I attended, they have played a major role in looking and being able to understand things from different angles, considering that I have always attended alternative schools (Waldorf Education & Green School). I would say I would not be here without the education that I have had, so I am very grateful for my schooling."
Having realized the importance of empowering young people to do what they are passionate about, Leander dropped out of high school at the age of 17 to do exactly that. He started building a social impact company, a platform for innovation and education that aims to empower young people to turn their passions into impactful reality. This is how 25onehundred was born and I got to meet the person who embodies empowerment and positivity.
Building a company is not an easy thing to do, there are days when you feel like the whole universe is rooting for you to succeed, while there are days when the only path you see is giving up and quitting everything. Or at least for most people. Leander has always been a ray of positivity. Even when everyone else is discouraged or unmotivated, Leander remains positive and always brings his smile to the team, convincing even the most skeptical people that everything is possible if you are willing to look for a different way. "You can look at any situation with a negative mindset and quit, and it will take you nowhere. But you can look at the hardest situation with a positive mindset, and you will make the best out of it".
I am not going to lie, sometimes it can be even irritating how one can look at all situations with a positive eye, but at the same time it is admirable and so promising for what he will accomplish in his life. Leander aims to make 25onehundred a sustainable business that will prove how essential it is to integrate youth in our society and the discussion of painting a new tomorrow.
If I were you, I would stay tuned.