Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II recognised Isabelle Kamariza with the award in honour of her exceptional voluntary service supporting patients in Rwandan hospitals.
Isabelle founded ‘Solid’ Africa’ to support patients in Rwandan public hospitals. She has grown the organisation from a small group of young professionals helping five patients, to a household name working with thousands of patients every day. Under Isabelle’s leadership, ‘Solid’ Africa’ has become self-sustaining and runs four successful programmes providing financial assistance with medical and transport bills; water purification systems for clean drinking water in hospitals; public health initiatives; and daily meals for patients in need or with special dietary requirements. She is currently overseeing the creation of an industrial kitchen to feed 1000 patients three times a day in four public hospitals across Kigali. Isabelle passionately believes in the importance of ‘giving back’ to the community and has inspired a team of 50 young people to volunteer alongside her team.
As part of the legacy of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London 2018, Her Majesty The Queen - as Head of the Commonwealth - is thanking inspirational volunteers across the 53 Commonwealth nations for the difference they are making in their communities and beyond, by recognising one volunteer from each Commonwealth country each week in the two years following the summit.
By sharing these stories of service, the Commonwealth Points of Light awards celebrate inspirational acts of volunteering across the Commonwealth and help inspire others to make their own contribution to tackling some of the greatest social challenges of our time.
Each Commonwealth Point of Light will receive a personalised certificate signed by Her Majesty The Queen as Head of the Commonwealth. The award for Isabelle will be presented on 8th June at the UK High Commission Kigali by Jo Lomas, UK High Commissioner in Rwanda, as part of a Queen’s Birthday celebration. Mary Balikungeri, who received a Commonwealth Points of Light award in April for her work supporting thousands of victims of gender-based violence, will also be presented with her award.
I am always filled with great emotions when our efforts are recognized, because even if often times I am the face of this movement, behind me is an unstoppable machine made of dozens of volunteers who were here from the beginning of this adventure and others who have joined even from other countries.
This award is another sign that we must be doing something right. With your continued support, we vow to continue our efforts and, in the coming years, to expand them to the whole nation and even beyond Rwanda, God willing. I thank you again from the bottom of my heart and please send my regards to Her Majesty The Queen.
Jo Lomas, UK High Commissioner to Rwanda said:
Congratulations to Isabelle Kamariza and Solid Africa for winning the Commonwealth Points of Light Award. Her Majesty The Queen has recognised Isabelle’s superb work in supporting hospitals and vulnerable patients across Rwanda. Hers is an excellent example of the difference leadership and community spirit can make. The British High Commission in Rwanda is proud to present this award for her tireless and noble work. Congratulations.
The Commonwealth is a diverse community of 53 nations that work together to promote prosperity, democracy and peace. The Heads of Government meeting brought together leaders from all the 53 Member countries to reaffirm common values, address shared global challenges and agree how to work to create a better future for all citizens, especially young people. Voluntary service is a vital part of this agenda, which is why Her Majesty The Queen has chosen to recognise outstanding volunteers across the Commonwealth in this special way.
For more information, please contact Robert Kamuratsi.
About the Commonwealth Points of Light award
The Points of Light awards recognise outstanding volunteers every day of the week – people whose service is making a difference in their communities and whose story can inspire others to creative innovative solutions to social challenges in their own communities and beyond.
Points of Light began in America under President George H. W. Bush and today over 6,000 US Points of Light have been recognised. The scheme has the support of all living US Presidents.
Since 2014 the UK Prime Minister has been recognising a daily Point of Light from the UK, with more than 900 volunteers now recognised.
Commonwealth Points of Light is a continuation of this programme with a special series of awards recognising inspirational volunteers throughout the Commonwealth, coinciding with the UK being the Commonwealth’s Chair-in-Office of for the next two years. One volunteer from each of the 53 Commonwealth countries was recognised in the days leading up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in April 2018. Following the success of this programme, Her Majesty The Queen decided to continue this work and award one volunteer from each Commonwealth country every week leading up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Rwanda in 2020.
More information, including details of other Commonwealth Points of Light recipients, can be found on the website.
About the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting
In April 2018 the UK hosted the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, where leaders from across the Commonwealth gathered in London and Windsor. With the theme of ‘Towards a Common Future’ they will work to create a more prosperous, secure, sustainable and fair future for the Commonwealth’s 2.4 billion citizens, particularly its young people.
For further information visit the CHOGM website or follow on Twitter.