• Anna Takai is a 17-year-old student in Japan who is seeking to bridge the educational divide in developing countries.
  • Anna joined the 2021 UNITAR Youth Ambassador Asia Pacific Programme which aims to empower high school students in Asia-Pacific countries.
  • The UNITAR programme ignited her understanding of technology’s crucial role in shaping education.
  • Through her initiatives, Anna distributed workbooks to schools in Cambodia and repurposed unused iPads from Japanese schools, forming a circular system.

27 February 2024, Hiroshima, Japan - Anna Takai is a young changemaker with a heart as expansive as her dreams. The 17-year-old high school student from Tokyo is driven by a passion for education and a fervent desire to make a difference.

Last year, she founded a student organization called For Every Child an Education and a sub-initiative with the mission to increase the confidence and motivation to learn and access technology for schoolchildren grades 4 to 6 in Cambodia.

Through this initiative, Anna collects gently used iPads from schools in Japan and donates them to schools in Cambodia. By repurposing these iPads, Anna aims to bridge the technological gap and empower Cambodian students with tools for interactive and engaging learning. In partnership with an established NGO in Cambodia, she also creates English workbooks based on the Cambodian curriculum and sends them to schools in the country.


Anna’s connection to Cambodia stems from a life-changing visit in 2019 when she was among the students selected from her school to visit Cambodia. While there, she taught English to elementary school students in Kampong Speu Province and was struck by the lack of infrastructure, classrooms and technologies in the school. It ignited a fire in her to address the educational disparities faced by schoolchildren in the country.

My experience in Cambodia broadened my horizons and made me realize so much about developing nations. When I was teaching in Cambodia, the environment was so different” —Anna Takai, high school student, founder of Tection and UNITAR Youth Ambassador Asia Pacific 2021

Determined to bridge the gap, she founded the initiatives to provide educational resources – iPads and workbooks – to Cambodian schoolchildren. The concept was simple yet profound.


The path to impact was riddled with challenges. From fundraising hurdles to convincing people of the project’s significance, Anna encountered discouragement and resistance. She was told she was too young and lacked the necessary experience to undertake such ambitious endeavours.

Undeterred, she persisted, using emotional storytelling, making videos and other innovative strategies to rally support for her cause.

Anna says her inspiration to pursue her goal, despite the challenges, stems from a quote by Winston Churchill: “Never give up on something you can’t go a day without thinking about.”


In 2021, Anna discovered the UNITAR Youth Ambassador Asia Pacific Programme through her teacher. Enthralled by how the programme resonated with her values, she seized the opportunity and applied.

Launched in 2021, the UNITAR Youth Ambassador Asia Pacific Programme aims to empower high school students in Hong Kong and other Asian-Pacific countries to help the world build back better, greener and stronger from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over 10 weeks, UNITAR Youth Ambassadors Asia Pacific learn from local and international experts about the most pressing issues affecting global recovery. They discuss youth-led leadership, the United Nations and the Sustainable Development Goals, digital transformation and innovation, youth employment, youth entrepreneurship for sustainable development, and social and climate justice.

Anna says the UNITAR programme was a “game-changer”. She had struggled with how to implement the idea of helping schoolchildren in Cambodia gain access to technology but the programme gave her more tools to increase her reach, foster community engagement and create more impact – tools that she integrated into her initiatives.

The UNITAR programme taught me a lot about the importance of technology and the digital world. And I feel like my initiative would be sustained” Anna said.


Photo by YuriArcursPeopleimages via Envato Elements

Looking ahead, Anna envisions a future where education knows no boundaries, and where every child has the opportunity to thrive and succeed. Her ambitions for her initiatives include collecting about 800 iPads by 2028 and distributing over 3,000 English workbooks by the end of 2025.

For her future, Anna’s dream is to work at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and develop educational policies.

She advises other young people not to hesitate if they want to make a difference in their communities. There’s no need to start big, she says. 

Never forget the significance of your voice. Despite being just one among 8 billion people in the world, our voices and actions hold power and are capable of sparking real change in the world. If each of us steps up, we can change the world.” —Anna Takai, high school student, founder of For Every Child an Education and UNITAR Youth Ambassador Asia Pacific 2021


The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) is a dedicated training arm of the United Nations. In 2022, UNITAR trained over 395,000 learners around the world to support their actions for a better future. In addition to our headquarters in Geneva, we have offices in Hiroshima, New York and Bonn and networks around the world.

The Division for Prosperity is based in the Hiroshima Office and Geneva. We seek to shape an inclusive, sustainable and prosperous world through world-class learning and knowledge-sharing services on entrepreneurship, leadership, finance and trade, digital technologies, and nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. We empower individuals from least-developed countries, countries emerging from conflict, and small-island developing states – especially women and young people – to bring about positive change.

United Nations Online Volunteer Samuel Akpan contributed to this article.

Share with