Individuals driving change within their community

Meet the Changemakers and explore their projects

Changemakers are individuals with an advocacy vision.

They are affected by type 1 diabetes in a country where Life for a Child works in Africa and Latin America.

Dr. Peter Msinde


Diabetes Research Made Easy

Making diabetes research accessible for patients and caregivers.

Peter’s project aims to simplify complex diabetes research findings and disseminate them to people living with diabetes and their caregivers. The initiative will break down scientific knowledge into plain, non-technical language, develop educational resources and share knowledge with the community.

“When patients and caregivers have access to easily comprehensible information, they can actively participate in their healthcare, leading to better health outcomes and improved quality of life.”

About Peter

I am recent medical doctor from Muhimbili University faculty of Medicine, and am driven by a deep-rooted passion to bridge the gap between complex medical research and patients. My motivation to advocate for young people with type 1 diabetes comes from my personal experience from my younger sister who was diagnosed at a young age. Witnessing her challenges inspired me to make diabetes research accessible and give young people the knowledge and support they need to improve their health.

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Peter's Mentor

Tinotenda Dzikiti

Tinotenda Dzikiti is a cum laude of Bindura University of Science Education with a Bachelor of Commerce Honors Degree in Financial Intelligence; Certified Diabetes Educator; Global advocate for T1International; Co-Chair for Membership Committee & Co-lead for the Special Interest Group “Diabetes in Africa and Limited resource settings”- ISPAD; Africa Representative-Elect for International Diabetes Federation; Ambassador for Zimbabwe Diabetes Association; Patient Leader for Diabetes Center Berne; Patient Advocate for NCDI Poverty Network; #dedoc°voice alumnus; Editorial Board Member for Ascensia Diabetes Care; Host for “The Diabetic Mogul Podcast”; Vice President Public Relations for Broadcom Toastmasters.

''My career trajectory has been fueled by my passion to keep my team together and ensure everybody is on the same page and that the team makes the most of each individual’s strengths, in achieving our individual goals."

Luisbert Emmanuel Aquino Garcia

Dominican Republic

Mentoring program for parents of children with diabetes

Parental peer support for newly diagnosed children.

Emmanuel’s project will develop a support system for parents of children living with diabetes. The project will facilitate communication between parents by establishing mentorships and provide a space to share knowledge, experiences and understanding around what it means to be a parent of a child with diabetes.

“Creating a strong community and building meaningful connections with those who have had similar experiences is crucial to offering the emotional support and guidance needed at this crucial time in the lives of parents and children.”

About Luisbert

Luisbert, a software engineer, has been living with type 1 diabetes since he was 5 years old, just like his father, grandmother, and brother. Since the age of 16 he has collaborated with the Aprendiendo a Vivir Foundation, where he practices his passion for helping people with diabetes. For 8 years, he led programs and camps for children newly diagnosed with diabetes. From 2020 to 2022 he served as Director of Local Programs at AYUDA and the Aprendiendo a Vivir Foundation. His motivation is inspired by his personal experience living with diabetes and his drive to strengthen diabetes education in the Dominican Republic.

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Luisbert's Mentor

Manny Hernández

After his diagnosis of type 1 diabetes in 2002, Manny became an advocate committed to making sure nobody touched by diabetes ever feels alone. He has been a devoted supporter of Life for a Child since his tenure at Diabetes Hands Foundation, the NGO that cradled TuDiabetes and EsTuDiabetes. He was an executive at Livongo and Tidepool. Manny is VP of Customer Success at Thrivable, a healthcare market research agency. He also serves on the board of The Diabetes Link and the National Advocacy Committee for ADA.

''I look forward to mentoring an advocate who is unwavering and creative in their drive to remove barriers to health for children with diabetes in their country."

Renata Cuellar Vélez


Extraordinary T1D

Online community building and knowledge dissemination.

Renata’s project aims to both strengthen a virtual home for young people who live with diabetes in Mexico and also promote visibility of T1D in the country. Focusing on the power of social networks, the project will create a virtual home for the young Mexican T1D community where they feel heard and understood and can discuss everyday management issues as well as typically taboo topics which often go unaddressed.

“Representation matters, and mostly what makes us feel motivated is knowing there are more people like us.”

About Renata

I am 23 years old and I was born and raised in Mexico. I love being a songwriter as much as I love being a diabetes advocate. I was diagnosed with T1D 13 years ago and as I grew older, I understood that it was going to be hard if I walked that road alone; my project seeks to be a friend on the loneliest days. I am a speaker for the Mexican Diabetes Federation and I am part of the team at Con Diabetes Si Se Puede, IAP where I help coordinate different initiatives. I am also a Young Leader Trainee for the International Diabetes Federation.

Renata's Mentor

Mariana Gómez

Mariana is a psychologist, diabetes educator, and certified health coach. She has been living with type 1 diabetes since 1984. Mariana is the creator of Dulcesitosparami, one of the first online spaces for people with type 1 diabetes in Spanish. She has worked in civil organizations since 2006 when she joined the Mexican Diabetes Federation’s team. Mariana is co-author of Había una vez una diabetes (Once upon a time there was diabetes) a book about mental health, diabetes burnout, and changing narratives with type 1 diabetes for children and caregivers.

Mariana is a member of Blue Circle Voices. She is part of the team at Beyond Type 1. She is the mother of a teenager.

''The diabetes community needs agents of change looking to develop projects to help us all. It is an honor to participate in this initiative to promote the well-being and quality of life of those who live with diabetes."

Queen Morkporkpor Doe


Advocate for the rights of people living with type 1 diabetes

Encouraging policymakers to prioritise care for young people living with diabetes.

Queen’s project will raise awareness of the needs of people with type 1 diabetes with policymakers at a regional, and national level. The initiative aims to improve access to healthcare for people living with diabetes, with a specific focus on promoting their healthcare rights.

"'This project will contribute to a significant and lasting impact on the lives of people living with diabetes and also advance the universal right to health.”

About Queen

I’m a 25-year-old advocate for young people with type 1 diabetes from Ghana. My motivation stems from personal experiences, witnessing the impact of diabetes on my family, particularly my mother’s struggle with type 2 diabetes. My journey began as a project officer and health rights advocate, where I met Emmanuel and his twin sister. Raised by their grandparents, Emmanuel’s diagnosis of type 1 diabetes sparked my deep commitment to this cause. Witnessing the positive impact of our interventions on their lives fueled my determination to make a meaningful difference for individuals like Emmanuel. I aim to extend my reach and help more people affected by diabetes. 

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Queen's Mentor

George Msengi

Dr. George Msengi is a Tanzanian physician and a non-communicable diseases (NCDs) youth advocate. He volunteers with multiple screening and health educational programs in his community and is the secretary of the NCDs Steering Committee at the Tanzanian Ministry of Health. He also holds leadership roles as the secretariat and East African Regional representative of the African NCDs Network and sits as a Governing Council member with NCD Child. He is a member of the WHO’s Civil Society Working Group on NCDs as a co-leader of the Advocacy and Communication steering group.

''I am excited to be part of this project which will create a ripple effect. I have learnt and grown over the years, as I have climbed on the advocacy-leadership ladder, on the shoulders of many change-making giants. Getting a chance to see the same for others is every young leader’s heartfelt dream."

Dr. Thierryce Irakoze


Social and educational integration in rural Burundi

Facilitating education and encouraging policy improvements.

Motivated by witnessing the death of her cousin and uncle from diabetes, Thierryce has defended a thesis on diabetes in rural children in Burundi. Her project is underpinned by her experience working with the Burundi NCD Alliance, but her project is very personal. The project aims to improve the health and wellbeing of young people living with diabetes in rural Burundi through education and advocacy. The project will deliver workshops, facilitate peer support and open dialogue with policymakers in schools and at the regional government level.

“This project aims to advocate for transforming national commitments into actions.”

About Thierryce

I am a Doctor of Medicine, obtained after a presentation of a thesis on “T1D in rural areas”, a holder of a certificate of basic pediatric endocrinology, and a volunteer with the Burundi NCD Alliance in projects of prevention and control of non-communicable diseases in rural Burundi since 2018. My first motivation came from the death of a cousin with T1D and an uncle living with diabetes who developed kidney and foot complications.

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Thierryce's Mentor

Paul-Louis Fouesnant

Paul-Louis has lived with type 1 diabetes since 1998 and is passionate about building projects that improve the life of underserved communities. Since 2017 he has initiated several projects in Madagascar with AMADIA (Association Malgache contre le Diabète) with the aim of building a sustainable model of providing access to diabetes care and empowering people. International partners include Life for a Child, Direct Relief, and Insulin For Life. More than 500 people including 350 young people with type 1 diabetes receive access to care free of charge at 12 points of care across Madagascar and the number is constantly growing.

''I strongly believe in the power of individuals to create positive change for people living with type 1 diabetes and I am looking forward supporting a Changemaker to thrive in their mission."

George Kwayu


Insulin is my best friend,
but who understands?

Reducing stigma and increasing understanding in the school system and beyond.

George’s project focuses on making life easier for school age children and young people living with diabetes. Recognising that stigma and discrimination in schools doesn’t happen in a vacuum, the project also aims to educate the wider community.

“As an action-oriented T1D youth leader, I believe it is crucial to engage youth in the frontline to address the public health challenges and conjure the desired quality of life for young people battling T1D in Tanzania.”

About George

Being one of the first children diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in Tanzania was very challenging for me. Misconceptions, stigmatization, isolation, and lack of awareness or knowledge inspired me to fight on behalf of others to combat the lack of understanding in the community. I established the Tanzania Diabetes Youth Alliance for T1D youth to educate schools, provide peer counselling, and engage with media outlets.

T1D discrimination must be eradicated. We must accept our condition, become productive members of society, and fulfil our dreams.

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George's Mentor

Emma Klatman

Emma Klatman leads Life for a Child’s global policy and advocacy programs. She is a recognized leader within the global type 1 diabetes community and collaborates with diverse stakeholders on advocacy, policy, and research initiatives on topics including access to care, health systems, cost-effectiveness, and psychosocial aspects. There are few things more important to Emma in terms of creating positive lasting change for the many diabetes communities than forging meaningful collaboration with lived-experience experts. This year, she marked 25 years of living and learning with her type 1 diabetes.

''I am here today fundamentally because of the belief that my own mentors placed in me growing up. Their belief translated into capacity-building of my advocacy skillset and legitimizing my lived-experience as expertise in this space. Now, the gauntlet has been passed to me – and I feel such pride and duty to inject a similar but adapted ripple effect for my Mentee and the entire Changemakers cohort."

David Samayoa Argueta


The voice of experience

Peer support and development.

David’s project will focus on facilitating peer support across Guatemala and developing a network for people living with diabetes. The initiative will provide a space to share experiences and help to forge long lasting connections between both individuals within the network, and the local patient organisation.

''I am motivated by my experience as a patient with diabetes, and the situations I have gone through in my life.''

About David

My name is David, I am 26 years old and I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 9. I have gone through all the good and bad stages in my relationship with diabetes and I have managed to overcome them thanks to the support of my family and close circle of friends. These years have been a learning experience for life. I have done everything normally – studying, working, and maintaining my social life. I am a volunteer with the Growing with Diabetes Association and I hope to help them with my project.

David's Mentor

Mark Barone

Dr. Mark Barone has more than two decades of experience in public and global health, education, empowerment, and advocacy. In 2009 he founded the Brazilian Young Leaders in Diabetes Program, which he coordinated and supervised for 10 years.

He is the Founder and General Manager of the Intersectoral Forum to Fight NCDs in Brasil, a member of the IAPO’s Scientific Advisory Board, of the BMJ’s Patient Advisory Panel, of the Ramaiah International Centre for Public Health Innovations, and member of the Advisory Committee of Life for a Child and of the NCD-LAB-GCM/WHO. Mark is a former vice-President of the International Diabetes Federation and ADJ Diabetes Brasil.

''I’m excited to mentor an advocacy leader in Latin America. Access to quality diabetes care must improve. Within the Life for a Child network, the selected leader can make a tremendous impact, bringing back many healthy years of life to people living with diabetes."

What are the Changemaker Projects?

The Changemaker Projects are an initiative of Life for a Child, providing funding and support to individuals who are serious about creating positive change for type 1 diabetes communities in their countries.

Changemakers are individuals with an advocacy vision. They are affected by type 1 diabetes in a country where Life for a Child works in Africa and Latin America.

We received nearly 200 applications from dozens of countries. We acknowledge, value, and recognise the effort put in by those who applied. There is so much potential to empower future Changemakers to create lasting and sustainable difference for T1D in their setting.

We believe in the potential of every person who shares our dedication to improving the situation for people living with type 1 diabetes.

Please check in 2024 for other opportunities.

Key features of the Changemaker Projects

Open to all levels of experience

Open to all levels of experience

Some selected Changemakers are developing their first advocacy project and some are taking their community-based work forward to the next level.

Breaking down barriers to entry

Breaking down barriers to entry

Changemakers are communicating in a language they are comfortable using, either Spanish, French, or English.

Financial grants

Financial grants

Grants of up to 4,000 USD are being made to fund each project. Some budgets include payment for the Changemaker’s time developing and delivering the project.

Beyond funds

Beyond funds

Changemakers have a dedicated mentor with professional advocacy skills. Where possible, Changemakers will  be provided professional networking opportunities.

Meaningful engagement

Meaningful engagement

Community advocates can and do influence positive change for their societies and we will work to strengthen Changemaker’s legitimacy as experts in the T1D ecosystem.

Building blocks

Building blocks

Big changes are built on many smaller building blocks and we acknowledge the ways in which these projects will contribute to incremental and lasting change within communities.

This page will be updated with information as the projects progress. Follow us on social media to stay up to date with Life for a Child activities and the Changemaker Projects.

The Changemaker Projects are possible thanks to support from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

We acknowledge and thank CLAN (Caring & Living as Neighbours) for providing strategic guidance on the design of this program.

Life for a Child USA Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization EIN 47-4901579.

Diabetes Overseas Aid Fund T/A Life for a Child is a registered charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission.

Life for a Child is a program of Diabetes Australia.

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