Hannah Chowdhry, a law student at the University of Aberdeen, has been recognised as a 'Leadership Trailblazer' by This is Youth - an award ceremony organized by the Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme.
This is Youth 2023 recognises and celebrates the amazing stories behind The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. It showcases young people and the adults who support them doing what they do best: rising above today’s challenges and making their mark on the world, their way. Each DofE journey is unique – and every person will be making a difference.
The 19 year old second year student, originally from Ilford, established a ‘Meals for the Homeless’ project while volunteering with the British Asian Christian Association during the COVID-19 pandemic.
At her project, more than 100 homeless individuals and struggling families received hot meals and a food bank service twice a day. Hannah also helped 22 people experiencing homelessness to find temporary housing through the Redbridge Housing Unit.
The charity received hundreds of This is Youth nominations from across the UK in eight categories, with the winners chosen by panels including DofE Youth Ambassadors and celebrity supporters. They were presented with their awards at a celebration at London’s Postal Museum on November 29.
“Winning this award is a testament to all the volunteers and the local community in Ilford who helped me establish a lifeline for homeless people in Redbridge,” said Hannah.
“It proves that communities can resolve their own problems if they decide to work together.
“I’m grateful to the Duke of Edinburgh Awards, not only for the platform that being named a Leadership Trailblazer provides but also for the Bronze, Silver, and Gold award program that offered invaluable transferable skills and bolstered my resilience.
“I hope more young people take up the award and embark on their trajectory towards personal development.”
Duke of Edinburgh Chair of Trustees and Paralympian, Tanni, Baroness Grey-Thompson DBE, judged the Trailblazer of the Year entries. She said: “The category celebrates the young people who demonstrate incredible leadership skills by using their voices to make a difference, who lead the way, or who advocate for others. Hannah has done all of this and more and did it before she left for university. Hannah’s continued commitment to supporting others is inspirational and I am excited to see where her advocacy work takes her next.”
The DofE is open to any young person aged 14-24, with participants building their own programmes, choosing activities and a cause to volunteer for. The DofE is working to widen access and break down barriers to participation so that all young people have a chance to take part – including reaching more community organisations and schools in deprived areas, expanding in prisons and supporting more young people with additional needs to take part.
Anyone interested in supporting the Meals for the Needy project that Hannah is involved in can find out more about it here. You can watch a video about the award and her participation with the Duke of Edinburgh scheme.