Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom has presented to Hauwa Ojeifo, Isaac Ezirim and Kennedy Ekezie-Joseph with a Queen’s Young Leaders Award at a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London in honour of the work they are doing to transform lives in their communities (in Nigeria).
28-year-old Isaac Ezirim, the founder of Teens Can Code, received his award for the work he is doing to teach coding to teenagers in low-income areas; currently training 200 teenagers how to build web and mobile applications using the same tools that are used by professionals in the tech industry.
26-year-old Hauwa Ojeifo received her award for the work she is doing to tackle the stigma around mental health, running a women’s support group called She Writes Women, which focuses on mental health support and outreach among some of the most vulnerable people in the community.
In her words:
“It is a rare privilege to receive an Award from Her Majesty The Queen for the work I am doing in mental health in Nigeria. It has been a completely transformative experience being here in the UK getting mentored by world leaders, trained and engaging in top level meetings with some of the most powerful and influential change makers of our time.
Perhaps the most humbling part is being part of a network of fellow young leaders across the Commonwealth whose knowledge and resource base is far reaching. I can’t wait to see what we do with these valuable connections in the future.”
20-year-old Kennedy Ekezie-Joseph received his award for the work he is doing to promote women’s rights in Nigeria, founding the Calabar Youth Council for Women’s Rights (CYCWR), which supports the rights of women in the areas of female genital mutilation (FGM), domestic abuse, forced child marriage and access to education for girls.
The Queen’s Young Leaders Awards programme, now in its fourth and final year, celebrates the achievements of some of the most exciting young change-makers from across the Commonwealth. This year’s cohort from 38 Commonwealth countries are finding solutions to global issues such as climate change, food scarcity, gender-based violence, mental health, and access to education.
As a Queen’s Young Leader, Hauwa, Isaac and Kennedy have gained access to bespoke mentoring and training through the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Continuing Education, designed to develop their leadership skills further and ensure they are best placed to lead the way in the future to tackle some of the world’s most pressing issues.
Sir John Major, Chairman of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust said:
“I extend my warmest congratulations to all the 2018 Queen’s Young Leaders. Together with our Award Winners from the last three years, they complete a unique, 240-strong cohort of Young Leaders from all across the Commonwealth. This is such an invaluable resource for the Commonwealth that The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust will be launching a legacy fund, to ensure that our support and encouragement to our Young Leaders will continue beyond the lifetime of the Trust.
Each and every one of our 240 Young Leaders is a remarkable and exceptional young person, who I have no doubt will play an important role in shaping our future world. It has been an absolute privilege and delight to get to know them.”
The now complete Queen’s Young Leaders network forms a unique, dedicated and powerful group of young people from 53 Commonwealth countries who will connect, collaborate and change lives together for years to come. To further support them in their future endeavours, a £200,000 Legacy Fund has been created. It will be open to all 240 Queen’s Young Leaders and 282 highly commended runners-up to apply for grants that will help elevate their work and enable them to work together to tackle some of the most pressing issues facing the Commonwealth.