Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has today (Wednesday 21 February), recognised Hayford Siaw, as the 15th Commonwealth Points of Light in honor of his exceptional voluntary service combating illiteracy rates in Ghana.
In the lead-up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London on 19-20 April, 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.
Through sharing these exceptional stories of service, the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting will 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.
As the founder of ‘Street Library Ghana’, Hayford has helped combat high illiteracy rates among Ghanaian children with the first ‘Electronic Library on Wheels’ service in West Africa. Active in over 30 communities, the library improves the literacy skills of over 18,000 children every year, giving them access to the van’s computers, tablets, and e-readers. His Excellency President Akufo-Addo, appointed Hayford as the Chief Executive of the ‘Ghana Library Authority’ due to his exceptional work improving the learning outcomes of Ghanaian children.
Each Commonwealth Points of Light receives a personalised certificate signed by Her Majesty The Queen as Head of the Commonwealth. The award is being presented to Hayford Siaw on Wednesday, 21st February by the UK High Commissioner, His Excellency Mr Iain Walker, at a special celebratory lunch.
Speaking about the award, Hayford Siaw said:
In the world, I belong, we usually have to apply for almost everything, and so it’s a great feeling not to apply for something but to be independently nominated and selected for this recognition. I’m deeply honored and hope this will inspire many people around the Commonwealth to be focused and diligent in delivering change in their communities. There is always someone out there watching and reading about your work. We are all born with the ability to transform our communities, let’s do it now!
Mr Iain Walker, UK High Commissioner in Ghana said:
Hayford Siaw started with just a car, some books and a big dream: to combat high illiteracy rates among Ghanaian children with a mobile library. Today, Street Library Ghana operates in thirteen communities across the country and has touched the lives of more than 10,000 children.
In a short time, Hayford has shown how sheer determination allied with a passion for volunteering can make a lasting difference across communities. I am delighted that he is educating and inspiring the next generation of young people.
He is an outstanding role model for Ghana and the Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth is a diverse community of 53 nations that work together to promote prosperity, democracy and peace. The Heads of Government meeting will bring 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 Points of Light from the UK, with almost 900 now recognised.
Commonwealth Points of Light is a continuation of this programme – with a special series of awards recognising inspirational volunteers throughout the Commonwealth in the lead-up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London in April. One volunteer will be recognised from each of the Commonwealth countries in the weeks preceding the Heads of Government meeting.
More information can be found on the website: www.pointsoflight.gov.uk
About the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting
In April 2018 the UK will host the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, where leaders from across the Commonwealth will gather 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.