|5 Dec 2022
|United States of America
|2021 Finalists Global Student Prize
Matine Khalighi, a 19-year-old student from Colorado now studying at Harvard, Massachusetts.
Matine Khalighi’s interest in helping others began in middle school when he enrolled in a community service class to research a social issue and get involved in improving it. As a result, he learned all about homeless young people and was moved by their many different stories.
At the age of 14, he co-founded Helping the Homeless Colorado, a non-profit which distributed over 50,000 basic necessities to those experiencing homelessness across the state. Today, he is the Founder and Executive Director of EEqual, a for-youth, by-youth non-profit working to overcome student homelessness through education and advocacy.
With thought-provoking digital content, EEqual encourages conversations among Gen Z about the taboo topics of student poverty and homelessness on social media as well as through events and speaking engagements. In particular, EEqual’s social media outreach has so far reached over 8 million people.
EEqual also engages hundreds of Gen Z’ers across the nation through its rapidly expanding chapter network, which allows student leaders to connect with their peers and create focused, localized impact in their own communities, with guidance from the EEqual national team. EEqual’s chapter network is now in 18 different states. EEqual also runs a Scholarship Awards Program to keep disadvantaged students on track to reach their higher education goals, whether that means trade/vocational school, two-year college or four-year college. To date, EEqual has given over $30,000 to 15 students. Every student is paired with a college-aged mentor who is not only dedicated to supporting them academically but also helps with finding resources, deciding career paths, or just providing advice. In addition, it highlights the lived experiences of its scholars to humanize the issue of student homelessness.
Matine’s work has been covered by national media and he is a three-time winner of the President's Volunteer Service Award, a TEDx Speaker, an Ashoka Young Change maker, and a Young Heroes Award winner.