Meet 2018’s Diana Award Holders

1 July 2018

To celebrate Princess Diana’s Birthday, The Diana Award releases their Roll of Honour for 2018. The names of nearly 600 inspirational children and teens, from across the UK and around the world, are announced for receiving the highest accolade a young person can achieve for social action or humanitarian efforts – The Diana Award.

All the award winners – who come from every region in the UK, Australia, Belize, Canada, Georgia, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Puerto Rico, Sri Lanka, UAE, USA and Zambia – have had a monumental impact on society and lives of those in their communities. Many of them only know Princess Diana as a historical figure but they carry the honour of the Diana Award with pride and admiration for the woman whose memory it was set up in.

These exceptional young people have demonstrated their ability to inspire and mobilise new generations to service their communities through campaigning, volunteering, fundraising, tackling bullying or overcoming extreme life challenges.

New Diana Award Holder, Amy De Castillo.

Although their causes and backgrounds are varied, what they all have in common is that they are changing their communities and the world as Princess Diana believed they could. Stories include:

Benjamin Bennet, 14yrs, West Yorkshire, UK
Ben has overcome multiple challenges including experiences of prejudice and discrimination. Despite this, he has gone on to inspire other young Gypsy and Traveller people, motivating them to speak out and share their stories. Ben has reached out to community members, politicians and the media, highlighting the devastating impacts of bullying, racism and challenging stereotypes. He continually contributes to a wide range of campaigns and awareness raising events to promote greater inclusion and acceptance of Gypsy Romany and Traveller Youth and their lifestyles.

Saif Waadallah Mito, 17yrs, Sinjar, Kocho Village, Iraq
In 2014, Saif and his family were captured by ISIS. After living in terror for two years, Saif managed to escape, whilst most of his family members did not. Following the trauma, Saif decided to use his experience to help others who had been through what he had and wrote a book about his village and the genocide to raise awareness. He encouraged and helped other survivors and those living in refugee camps, to overcome their problems and set up a Facebook page. Saif has managed to do this without either of his parents, who are still missing, and continues to write about the ordeal that his community is facing.

Sainath Manikandan, 10 yrs, UAE
Sainath is on a mission to empower fellow students to raise awareness of environmental issues within their community. Through social action, environmentalism and technology, Sainath has combated the use of single use plastic bags, even inventing a device which can collect waste from floating water surfaces. His campaign work has reached over 1,500 students and over a quarter of them have committed to an online pledge to fight against plastic pollution and to recycle. Achieving all this at age 10, Sainath demonstrates that you’re never too young to become a leader and change the world.

Samuel Appleton, 12 yrs, Stonesfield, Oxford
After Samuel became injured in the middle of a rugby match at 9 years old, he was left with a spinal cord injury. Determined to use his personal experiences for the better, Samuel became a youth advisor, helping influence and shape services for other young people like him. After his supportive and successful rehabilitation, Samuel trained as a young wheelchair skills trainer, supporting other young people to develop and improve their skills using their wheelchair. Sam continues to transform his community and believes that after a spinal cord injury you can still do anything you want to do and helps build that same confidence in others.

Amal Deepak Thiru, 15 yrs, Chingola, Copperbelt, Zambia
At just 15 years old, Amal co-founded the initiative MESH ZAMBIA (Make Empowered Self Help groups), training women to be self-sufficient by generating sustainable incomes. His inspiration began in 2015 as the Zambian economy faced inflation, leading to unemployment. Amal wanted his community to thrive and so created MESH to empower women to become sustainable, earning members of their community. So far, under the MESH program, 40 women have been trained in tailoring, baking and other activities, based on their interests. They now make a sustainable income, supporting their families, growing in confidence, acting as role models and improving their living standards.

Katrina Hon, 17 yrs, Southbury, Connecticut, USA
Katrina’s work with VISION has helped to provide sight to people from impoverished backgrounds across the world. She has donated hundreds of pairs of recycled eyeglasses and raised money to provide cataract surgeries in Ghana and India. Katrina is committed to helping people of diverse backgrounds to access optical care and see the world. Her leadership has inspired others to join in the fight for sight; Katrina now leads a team of 30 students in her school. Through this club, she has expanded VISION’s work by providing her classmates with service opportunities, and teaching them about global health disparities.

Cody McManus, 9 yrs from Scotland
When Cody realised that not every child received gifts at Christmas, he decided to do something about it. Devising a unique fundraising campaign called ‘Cody’s Christmas Box’ he set about raising money and donations to fill an entire boxing ring with toys that could be donated to those less fortunate. His efforts raised a staggering £12,000 worth of toys, befitting over five hundred children, and bringing smiles and joy on Christmas Day. In addition to his boxing challenge, Cody has also raised a further £10,000 to buy 64 bikes for children by cycling 58km from Edinburgh to Falkirk, and £1000 for the homeless. His determination has inspired many and sparked many important conversations in his community.

“We are delighted to announce our Roll of Honour on Princess Diana’s Birthday as we shine a spotlight on her legacy over twenty years on. Today we celebrate young people for their selfless contribution to society, their courage and bravery, sometimes in the face of adversity. At The Diana Award we value and invest in young people encouraging them to continue to make positive change in their communities and the lives of others.”

Tessy Ojo, CEO of The Diana Award

Established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, The Diana Award has the support of both her sons.

Award ceremonies will be taking place across the UK to publicly recognise these young people and celebrate their achievements. Ceremonies in July 2018 will be in Birmingham on 11 July and London on 23 July.

What is the nomination process?

Award Holders have been put forward by adults who know the young people in a professional capacity and recognised their efforts as a positive contribution to society. Through a rigorous nomination process, these nominators had to demonstrate the nominee’s impact in five key areas: Vision, Social Impact, Inspiring Others, Youth Leadership, and Service Journey.

There are 13 Diana Award Judging Panels representing each UK region or nation and a further two panels representing countries outside of the UK. Each panel consist of four judges; Two Diana Award Holders, an education or youth work professional, and a business or government representative. The panels have an important main purpose: to determine which nominations from each UK region/nation will receive The Diana Award.

Nominations are judged using the Criteria Guide and Scoring Guide which have been created to measure quality of youth social action.

2019 nominations for The Diana Award are now open until Spring 2019 and can be submitted at diana-award.org.uk/award. The age range for the The Diana Award has now increased to 25 years to recognise a greater range of young people from around the world.


© 2020 The Diana Award. The Diana Award is a registered charity (1117288 / SC041916) and a company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales number 5739137.