World news story

Her Majesty The Queen honours a Malawian physiotherapist

23-year-old Charles Nyasa receives the Commonwealth Points of Light award for encouraging people with disabilities to play sports.

Charles Nyasa receives his award

Charles receives his award from DFID's interim director to Malawi, Chris Austin

Charles Nyasa, representing Malawi, is a 23-year-old physiotherapist and driving force behind an exciting movement to get more disabled Malawians to play sports. He received the 60th Commonwealth Points of Light award from Her Majesty The Queen.

Charles successfully staged Malawi’s first wheelchair basketball tournament in partnership with the ‘Southern Zone Basketball League’ and has organised a further 10 major sporting events to encourage participation. He volunteers at the ‘Blantyre Wheelchair Basketball Club’ where he arranges training sessions and basketball clinics conducted by experienced instructors alongside the daily running of the club.

Charles also uses his expertise as a physiotherapist to support the local elderly community at the ‘Karibu Clinic’, establishing a dedicated physiotherapy department where he provides free healthcare to 30 elderly patients a day. Charles was presented with his award on behalf of the UK High Commissioner to Malawi by DFID’s Interim Country Director, Chris Austin, as part of a special event marking the Global Disability Summit held in London on 24 July.

Charles Nyasa said:

I am very excited to receive the Points of Light Award from Her Majesty The Queen, as this will help raise awareness on the need for societies to accept people with disability, not as objects of pity but as part of human diversity, with similar needs just like everyone else.

It is my hope that this award will be a beacon that attracts partners to help us acquire disability-friendly sporting facilities in order to secure the future for continued sport participation for people with disability in Malawian communities.

Chris Austin, DFID’s Interim Country Director, said:

People with disabilities around the world continue to face appalling levels of stigma, discrimination and abuse, and all too often miss out on the opportunities that are the right of every person. So, I am really pleased that there are many inspirational young people in Malawi and the Commonwealth such as Charles who are complementing governments’ efforts—like UK’s hosting of the Global Disability Summit in a week’s time—to transform the lives of people with disabilities and getting such an important recognition from Her Majesty The Queen in the process.

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.

Published 11 July 2018