Jeremiah Thoronka, a Sierra Leonean student who invented a device that uses kinetic energy from pedestrians and traffic to generate clean power; has been named the winner of the Chegg.org Global Student Prize 2021. The 21 year old is the first winner of this new US$100,000 award, which is given to one exceptional student who has made a real impact on learning, the lives of their peers and on society beyond.
Jeremiah Thoronka, a student from Freetown in Sierra Leone, was selected from over 3,500 nominations and applications from 94 countries around the world.
Jeremiah was announced as winner of the inaugural Chegg.org Global Student Prize by Actor and humanitarian Hugh Jackman; as part of a virtual ceremony broadcast from UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris.
The Varkey Foundation launched the Chegg.org Global Student Prize earlier this year; a sister award to its US$1mn Global Teacher Prize, to create a powerful new platform that shines a light on the efforts of extraordinary students everywhere who, together, are reshaping our world for the better. The prize is open to all students who are at least 16 years old and enrolled in an academic institution or training and skills program. Part time students as well as students enrolled in online courses are also eligible for the prize. This year also saw US teacher Keishia Thorpe named as the winner of the Global Teacher Prize 2021.
Jeremiah is currently developing plans to expand into the healthcare sector, which needs power to chill medicines and vaccines and create sufficient light for treating patients after dark.
Jeremiah Thoronka is a United Nations Academic Impact Millennium Fellow and Optim Energy was voted the most Innovative Energy Start-up 2020 by United Nations Major Group on Children and Youth (UNMGCY), and the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 Youth Constituency. Jeremiah is also one of the World Wildlife Fund’s top 100 Young African Conservation Leaders.
The winner of the Global Student Prize was chosen from the top 10 finalists by the Global Student Prize Academy, made up of prominent individuals who have a history of mentoring students in their studies or careers, having campaigned on behalf of student issues or having expertise in education and young people.