Irishwoman among world’s 10 ‘outstanding young people’

A 21-year-old Clare woman has been named among the Top 10 Outstanding Young Persons of the World by a major international organisation.

Junior Chamber International, a worldwide membership-based, non-profit organisation, selected Melanie Hennessy, Ennis as one of their 2010 JCI Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World (JCI TOYP).

“It is really amazing... When you tell people ‘Outstanding Young Person of the World’ it sounds unbelievable so I don’t tell people because it is too crazy,” the medical student said.

Melanie is receiving the award for her “extraordinary work in raising humanitarian aid and awareness”.

JCI honours 10 outstanding young people under the age of 40 each year.

“These individuals exemplify the spirit of the JCI mission and provide extraordinary service to their communities. Whether through service, innovation, determination or revolutionary thinking, these young active citizens create positive impacts in their communities,” said a spokesperson for JCI.

Melanie, along with nine other people from Britain, India, Sweden, Japan, Botswana, Rwanda and Finland, will be recognised at the 2010 JCI TOYP ceremony and reception in November at the JCI World Congress in Osaka, Japan.

“Melanie’s efforts to create a global partnership of service between her community and youth in need in Nepal exemplify the unity selflessness brings to our world today,” the JCI spokesperson added.

After completing her Leaving Certificate in the Coláiste Mhuire in Ennis, Melanie embarked on a solo trip to Nepal that changed her life.

What the then 18-year-old experienced in that country spurred her to set up two charities and take over the care of 10 orphans.

“It all started when I saw how poor the people there were compared to us. Anyone would do what I am doing if they saw it,” Melanie said.

When Melanie came home she began studying medicine in NUIG. While there she set up a charity in Ireland and one in Nepal, Draíocht, based in Galway and TEAM Nepal, run by a friend she met on her first trip to the South Asian country.

After her initial nomination by NUIG for the prestigious award Melanie went on to be named as one of Ireland’s Top 10 Outstanding Young Persons of the Year before achieving the honour of being selected as a 2010 JCI Outstanding Young Person of the World.


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