Dubai: Three “changemakers” shared inspirational stories of overcoming huge odds to improve their own lives as well as those of others at Global Education and Skills Forum (GESF) in Dubai on Saturday.

The session was opened by 10-year-old internet sensation, vlogger and presenter Braydon Bent, who set the tone for the day’s events by noting how education and the role of the younger generation have changed along with the rapidly changing world.

Next to take the stage were Mark Pollock, a visually and physically challenged athlete and explorer and the first blind man to race to the South Pole; Mina Guli, an entrepreneur and adventurer committed to global water saving efforts; and Kennedy Odede, a former slum child who is one of Africa’s best-known social entrepreneurs today.

The trio spoke about the importance of realistic optimism and the power of the individual in solving collective issues.

Pollock became blind in 1998 but still undertook endurance races. A fall from a window in 2010 left him paralysed. Yet, Pollock worked on a blog from hospital and is collaborating in efforts to find a cure for paralyses.

He said “sometimes the challenges in life choose you. What we decide to do about it, is what matters”.