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Youth Board member Dev to be honoured with The Diana Award

Dev, Bite Back 2030 Youth Board member

1 July 2020 

Today 184 inspirational children and young people will be presented with the highest accolade a young person can achieve for social action or humanitarian efforts - The Diana Award. The virtual ceremony also marks what would have been Princess Diana’s 59th birthday. 

Established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, the Award is given out by the charity of the same name and has the support of both her sons, The Duke of Cambridge and The Duke of Sussex. 

These exceptional young people have demonstrated their ability to inspire and mobilise their own generation to service their communities through campaigning, volunteering, fundraising, fighting injustice or overcoming extreme life challenges. Although their causes and backgrounds are varied, what they all have in common is that they are changing their communities and the world. 

Tessy Ojo, Chief Executive, The Diana Award, says; “We congratulate all our new Diana Award Recipients from the UK and across the world who are changemakers for their generation. We know by receiving this honour they will inspire more young people to get involved in their communities and begin their own journey as active citizens. For over twenty years The Diana Award has valued and invested in young people encouraging them to continue to make positive change in their communities and lives of others.”

Link to watch the live event: 3pm BST on Wednesday 1 July 2020: Young people, aged 9-25, honoured with The Diana Award for going above and beyond in their daily lives to create and sustain positive change. 

• Virtual ceremony sees support from a host of celebrities to honour young people with the most prestigious accolade a young person can receive for their social action of humanitarian work around the world. 

• Virtual event coincides with The Diana Award’s release of the 2020 Roll of Honour – listing all the year’s recipients: honour-2020

• Over 184 young people will be honoured from 35 countries 

• 72 from across the UK (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland) 

• 112 international. Countries include: 

• USA, Canada, Guatemala, Jamaica, Paraguay, Chile, Trinidad & Tobago, The Bahamas, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Switzerland, Belarus, Montenegro, South Africa, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Italy, Bangladesh, Namibia, UAE, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Singapore, Azerbaijan, Indonesia, Pakistan, Malaysia, Cambodia, Australia, 


Dev Sharma from Leicester, 15 yrs to be surprised by Dame Emma Thompson. Dev is an activist working tirelessly to tackle child food poverty and improve children’s health by campaigning for an end to food insecurity. Dev’s a staunch advocate for a public enquiry into food insecurity for youth in the UK and led the national conversation that forced the government to extend free school meals over the summer. Dev is Leicester’s Youth MP and worked with his local community on knife crime, radicalisation and youth advocacy. 

Madihah Nehar from Birmingham, UK, 13 yrs to be surprised by Liam Payne Tags: children’s rights Madihah has spent her time at school working tirelessly as an ambassador for children’s rights. Madihah has created and delivered lessons and assemblies, organised community events, and fundraised to support a campaign for equal opportunities and education for girls, both in this country and in Ghana. 

James Frater from London, UK, 24yrs to give special message on BLM Tags: racism, education accessibility James knows first-hand the experiences many young Black Caribbean boys face. After 500 detentions and exclusions from school his life was turned around by four teachers who mentored him through is education. He is now determined to make access to education and opportunities more equitable for everyone, regardless of their background. He has focused on increasing the number of underrepresented, particularly Caribbean, students entering Russell Group Universities. In his roles within King’s College London and the Amos Bursary he has helped to create partnerships, has facilitated the creation of scholarships for black students and has created initiatives to increase the representation of black students. 

Samika Gupta from Anukulan, New Delhi, India 11 yrs Tags: education, poverty 11 year old Samika stands on a chair so she can reach the blackboard, not as a pupil but as a volunteer teacher in a child-to-child education programme run by the Indian NGO Anukulan. Having recognised that many are struggling for even the basics in life, Samika inspires and motivates children living in slum conditions to recognise education as a way of improving their lives, teaching that essentials such as healthcare and food are a human right. She also helps to collect and distribute donations of food, clothing, books and toys, as well as volunteering in art and yoga workshops, and health and dental clinics. 

Robbie Bond from Utah Diné Bikéyah, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, 12 yrs Tags: conservationism, politics At nine years old, Robbie heard that President Trump had ordered the review and potential elimination of 27 national monuments. He visited these places, followed by TV cameras and reporters who learned of his purpose defending these landscapes. Robbie was inspired to create a non-profit ‘Kids Speak for Parks’, taking a year off from school to devote his time to protecting public lands, visiting schools to educate and inspire others as well as lobbying for the ‘Every Kid Outdoors Act’. These efforts have resulted in 4 million children each year continuing to have the opportunity to visit national parks for free. 

Neeraj Murmu from Giridih, India, 22 yrs Tags: child labour Neeraj is a former child labourer, who was rescued from working in the mica mines in 2011. He then began to attend school and pledged to end child labour in his village. Neeraj went on to establish a local school to ensure that all children were able to access their right to education. Neeraj has enabled 200 underprivileged children in his village to get an education, and has rescued 20 child labourers from mining and enrolled them in his school. By sharing his own experience of child labour during his classes, he encourages the children to think about their aspirations and motivates them to continue to pursue their education. 

Sandra Ajaja from Lagos, Nigeria, 23 yrs. She set up Fempower Africa after experiencing gender inequality whilst studying electrical engineering where she was one of four women in a class of 120 men. Sandra suffered discrimination and lack of support, as well as having to walk miles to class each day simply because there was no female accommodation on campus. In just three years Fempower has changed the lives of thousands of women across Africa through mentoring and training, facilitating internships and helping women resource and set up tech businesses. 

Diana Chao from Los Angeles, California, 21 yrs, nominated by Letter to Strangers Tags: mental health Diagnosed with bipolar at 13, Diana Chao founded Letters to Strangers to help others suffering mental health issues following her own suicide attempts, hospitalisation and medication, stigma and cultural shame as a first-generation Chinese-American. She found healing through letter writing, starting Letters to Strangers as a club in her second year of high school. Since then, this unique anonymous letter exchange programme, that includes therapy-informed themes and peer discussion, has reached over 35,000 people globally, and facilitates workshops and online engagement. 

ROLL OF HONOUR: With all 184 case studies 


Tessy Ojo, Chief Executive, The Diana Award. Tessy is a passionate and practical campaigner who has gained an international reputation for fostering positive change in the lives of young people and the impact it has on communities around them. At the heart of her work is the belief that with the right support and investment, young people are the best instigators for achieving real, sustainable change in their lives, their communities and the lives of their peers. 

About The ‘Award’ Established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, The Diana ‘Award’ is the most prestigious accolade a young person aged 9-25years can receive for their social action or humanitarian work. It is the longest running award for young people that is given to individuals and groups through a retrospective nomination process only. We believe this is special: young people do not work towards our award, rather they demonstrate their suitability through their actions, without expectation of reward. 

About the charity – The Diana Award The Diana Award was set up in memory of The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry’s mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, and her belief that young people have the power to change the world for the better. 

The charity fosters, develops and inspires positive change in the lives of young people through three key programmes which include; a mentoring programme for young people at risk, a youth-led anti-bullying ambassadors campaign and a prestigious award which publicly recognises young people – The Diana Award. 

What is the nomination process? Award Recipients have been put forward by adults who know the young people in a professional capacity and recognised their efforts as a positive contribution to society. Through a rigorous nomination process, these nominators had to demonstrate the nominee’s impact in five key areas: Vision, Social Impact, Inspiring Others, Youth Leadership, and Service Journey. 

There are 13 Diana Award Judging Panels representing each UK region or nation and a further two panels representing countries outside of the UK. Each panel consist of four judges; Two Diana Award Recipients, an education or youth work professional, and a business or government representative. The panels have an important main purpose: to determine which nominations from each UK region/nation will receive The Diana Award. 

Nominations are judged using the Criteria Guide and Scoring Guide which have been created to measure quality of youth social action.


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