On 16 November, during the “Higher Education European Networking Summit” held in Milan, the finals of the prestigious “Laissez-Passer of the Erasmus Generation” contest unfolded, celebrating innovation and impact within the global Erasmus community. The spotlight shone on Nelly Adjoa Sakyi-Hagan, who emerged victorious among five finalists with her project, “Empowering Girls through Menstrual Hygiene Awareness” in Ghana.

Nelly’s project tackles the profound challenges faced by young girls in rural areas of Ghana during menstruation—a crisis affecting their health, emotions, physical well-being, and education. The consequences are severe, with many girls forced to drop out of school and becoming teenage mothers due to the lack of awareness and essential supplies. Nelly’s initiative strives to empower these girls by providing education, creating awareness, and distributing safe and essential supplies, thus fostering a supportive environment for their well-being and education.

The journey to the finals of the Laissez-Passer involved a three-step selection process. Participants initially submitted their projects on social innovation, showcasing their commitment to making a positive impact in their communities. An internal committee at garagErasmus then selected the top 10 projects to be featured on the Foundation’s social media channels. Finally, the five projects with the most likes earned a virtual invitation to the “Higher Education European Networking Summit.” where finalists had five minutes to present their projects to convince a panel of Higher Education Institutions representatives. 

What is the “Laissez-Passer of the Erasmus Generation”?

The Laissez-Passer of the Erasmus Generation, launched by the garagErasmus Foundation in 2017 on the 30th Anniversary of the Erasmus program, serves as a symbolic passport for distinguished European talents. The contest is open to participants who are currently or have been in a mobility experience in order to highlight the often overlooked but transformative experience of international study and work.

This edition aimed to award €3000,00 to the best project focused on social innovation—initiatives and activities that address social challenges and improve the well-being of communities through the development and implementation of new ideas, strategies, or solutions.

Nelly Adjoa Sakyi-Hagan’s victory in the “Laissez-Passer of the Erasmus Generation” not only highlights her dedication to social change but also exemplifies the broader impact of the contest.