Jessica Dewhurst is a 24 year old human rights defender and ERI UN Youth Ambassador from South Africa. She volunteered in multiple NGOs while in high school, working with children infected/affected by HIV/Aids, refugee children, and children who have been victims of physical, sexual and emotional abuse.
In 2012 she completed the ERI Human Rights training at the United Nations in Geneva, and traveled the world as an ERI UN Youth Ambassador, promoting human rights and working alongside countless youth and organizations to bring about positive change.
Jessica holds an undergraduate, honours and master’s degree in Social Development, specializing in Children’s Rights and human trafficking; as well as an international leadership qualification from Cambridge University. Her organization has trained and equipped thousands of men, women and children to be advocates for change and hope in their communities.
On return to South Africa she Co-founded and Directs “The Edmund Rice Justice Desk”, an award-winning human rights organization which operates in South Central Africa (South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe). The organization offers its support, expertise and educational materials to various groups across the globe, as well as serves as an ECOSOC advisor to the UN. The ERJD (The Edmund Rice Justice Desk) focuses on educating, advocating and equipping youth, vulnerable groups, civil society, and governments across South Central Africa in human rights, justice and advocacy. It works primarily in township areas and vulnerable communities, empowering and equipping communities to lead their own change.
Being the Director and fire behind an award winning human rights organization, The Edmund Rice Justice Desk, focuses on educating, advocating and equipping youth, government, civil society and vulnerable groups across South Central Africa in human rights. She has worked across the globe, and holds various qualifications from UCT, the UN, and Cambridge University. Jessica She has been named a top 10 South African Inspirer, a 30 under 30 top achieving South African, a top 30 young African, and an under 25 “who’s who” of SA for her work. Jessica has also received awards from South African President Jacob Zuma, Prince Edward, Countess Sophie, Lead SA, and most recently the Queens Young Leaders award from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in Buckingham Palace. ERJD is a partner of the Nobel Peace Prize Summit, and although Jessica is often out of the country for work, she strongly insists South Africa will always remain her home.
There is a strong wave of hope moving and spreading wide across Africa and Jessica Dewhurst and “The Edmund Rice Justice Desk” is leading that movement. A voice for the voiceless and hope for the hopeless. Africa is proud of you.