LONDON: The Commonwealth has named British-Pakistani student Momin Saqib as its Youth COVID-19 Hero during its 2021 award ceremony.
The Commonwealth Youth Awards recognise those young people are actively involved in bringing about meaningful change and are integral to creating a more innovative and interconnected future.
In its 2021 edition, the Awards highlighted 10 exceptional young people who have gone above and beyond to support communities and be a positive light during the challenges posed as a result of the global pandemic.
Momin Saqib has been named a Commonwealth Youth COVID-19 Hero for "One Million Meals" — the initiative he co-founded with Arif Malik, British-Pakistani restaurateur and award-winning chef, Raja Suleman Raza, and a team of volunteers in March 2020 — in the charitable work category.
Backed by football legend David Beckham, the initiative was an emergency response to the COVID-19 crisis in the UK to help provide free, warm meals to the National Health Service (NHS) staff and other key workers, including police, school staff, and fire fighters.
Led by volunteers, the initiative has to date provided over 100,000 meals and beverages in more than 200 locations through 47 hospitals, trusts, and food banks.
It received wide coverage on English media including the BBC, Sky News, and The Guardian.
Saqib initially made history by getting elected as the first non-EU president of the students union at the King’s College London in 144 years and being awarded the Honorary Life Membership with a permanent plaque at the famous Bush House.
King’s College London tweeted: "Congratulations to Momin Saqib, former KCLSU President and King’s staff, on being named a Commonwealth Youth COVID-19 Hero at the 2020 Commonwealth Youth Awards for co-founding One Million Meals."
Although widely-recognised through his viral 'Maro Mujhe Maro' video during the 2019 cricket World Cup, Saqib is working as an actor these days in several soaps.
Commenting on the award, he said he was "humbled" at the recognition and that through the One Million Meals campaign, "we aimed to show that Pakistanis care for others and our initiative was followed by many other organisations".
"Home to 2.4 billion people, The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of sovereign states with 54 independent and equal countries, almost all of which were formerly under British rule.
"It includes both advanced economies and developing countries across five regions; Africa, Asia, the Americas, Europe and the Pacific. An award from the leading Commonwealth body is a huge honour."
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