Yuka Kawamura has won the second-annual Mazda Make Things Better Award for her “Worldwide Online Tutoring/Mentoring by Youth for Youth” project. The amiable 21-year-old international relations student from Japan plans to use the €10,000 prize money to set up an interactive online platform providing youths and young students worldwide access to help from university students.

The range of free services offered via the platform will include tutoring, mentoring, providing advice on a variety of matters and sharing experiences with others from around the globe. Yuka’s experiences as a volunteer teaching English and cross-cultural education at a secondary school in Brazil inspired the project.

“My motivation was to help these students expand their possibilities and perspectives, which are often constrained because of a lack of money or the environment they live in,” explained Kawamura, who believes education is the key to unlocking the chains of poverty and inequality. “My experiences have strengthened my will to be someone who actively changed the world for the better, and Mazda’s support is making it possible right now.”

Kawamura will receive the award on 12 May at the first of three Barcelona Challengers Conferences, whose theme is “Building bridges – how peace is made”. Prior to the ceremony, Nobel Peace laureate Lord David Trimble will give a keynote speech to the audience of international students and journalists. A panel discussion about the importance of the proper line of argumentation when building peace will follow featuring high-ranking European officials.

“Mazda has always taken an unconventional approach and we like to encourage others who do the same,” said Mazda Motor Europe President and CEO Jeff Guyton, who will personally hand over the award. “Yuka’s imaginative project shows great potential for helping young people achieve their potential.”

This year’s Mazda Make Things Better Award kicked off in December in Rome during the 14th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, to which Mazda was a leading partner. The annual gathering brings together Nobel Peace Prize recipients with young leaders to exchange ideas on how to make the world a better place. Kawamura’s project was chosen from 35 submissions made by the 200 participants in the Youth Summit workshop hosted by Mazda during the Rome event. The company initiated the contest in 2013 to support projects that use modern tools of advocacy to improve people’s everyday lives. It thus reflects the carmaker’s spirit of challenging convention to make things better.