Bangladeshi Youths who received award from the Queen
In 2014, an initiative to discover, celebrate and support exceptional young people from every Commonwealth nation was taken. The goal of the program, established by The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, was to identify and support those youngsters who are leading the way in transforming their own lives as well as the lives of those around them. The program that taken in honor of Her Majesty the Queen’s lifetime of services to the Commonwealth was called ‘The Queen’s Young Leaders Programme’ and it was in partnership with Comic Relief, The Royal Commonwealth Society and The University of Cambridge’s Institute of Continuing Education.
As part of the Award, winners took part in a year-long online leadership course from The University of Cambridge’s Institute of Continuing Education and received one-to-one mentoring support. This was followed by a Residential Program in London, which included a unique package of workshops with prominent businesses and social enterprises, and meetings with high-profile leaders. To conclude the program, the Queen’s Young Leaders were invited to Buckingham Palace to collect their Award from Her Majesty the Queen.
The initiative was closed in December 2019. During the period, a total of 240 awards were given to exceptional young people aged between 18 and 29 to honor those who were addressing the urgent challenges facing their communities. The sectors in which they had been awarded were – mental health, education, climate change, employment opportunities and gender equality. It is pride that six Bangladeshi young people were among the few winners. Let’s get introduced with them and their projects.
Shamir Shehab was the first Bangladeshi who won the Queen’s Young Leader Program in 2015. He received the award for the organization Bangladesh Youth Environmental Initiative (BYEI), a youth nonprofit organization that works to educate, train and empower young people to become environmental champions. BYEI was established in 2009 and Shamir Shehab is the founder. Shehab is now a faculty of North South University and acts as a public policy analyst. His professional interest lies in the intersection of climate change, development, and international affairs broadly, and current work revolves around climate policy and finance.
Osama Bin Noor
With the goal of tackling youth unemployment, Osama Bin Noor and his cofounding friend created Youth Opportunities, a global platform that connects young people to valuable skill-enhancing and career-building opportunities such as scholarships, conferences, competitions and exchange-programs. In 2016 when he won the Queen’s Young Leader Program, more than 99 thousand users from 192 countries were using the portal. He also got enlisted as the Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneur in Asia in 2016. As a social entrepreneur, Noor is currently promoting volunteerism in Bangladesh with many national and international organizations.
Rahat was given a Queen’s Young Leaders Award in 2017 for his work to improve emergency and disaster relief services through training and technology. He co-founded CriticalLink, which trains emergency first aid volunteers and alerts them to accidents via a mobile app. Since launching the organization in 2015, Rahat and his team have trained thousands of volunteers. The mobile app allows people to report accidents and has led to the rescue of more than 1,000 patients in Dhaka so far. Currently, Rahat is working with AYAT Education, an initiative of AYAT Care which he also co-founded, to bring innovative health care services and improve health care education in Bangladesh and beyond.
Sajid Iqbal also won the Queen’s Young Leaders Award in 2017 for his work to champion the use of renewable energy in commercial and domestic environments. He founded Change in 2012, which has introduced the idea of using low-cost natural lighting in slums and factories. In disadvantaged communities, he has introduced solar bottle lights to 4,000 residents ensuring natural lighting and reduced dependency on electric bulbs. He has also developed solar pipe lights, which allow factories to use natural light from outside, rather than electrical bulbs. He too got enlisted as the Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneur in Asia in 2018.
You all know Ayman Sadiq, the most popular among the award recipients. He was awarded in 2018 for his work to improve access to education for young people through the free educational platform he co-founded, 10 Minute School. 10 Minute School is the largest education technology company in Bangladesh with over 3 million app users. With over 40 million students in Bangladesh, 10 Minute School envisions a world where no geographical and economic barriers can stop access to quality education. Currently Ayman Sadiq works as COO in his organization.
Zaiba was given a Queen’s Young Leaders Award in 2018 for her work to promote equality in society and reduce violence against women. She organized a number of projects in Dhaka, including an anti-harassment campaign, a self-defense program for women and a scheme to teach women how to ride bicycles to increase their independence. She established Female Empowerment Movement (FEM) to combat violence against women and promote gender equality. The organization led various programs such as teaching women self-defense in order to diminish rape cases in impoverished areas where cases are high.
The Queen’s Young Leader Program is closed but such opportunities come every year. So, take an initiative to help the people surrounding you and who knows, you may be the one to shake the hand of the King one day!