Tuesday, 30 April 2019

British Airways partners with the Diana Award

British Airways is partnering with The Diana Award as part of its commitment to making a positive impact in local communities, with a particular focus on supporting children and young people living challenging lives in the UK and overseas.

Established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, and her belief that young people have the power to change the world for the better, The Diana Award aims to recognise and inspire the next generation of young leaders who are creating positive social change in their communities. It is one of the most prestigious accolades a young person aged 9-25 years can receive for their social or humanitarian work. The youth charity benefits from the support of The Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex.

British Airways will be flying Diana Award winners, who hail from around the world to London for the bi-annual Diana Legacy Award ceremony taking place in Autumn 2019. This unique accolade celebrates the achievements of 20 outstanding young leaders, visionaries and role models from across the world, who have demonstrated their ability to inspire and mobilise new generations to serve their communities.

Alex Cruz, British Airways’ Chairman and Chief Executive will join the panel to help select the final 20, who will all be recognised with a Legacy Award. In addition to receiving their award at a prestigious ceremony in London, each winner will have access to a unique development programme which will provide them with the opportunity to enhance their skills in four key areas; leadership, community development, social entrepreneurship and technology for good.

Alex Cruz said: “We are delighted to partner with The Diana Award during their 20th anniversary year, and our centenary year, as they continue their work in recognising incredible young people. British Airways is committed to having a positive impact in local communities in the UK and around the world, so we are proud to support projects and individuals who make a positive, lasting impact.

“Young people are a driving force for change so I’m very much looking forward to joining the panel for The Legacy Award, hearing about some inspiring achievements and championing the next generation of young leaders.”

Jonathan Bryan, Age 13

Chippenham, Wiltshire, UK

When Jonathan was born with cerebral palsy and renal failure, his parents were told by doctors that an MRI scan of his brain was one of the worst they had ever seen. His disability meant that he would live a life of limited mobility, bound to a wheel chair and unable to speak.

With his mother’s passionate support Jonathan learnt at nine years old to communicate via a Perspex spelling board. With a communication partner who reads his gaze to each letter, Jonathan can construct sentences, paragraphs and entire pieces of writing, eventually leading him to write a memoir ‘Eye Can Talk’, with a forward by Sir Michael Morpurgo. After years of silence, Jonathan found his voice and has since been impassioned to speak out on issues that are very close to his heart.

Now, at the age of 13, Jonathan is a tireless campaigner. He strongly believes that every child should have the opportunity to learn literacy, regardless of their condition, and has worked tirelessly to change the way students with complex disabilities are educated.

Maya Ghazal, Age 19

Birmingham, UK

For Maya Ghazal, her life changed in 2015 when she left Syria to begin a new life in the UK. When she arrived, she experienced first-hand the difficulties that many young refugees and migrants face when they get to the UK. She couldn’t speak English and was lonely, homesick and struggled to get into education.

But since overcoming those first obstacles, Maya has more than found her feet. Finding a space at a local school, she learnt to speak fluent English and thrived in her studies; she has recently started at Brunel University to study Aviation Engineering with Pilot Studies. But throughout her journey she has always stayed true to her roots and is now using her voice along with The Children’s Society to speak out passionately for the many refugees who do not have one.

She says: “A refugee is like any other human being. The one difference between us and most other people is a big one: we lost our homes and have been forced to seek safety in another country”.

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