Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has today recognised Muhammad Ayub, representing Pakistan, as the 54th Commonwealth Point of Light in honour of his exceptional voluntary service improving the education and life chances of young people in Islamabad.
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.
Mr Ayub is a fireman who runs an open-air school for children who would not otherwise be able to afford an education. He first started teaching a group of four children in an Islamabad public park over thirty years ago. The school roll has since grown to over 250 students, with lessons running free of charge from noon to sunset.
Children are taught a range of subjects including Urdu, English and Maths and thousands of children have taken government accredited exams allowing them to go on to higher education, or secure higher-paid jobs. Ayub has now mobilised a team of volunteers to further support his teaching programmes and to help fundraise for a permanent school-building.
Mr Ayub said:
I am extremely honoured and thankful to Her Majesty The Queen for this prestigious award. This is a moment of utmost happiness for me and these children who sit on the ground and study. Knowledge is power and I wish I have several such schools all over Pakistan, where I can teach kids free of cost. This school is for every Pakistani whether he is a Muslim, Hindu, Christian or from any other religion, caste or creed.
Each Commonwealth Point of Light will receive a personalised certificate signed by Her Majesty The Queen as Head of the Commonwealth.
The award was presented today by the Acting British High Commissioner, Richard Crowder, who said:
I am delighted to present Muhammad Ayub with the 54th Commonwealth Point of Light award for his exceptional voluntary service that has allowed so many children to receive a quality education.
Her Majesty The Queen has recognised Mr Ayub as Pakistan’s Point of Light for delivering a significant impact on the lives of others. His schools have had a tremendous approach in educating the next generation which is so vital for unlocking Pakistan’s full potential.
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.
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 Chair-in-Office of the Commonwealth 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 this website
About the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM)
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 CHOGM website or follow on Twitter
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