Winners 2016


The Americas and Caribbean Winners Runners Up

Antigua and Barbuda flagAntigua and Barbuda

Barbados flagBarbados

Belize flagBelize

Canada flagCanada

Dominica flagDominica

Grenada flagGrenada

Jamaica flagJamaica

Saint Lucia flagSaint Lucia

St. Kitts and Nevis flagSt. Kitts and Nevis

St. Vincent and Grenadines flagSt. Vincent and Grenadines

Regis Burton

Regis grew up in Antigua, went to college in the USA and then returned to Antigua in 2013. He is the founder of Nolan Hue Inc., a non-profit organisation which focuses on the professional development of young people. Regis believes in inspiring young people to reach their potential and offers assistance in interview techniques and public speaking. In addition, the group provides college scholarships to promising students and hosts young professional networking events. In the future he would like to build a Nolan Hue Foundation Community Centre, which would include a Caribbean and African history library and would offer free english and maths tuition.

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Firhaana Bulbulia

Firhaana is the founder of Barbados Association of Muslim Ladies. In August she launched a project called Breaking Barriers which aims to overcome cultural and social barriers  some girls face in accessing education and gaining employment. The project’s campaigns include Educate Girls, which holds fundraising events to offer financial assistance to girls who want to enter a tertiary education.

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Shamelle Rice

After university Shamelle worked as a secondary school teacher for four years. However, she realised that she wanted to help women who were living in difficult situations and three years ago founded Jabez House, which provides vocational training and entrepreneurial opportunities to female sex workers. Over 50 women have gone through the programme and Jabez House has worked with another 300 sex workers during its weekly outreach programme. In 2014, Shamelle started a weekly mentorship programme at the juvenile detention facility for girls, to provide them with a support system when they leave.

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Deidra Smith

Deidra supports young people to enter a higher education. During her own time at school and university she discovered the financial difficulties many students face. As a result, Deidra created a scholarship programme for high school students which provides financial help for their fees. The programme has enabled her to become more involved in her local community and she now serves as a board member at the school where the first student received his scholarship. She has also been working with groups of students to help them to realise their potential.

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Gunjan Mhapankar

Gunjan has worked with more than 20 different organisations that address the needs of at-risk communities. Through her work, Gunjan realised there was a significant barrier to accessing essential services, due to a lack of awareness about them. As a result she founded the Digital Storytelling Project, in partnership with bc211, a non-profit organisation that specialises in providing information and referrals. The Digital Storytelling Project aims to increase public awareness about mental health, eating disorders, LGBTI+ rights, unemployment services and break down the barriers of fear and uncertainty involved in accessing them, through video and digital content.

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Kelly Lovell

Kelly aims to bridge the gap between young people and the community by leading projects that encourage youth engagement and leadership development. She currently leads YOU Effect, a global youth media network which shares stories from influential role models to mentor young leaders.  She also runs My Effect, a social network that provides a platform for young people to find leadership and volunteer opportunities that match their interests and tracks their real-time impact.

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Tina Alfred

Tina coordinates the victim support programme at Lifeline Ministries, working to support teenagers who have experienced gender based violence. She helped to launch the Coalition for the Protection of Children and Youth and is a member of the Dominica National Council of Women. Tina is working with women’s groups on the island promoting the mandatory reporting of sexual offences and hopes to set up a 24-hour helpline for those seeking to escape violence and abuse. In 2015 she was awarded a scholarship to attend the University of the West Indies, where she produced a research project justifying the need for a Family Court in Dominica.

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Ali Dowden

Ali is involved in a number of local and national charities, working on issues including cancer, kidney disease and mental health. In January he co-founded an organisation called the HEON Project (Help Educate Our Nation) which aims to help poor and vulnerable young people aged 16 to 25 to attend college or a skills training centre, by paying for their tuition fees. The project’s motto is “empowerment through education” and the first five scholarships were announced in August 2015.

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Tijani Christian

Despite a difficult childhood, Tijani excelled at school and went on to win many awards, including the Prime Minister’s National Youth Award for Excellence for 2013 in the category of leadership. He currently works on an initiative called Plant Jamaica, which aims to promote sustainable livelihoods through community farms. The NGO was formed to encourage people to grow healthy produce for their families; as well as to keep their communities clean and tidy. He is also trying to launch an initiative called Commonwealth Emerging Leaders Connect, which will bring young leaders from across the Commonwealth together to share knowledge and ideas.

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Tevin Shepherd

Tevin is a youth development worker. He co-founded an organisation called ProjectCan, which engages young people in education, entrepreneurship and leadership. Since 2012 Tevin has been the second Vice President for Education of the St. Lucia National Youth Council. In 2013 he began working to revive student councils in all secondary schools. The council also implemented the Lucian Leaders Summit, which has trained over 300 students in leadership skills. Tevin’s commitment to access to education led him to create the Hon. Mario Mitchel NYC Fund, which provides scholarships to students.

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Trevis Belle

Trevis grew up in an underprivileged community, but was determined to make a difference to society. As a result he founded the group MADE (Making A Difference Everywhere), as a means to improve the area in which he lived. The group has taken on a number of projects including planting trees, beach cleaning and creating gift baskets for the elderly. Trevis also created the MADE Mentoring Programme to help students who may be struggling at school. In 2015 the group initiated an anti-bullying campaign, during which they visited schools to highlight the issue.

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Dillon Ollivierre

As a teacher Dillon tries to inspire young people, both in the classroom and beyond, to become model citizens. As well as discussing the concerns of his students with them, Dillon is a poet and has written about a number of issues young people face, such as suicide, domestic abuse and crime. He is also the director of an NGO called Rise Up Bequia Inc., which was set up to help people affected by the country’s 2013 floods. The group organised a concert to raise money for the victims and provided children with school supplies. Members also held a Talent Expo where participants had the chance to perform with established local artists.

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Barbados flagBarbados

  • Asha Farrell

Belize flagBelize

  • Everett Cayron Nunez
  • Ricky Cunil

Canada flagCanada

  • Jozef Kosc
  • Shereen Anis

Jamaica flagJamaica

  • Kevaughn Ellis
  • Nicholas Kee

Saint Lucia flagSaint Lucia

  • Krista Charles
  • Wilton Jeremie

St. Kitts and Nevis flagSt. Kitts and Nevis

  • Patrice Harris

Europe Winners Runners Up

Katerina Gavrielidou

Katerina is dedicated to promoting education and youth empowerment. In 2012 she began volunteering at Cyprus Youth Council and works to raise awareness of youth opportunities both locally and nationally. Katerina is part of the World Innovation Summit for Education, a programme run by Harvard and Yale Universities and Babson College. She is helping to develop PANTOK, a social initiative that provides home schooling to children in a Kenyan refugee camp.

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Annabelle Xerri

Annabelle is a spokesperson for the Deaf community in her country. She is a board member of the Deaf People Association Malta and works with the authorities to ensure that deaf people have equal opportunities to enable them to live independently. Annabelle has been deaf since the age of six and writes about her personal experiences in the media and on social media. She gives motivational talks to students in schools and meets with local families to offer them advice and support. She uses Maltese Sign Language and lip reading to attend conferences where she represents the Deaf community.

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Sara Ezabe Malliue

Sara is a Muslim who works hard to promote a more diverse and inclusive society. She is a law student at the University of Malta, but has faced some discrimination because of her faith. This has taught her the importance of community representation and the role young people play in society. This year she launched a social media anti-discrimination campaign to combat racism, xenophobia and to support anyone in the country who feels discriminated against. Sara hopes to work with the Ministry of Education to raise awareness of these issues.

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Adam Bradford

Adam was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, a form of autism, at the age of 11. He was determined to set up his own business and gained a place at the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy. He launched an IT social enterprise and set up a mentoring and business challenge in his home town of Sheffield. He has since supported more than 1,000 young people to set up community projects, social enterprises and campaigns for social good. Adam also works to raise awareness of autism and gambling addiction and has worked with young ex-offenders to turn their lives around.

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Ashleigh Porter-Exley

Ashleigh is an ambassador for apprenticeships and enterprising skills, at both a local and national level. She gained her first part-time job at the age of 13 and three years later took up an apprenticeship in accountancy. She was then chosen out of 38,000 young people as the winner of the BBC’s Young Apprentice programme. Ashleigh now works to promote the benefits of apprenticeships in schools and colleges and is an ambassador of the National Enterprise Challenge as well as IKIC, a local scheme which promotes enterprising skills to young people. She has spoken to more than 30,000 young people to encourage them to work hard to achieve their goals.

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Ella Mckenzie

Ella is a young adult carer, who has been looking after her mother, who has fibromyalgia, since the age of 17. When Ella lost her father at the age of 18 she started attending a local Young Adult Carer group. She now works with the Carers Trust on a range of projects and has addressed MPs about the needs of young carers. Ella has also worked on a London-wide consultation on carers and is a member of the About Time steering group, which make funding decisions on carers projects. She runs the Take the Lead project at Carers Trust Cambridgeshire, a leadership project for Young Adult Carers.

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Malta flagMalta

  • Farah Abdi

United Kingdom flagUnited Kingdom

  • Alex Holmes
  • Chrisann Jarrett
  • Holly Bantleman
  • Lauren Read
  • Ollie Forsyth
  • Patrick Mugiraneza

Africa Winners Runners Up

Moitshepi Matsheng

Moitshepi lost her mother to AIDS at the age of six. She decided to use her story to make a difference in her country and co-founded Young 1ove which aims to educate students about HIV/AIDS and ‘sugar daddies’. The group has more than 60 young people who lead classes on these issues which are often difficult to talk about. Young 1ove has  worked with over 32,000 students and has received a mandate from the Ministry of Education to reach every girl in Botswana. The Ministry of Health has also named Young 1ove as the HIV/AIDS Prevention Initiative of the Year.

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David Morfaw

As a child, David watched his parents struggle to buy food and pay his school fees. Despite having health problems and being dyslexic, David started his first micro-business aged eight selling water. In 2011 he created Poult-Vault, a social enterprise which tackles the problems of malnutrition and hunger by supplying chickens as interest-free loans to women and young people. The owners can then sell their produce to pay for the chickens. David also created a barter system so farmers can pay for their children’s education using crops.

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Paul-Miki Akpablie

Paul-Miki is the founder and CEO of Kadi Energy, a social business that provides the opportunity for Ghanaiansand other young Africans to empower themselves through business and reliable energy. It aims to reduce the costs of charging mobile phones, laptops and lamps. Paul-Miki came up with the idea in 2013 after discovering some people were spending a large amount of their income on charging their mobile phones. The Ray 10 charger contains sufficient power to keep a mobile phone on standby mode for seven days. Paul-Miki hopes to impact the lives of 7 million families through this innovation.

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Alex Mativo

After witnessing problems in his community caused by toxic pollutants from electronic waste, Alex decided that he wanted to tackle the growing environmental problem facing his country. As a result of the pollutants released when waste was disposed of incorrectly, life expectancy in the area was reduced and health complications were common. In response to the problem Alex founded E-lab, a start-up that aims to reduce electronic waste in Africa by making art, fashion and other innovative products out of it. The organisation also promotes a culture of safe and responsible e-waste disposal.

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Peris Bosire

Peris grew up in a farming community and from an early age observed that most farmers lack access to credit to help them make the most of modern agricultural techniques. After graduating from university, Peris co-founded FarmDrive which aims to bridge the funding gap between farmers and financial institutions. Using technology on simple mobile phones, it keeps records and builds credit profiles for farmers. Farmers now have access to reliable, digital, financial services and they are able to save some of their earnings. Over 800 farmers are using the platform and 3,000 more are due to start in the next six months.

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Susan Mueni Waita

Susan volunteers as the field coordinator for the girls’ programme of an NGO called Caroline for Kibera. She coordinates and monitors its activities including organising team building and training ‘safe space’ leaders who speak to girls about sexual and reproductive health. She has become a role model to girls in her community and aims to reach and educate as many girls as she possibly can.

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Maletsabisa Molapo

Maletsabisa is a computer engineer and led the team that founded the Her Chance to Be Foundation, an organisation committed to improving the lives of women and girls in Lesotho. The foundation supports girls from rural areas to go to Lesotho’s top schools with scholarships and mentoring. She is also the founder and lead researcher of the Bophelo Haeso Project, which uses mobile technologies to support health education in rural Lesotho.

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Asante Mzungu

Asante wants to ensure that young people can benefit from education. In 2013 he began a project distributing books, stationery and uniforms to a primary school with more than 2,000 students. Two years later he started working for Malawi Youth Agents of Change, which aims to help young people from disadvantaged households to acquire entrepreneurial and leadership skills. He also received admission to the African Leadership Academy, which selects some of the most outstanding young leaders from across Africa. After seeing the increasing cost of text books, Asante created a cheaper guide for international GCSE mathematics students and set up the African Publishing Company to produce it.

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Madalo Banda

From a young age Madalo discovered the benefits of using writing as an outlet to express her feelings. After becoming a law student at the University of Malawi, Madalo co-founded Loud Ink. The organisation aims to address HIV/AIDS, child abuse and other social issues by providing a platform for young people to express their feelings through creative writing. The group is currently working with five secondary schools. Members also hope to raise awareness of the lack of library books in many schools by publishing an anthology of the stories they have collected from students.

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Deegesh Maywah

Deegesh has always been interested in community development and completed a Master’s degree in public health in the United Kingdom. During his time in the country he encountered a person living with a disability working in a supermarket. After seeing the difference it made to that individual’s life, Deegesh returned home and co-founded Employ-Ability which aims to help people living with disabilites to enter the workforce. Since it began, the organisation has helped 186 people into employment and trained more than 250 people to live  independently. Deegesh also works with employers to encourage them to hire people living with disabilites.

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Drucila Meireles

Drucila is working to end domestic violence in her community. She is the Programmes Officer for LeMuSICa, an NGO which advocates for women and vulnerable young people and supports clients who are victims of domestic violence. Drucila is responsible for a team of six officers and her work includes supporting women in court; training girls’ clubs in the community and schools about equality and accompanying people living with HIV/AIDS to hospital for checkups. She also holds community meetings for both men and women to talk about the problems the community is facing and to find possible solutions.

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Imrana Alhaji Buba

Imrana is the founder of an organisation which encourages peace building. Since 2010 he has partnered with local groups to visit surrounding villages to carry out community building and youth education programmes. His organisation now has more than 600 members. Imrana also offers training for unemployed young people. He has been selected for the Generation Change Fellowship of the United States Institute of Peace and was also inducted into the Global Alliance for Youth Leaders. Imrana  offers training for unemployed young people to help them channel their potential in order to maximise the community building work he has carried out.

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Olanrewaju Adeloye

Olanrewaju has always had an interest in health care and went to university to study medical physiology. Three years later he worked as an intern at a small primary health centre, in a deprived area, which served over 12,000 pregnant mothers and newborns a month. As a result of this experience he co-founded SaferMom; a startup which uses low cost mobile technologies (SMS, voice services and apps) to engage mothers with health information through pregnancy and their baby’s early years. More than 900 women in nine rural communities now use this service.

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Olumide Femi Makanjuola

Olumide has been working for almost a decade in the sphere. His work includes offering sexual health and human rights education and services to LGBTI+ persons in Nigeria. In 2013 he helped produce a documentary on the impact of the same sex marriage prohibition law on LGBTI+ persons called Veil of Silence, which has been screened in over 14 countries. Olumide has spoken about his work at the European Union Parliament, European Asylum Support Office, the World Pride Human Rights Conference and other related forums.

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Nancy Sibo

In 2014 Nancy was named the first ever Ms Geek in Rwanda for an app. she developed called Mobile Cow.  The app. helps livestock farmers to monitor the estrous cycle of their cows and improve productivity by linking them to the market. She also trains farmers in agroecology (sustainable agriculture) in order to reduce poverty and enhance food security. Nancy is the co-founder of the Miheha bag initiative, which uses recycled plastic drinking straws to create products such as handbags, earrings and belts. As well as being environmentally friendly, the project enables vulnerable women to make an income for themselves.

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Angelique Pouponneau

Angelique co-founded the Small Islands Developing States (SIDS) Youth AIMS Hub Seychelles, which works to preserve the environment. The sustainable development of small islands is particularly important to Angelique and her organisation has successfully helped to teach young people about the role they can play in caring for their country. The group is currently running a Seychelles Free from Plastic Bags campaign. Angelique was also elected as a speaker of the Seychelles National Youth Assembly where she has raised awareness of the importance of including young people in decision making. Angelique hopes to increase access to education, information and training to the LGBTI+ community to help improve their access to economic services.

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Howard Nelson-Williams

During his time at medical school, Howard helped to create a national medical students association in Sierra Leone (SLEMSA) which aims to provide a forum for students to promote health in their communities. After graduating he became an intern at a surgical referral centre, before going on to study for a Master’s in Public Health degree at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the US. Since the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, Howard has dedicated his time to advocacy and research into controlling the spread of the disease and working on how to rebuild the country’s healthcare system.

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Jessica Dewhurst

Jessica started volunteering in NGO camps at the age of 15, supporting refugees, young people and children living with HIV/AIDS and victims of physical, emotional and sexual abuse. At 18 she became the youth co-ordinator for The Edmund Rice Network for South Africa, training young people to start community-based projects. In 2013 she co-founded The Social Justice & Advocacy Desk for South Central Africa. The organisation offers services including skills courses to help vulnerable young people find employment; an In-Reach Programme which trains, mentors and provides housing for young people; and human rights training.

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Lethabo Ashleigh Letube

Lethabo grew up in the Langa township in Cape Town. She is involved in Project Playground, a play centre that give pupils a place to go after school. The children take part in activities including dance, football and drama and receive a hot meal each day. Lethabo is the Chairwoman of a violence and crime intervention initiative called Great Corner Lugna Gatan. The programme aims to give young people a second chance and tries to improve local communities. Young people who are using drugs or alcohol are offered classes to help them to turn their lives around.

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Rachel Nungu

Rachel is a doctor and the national co-ordinator of a medical programme to help children who are born with clubfoot. The programme uses a non-surgical method called the Ponseti method to treat patients. Children born with clubfoot are often hidden away, so Rachel has built good relationships with community leaders to spread awareness of the condition and its treatment. She has contributed to the establishment of partnerships with clinics in different regions and has trained staff. So far, more than 100 children have been treated, and in the future the group hopes to help more of the 3,000 children who are born with the condition each year.

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Josephine Nabukenya

Josephine was born HIV positive and attends the Makerere University and Johns Hopkins University (MU-JHU) research centre, which aims to reduce mother-to-child transmission of HIV. With a group of friends she created a group called MUJHU Young Generation Alive (YGA) in response to the fact that young people with HIV/AIDS have different psychosocial needs to their parents. YGA has more than 200 members. Josephine’s role includes planning support meetings, computer skills training and running music, dance and drama groups. She also advocates for paediatric HIV/AIDS care and works to combat stigma.

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Botswana flagBotswana

  • Katlego Kolanyane-Kesupile

Cameroon flagCameroon

  • Arielle Kitio
  • Theresa Morfaw

Ghana flagGhana

  • Abigail Agbosu
  • Banasco Seidu Nuhu
  • Dennis Kofi Padi Borti
  • Kwadwo (Kojo) Sarpong
  • Portia Dery
  • Sweetie Anang

Kenya flagKenya

  • Antonia Narengi
  • Bryan Wanyama
  • Carryl Masibo
  • Catherine Nyambura
  • Emmanuel Ekai Nabenyo
  • Grace Mageka
  • Irene Mwangi
  • Jacinter Ouma
  • Marvine Loyce Ochieng

Lesotho flagLesotho

  • Lehlohonolo Mohola
  • Maalina Flory Molumo

Mauritius flagMauritius

  • Shabbir Esmael

Nigeria flagNigeria

  • Charles Immanuel Akhimien
  • Chijindu Umunnakwe
  • Godspower Oboido
  • Ijeoma Idika-Chima
  • John Oluwadero
  • Kate Ekanem
  • Victoria Ibiwoye
  • Wemimo Abbey

Rwanda flagRwanda

  • Emmanuel Nshimiyimana
  • Jean Claude Muhire

South Africa flagSouth Africa

  • Busisiwe Msimango
  • Dean Benjamin
  • Khanya Funde
  • Sakhile Mngadi
  • Sechaba Nkitseng
  • Tokologo Phetla
  • Tshepo Seloane
  • Tshimangadzo Tshikomba

Tanzania flagTanzania

  • Elizabeth Kitange
  • Fortunatus Ekklesiah
  • Hasna Ally
  • Marko Hingi
  • Petrider Paul
  • Vick John Vigero

Uganda flagUganda

  • Brownie Ebal
  • Charles Batte
  • Nakandi Haawah
  • Nulu Naluyombya
  • Peter Ochieng
  • Rose Ndagire
  • Sharifah Nabambejja
  • Stuart Akua

Asia Winners Runners Up

Osama Bin Noor

Osama is the co-founder of Youth Opportunities, an online platform which advertises scholarships, internships and conferences. Osama came up with the idea after realising that many young people miss out on life-changing opportunities simply because they are not aware of them. The team now highlights prospects from NGOs, businesses and universities from around the world and the platform is used by 50,000 young people. Osama is also the resource co-ordinator of Volunteer for Bangladesh Dhaka District, which offers young people the chance to take part in community service programmes. He hosts Teen Tekka, a popular radio show dedicated to teenagers in Bangladesh.

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Kartik Sawhney

Kartik is passionate about universal access to education. Although he was born blind, Kartik excelled in science and technology at school. However, he discovered that blind students were prevented from pursuingscience after grade 10. After appealing, Kartik enrolled as India’s first grade 11 blind science student. He faced similar challenges when trying to enter engineering colleges, so in 2013 he took up a scholarship at Stanford University in the USA. Kartik founded Project STEMAccess, which offers hands-on science workshops in India, as well as virtual training sessions. He is working on a portal that will allow students to convert textbooks into their desired accessible format.

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Neha Swain

Neha has worked as a youth facilitator for five years. Two years ago she co-founded an NGO called Rubaroo (which means ‘coming face-to-face’). The organisation aims to provide an inclusive space for young people, irrespective of their socio-economic background to develop their leadership skills through interactive workshops. The team provides workshops in schools which cannot afford such programmes free of charge. They have so far worked with nearly 2,000 young people in the city of Hyderabad.

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Calvin Yoong Shen Woo

Calvin believes in the power of education to change lives. He is the head of programmes at SASTRA Education Development, a social enterprise that aims to improve education and reduce poverty. Calvin helps marginalised young people in Malaysia by providing them with career planning and academic workshops. He is also interested in national unity and, in partnership with the National Unity Youth Fellowship and the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs, has met with community leaders to understand some of the problems they face. He was also the chief co-ordinator of a National Unity Conference in 2015 for young leaders. In addition, he was an academic Fellow on Social Entrepreneurship and Economic Development under the US State Department Young South East Asian Initiative at the University of Connecticut.

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Safaath Ahmed Zahir

Safaath helps to empower women in the workplace. She gained an internship at a capital market regulatory authority. During her time there she spoke at a seminar promoting the initiative of women joining corporate boards. She was then invited to become the Secretary General of Women on Boards Maldives. Members work to encourage the government and businesses to consider broader female participation in their organisations. Safaath hopes to empower Maldivian women, open a day care centre for children and will release a documentary about women in business in the Maldives.

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Muhammad Usman Khan

Muhammad is dedicated to helping all children to receive an education. After attending the British Council’s Active Citizens Programme, he designed an educational programme called Back to Life Edutainment for street children. He promoted the programme using social media and managed to encourage more than 500 young people to voluntarily implement the project in four cities. Muhammad also founded the BEYLI Organisation, which aims to educate and support underprivileged young people. He then returned to his home village and set up the Rethinking Education community school and created a programme called Edupowerment, which teaches students computer skills, English language skills and peace education.

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Zainab Bibi

Zainab is a keen environmentalist, with a strong interest in renewable energy. In 2013 she established the Pakistan Society for Green Energy to increase awareness of green energy solutions. She then successfully managed to develop a bioethanol (a bio-fuel) from waste tissue paper, which could help to provide cleaner energy. Zainab also introduced into Pakistan, from the US, a plant species that produces bioethanol (biodiesel). ‘Camelina sativa’ has a short growth cycle and a greater resistance to drought, which means that it can be grown in desert areas in Pakistan.

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Mark Jin Quan Cheng

Mark started Green Xchange in 2001, which led to co-founding Avelife, to protect the environment and at the same time working to tackle poverty in his community. Green Xchange is a social-environmental programme, where disadvantaged elderly people who collect recyclables can exchange them for necessities like rice, oil and sugar. The project has been extended to Brunei and the Philippines and Aveline is the largest social-environment charity based in Singapore. Mark now sits on a number of government committees and also started Green Prints, an award-winning environmentally friendly printing social-enterprise.  He also works for Singapore Youth Climate Action, an annual youth mentoring programme educating young people on international climate change issues.

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Nushelle De Silva

Nushelle works on peace and reconciliation projects having been deeply affected by her country’s civil war. She uses the arts to generate dialogue between ethnically diverse young people and in 2012 founded Building Bridges, a series of weekly arts workshops, to encourage dialogue between young people in recently rehabilitated communities. She is currently completing a PhD in architectural history, focusing specifically on the relationship between built space and the politics of its construction. Nushelle believes that designers who can think critically about these areas can play a vital role in processes of post-war reconstruction and she uses her academic training to faciliate discussions on these topics.

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Bangladesh flagBangladesh

  • Rakibul Hasan

India flagIndia

  • Aarti Naik
  • Charnita Arora
  • Srikanth Bolla

Malaysia flagMalaysia

  • Linley Chai

Pakistan flagPakistan

  • Bilawal Jamshed
  • Fakiha Ali

Singapore flagSingapore

  • Arjun Mehrotra

Sri Lanka flagSri Lanka

  • Hemamali Yasintha Rathnayake
  • Poornima Meegammana
  • Shiromi Wathsala Samarakoon

The Pacific Winners Runners Up

Alexander Stonyer-Dubinovsky

For the last two years Alexander has been working to find a solution to the underperformance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in literacy. He co-founded Bawurra Foundation to help close the literacy gap, by celebrating Indigenous culture and making it a source of pride for students. The programme combines culturally significant stories written by Indigenous Elders with hand-held e-book technology, which is donated to school libraries that need it. Alexander is the foundation’s chairman and his team has raised more than $1,000 dollars to complete a trial -study and hope to be able to expand the programme nationally in 2016.

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Jacob Thomas

Jacob works to promote equality for all and has worked with federal and state government representatives to develop the support available to the LGBTI+ community. Jacob has delivered a TEDx talk at the Queensland University of Technology on gender equality and has worked with UN Youth Australia to develop its LGBTI+ Human Rights Summit, an event that encourages high school students to support equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and asexual community. Jacob’s work is currently focused on reducing the rate at which young LGBTI+ identifying people attempt suicide and assisting accessibility to primary healthcare services.

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Luisa Tuilau

Luisa works to raise awareness of the needs of young people. She studies psychology and law at the University of the South Pacific and is President of its Law Association. She has attended a number of youth leadership forums where she has spoken on issues including education, policing and entrepreneurship. At university, Luisa co-founded a group called Youngsolwara (One Ocean) which consists of students from each of the 12 Pacific Island Member Countries. They use art, poetry, traditional dance and native languages to increase awareness among other students of issues such as climate change and women’s rights.

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Tabotabo Auatabu

Tabotabo works as a counsellor in a secondary school. He is an advocate of positive parenting and counselling and conducts workshops for teachers, health professionals and women’s associations. He believes in the crucial importance of education for young people and seeks to end violence against children. He works closely with the country’s Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Women, Youth and Social Affairs to implement programmes in the community.

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Unique Harris

Unique has always had an interest in international relations and politics. She works for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and rose to Assistant Director in two years. She is now in her first posting as Vice-Consul in Brisbane, Australia. As the mother of a three-year-old son, Unique is keen to support other working mothers, particularly as Nauru has a high rate of teenage pregnancy. Unique works to encourage mothers to create small businesses and to contribute to the community with their skills and talent. She is passionate about rugby and is a founding member and Secretary of the Nauru Rugby Union (NRU). She is also the only female on the Executive Board.

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Brad Olsen

Brad is an advocate for young people. He spent four years on the Whangarei District Council Youth Advisory Group, where he offered advice on policies which affect young people, and is a Youth Ambassador for UNICEF NZ, providing views around children’s rights. He has also volunteered with Commonwealth Youth New Zealand, to raise awareness of the Commonwealth. At the age of 17, Brad helped to set up a free healthcare clinic for young people in Whangarei. He works with the National Youth Advisory Group, advising government departments and NGOs about issues ranging from mental health to education.

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Valentino Wichman

Valentino supports LGBTI+ rights in the Cook Islands and is Secretary of the Te Tiara Association; the Cook Islands’ only LGBTI+ association. After helping to draft the Cook Islands Youth Policy, she wants to spend the year as a Queen’s Young Leader working with policy makers to bring LGBTI+ legislation into line with that of New Zealand and to develop support services for the LGBTI+ community in the Cook Islands. In addition Valentino plays a key role in other community groups, including The Cook Islands Prostate Foundation and the Rotaract club of Rarotonga, which offers young people aged 18 to 30 the chance to make a difference in their neighbourhood.

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Seini Fisi’Ihoi

Seini is involved in a number of community and civil society groups in Papua New Guinea. She volunteers for three local NGOs, offering her administration and finance skills. The organisations she supports include Leadership PNG, which provides learning programmes for young leaders, and the Advancing PNG Women Leaders Network, which supports women in management. She is also a member and speaker for Transparency International PNG Inc., a coalition against corruption. She has represented women on a number of panels, speaking on the topics of mentoring and leadership.

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Nolan Salmon Parairua

In 2010 Nolan founded the Solomon Islands Youth Strive Investors for Association (SIYSIFLA). It was created to reduce youth crime and help ensure the voices of young people could be heard in the country’s decision-making processes. The group works with young people aged 12 to 29 to promote gender equality, literacy, health awareness and rural development. Nolan is also a Y-Fin Solomon Islands mentor, working with young people who have left school early in order to help them secure employment or return to college.

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Aiona Prescott

Aiona is a member of Icon Creative Tonga, which uses creative arts to help at-risk young people to build their confidence and learn new skills. As well as teaching dance classes to children aged five to eight, Aiona helps to run the group’s mentoring workshops in villages. Through the sessions young people learn the importance of team work and leadership values. By talking to the participants, the team aims to tackle issues such as teenage pregnancy, early school leavers and gender-based violence. After the mentoring workshops, the young people put on a performance for their community to share what they have learnt.

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Easter Tekafa Niko

Easter represented Tuvalu in football at an international level and gained the opportunity to study at university in the USA. During his first year, Easter started the Tuvalu Project to raise funds to help other young people at home who wanted a higher education. Project members donated books and computers to local schools and in 2013 opened their own school in Tuvalu. Easter is now in his final year of college studying accounting and Chinese and after graduation plans to return to Tuvalu to become involved in politics.

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Mary Siro

After being forced to leave school early because her family could not afford the fees, Mary began volunteering at the Wan Smolbag Youth Centre, which supports young people who are not in school. She became a peer educator, teaching other women about issues such as family planning and HIV/AIDS prevention. She then went on to become the centre’s sport officer and began running different sports groups for young people. As a result of her commitment to young people, Mary won a scholarship to the Australian Pacific Technical College to complete a course in youth work. She also plays on the Vanuatu National Hockey Team.

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Australia flagAustralia

  • Ayesha Lutschini
  • Jacklin Molla
  • Morgan Cataldo
  • Sonia Lipski

Fiji flagFiji

  • Elvis Kumar

Nauru flagNauru

  • Alpha Gwein Jose

New Zealand flagNew Zealand

  • Caitlin Smart

Tonga flagTonga

  • Joshua Savieti
  • Lineti Latu

About Us


Last year a search was launched to find exceptional young people to receive the first ever Queen’s Young Leaders Awards. Hundreds of applications flooded in from incredible young people all dedicated to making lasting change in their community and beyond.


The Queen’s Young Leader Award recognises and celebrates exceptional people aged 18-29 from across the Commonwealth, who are taking the lead in their communities and using their skills to transform lives. Winners of this prestigious Award will receive a unique package of training, mentoring and networking, including a one-week residential programme in the UK during which they will collect their Award from Her Majesty The Queen. With this support, Award winners will be expected to continue and develop the amazing work they are already doing in their communities. Applications are now closed and will reopen in June 2016.


As well as awarding inspirational young people, Queen’s Young Leaders Grants will be made to organisations in selected Commonwealth countries that can show they are improving the lives of young people. Our vision is to provide opportunities for young people to learn new skills, enter employment and give them a voice in their communities.

For more information about the Grants programme, please see our FAQs.


  • Here's just four of our #QueensYoungLeaders outside Buckingham Palace talking about what lays ahead of them and the other 56 leaders for rest of the day.
  • #QueensYoungLeaders @zoejacksonltd is ready for the big day. 1st up a black cab at Buckingham Palace
  • The #Queensyoungleaders have arrived! Tomorrow they will be presented with their Awards by Her Majesty The Queen @the_british_monarchy
  • One of our #QueensYoungLeaders Tabitha Besley has been raising awareness of #dayofsilence with InsideOUT New Zealand
  • Meet Angela who promotes the rights of child domestic workers in Tanzania ‪#‎QueensYoungLeaders
  • Introducing @misshacoet one of our #QueensYoungLeaders
  • Donnya Piggott
  • Introducing Brighton Kaoma one of our #QueensYoungLeaders and co-founder of the Agents Of Change Foundation Zambia
  • Introducing Jean d’Amour one of our #QueensYoungLeaders and founder of @actsofgratitude
  • Introducing @Patrice.Madurai one of our #QueensYoungLeaders and founder of @Cupcaresolution
  • Do you have experience in healthcare or NGOs? Can you mentor our #Queensyoungleaders More
  • We need mentors with experience in women's & LGBTQ rights. Sign up now  #Queensyoungleaders
  • Introducing one of our #QueensYoungLeaders - disability rights advocate Yaaseen Edoo
  • Introducing @donnyapiggott one of our #QueensYoungLeaders and co-founder of LGBT human rights organisation B-Glad
  • Our ‪#‎Queensyoungleaders need you! Could you mentor the next generation of global leaders? Sign up:
  • Meet Alain Nteff one of the #QueensYoungLeaders – Alain co-founded Gifted Mom which uses low-cost technology to improve maternal and newborn health in Cameroon and Africa
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Who We Are

The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, in partnership with Comic Relief and The Royal Commonwealth Society, launched The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme on 9th July at Buckingham Palace.