Nineteen changemakers from Bangladesh honoured at 2021 Diana Awards

Established in memory of Princess Diana in 1999, the Diana Award is a prestigious accolade given out by the charity of the same name. It is supported by Princess Diana’s sons, Prince William and Prince Harry. To be eligible for the Diana Award, nominees must be aged between 9 and 25, and have to be carrying out humanitarian activities for a minimum of 12 months. Nominators must know the young person in a professional capacity. This year, nineteen young changemakers from Bangladesh received the award, following a virtual ceremony on June 28, 2021.
Collage: Salman Sakib Shahryar

Sagar Mazumdar, Co-Founder and COO, Nerdiz

Sagar co-founded Nerdiz, Bangladesh's first virtual-reality based learning platform in 2018. It facilitates visual learning as a necessary tool for education and has impacted over 3,500 students across various schools. He has helped create more than 120 lessons in history, geography and science, reaching 27 districts and 40,000 children in Bangladesh.

(From Top Left) Sagar Mazumdar, Maria Mumu; ( From Bottom Left) Murshidul Alam Bhuiyan, Anika Subah Ahmad Upoma

Maria Mumu, Founder and President, Moshal Mental Health

Through Moshal, Maria intends to destigmatise mental health by making mental health-care accessible, affordable and effective for everyone. During the pandemic, the foundation provided free first-aid sessions using a hotline number. They recently initiated a nationwide dialogue on mental health, while also providing support to the underprivileged communities.

Murshidul Alam Bhuiyan, Founder, Team Bertho

Team Bertho is a storytelling collective that documents life lessons and shares them as creative solutions for everyone. Murshidul has managed to build an inclusive community where stories are used to uplift and inspire positive changes. The organisation has a number of virtual projects that value the process of learning through sharing.

Anika Subah Ahmad Upoma, Founder and President, Evolution360

Established in 2016, Evolution360 works to replicate the #HeForShe campaign. It focuses on youth development and women empowerment by promoting gender equality through various social projects. Anika wishes to create a gender-equal world, eradicate gender-based violence and implement SDG-5.

(From Top Left) Sarker Tanvir Ahmed, Sadid Hasan: (From Bottom Left) Lamea Tanjin Tanha, Anas Hossain Makki

Sarker Tanvir Ahmed, President, Youth Parliament

The Youth Parliament inspires young changemakers to be active in their communities. Being a young leader and parliamentarian, Tanvir engages with young people and has helped over 350 people design their social projects across 25 countries. Through his work, he is also attempting to promote and contribute to SDG-16.

Sadid Hasan, Founder and CEO, CrossRoads Initiative

Over the last three years, Sadid has helped mentor 100,000 students both in-person and online. CrossRoads Initiative connects mentors with young people in need of support. Sadid intends to aid 1,000,000 students access university education by 2025. As of now, his students have acquired more than $1,000,000 in scholarship funding under his guidance.

Lamea Tanjin Tanha, Founder, TransEnd

TransEnd is a social organisation that empowers the transgender communities through education, training, employment and entrepreneurship. Lamea primarily works to arrange various social awareness campaigns and programmes that educate people about the gender spectrum. She also organised several fund-raisers and social projects to eradicate the plight of these communities.

Anas Hossain Makki, Co-founder and COO, Safewheel

Anas designed low-cost, affordable ambulances that can access remote villages. Since its inception, Safewheel has served over 1,000 patients. Anas is also exploring telehealth sectors to provide services across all regions.

( From Top Left) Rijve Arefin, Yusuf Munna; (From Bottom Left) Md Mahbubul Abrar, Md Mostofa Zaman

Rijve Arefin, Co-founder, Awareness 360

Awareness 360 is a global platform that empowers the youth to build community service projects in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. Under Rijve's mentorship, young people have started initiatives on education, gender equality, sanitation benefitting over 150,000 people. Additionally, he has volunteered around 10,000 hours of his time over the last eight years.

Yusuf Munna, Executive Director, Reflective Teens

Reflective Teens is a platform that fosters creative abilities of teenagers. It has impacted the lives of more than 61,000 teenagers from different regions. Through its various initiatives, the platform promotes skills like problem-solving capacity while incubating the passion of young students.

Md Mahbubul Abrar, Youth Development Expert, Volunteer for Bangladesh, Dhaka

During the pandemic, Mahbubul organised relief campaigns in over 13 districts, impacting around 50,000 people. His initiative, 'Apnar Mask Kothai', mobilised 7,000 volunteers in 45 districts to distribute face masks and raise awareness about the virus. He has also empowered young volunteers to dedicate themselves to their work during this challenging time.

Md Mostofa Zaman, Volunteer, Volunteer for Bangladesh, Mymensingh

Being a doctor, Mostofa has initiated programmes related to breast cancer and cervical cancer, thereby spreading awareness amongst underprivileged girls. His dedication towards providing medical support within his community has impacted almost 10,000 people. Leading a team of 25 volunteers, he motivates others to contribute to social action.

( From Top left) Md Shawket Arafat, Khadiza Tul Qubra Binte Ahsan; (From Bottom left) Gulnahar Mahbub Monika, Sidratul Moontaha Chowdhury

Md Shawket Arafat, President, Volunteer for Bangladesh, Chattogram

Shawket oversaw the documentation of 3,000 Rohingya refugees and helped to reunite them with their previous homes. He has aided in raising funds for people displaced by a landslide in Rangamati and managing iftar for 100 children during Ramadan. At the centre of humanitarian action, his determination has led him to become the youngest division president.

Khadiza Tul Qubra Binte Ahsan, Founder, WeMen View

Khadiza founded WeMen View in 2018 in an attempt to combat gender-based violence. She started this journey by impacting more than 1000 young people through workshops and campaigns. During the pandemic, she has continued her charitable efforts. Furthermore, she launched a collaborative project to rehome families affected by Cyclone Amphan.

Gulnahar Mahbub Monika, Co-founder, Deshi Ballers

Monika strives to increase opportunities for women in basketball. She organises events and tournaments that help women and girls to build sisterhood, reduce stress and empower young people to become leaders. As a part of Bangladesh's first female-only basketball community, Deshi Ballers, she hopes to create a women-only national league in the future.

Sidratul Moontaha Chowdhury, Program Manager, Technovation

Sidratul works to inspire the next generation of girls in STEM. By opening the 'Bangladesh Chapter of Technovation Girls', she guides girls to not only thrive in an underrepresented field but to drive powerful changes. Two of Sidratul's mentees have created a loan-lending app while others are creating apps for the transgender community.

Muhammad Afjal Sultan Safi, Founder, Doorbin Foundation

Afjal set up Doorbin Foundation to enable the tribal community of Tripura to access employment and education. His campaigns have helped 34 children start schooling. He also organised a training session on the reasons, causes and effects of domestic violence and taught them about the harmful effects of child marriage.

Azajul Islam Neloy, Founder and CEO, One Of You

Neloy is passionate about ensuring universal access to education. When floods prevented rural students from accessing school, he established floating boat schools, benefitting over 120,000 people. Additionally, he founded the first-ever Madrasa for genderqueer individuals in Asia educating over 5000 transgender people till today.

(Top) Afruza Tanzi; (From Bottom left) Muhammad Afjal Sultan Safi, Azajul Islam Neloy

Afruza Tanzi, Project Lead and Manager, Protibha

Afruza set out to tackle gender stereotypes and the stigma of working women by empowering women in marginalised communities to gain financial independence through skills training and workshops. She has provided financial literacy classes to over 700 young girls and women, arts and crafts training for 100 women and commercialised over 1,000 artisan products.

The author is a freelance journalist.

























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