The Queen, as Head of the Commonwealth, is recognising volunteers across the Commonwealth with the Points of Light awards, in acknowledgement of their significant contribution to the global community.
Every week day from February 1, 2018 to the launch of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting on April 16, a Points of Light award will be given to a volunteer from each of the 53 Commonwealth nations.
The Points of Light initiative was first established by the then President of the United States in 1990, George Bush Sr., and was launched in the UK in April 2014 by former Prime Minister David Cameron.
Almost 900 people have since been named a Point of Light in the UK and the initiative has been extended to the Commonwealth in celebration of the upcoming CHOGM.
As Commonwealth leaders gather to address global challenges and work together to create a better global future, each volunteer will be recognised for their contribution to these challenges through fundraising, awareness-raising and problem solving activities.
Youth and skills education, healthcare and mental health support, habitat conservation and improved community security are some of the areas impacted and inspired by the Points of Light volunteers.
Individuals named as a Commonwealth Point of Light will receive a certificate signed by The Queen.
So far, 8 volunteers have been acknowledged.
Sephutile Mhlongo of Swaziland received her award for improving the academic and career prospects of young people, whilst Kemar Saffrey was recognised for his work helping homeless people in Barbados.
Lionel Rogers from Fiji has advocated mental health awareness and training, and South Africa’s Marlene Le roux received her award for promoting disability rights.
From Nigeria, Itoro Eze-Anaba has supported victims of rape and sexual assault, whilst in Sri Lanka Kushil Gunasekera has campaigned for impoverished rural communities to have access to education and training.
Corled Nkosi and Len Peters were both recognised for their efforts in sustainably using and protecting the natural environment, with Nkosi providing a local community in Malawi with free hydroelectric power and Peters campaigning for the protection of endangered turtles in Trinidad and Tobago and ensuring their survival for future generations.
More volunteers will be recognised for their inspiring work within the Commonwealth in the coming days.