Six Pakistanis Bag Prestigious Diana Award

Six Pakistanis Bag Prestigious Diana Award
As many as six young Pakistanis have been awarded the prestigious Diana Award for social action or humanitarian efforts.

Established in memory of Princess of Wales Lady Diana, the award is given out by the charity of the same name and enjoys the support of both her sons, Prince of Wales William Arthur Philip Louis and Duke of Sussex Henry "Harry" Charles Albert David.

"We warmly congratulate our new Diana Award recipients from the UK and across the world who are change-makers for their generation. These young people demonstrate that young people have the power to change the world; a belief also held by Diana Princess of Wales. We know by receiving this honour they will inspire more young people to get involved in their communities and begin their own change-making journey," said Tessy Ojo CBE, CEO of The Diana Award.

"Today, we recognise the power of young people to inspire meaningful change," said Prince William in his message to award recipients.

"To all award recipients, congratulations. Your accomplishments are a testament to your character, passion and determination to make a difference, you are an inspiration to young people everywhere," he said, adding, "All these stories remind us why organisations like The Diana Award are so important. It is a reminder that when we invest in young people, when we provide them with the tools and opportunities to make a difference, they can truly change the world. A belief shared by my mother, and one I am proud to continue in her name.”

"As we come together, I am reminded of the profound belief my mother held in the transformative power of young people," said Prince Harry in his remarks.

"Princes Diana recognised their unique ability to challenge the status quo and push for a more inclusive and compassionate society.Her legacy continues to inspire and serve as an example of how to navigate the complexities of our world today," he said.

"So many of the numerous challenges that we face disproportionately affect young people. Whether it's climate change, mental health, or systemic injustices, the obstacles can sometimes seem overwhelming," he said, adding, "But what gives me hope is the collective power we possess when we work together — the strength in the diversity of voices and perspectives that encompass it."

These six Pakistanis were among some 193 global recipients of the award. Recipients also came from India, Bangladesh, Africa, the USA, Canada, the UK and many other places around the world.

The six Pakistanis include Muhammad Ali Alam, Noor Fatima Rashid, Eisha Mehtab, Ayesha Noor Fatima, Fahad Shahbaz and Mahnoor Syed.

The Pakistani award winners are all between the ages of 22 to 26 and have been recognised for their service to their communities, creating social harmony, raising awareness about child abuse, advocating against gender-based violence, empowering women and mobilising the youth and overall attempting to create 'positive change'.

Here are their stories:

Muhammad Ali Alam

Ali works towards creating unity and understanding between different groups of people and society, and nature.

He initiated community service activities and raised awareness of environmental issues at a young age and now works for the development of the entrepreneurial community at their university and locality. He motivates people to open themselves up to new perspectives and take risks.

Noor Fatima Rashid

Noor, a social activist from Pakistan who started raising awareness about child abuse when she was a child of 17 years herself, has founded an organisation, 'Quwat e Uraan', to raise awareness about this key issue.

In the eight years since Noor has expanded her work to include promoting education for young girls and implementing the "Protection of Women Against Sexual Harassment in Workplace Law."

Noor has reached over 50,000 parents and children and helped 20 females finish their education.

Apart from raising awareness, she has been an activist at the ground level, conducting cloth and food drives, delivering safety suits to healthcare workers during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and mentoring girls to raise their voices on social issues.

Noor was recently awarded the "Haramay Heroes" award for her work.

Eisha Mehtab

A passionate advocate for women's empowerment and mental health awareness, Eisha Mehtab co-founded an outlet called 'The Mirror' when she was 17.

Now 22, Eisha's platform continues to provide a platform for women to speak up confidently.

Further, she initiated and contributed to projects such as self-defence, harassment and consent education programmes in schools, mental health support, documentaries, short films and campaigns to raise funds and awareness for various causes.

Her work impacting over 400 school children over six successful years was recognised when she was included in the 'National 25 under 25 Women' in Pakistan.

Ayesha Noor Fatima

Ayesha has been awarded for her work in promoting women's empowerment in Pakistan. In this regard, the 25-year-old has organised national-level campaigns #STOPGBVPK, to educate women on their constitutional rights to protection against gender-based violence (GBV), developed a citizens' guide to counter GBV, and raised funds for underprivileged women.

Her initiatives have had a profound impact, empowering women to speak out against GBV and paving the way for a more equitable society.

Fahad Shahbaz

Fahad is the founder of the 'Youth General Assembly', advocating for youth empowerment and recommending youth-oriented policies to the government.

His Assembly has trained hundreds of students and young people to become future ambassadors, democrats, and leaders. Through 'YGA', they have presented policy recommendations and successfully advocated for the formation of a 'National Youth Council'.

The 25-year-old also advocates for transgender rights, contributing to the passing of the 'Transgender Rights Act' in Pakistan, and inspires others through initiatives such as the 'Fahad Shahbaz Foundation', which focuses on police reforms and environmental conservation.

In a statement, Fahad said: "I am honoured to receive the Diana Award, the highest accolade for social action a young person can achieve.

It is a privilege to be recognised for my commitment to creating positive change in Pakistan through the Youth General Assembly.

This prestigious Diana Award not only acknowledges my dedication but also celebrates the enduring legacy of Princess Diana. I am grateful for the support of The Prince of Wales and The Duke of Sussex as we work together to make a lasting impact in our communities."

"Together, let's inspire and empower young individuals to make a positive impact on the world. We will continue our journey towards building a better society where empowered youth voices shape a brighter future," he said.

Mahnoor Syed

Mahnoor Syed is a 24-year-old social activist who has been dedicated to serving her community through a non-profit organisation, Spread the Word, since the age of 16.

Mahnoor's projects include micro-finance for women, menstrual health, and education sponsorship for girls from low-income families. She has also been involved in advocacy, activism, and media presence, with a focus on women's well-being.

Mahnoor's impact has been felt by hundreds of women directly, empowering and inspiring many more. She led by example, becoming a role model for her peers and demonstrating empathetic yet firm leadership. Mahnoor's personal qualities of passion, consistency, and strength have enabled them to overcome personal and social challenges and make a positive impact on their community.