Melati Wijsen is a 20-year-old Indonesian/Dutch full time changemaker.
At 12 years old, she founded Bye Bye Plastic Bags in 2013 with her younger sister Isabel, then 10, and has been leading the movement driven by youth since. After 6 long years on the frontline, the official ban on plastic bags, straws and Styrofoam has been enforced by the Balinese government (June 23, 2019). This is thanks to the thousands of supporters and loyal, determined partners on the island. Bali is the first Indonesian province to make the ban on plastic bags happen!
Melati graduated from Green School Bali in 2018, one year early and has been a full-time change-maker ever since.
Melati also founded the people’s movement One Island One Voice in 2015 where over 500+ Bali based businesses come together to say NO to single use plastics. In 2017 Mountain Mamas was established, a social enterprise empowering women in the mountains of Bali: every woman gets paid per bag that she produces and 50% of the proceeds of the sales go back to the community for education, waste management and health insurance, the other 50% help fund BBPB.
Melati has spoken on world stages such as TED, the EU parliament in Brussels and the UN in NYC. She has also been selected as FORBES top ten most inspiring women in the country in 2017 and recently co-chaired at the World Economic Forum.
In 2019 Melati completed the filming of her first feature film length documentary, Bigger Than Us, traveling the world to visit young changemakers.
Her most recent project YOUTHTOPIA is focused on empowering more young people to accelerate change by providing them with relevant skills and tools to create impact through peer-to-peer programs.
Melati’s best quotes:
“I think some people wish for change, some people are afraid of it, some people will never change- or accept change. But our generation does not have the luxury to not change.”
“Our systems need to be more people centred and impact oriented.” “Stop teaching people, start engaging people.”
“Education is outdated, traditional, and not harnessing the skills needed to anticipate the problems we need to solve.”
“…It is only natural that my next project will involve youth empowerment through education. I met so many bright youth who were doing the same, or who want to do the same. It’s about providing the tools, the skills training, the experience for them to be able to create their own change. My next urge to for change became clear, I want to create a new story for youth to believe and a new society for humanity to live in. CHANGE – It will be the only constant factor in our lives and it’s up to on how we embrace it.“
“Mountain Mamas is the ultimate social enterprise with a circular system empowering women to produce alternative bags from pre-loved materials. 50% of the profit goes back to the community where the women live to implement waste management, create healthcare, and improve education. All of these aspects making the circle nice and round.”
"Melati’s session was incredible: the most inspiring and thought-provoking way of concluding the summit. Everybody was really impressed by what Melati shared, her clear and bold vision despite her young age. It was also pretty incredible to think she comes with 10 years of experience and thinks with a real entrepreneurial mindset. The event gathered the most influential travel and tourism leaders and they were all stunned by the way she explained and articulated why and how we need to act now and change the future of the sector."
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