Prince Harry today congratulated a former child refugee and a medical student who will be honoured by the Queen at Buckingham Palace next year for their work “transforming lives”.
Harry Phinda, 24, of Croydon, who came to the UK after fleeing Zimbabwe 11 years ago, now campaigns for women’s rights and will receive a Queen’s Young Leaders Award in June.
Medical student Leanne Armitage, 22, of Peckham, will also receive the award for her work inspiring people from under-represented backgrounds to enter careers in medicine.
Prince Harry said: “I would like to congratulate the winners of the Queen’s Young Leaders Award for 2018. This award recognises the enormous effort and courage of these inspiring young people who are tackling some of the Commonwealth’s most pressing challenges and inspiring others to realise their full potential.”
Mr Phinda is a co-founder of Youth For Change, a global organisation which has taught 100 teachers in six London schools about tackling female genital mutilation and forced marriage.
He said: “My passion to work on these issues has come from growing up in a household full of women. I came here as a refugee in 2007, partly because of the political violence but also because of domestic violence, and that is a huge motivation for me working on gender-based violence.” Ms Armitage, who studies at St George’s University of London, said the capital’s diversity was not replicated in the medical profession, which was a problem as doctors “should be able to relate to the society that they’re serving”.
She set up Leanne’s Amazing Medics, a six-session programme to equip young people with the skills to go into medicine by giving them a “realistic experience”, including a trip to St George’s.
Ms Armitage said it was “designed to get them thinking like doctors, doing activities that doctors would, teaching them communication skills”.
She added: “I’ve got two more years and then I’ll graduate from St George’s as a doctor, and then my desire is to become a trauma surgeon after doing surgical training.”
The Queen’s Young Leaders Awards celebrate the exceptional difference young people aged 18 to 29 from across the Commonwealth are making to change lives in their communities. To read more about their inspirational stories, please visit www.queensyoungleaders.com.-Metro