Here are 10 pictures from 2023 that show hope in the face of even the most dire challenges.
These inspiring nonprofit photos of 2023 capture people’s tireless work to make the world a better place. Travel around the world through these 10 images and explore the change these partners are creating in their communities.
1. Supporting refugee communities
Photo: Yoga and Sport with Refugees
Refugees in Greece are suffering human rights violations, including the lack of access to sanitation and food. Yoga and Sport with Refugees raises awareness for the refugee community in Greece and encourages relationship-building through events like their Global Run. Conflicts and disasters have forced displacement worldwide, affecting a record 110 million people in 2023, according to UNHCR, as responding humanitarian operations go sorely underfunded. In September, Yoga and Sport with Refugees organized runs through cities across the world in support of the refugee community.
2. Inspiring young artists
Photo: National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts
Throughout history, artistic movements—like the Harlem Renaissance and protest art from Iran—have made significant contributions to social change. Studies have shown that exposure to the arts enhances empathy and resiliency. The National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts supports talented young artists through its YoungArts program, supporting artists across 10 disciplines at all stages of development. Thousands of performing, visual, and literary artists apply to the program each year with the hopes of receiving mentorship, access to significant scholarships, national recognition, and access to a lifetime of creative opportunities. This uplifting, intergenerational community helps artists connect, create, and collaborate.
3. Positioning local communities to protect forests and wildlife
Photo: Pan African Sanctuary Alliance
Nearly 40% of all African primates are threatened with extinction because of hunting and habitat destruction. Primates play a significant role in maintaining healthy forests and in combating the effects of climate change. The Pan African Sanctuary Alliance (PASA) works with its 23 member wildlife centers to rescue orphaned and injured chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos, and monkeys from the illegal wildlife trade. By engaging local residents in conservation leadership and protecting rescued primates, PASA empowers the communities to preserve the wildlife and forests they call home. There is an estimated 2 billion hectares of degraded land worldwide. Halting the loss of these natural systems and promoting their restoration can contribute more than one-third of the total climate change mitigation required by 2030.
4. Creating economic opportunities for future generations
Photo: Aspyre Africa
For many countries, youth unemployment remains dangerously high. In Senegal, 33% of youth ages 15-25 are currently not in employment, education, or training. Skills training and entrepreneurship opportunities remain inaccessible to many. To provide equal access to vocational training, Aspyre Africa identifies and supports young people through programs like horticultural training, training in solar energy, and car mechanics. By researching, testing, documenting, and sharing innovative and best practices, Aspyre Africa works to influence both policy and practice at the national level to create more opportunities for the next generation.
5. Protecting world-wide biodiversity
Photo: Stowarzyszenie Masurian Lakes Legacy
The historic Ryński Dwór Park is home to 26 endangered species of frogs and birds. Stowarzyszenie Masurian Lakes Legacy works to protect and enhance the wildlife of the park by planting wildflower meadows, ferns, perennials, creepers, new leafy trees, evergreens, and leafy shrubs. The organization is also reconstructing the interior layout of the 19th-century park to limit pedestrian access to protect the endangered species that call the park home.
6. Providing quality and equity in education
Photo: Sambhali Trust
Globally, nearly 130 million girls are not in school. The reasons vary among countries and communities. Most girls in rural Rajasthan must work from a young age. With household responsibilities, lack of access to safe transportation to school, and teen marriage, many are never able to experience their childhood. Sambhali Trust provides safe accommodation for young female students where they can feel comfortable and able to focus on their studies, breaking the cycle of poverty and dependence on male family members.
7. Saving endangered animals
Photo: World Wildlife Fund - US
The 3,890 tigers still in the wild are clinging to survival in the remaining 7% of their habitat, scattered across Asia. Along with habitat loss, poaching is the most immediate threat to tigers. World Wildlife Fund’s Project C.A.T. is working to support protected areas of habitat critical to tiger survival, monitor tiger populations through camera traps, build effective ranger programs to combat poaching, and advocate for policy change. Tigers are only one of the more than 44,000 species under the threat of extinction. Conserving and restoring that biodiversity is essential for limiting and adapting to climate change.
8. Opening access to clean water
Photo: Drop of Water
One in 10 people on the planet lack access to clean water. Lack of water access is a profound challenge afflicting rural communities, including those across Ethiopia. Each day women and children walk for hours to collect drinking water from unprotected sources. Drop of Water built two wells within a kilometer radius of households to deliver a reliable source of clean water for over 500 rural Ethiopians, improving hygiene and saving lives. As part of the program, various WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) programs are implemented to engage and educate the local communities.
9. Laying the groundwork for equal access to technology
Photo: Business for Better Society
Technology is transforming the global economy, and many economic forecasts predict that more than half of children in primary school today will be working in jobs that don’t yet exist. To ensure that the next generation has the requisite skills for the future, Business for Better Society has developed a curriculum that integrates visual storytelling with digital literacy using applied learning to equip students with the skills needed to thrive as learners and workers in our technology-driven world.
10. Ending hunger before it takes root
Photo: Yayasan Ekoturisme Indonesia
East Bali’s remote mountain communities grapple with subsistence farming challenges. Due to inaccessible health services, limited nutritious food, and maternal knowledge gaps, infant malnutrition is a serious concern. Globally, nearly half of all deaths in children under 5 years old are caused by malnutrition. Yayasan Ekoturisme Indonesia is working to eradicate malnutrition in 3,800 families across 19 villages in East Bali by empowering adolescent girls, pregnant women’s families, and those with infants under 2 years, involving the entire family unit holistically.
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