Winners 2014


The Americas and Caribbean Winners Runners Up

Bahamas flagBahamas

Barbados flagBarbados

Belize flagBelize

Canada flagCanada

Dominica flagDominica

Guyana flagGuyana

Jamaica flagJamaica

St. Kitts and Nevis flagSt. Kitts and Nevis

St. Vincent and Grenadines flagSt. Vincent and Grenadines

Trinidad and Tobago flagTrinidad and Tobago

Alicia Wallace

Alicia supports other women to reach their potential and play a full role in society. She plans to launch a programme that equips students with vital life skills, and matches them with mentors who will support them and help them to develop. Alicia is now director of Hollaback! Bahamas, a global movement to end street harassment.

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Donnya Piggott

Donnya had to overcome prejudice and personal challenges when she decided to set up an advocacy group for sexual minorities. Barbados – Gays and Lesbians and All-sexuals Against Discrimination (B-Glad) is a lone lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) human rights organisation on the island. Donnya has engaged with the Prime Minister about issues facing the LGBT community and hopes to continue supporting marginalised young people in her country.

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Denielle Neal

Since the age of 14 Denielle has worked hard to help better the lives of disadvantaged young girls and teenage mothers. She seeks to improve their opportunities and to help more girls into education, so that they will not be at risk of sexual exploitation or human trafficking.

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Aaron Joshua Pinto

Aaron and his family moved to Canada from Bahrain after the 1991 Gulf War. Since then, he has travelled the world working on projects supporting disadvantaged communities. Aaron has also co-founded a scheme to help people in Canada who are living below the breadline. The project delivers food hampers to migrants, the elderly and survivors of abuse.

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Melissa Kargiannakis

Melissa grew up in a household where she experienced domestic violence. She spent her childhood supporting her mother and siblings. This equipped her with leadership skills which she used to become president of her faculty at university. Melissa now works on a project mentoring schoolchildren and wants to use the internet to make education more accessible.

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Rosimay Venancio

After moving to Canada from Angola at the age of nine, Rosimay is now studying health policy at university on a full scholarship. She wants to run a programme to support young people in foster care to pursue a higher education in order to break out of the cycle of poverty.

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Kellyn George

Kellyn was born with sickle cell anaemia and has endured many complications with her health. Her experiences motivated her to establish The Sickle Cell Cares Foundation. The organisation raises awareness of the disease and aims to help those who are affected to manage their healthcare as well as possible.

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Leroy Phillips

Leroy became blind at the age of six and faced intense discrimination at school. He now works hard to improve access to education for all. Leroy’s achievements include speaking about this issue at a conference in Brussels, where he shared the platform with former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

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Jerome Cowans

Raised in one of Jamaica’s most disadvantaged communities, Jerome feared he was heading in the wrong direction. Realising problems in his community stemmed from a lack of youth support, he co-founded Leaders Endeavouring for Adolescent Development. The project provides personal development opportunities for young people, so they will go on to better futures.

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Nicole Nation

Nicole is a medical student who is committed to tackling the stigma surrounding disability. Her interest began after she was told she had glaucoma and could lose her sight. Nicole was an ambassador for disability in Jamaica, and has raised funds for projects including a school for the hearing-impaired.

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Javon Liburd

Javon was raised single-handedly by his mother. Despite facing financial hardship, she instilled in him the value of education. This inspired Javon to set up J3H, a project that helps young people in his community. J3H has raised funds to give prizes to outstanding students from village schools.

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Kenville Horne

Kenville is a young father who turned his back on a life of gangs. After completing his education, he started a sports programme for disadvantaged children. He helps them to reach their potential and raises awareness of the danger of drugs.

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Teocah Dove

Teocah has ten years of experience in the voluntary sector and has worked on projects which focus on gender, vulnerable women, HIV/AIDS and youth development. She hopes winning a Queen’s Young Leaders Award will help her to raise the profile of her work.

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Barbados flagBarbados

  • Ariela St-Pierre-Collins

Canada flagCanada

  • Aian Binlayo
  • Alyson Petsche
  • Jeneece Edroff O.B.C.
  • Kaitlynn Dyck
  • Tommy Hana

Guyana flagGuyana

  • Ivory Duncan
  • Leonard Hoppie
  • Vishal Joseph

Trinidad and Tobago flagTrinidad and Tobago

  • Samantha Khan

Europe Winners Runners Up

Edmund Page

Edmund left life in the UK to start the Xavier Project, a charity that aims to improve the lives of urban refugees in Kenya and Uganda by enabling them to participate in education. With many children currently out of school in both countries, the charity offers both child sponsorship and adult education opportunities

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Nicola Byrom

In her teens Nicola fought mental health difficulties. While studying for a PhD in Psychology at Oxford University she founded Student Minds, to provide peer support for students experiencing mental health difficulties. Today the charity has hundreds of volunteers at more than 30 universities in the UK.

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Zoe Jackson

Zoe set up Living the Dream Performing Arts Company aged 16, to inspire young people and subsidise her own education. The organisation now includes a performing arts school, a dance company and a charity. The charity, the Dream Foundation, engages, mentors, trains and inspires disadvantaged young people, as well as making the arts more affordable and accessible to them.

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United Kingdom flagUnited Kingdom

  • Alex Clark
  • Jessica Starns
  • Jo Taylor
  • Marion Osieyo
  • Rosina St James
  • Stayce Nimusiima
  • Whitney Iles

Africa Winners Runners Up

Alain Nteff

Alain is a co-founder of GiftedMom, which helps to reduce maternal and infant mortality in rural Cameroon. In this country a pregnant woman or newborn dies each hour from a preventable cause. The project uses SMS alerts to notify pregnant women about antenatal care and vaccinations for newborns. Alain wants the service to help up to 5 million people in central Africa.

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Joannes Paulus Yimbesalu

When he was growing up Joannes saw the many sacrifices his mother made to allow him to go to school. To honour her legacy, he set up a foundation to help underprivileged children.  The Hope for Children Cameroon project has helped more than 300 young people to get an education.

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Mallah Enow Tabot

Mallah has worked hard to improve the lives of many young women in Cameroon including those at risk of early and forced marriages. Her organisation, United Vision for Women, uses theatre and art to engage communities and change attitudes. Now Mallah also wants to achieve better sexual and reproductive health for teenage girls.

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Abdikadir Aden Hassan

Abdikadir works with young people to educate and engage them on the issue of climate change. His green initiatives have had a positive effect on his community, creating job opportunities in areas such as environmental protection and conservation. He is currently leading an effort to plant one million trees.

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Caren Nelima Odanga

Caren founded the Sisari Women Initiative to support and educate women in rural Kenya. Having grown up in a community where domestic violence, forced marriage, FGM and teenage pregnancy were the norm and having suffered a traumatic childhood herself, she was supported by the Yaya Education Trust to return to school after becoming a mother. These experiences inspired her to set up the Sisari Women Initiative.

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Samuel Karuita

After 2007’s post-election violence in Kenya, Samuel established Peace Clubs in higher learning institutes to reach out to the ‘lost generation’ of young people, who could be vulnerable to a culture of violence. His Peace Ambassadors Kenya project now has 3000 members, all dedicated to community outreach, conflict management and providing educational opportunities for marginalised young people.

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Barkha Mossae

Raised on the island of Mauritius, Barkha is a keen promoter of sustainable development and an advocate for Small Island Developing States (SIDS). As an active member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community, she has helped to set up #Seeingblue, an initiative that encourages young people to take a greater interest in the state of the oceans. 

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Karuna Rana

Born in Mauritius, Karuna is acutely aware of the environmental vulnerabilities faced by small island developing nations like her own. She attended the Rio+20 summit, where she promoted sustainable development. Karuna also co-founded an NGO that enables young people from small islands across Africa and Asia to work together in support of this cause.

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Mohammad Yaaseen Edoo

Mohammad Yaaseen Edoo was born with spina bifida and uses a wheelchair. He was denied a place at primary school because he is disabled. However a kind-hearted teacher taught him for free and he eventually went on to university. Today Mohammad Yaaseen Edoo is the leader of Leonard Cheshire Disability’s Young Voices in Mauritius. He advocates with other young disabled people for equal rights.

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Tanyaradzwa Daringo

Tanyaradzwa is a co-founder of Her Liberty Namibia, which focuses on giving young women confidence in all aspects of their lives. She is also launching the MiChange project to give girls a second chance of resitting their final-year exams. Tanyaradzwa’s goal is to build self-confidence in young women and give them a greater voice in Namibia and Southern Africa.

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Isaiah Owolabi

Isaiah co-founded HACEY Health Initiative, which helps disadvantaged women and children to lead healthy lives. In 2012 HACEY launched Hands Up For Her, which promotes the rights of African girls. The award will help HACEY develop its Women’s Health and Productivity project, ensuring women in rural areas have access to health services and training.

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Kelvin Ogholi

After seeing livestock farmers – including his father – struggle to pay for feed, Kelvin co-founded UNFIRE. This social enterprise has found a way to produce poultry feeds from organic waste such as mango seeds, seaweeds etc. It costs half the price of normal feed, and so far it has helped more than 70 farmers.

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Nkechikwu Azinge

Nkechikwu grew up with close family members who have the hereditary blood disorder sickle cell anaemia. After witnessing the physical, mental and emotional challenges it can lead to, she set up The Sickle Cell Aid Foundation. The organisation encourages people to get tested to know their haemoglobin genotype, and has set up sickle cell clubs in schools to inform and educate young people about the condition.

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Oladipupo Ajiroba

Growing up with bronchitis made Oladipupo very conscious of pollution. He set up The Environmental Advocacy and Management Initiative, which has engaged more than 10,000 volunteers in campaigns and workshops. Oladipupo intends to use The Queen’s Young Leaders Award to encourage greater respect for the environment and to create green jobs.

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Jean d’Amour Mutoni

Despite losing all of his family in the genocide, Jean d’Amour succeeded in his studies and after graduating from university, he launched Acts Of Gratitude to encourage young people to give back to their communities in Rwanda. He is now establishing a career centre offering employment-readiness workshops with a focus on social responsibility.

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Nadia Hitimana

Nadia is the health and hygiene manager for Sustainable Health Enterprise. The organisation tackles the issues surrounding menstrual health by establishing businesses that produce affordable menstrual pads. The programme also provides education to change attitudes and improve the lives of women in Rwanda.

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Philip Cole

Philip (known as PJ) moved from Sierra Leone to the UK to study law, where he joined LifeLine Community Projects, supporting vulnerable young people. In 2012 he was asked to restructure the school and home for ex-child soldiers that was established by his father in Sierra Leone. PJ now works in Sierra Leone where he directs a safe-home, four schools and a vocational skills programme that helps young people to be community leaders.

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Emma Dicks

Emma co-leads Innovate South Africa, which runs an innovation challenge that asks high school students to identify a problem in their community and propose a solution to it. Emma also launched Code for Cape Town, which introduces girls to web-building skills.

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Nosipho Bele

Nosipho is determined to help other young women. During her training to become a teacher she set up a programme called Mentor Me to Success, which provides one-to-one support to school pupils, especially girls. She wants to develop this service, prioritising under-privileged schools and communities.

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Patrice Madurai

Many township residents in South Africa are not registered citizens and without identification documents it is difficult for them to work or sit school exams. Wanting to help these residents, Patrice founded the project Cupcake reSolution. The project hosts mobile offices to enable people to register as citizens. As another way to reach out to the community, Cupcake reSolution also takes cupcakes into schools for children who have never celebrated birthdays.

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Nondumiso Hlophe

Nondumiso has been a dedicated volunteer in schools and hospitals for many years and in 2012 she founded a Global Shapers Community Hub. This youth-led hub supports the local community in a number of ways, including providing weekly bilingual reading and comprehension groups at the National Library. Nondumiso is planning to provide training and skills workshops to help close the gender gap in education and employment.

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Angela Benedicto Mnagoza

Following the death of her mother and her aunt, Angela worked in domestic service where she was abused and exploited by her employer. She now promotes the rights of child domestic workers, educating this marginalised workforce and attempting to change attitudes towards them.

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Given Edward

Given realised that gridlock on the roads was cutting into valuable lesson time for students. So he created, an online discussion forum where commuting pupils can continue discussing subjects. More than 500 students have registered so far and Given wants to carry on making education accessible for as many young people as possible in his country.

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Deo Sekandi

Deo did not know what was affecting his speech and mobility until he won a university scholarship and learnt that he had cerebral palsy. He now works for the National Union of Disabled Persons of Uganda and is very active in supporting young people with cerebral palsy. He aims to change negative attitudes towards disabled people.

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Diana Nakaweesa

Since the age of 17, Diana has strived to help vulnerable women and children in her community. Three years ago she launched Young Mothers’ Support Group, which mentors women aged 14 to 30. She has gained funding for projects to train women and children in skills ranging from knitting to shoe making.

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Brighton Kaoma

Brighton believes in using radio and low-cost communication technologies to educate young people. He is the co-founder of Agents of Change, which equips participants with leadership and radio skills. He also co-designed the Zambia U-report SMS platform, which allows young people to text counsellors with questions about HIV, AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections.

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Regina Mtonga

Regina is co-founder of Asikana Network, an organisation that trains Zambian girls and young women in information and communications technology skills, so that they can find better jobs and realise their potential. Regina is planning to link Network members to mentors in order to develop their skills further in the future.

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Cameroon flagCameroon

  • Madelle Kangha

Kenya flagKenya

  • Christine Ghati
  • Hope Mwanake
  • Sarah Ndisi
  • Tom Osborn
  • Vane Aminga

Mauritius flagMauritius

  • Goindo Nundraj

Namibia flagNamibia

  • Sharonice Busch

Nigeria flagNigeria

  • Ahmed Zayyad
  • Ebenezer Obasiolu
  • Ejike Ozonkwo
  • Joy Tony
  • Temitope Isedowo
  • Tobore Edema

Rwanda flagRwanda

  • Daniel Harerimana
  • Olivier Tuyishimire

South Africa flagSouth Africa

  • Claire Robartes
  • Duduzile Ndlovu
  • Imaad Isaacs
  • Liz Joseph
  • Michael Sizwe Mkwanazi
  • Michaela Mycroft

Tanzania flagTanzania

  • Shadrack John Msuya

Uganda flagUganda

  • Jackline Cherotich
  • Moses Kalanzi

Asia Winners Runners Up

Shamir Shehab

Shamir set up the Bangladesh Youth Environmental Initiative when he became concerned about the effect of climate change on his country. Since 2009 it has trained more than 500 young environmental leaders and set up 30 environmental school clubs. The initiative runs the National Earth Olympiad, which educates students about climate change.

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Khairunnisa Ash’ari

Khairunnisa hopes to encourage the next generation of eco-conscious adults in Brunei. She is the founder of Green Brunei, an organisation that arranges camps and talks for young people to educate them in conservation, waste management and a green lifestyle. She has also taken part in Green Xchange, a project that enables low-income families to trade recyclable materials for basic commodities.

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Akshay Jadhao

Akshay grew up in the rural farming region of Vidarbha. Here, transport, basic education and access to the internet are not readily available and unemployment amongst the young is rife. Akshay launched education and skills courses in a bid to improve the job opportunities and future prospects of hundreds of young people.

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Ashwini Angadi

Ashwini is visually impaired and faced many challenges finding accessible learning materials at her college. Committed to making her country more inclusive, Ashwini lobbied her college to provide braille and audio books and later formed a disability committee to support others. She now runs the Belaku Academy, offering education for disabled students from rural areas who face exclusion and discrimination.

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Devika Malik

Devika was born with hemiplegia, which causes paralysis to half of the body. She has overcome the challenges of her disability to become an international para-athlete, counsellor and co-founder of the Wheeling Happiness Foundation. The foundation promotes inclusion, raises funds for disabled people and promotes better access and equality for those facing physical, emotional and social challenges.

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Salman Ahmad

Salman has refused to let his mobility problems, caused by childhood polio, hold him back. He co-founded the GADE Foundation, which aims to encourage young men and women to become more involved in enterprise. It has so far established groups at 26 universities to organise its activities at a grassroots level. Salman hopes to change attitudes towards disabled people.

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Kavindya Thennakoon

Kavindya was raised by her mother after her police officer father died while fighting the country’s drug trade. Realising education would be the key to her success, Kavindya studied hard while volunteering for organisations including the Girl Guides. She recently founded Without Borders, which aims to tackle the lack of quality education and employment.

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Thejitha Saubhagya Edirisinghe

After experiencing his country’s civil war, Thejitha wanted to find a way to encourage future peace. Recognising the importance of culture, arts and languages in creating cohesive communities, he set up the Human Wing International. Thejitha believes that by enabling people to learn and communicate in different languages, it will break down the barriers between them and help them live more peacefully as one community.

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Bangladesh flagBangladesh

  • Shamim Ahmed

India flagIndia

  • Roli Mahajan
  • Shivani Mathur Gaiha

Sri Lanka flagSri Lanka

  • Nushelle de Silva

The Pacific Winners Runners Up

Emily Smith

Emily is a community and Girl Guide leader, and works on various projects that focus on gender-based issues. She has helped to deliver a campaign called Free Being Me, which encourages body confidence and self-esteem, and was also chosen to attend the United Nation’s Commission on the Status of Women. She is now working to run the Stop the Violence Campaign and its Voices Against Violence curriculum.

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Kate Row

Kate’s life experiences have made her determined to raise awareness and understanding of disabilities among children and young people. She encourages strong social inclusion and works on various projects to promote disability awareness and mental health.

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Alzima Elisha Bano

Having been involved in youth work for a number of years, Alzima set up Advocacy (through) Creative Techniques in June 2014. The organisation uses the arts to make young people more aware of local issues that affect their community. Alzima is planning to hold workshops to encourage young people to become positive role models.

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Tabitha Besley

When Tabitha came out at 15, she was helped by a school support group, for both gay and straight students. Despite being bullied, she became leader of the group and expanded it to include people in the wider community. In 2012 she set up InsideOUT, which aims to make schools more inclusive places for young lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

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Christina Giwe

Christina has been active in her community for many years, volunteering with the Salvation Army, Oxfam and the women’s NGO Soroptimist International. She plans to set up an organisation to inspire young people to take a leading role in their community. Christina believes young people who are more engaged in their community will go on to find employment and take control of their future.

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John Taka

John set up Seeds of Hope to help his rural community tackle some of the challenges it faced. So far the programme has enabled villagers to build new roads and start a potato-selling project to help pay for students’ school fees. John is also president of Spark*PNG, which supports founders of social start-ups.

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Erna Takazawa

After finding out that her sister was short-sighted, Erna discovered how expensive it was to buy glasses in Samoa. She studied optometry in New Zealand and became Samoa’s first and only optometrist. Her efforts in promoting the need for affordable eye care have helped to lead to free eye care for under-16s and over-65s, free glasses for children and more affordable glasses for adults.

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Christina Houaisuta

Christina works with women in the Solomon Islands to help tackle domestic violence. She set up a community group that makes women aware of their rights and helps them to receive training and education. Christina hopes that helping women to find new skills will enable them to find employment.

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Willy Missack

Willy studies Life Science and Earth and Environmental Science at the University of New Caledonia. As well as playing an active role in his university as a student representative, Willy has most recently been working with his home community to create a vital, sustainable water supply.

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Australia flagAustralia

  • Jordan Kerr
  • Micah Scott
  • Minto Felix
  • Nicole Brown

Fiji flagFiji

  • Teri Fong

New Zealand flagNew Zealand

  • Nalini Singh
  • Zillah Douglas

Papua New Guinea flagPapua New Guinea

  • Nancy Pela Polye
  • Simon Peheinow

About Us



The Queen’s Young Leader Award aims to recognise exceptional people aged 18-29, 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 for 2014 and will re-open in June each year until 2018


As well as awarding inspirational young leaders, 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.

Find out if you’re eligible for a grant by completing the eligibility checker here.


Congratulations to the 2014 Award winners. The search will start again in June 2015.



Find out if we can support you to help young people to change their own lives across the Commonwealth

The Queen’s Young Leaders need you!

Emily Smith Q&A – National Youth Week Australia 2015

World Health Day – Q&A with Erna

World Health Day – Erna Infographic

World Health Day – Nkechikwu Infographic

World Health Day focus – Nkechikwu Azinge

Meet Tanyaradzwa Daringo

Meet Javon Liburd

Meet Alzima Elisha Bano

Meet Leroy Phillips

Barkha meeting The Queen after Commonwealth Day Observance

PJ meeting The Queen after giving a speech at Westminster Abbey during the Commonwealth Day Observance

Case Studies

Across the Commonwealth, there are remarkable young people overcoming great challenges in their lives to create a better future for themselves and for others. Here are some of their stories.

  • Sarita

    Sarita, aged 21


    Sarita, 21


    Sarita was 16 when her father died, leaving her to look after her mother and seven siblings in the Mumbai slums, where girls often leave education and marry young. Luckily, she discovered Magic Bus, a project which uses football to teach children living in the slums vital life-skills.

    Now she is one of their mentors, giving important advice and has organised a rally highlighting the concern of child marriage, as well as finishing her own education. Many parents sent daughters to Magic Bus, and some married girls joined schools. She says, “Investing in young people like me will give my generation a step forward. Then those that come after us can take even more steps and make a bigger difference.”

  • May

    May, aged 18

    United Kingdom

    May, 18

    United Kingdom

    Whilst some celebrate their 15th birthday with a party and cake, May spent hers in a psychiatric unit.

    From just 8 years old, May had unhappy thoughts, grew suicidal and eventually she was diagnosed with depression.

    With her mum’s support she returned to school and began recovery but she was shocked to find no online resources to help her help herself.

    So May started her own website called ‘It’s Ok Campaign’, a space to ask questions, share information and challenge stigma around mental health. Today, it has over 20,000 visitors and is accessed worldwide by young people.

    She says, “I feel like it’s my responsibility to make a safe place on the internet that tells other young people that they are not alone.”

  • Samuel

    Samuel, aged 22


    Samuel, 22


    SamueI grew up in the slums of Mathare in Nairobi. School was crowded and living without electricity at home, it was hard to study at night.

    Aged 11, Samuel joined a youth sports association which uses football to help build young people’s personal and practical skills, as well as running a library to encourage education. It gave him a safe place to study.

    Samuel’s hard work earned him a scholarship to pay for school fees, uniform and books, a relief for his struggling parents. After achieving a university place to study economics, he now helps other children in his community get an education through mentoring and volunteering in the library. He is an inspiration to the young people where he lives.

  • Magreth

    Magreth, aged 20


    Magreth, 20


    When Magreth was a young girl, she dreamt of being a lawyer. But that future was taken away when her father arranged her marriage to a much older man and she moved away.

    Magreth’s husband beat her, keeping her locked in their house, even during pregnancy. She was terrified of him. She managed to escape and with her mother’s help found the Children’s Dignity Forum. The project helps girls resist forced marriage and early motherhood and instead complete education and get a job.

    Today she is one of their peer educators and has helped over 500 girls to understand their rights. With the Forum’s support, she has even returned to school, making her dream of becoming a lawyer much more like a reality.

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.