This year, eight young Pakistanis have bagged the prestigious Diana Award, given to young humanitarians across the world.
Eight Pakistanis have won prestigious Diana Award. The awardees include three girls – Eiman Jawwad, Ayesha Shaikh and Yumna Majeed – and five boys – Izat Ullah, Zubair Junjunia, Muhammad Asim Masoom Zubair, Muhammad Hamza Waseem and Hassan Ashraf.
The award is considered the “highest accolade” a young person can achieve for social action or humanitarian efforts, established in memory of Diana.
According to the media spokesperson, with these young people who shared their views and experiences that made them who they are and also proved to be catalysts for change in their communities.
Meet these 8 Diana Award winners
- Ayesha Sheikh, 17, who hails from Sukkur, received the award for promoting quality education, health and producing solutions for sustainability in communities.
“I have been part of the executive team of the ‘Royal Entrepreneurs’ and organized youth conferences and campaigns on women empowerment and human rights,” she said, adding that she actively participates in ‘Model United Nations.
- Yumna Majeed, 23, a resident of Lahore, received the award for helping to make space science and space education fashionable in Pakistan and visiting more than 30 schools and conducting over 50 sessions.
“I always secretly held the dream in my chest of becoming an astronaut. When I first mustered the courage to share it with my teacher in the 9th grade, I was ridiculed,” she said, harking back on her childhood.
- 23-year-old Izat Ullah from Quetta bagged the desired award for directly supporting over 5,000 young people as a career counsellor and devising multiple youth-focused campaigns during the pandemic in Balochistan.
So far, Izat added, he has provided scholarships to 3,000 students. “During the lockdown, I provided food rations to 1,000 families and also ran awareness campaign”
- Zubair Junjunia, 23, from Karachi, received Diana Award for setting up a blog to share the resources he created for his own exams, completely free of charge, whilst reiterating the principle that quality education is a right, not a privilege.
“At the age of 16, going into my first set of IGCSE exams, it dawned on me: hundreds of thousands of students across the world will take these exact same exams as me and yet, the access and quality of resources available to each vary so drastically. Some have access to the very best teaching and private tutoring, while others are unable to afford even the basic textbooks.”
- 24-year-old Muhammad Asim Masoom Zubair from Bahawalpur was given the award for working on the frontline as a healthcare professional during the initial outbreak of Covid-19. He produced 5,000 bottles of hand sanitizer to reduce the spread of the disease.
“I have visited more than eight countries and have also represented Pakistan in the United Nations as a youth ambassador… I felt that our image in the world is not so good, we have to promote the soft image of Pakistan and should be proud of what we are.”
- Muhammad Hamza Waseem who co-founded the student-run magazine Spectra in 2017 and went on to publish nearly 225 science articles and mentored more than 200 students in science journalism.
- Hassan Ashraf, the 25 years old boy from Faisalabad, received the award for his not-for-profit organisation ‘UMEED’. It has grown to consist of 20 branches educating more than 1,500 children across the country.
- 16-year-old Eiman Jawwad is the youngest Pakistani to grab the award.