Queen to honour inspiring young people from Zambia

The Queen’s Young Leaders programme is today delighted to reveal that Gift Chansa and Sela Kasepa from Zambia have been chosen as two of the final ever Queen’s Young Leaders Award winners in recognition of the lead they are taking in their communities to change lives.

The prestigious Awards programme, now in its fourth and final year, celebrates exceptional young people aged 18 to 29 from across the Commonwealth and the work they are undertaking to improve lives across a diverse range of issues, from supporting people living with mental health problems, helping children to receive a quality education, to promoting gender equality.

Gift and Sela will now join the Queen’s Young Leaders network of 240 Award winners, a unique community of influential change-makers, who represent all 52 Commonwealth countries. The winners announced today will receive their Award from Her Majesty The Queen at a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace in London, UK, next year.

Gift from Lusaka, has been chosen in recognition of the work he is doing to transform the lives of disadvantaged young people in Zambia using his skills as a circus performer and Sela from Kitwe, has been chosen in recognition of the work she is doing to explore how science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) can help solve some of the challenges faced by her country.

Gift Chansa, aged 26, said: “I am delighted to be nominated as a Queen’s Young Leaders Award recipient. It is such an honour and privilege to become part of an amazing group of young people who are making a huge difference in their various communities. I am humbled and excited to see what the year will bring for me and all the young people who have a similar background as mine. As a young man from one of the roughest ghettos in Zambia, Chibolya, I believe this is not just a personal victory but one I will share with all the young dreamers who always thought the sky was the limit. I accept this Award knowing I represent not only myself, but the many children who have taken up circus not only as a means to make people smile, but also as a way to survive. I am looking forward to meeting the other Award winners to learn about their work.”

Sela Kasepa, aged 21, said: “I am beyond delighted to be granted the privilege of receiving the Queen’s Young Leaders Award. It will be both a humbling and enlightening experience for me to join an amazing group of young people doing great things in their communities. I look forward to learning, sharing, and expanding my horizons.”

Dr Astrid Bonfield CBE, Chief Executive of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, said: “In this, the final year of The Queen’s Young Leaders programme, once again we have outstanding Award winners, leading the way in transforming people’s lives for the better in every part of the Commonwealth. We congratulate them all for their remarkable achievements. Over the coming year the programme will nurture and develop their talents, and equip them to go further in making a lasting change in their communities. I hope they find the experience to be truly life-changing and I’m delighted to welcome today’s winners to the now complete network of Queen’s Young Leaders.”

The Queen’s Young Leaders programme was established in 2014 by The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust in partnership with Comic Relief, The Royal Commonwealth Society and the University of Cambridge’s Institute of Continuing Education, in recognition of The Queen’s lifetime of service to the Commonwealth.

The Queen’s Young Leaders Award winners receive bespoke training, mentoring and networking opportunities, and take part in a residential programme in the UK, to help them build on the work they are leading in their communities. They join a now complete network of Award winners and, in tribute to Her Majesty The Queen’s lifetime of Service, will continue to connect and collaborate and change lives for years to come.

To see a full list of Award winners and highly commended runners up, and to read more about their inspirational stories, please visit www.queensyoungleaders.com.

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