Set up in 2014, the Queen Elizabeth II Young Leaders programme honours exceptional youth leaders in Commonwealth countries. This year, three South Africans have been recognised as part of the group.
South Africans Chantelle De Abreu, Aditi Lachman and Farai Mubaiwa are among the 200 youth leaders and influencers selected for the Queen’s Young Leader Awards 2017.
The awards recognise and celebrate exceptional young people, aged 18-29, who have made a difference in their communities through outreach work and campaigning against social injustice.
According to Effie Blythe, director of communications of the queen’s Young Leaders Programme, the award recipients were recognised for the incredible work they had done in making their communities stronger.
Other candidates were from Commonwealth countries such as Canada, Kenya, Pakistan and Papua New Guinea.
The Young Leaders group was invited to attend a leadership course at Cambridge University during June 2017. There they spent three days receiving leadership training from the university’s Institute of Continuing Education.
Following a series of exploratory visits to some of the UK’s most successful companies, including Facebook UK and the BBC, and meeting some of London’s top business leaders, the group attended an awards ceremony at Buckingham Palace and received their accolades from the queen on 30 June.
Speaking on her behalf at the ceremony, the queen’s grandson, Prince Harry, thanked the recipients for their hard work and called every single leader “an inspiration” to young people around the world. “[This award] recognises what these incredible young people have achieved – not for themselves, but for others – for their peers, for their communities, for their environment, and for those less fortunate.”
Mubaiwa is the founder of Africa Matters, which is involved in a number of campaigns fighting social injustice. Specifically, she has been honoured for her work with the Africa Matters organisation and her involvement in the #EndRapeCulture movement at Stellenbosch University during 2016/17.
Listen to an interview with Mubaiwa below
De Abreu is the founder of Educating Athletes, which helps marginalised young people pursue careers in sport, through things such as academic placements, tuition and counselling for young sportsmen and women.
Lachman is a qualified civil engineer focused on encouraging more girls and young women to enter the field. The WomEng/GirlEng (Women and Girls in Engineering) international non-profit organisation nurtures emerging female engineers. Lachman works on the GirlEng project, which encourages schoolgirls to studying science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) further.
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