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Queen Elizabeth honours two Pakistani volunteers with Commonwealth Points of Light Award

June 6, 2020 09:05 PM


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Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has honoured two outstanding volunteers with a Commonwealth Points of Light Award during a phone call hosted by British High Commissioner Dr Christian Turner CMG.

The award to Huzaifa Ahmad (Co-Founder and CEO Rizq) and Syed Hassaan Irfan (Executive Director, Rizq), recognised their work providing food security to local communities, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.

It was the first time the award has been conferred personally by The Queen. The call with Queen Elizabeth also marked National Volunteering Week in the UK, an annual celebration of the power and contribution of volunteering.

Huzaifa and Hassaan run social enterprise Rizq, which started as a university project in 2015 aimed at ensuring a hunger-free Pakistan by distributing excess food to the most vulnerable.

During the coronavirus pandemic and in the holy month of Ramazan, Huzaifa and Hassaan mobilised a network of over 3,000 volunteers to distribute over 2.2 million meals to across 23 cities.

Huzaifa Ahmad said: “Food is a fundamental need. For every human to reach his or her true potential it is important for this basic right to be accessible, affordable and available. ‘I want to thank the Commonwealth for recognising our efforts and honouring us with this award. I would like to dedicate it to our amazing volunteers and Rizq heroes.”

Syed Hassaan Irfan added: “We have more food than ever before yet more people than ever go hungry every day. We all have an individual responsibility to eliminate hunger – no one should go without a daily meal. This award is a tribute to the people of Pakistan, the work of volunteers in Pakistan, and our strong tradition of helping each other.”

The British High Commissioner, Dr Christian Turner CMG, said: “It was an honour to hear Her Majesty recognise Rizq’s remarkable work to tackle food insecurity. Moments like this are examples of the profoundly positive relations between the UK, Pakistan and Commonwealth”.

The awards are made by Her Majesty the Queen, as Head of the Commonwealth, to thank inspirational volunteers across all the Commonwealth nations for the difference they are making in their communities.

The Commonwealth Points of Light award launched in April 2018 to coincide with the UK hosting the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, in London.

The British High Commission was asked to suggest volunteers from Pakistan for a Points of Light award, to coincide with national volunteering week happening this week in the UK, June 1-7.

Previous recipients of the Points of Light Award in Pakistan include Master Ayub – a fireman who runs an open-air school for children who otherwise cannot have an education, Mohammed Amjad Saqib , who runs the largest microfinance organisation in Pakistan, ‘Akhuwat,’ and Hamza Farrukh, who addresses the water crisis, with ‘Bondh-E-Shams’, serving 45,000 people across 13 remote Pakistani villages.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XpMCGt6uvA


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