Our international commitment was born out of the community work done in Cambodia by Catherine and Ella Bella. Using this work as a learning base, they extended their knowledge and leadership skills in South East Asia, where they focused on community upliftment and education. It was these experiences that taught them that all people smile in the same language, they learnt compassion and humanitarian actions allow for opportunities of change. The 2004 World Youth Peace Summit, in Tokyo, Japan, fuelled their excitement and energy. This was the start of a decade of international involvement across the globe for these two young women.
Ella Bella is a Masters Graduate from the University of the Witwatersrand, having received her Masters degree in Dramatic Arts and Education. In 2009, Ella Bella was nominated as the Youth Ambassador for the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) TUNZA Youth Programme and it was in this capacity that she attended the TUNZA International Children and Youth Conference in South Korea.
With a knack for languages and a passion for education, Ella Bella has travelled the globe with UNEP and the European-based GloCha Organisation. Her worldwide travels have afforded her the opportunity to share lessons of change, sustainability and environmental awareness with a diverse group of like-minded youths from all over the world.
It is not surprising that such a passionate, dynamic young woman would be in great demand. Ella Bella is often called upon to speak at events, both local and international; to educate the youth as well as older members of the community on the impact of climate change, the challenges facing sustainable environmental development and changing our lives for a greener future. She strives to create other agents of behavioural change wherever she goes.
In celebration of 2010 World Environment Day, Ella Bella was invited to join fellow African Youth in Kigali Rwanda for the UNEP/TUNZA African Youth Environment Network (AYEN) Conference, where she addressed youth from all over Africa on the importance of green community projects, women empowerment and starting with children as Green Home Police. During this trip, Ella Bella was asked to address the United Nations Biodiversity Delegation, which included environmental ministers and presidential delegations from around the world. In this, her first address to the United Nations, Ella Bella spoke on Biomimicry and Biodiversity and its impact on the African youth.
Ella Bella has presented on a wide variety of topics including The Power of the Youth, Environmental Sustainability and Citizenship, Consumerism: Putting People and Planet First, The Balance Between Environmental Activism and Action, and Green Tips To Go Green and Stay Green and The role and rights of Children and Youth. In 2011 Ella Bella was instrumental in founding a youth-focused environmental organisation called Generation Earth.
Since 2003, Ella Bella had been involved in environmental educational projects in schools around South Africa as part of her work for the Miss Earth South Africa leadership programme. It was in this capacity that Ella Bella was asked to attend her first international conference, where she presented on the community work of the Miss Earth South Africa. During her participation in various UN youth-focussed environmental conferences as well as the disappointingly ineffectual COP15 in Copenhagen, Ella Bella realised that there was an enormous gap in the environmental sector; the youth was a group that was rapidly becoming disenfranchised. These youngsters had the environmental passion and the drive to make a difference but lacked the skills, knowledge and platform to make a sustainable difference and it was out of this need that Generation Earth was born. With the support of the Miss Earth South Africa organisation, this youth network continues to go from strength to strength.
In 2011, during the UNFCCC, COP17 in Durban, Ella Bella presented the African Voice Statement. This statement on the problems, solutions and concerns for the African Continent was compiled by youth representatives from 25 African countries at the TUNZA Generation Earth Summit on Climate Change.
In 2012 Ella Bella was invited to speak at the Rio+20, Earth Summit in Brazil. Later that year, she attended the AMCEN (African Ministerial Conference on the Environment) in Arusha, Tanzania, where she presented the African Youth Position ahead of COP18 in Qatar. It was in Tanzania that she was selected as the Alternate to the African Major Group Representative to the UNEP Ministerial Governing Council.
2012 was a landmark year as it saw the Miss Earth South Africa finalists, travelling to Zambia to be a part of planting1500 trees in an effort to curb deforestation in this beautiful region. The Miss Earth South Africa “treeprint” was extended to include a number of smallholdings, farms, churches and schools in and around the Livingstone area. Click here to see more of the impact that this group of young ladies had in Zambia.
This passionate diehard environmentalist leaves no stone unturned in the quest to change mindsets and behaviour, inspiring people towards living a greener life. She has presented her vision for a sustainable, green future on a number of platforms including social media, eco launches, educational and curriculum planning conferences, UN conferences and various meetings about sustainability and the environmental challenges the youth face.
Having taught in several countries around the world, including Cambodia, Thailand, Swaziland, Botswana and the Philippines, Ella Bella is accustomed to diverse audiences, language and cultural barriers and has a unique understanding of broadly varied knowledge and comprehension levels. As the Miss Earth South Africa's educational officer, Ella Bella heads up the organisation’s various educational programmes around South Africa. The Miss Earth South Africa's key objective is to empower women and educate children across South Africa and ultimately the globe.
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