Michaela “Chaeli” Mycroft

Cerebral palsy confined Michaela “Chaeli” Mycroft to a wheelchair but it also enabled her to become the world’s first “ability activist”, challenging the world’s understanding of what it is to create an inclusive society. This 17-year-old matric pupil has more ability than most. At age nine, she teamed up with her sister and three friends to raise R20 000 for her motorised wheelchair. The success of this small project awakened Mycroft to the bigger picture — promoting the ability of others like herself. Since 2004, the Chaeli Campaign has assisted over 3 000 children to receive wheelchairs, hearing aids, food supplements and more, and translated their slogan “Hope in Motion” into a programme in Zimbabwe. Having won the 2011 International Children’s Peace Prize and 2012 Nobel Peace Laureates’ Medal for Activism, Mycroft will be using these international platforms to spread her message: “Always believe in yourself and know that you have gifts the world needs.”

— Cat Pritchard