16 June 2017

Rwanda: Queen Elizabeth to Honour Two Young Rwandans

Two exceptional young people from Rwanda are set to receive a Queen's Young Leaders Award to be presented by Queen Elizabeth at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London, on June 29.

The Award celebrates inspiring young people from all over the Commonwealth who are dedicated to driving change in their communities and beyond.

This year's Award winners, Yvette Ishimwe, 20 and Kellya Uwiragiye, 26, are being recognised by The Queen for their work, which includes reducing the burden on women and children responsible for collecting water and improving access to safe water supplies, and improving access to services and education for deaf people, according to a statement.

Ishimwe and Uwiragiye will be representing Rwanda as they join winners from across the Commonwealth in the UK for a programME of inspiring meetings, networking opportunities and bespoke training and mentoring, all designed to help them to develop as leaders and work with ever greater impact to transform people's lives.

Selected from a competitive process where thousands of young people from all over the Commonwealth applied to be a Queen's Young Leader, Uwiragiye said: "I am delighted to have been selected as a Queen's Young Leader and this Award will help me to generate support for a pre-school centre for deaf children across Rwanda."

The 2017 Queen's Young Leaders Award winners are working to support others, raise awareness and inspire change on a variety of issues from tackling bullying in schools, to preserving the environment, to promoting gender equality.

Before receiving their Queen's Young Leaders Award at Buckingham Palace, the winners will visit 10 Downing Street, as well as take part in masterclasses at the BBC World Service and the UK headquarters of global social media company Facebook.

They will also meet the Commonwealth Secretary-General, take part in workshops at the University of Cambridge, meet senior executives from some of the UK's leading organisations and visit projects that are changing the lives of vulnerable people in the UK.

The programme will finish with the launch of the final ever search for the Queen's Young Leaders. The application process to become a Queen's Young Leader of 2018 opens at 09:00 p.m. BST on Thursday June 29, 2017, and this year is the last chance for young people to apply to become a Queen's Young Leader, the statement said.

The programme is looking for people aged between 18 and 29 who are "dedicated to creating positive changes to the lives of people in Rwanda to join this important community of change-makers from across the Commonwealth."

Dr Astrid Bonfield CBE, Chief Executive of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust said: "The Queen's Young Leaders of 2017 are doing truly remarkable work within their communities. Their actions are having a positive impact not only on those around them but also by setting in motion positive change that will last for generations to come.

"The residential programme is an opportunity for the 2017 Queen's Young Leaders to come together for the first time, to foster partnerships and share ideas about how they can work together as a group to improve people's lives all over the Commonwealth.

"We are delighted that these young people are being recognised for their life-changing work by Her Majesty The Queen and we hope that their time in the UK will inspire and enable them to pursue their work for others on an ever greater scale."

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