Dylan Mahalingam

16-year-old social activist

Dylan Mahalingam, New Hampshire
Category: Health
Age: 16

Issue Area: Fighting starvation, relief efforts

Achievements: He started Lil’MDGs, a group aiming to leverage the power of the Internet to educate, engage, inspire and empower youth. He has mobilized children from 31 states and 34 countries to raise $780,000 for tsunami relief, and more than $10 million for hurricane relief. He has built a dormitory in Tibet, a mobile hospital in India, and a school playground serving AIDS orphans in Uganda.

Inspiration: “After seeing how small actions on our part can help the most marginal and vulnerable kids worldwide to realize their full potential, I am inspired to continue to provide the tools and resources they need to make their dreams come to fruition.”

How would you summarize the impact of your actions?

Since the founding of Lil’ MDGs in 2004, our work has focused on transforming entire communities in sustainable ways, and our work has the ability to have a positive impact on both the current and future generations. Our work sets the foundation for children in each community we work with, but we also present the opportunity for every child to be born into the community to become beneficiaries of our work, so our work is not frozen in time. Our approach on building self-sustaining communities involves the communities taking ownership, thereby creating the potential for the community to become independent and confident to create a better future for itself with the resources provided to it.