The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme has revealed that 60 young people from across the Commonwealth, including Virginia Khunguni from Malawi, have been selected to receive a prestigious Queen’s Young Leaders Award.
The Queen’s Young Leaders Awards recognise and celebrate exceptional young people aged 18 to 29 in the Commonwealth who are driving change within their communities and transforming people’s lives.
Now in its third and penultimate year, the 60 young people announcedpon Wednesday become part of the growing Queen’s Young Leaders community, a unique network of influential young change-makers who are coming together and being supported to become an even greater force for good.
They will receive their Award from Her Majesty The Queen at a ceremony in London next year.
This year, Award winners are leading projects tackling global issues including education, climate change, gender equality, mental health and disability equality.
Virginia Khunguni, 27 years old from Lilongwe, has been chosen in recognition of her commitment to leading initiatives to end cultural practices that hold back the advancement of young women.
Khunguni said, “Being a Queen’s Young Leader will inspire many young girls to rise up and be the change that their society needs.”
The Malawian girl is the founder of Girls Arise for Change amd has worked with community members in three districts of Malawi to form educational support structures for girls, who have escaped early marriages, child prostitution and child labour.
She has also worked with health organisations to establish mobile clinics providing reproductive health services such as contraception to young people in remote areas.
In future, she intends to set up a project called I RISE, to encourage victims of sexual abuse to come forward and report their cases.
The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme was established in 2014 by The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust in partnership with Comic Relief, The Royal Commonwealth Society and the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Continuing Education, in recognition of The Queen’s lifetime of service to the Commonwealth.
Young Leaders receive bespoke training, mentoring and networking opportunities, and take part in a week-long residential programme in London, to empower them to build on the work they are leading in their communities which is changing the lives of others for the better.
Dr Astrid Bonfield CBE, Chief Executive of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust said: “We are delighted that these incredible young people have been selected as Queen’s Young Leaders, and wish our warmest congratulations to each and every one of them. The Queen’s Young Leaders Award is designed to inspire and nurture the talent of exceptional young people from all over the Commonwealth, so that they can create and lead others towards securing positive changes in communities.
“The work being undertaken by the latest cohort of Queen’s Young Leaders is addressing some of the most crucial issues facing the Commonwealth today. We cannot wait to see how their impressive endeavours grow and develop over the course of the year to come and beyond.”
To see a full list of Award winners and Highly Commended runners up, and read more about their stories please visitwww.queensyoungleaders.com.
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