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.
By sharing these stories of service, the 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.
Dr Muhammad Amjad Saqib is the founder of ‘Akhuwat’, the largest micro-finance organisation in Pakistan, which provides interest-free loans to disadvantaged people so they can develop sustainable incomes. Since its inception in 2001, Amjad has opened 700 branches in 350 cities across Pakistan, enabling over 600,000 people to become self-reliant.
The charity has provided more than £345 million interest free loans while retaining a recovery rate of 99.96%, with all operational costs covered by donations. The charity also supports education initiatives, including ‘Akhuwat College’, which opened in 2015 and provides a residential facility for students who cannot afford quality education, and ‘Akhuwat University’, which will open in November 2018 as Pakistan’s first free university, supporting over 600 students.
The Commonwealth Point of Light award includes a personalised certificate signed by Her Majesty The Queen as Head of the Commonwealth. The award for Dr Muhammad Amjad Saqib was presented today by Thomas Drew CMG, UK High Commissioner in Pakistan.
Dr Muhammad Amjad Saqib said:
Poverty is poison. Poverty is pain. We need to rise together and make a concerted effort to reduce poverty and make this world a happy place to live in. Thanks to the Commonwealth and Points of Light for recognizing ‘Akhuwat’ and our effort for this great mission.
The British High Commissioner Thomas Drew said:
I am delighted to present Dr Muhammad Amjad Saqib with the Commonwealth Point of Light award for his exceptional voluntary service that has benefitted hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged people.
Her Majesty The Queen has recognised Dr Saqib as Pakistan’s Point of Light for delivering a significant impact on the lives of others. He has shown an innovative approach to a social challenge and has inspired others to make a positive change within and beyond their communities.
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.
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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 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 53 week days preceding the Heads of Government meeting.
More information can be found on the Points of light website
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 CHOGM website or follow on Twitter