2018 Asia 21 Action Lab

Manila, Philippines

2018 Action Lab Group Photo

2018 Action Lab mentors and mentees in Manila, Philippines. 

From November 10-14, 2018, the third annual Asia 21 Action Lab retreat was held in Manila, Philippines, with 18 Asia 21 alumni participating as organizational representatives and mentors. This year's four-day retreat involved group workshops and one-on-one consultative sessions focused on designing organization structure, sharpening strategic choices, and bridging strategic intent with real social impact. At the conclusion of the retreat, participants made over 100 specific pledges of assistance to access contacts, funding and resources.   

For Sasibai Kimis, founder of fashion brand Earth Heir, Asia 21 alumni mentors pledged assistance in the form of valuation advice, supply chain strategies, and warehouse and logistical management systems. "Action Lab has provided me with new insight and knowledge into what I need to do to truly scale up my impact in providing sustainable revenue for traditional artisans," said Kimis. "I feel galvanized to explore new markets with the backing and support of the alumni." 

This year's Action Lab also allowed Omaid Sharifi and his organization, ArtLords, to gain insight into effective board committee formation, strategies to bolster non-profit board governance, and digital impact measurement. Sharifi said mentors cared for him "like a family," and felt that they genuinely wanted him and his organization to succeed. "The amazing thing about Action Lab is that you have an opportunity to learn and relearn from the successful leaders of not-for-profits and business who genuinely advise you on the next steps forward."

Emily Chew, member of the Class of 2015 and chair of the Action Lab Alumni Steering Committee reiterated the alumni commitment to mentorship. “We started the Action Lab out of a passion for service,” she said. “We deeply believe in the transformative power of collaboration between diverse young leaders in achieving a prosperous future for Asia.”

The following organizations were selected to participate in the 2018 Action Lab:

  • ArtLords, Omaid Sharifi (Class of 2011)

Originating in Afghanistan, ArtLords is a grassroots social change movement that promotes the message of peace through art. 


Earth Heir’s mission is to increase the value of craftsmanship by designing thoughtful and engaging products that preserve Malaysian heritage art forms. 


My Dream Home provides ‘lego’ style bricks to create innovative affordable housing options in Cambodia. 


  • OneChild, Cheryl Perera (Class of 2017)

OneChild is the premiere organisation inspiring a movement of children and youth taking action against child sex slavery. 


  • Slumabad, Muhammad Sabir (Class of 2015)

Slumabad provides education and humanitarian support to Pakhiwas children and their communities to ensure that these nomadic children have access to education, health and economic opportunities.


Wind Power Nepal provides energy engineering and consulting services and sells renewable products in Nepal.