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Prince William and Prince Harry join forces to honour the winners of Princess Diana award

The Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex met winners of The Legacy Award from The Diana Award

Princes William and Harry have united to honour the winners of an award named in memory of their mother.

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The Duke of Cambridge and Duke of Sussex met winners of The Legacy Award from The Diana Award ahead of a glittering ceremony at the late princess’s ancestral home Althorp next week.

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WATCH: Prince William meets winners of The Diana Award Legacy Award

William hosted 10 young recipients at Kensington Palace, while Harry met nine of the other 10 via videocall from California.

HELLO! understands the royal brothers were both keen to be involved, joining forces for the first time since they unveiled a statue of Diana, Princess of Wales, on July 1.

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They were last seen together as the bronze figure was revealed to the world in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace on what would have been their mother’s 60th birthday.

A source told HELLO!: "Both brothers really wanted to take part and both were keen that it happened on the same day. It’s a special award in memory of their mother and that still unites them despite everything that has happened."

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William met with the young winners in the UK

Diana’s brother, Lord Spencer, will host the 20 winners at a special ceremony at Althorp House, where the siblings grew up, on December 9.

Taking place every two years, The Legacy Award is the most prestigious accolade a young person can receive for their social action or humanitarian work. Princes William and Harry presented the inaugural Legacy Awards at St James’ Palace in 2017.

This year’s recipients come from across the UK, China, Colombia, Germany, India, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and the USA and were chosen from a pool of Diana Award winners from 2020 and 2021.

A judging panel chaired by Lord Spencer, and including HELLO!’s Editor-in-Chief Rosie Nixon, chose the winners to recognise their positive impact on society.

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Harry and Tessy Ojo met with eight of the interntional winners

Each will now have access to a unique two-year development programme to help enhance their skills in leadership, community development, social entrepreneurship and technology for good.

The Diana Award’s chief executive Tessy Ojo said: "The pandemic continues to disrupt lives and exacerbate social inequalities. But out of the darkness of Covid, young people are standing up to shape change in their communities across the world.

"Their compassion, determination and agency to make positive change today and in the years ahead is immense. They couldn’t be a more fitting tribute and lasting legacy to Diana, Princess of Wales and her belief that young people have the power to change the world."

Alex Kalomparis, SVP of Public Affairs at awards sponsor Gilead Sciences, said: "These young people represent the next generation of change-makers and innovators across the globe and it is their stories we should listen and learn from."

UK 2021 Legacy Award recipients who met with The Duke of Cambridge:

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 Legacy Award recipients with The Duke of Cambridge

CHRISTINA ADANE, BITE BACK 2030, AGE 18

Christina is a passionate activist with ‘Bite Back’ and fights for a fairer and healthier food system. As the elected chair of the youth board, she shares her own experience of living off free school meals to inspire others. In 2020, Christina started a petition on change.org which attracted over 450,000 signatures and appeared across national media. This was the catalyst for the campaign that secured free school meals through the holidays for vulnerable children across the UK. Her work was recognised by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who welcomed Christina as a guest on their podcast, and by the BBC, who named her one of the top 100 women of 2020.

ALEXANDER ANDERSON, MPCT NEWPORT, AGE 21

Diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome aged nine, Alex faced many challenges both physically and mentally and was dismissed as a ‘naughty child’. On a break from formal schooling, Alex started his own business selling hanging baskets, donating any tips to charity. Alex has since raised more than £7,000 for various charities and became an ambassador at his school to support other students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Drawing from his own experiences, Alex helped fellow pupils to feel calmer and develop coping strategies for getting through the school day. Alex is described as someone who will ‘always go above and beyond to help others’.

ARIAN ARJOMANDI RAD, IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON SCHOOL OF MEDICINE, AGE 23

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Arian saw his home country of Italy struggling to cope. He made a selfless decision to go back to help on the frontlines, working tirelessly on ambulances to support their healthcare system. Later, when the pandemic hit the UK, he used his invaluable experience and knowledge to guide volunteers, provide pastoral support to those on the frontlines through video calls, and improve the wellbeing of workers struggling to cope with the aftermath of the first wave. He has become a role model for many healthcare professionals at all levels of the profession, not just in the UK but across continents.

HANNAH HODGSON, THE WRITING SQUAD, AGE 23

Hannah lives with probable Mitochondrial Encephalopathy, which is a terminal illness. Through her work with ‘Together for Short Lives’ she has spoken in parliament, at medical conferences, and during NHS conferences about her personal experiences of life-limiting illness. She has written for Grazia, Teen Vogue, and Hospice UK amongst other outlets. Her YouTube channel demystifies illness and medical taboos. Hannah has Literary accolades including a ‘Northern Writer’s Award’ and has published a number of pamphlets and books. At the height of the pandemic she ran a virtual writing space for ‘The Writing Squad’. Hannah is a powerful role model to other young people.

ZUBAIR JUNJUNIA, ZNOTES, AGE 23

Students worldwide take the exact same exams and yet, the access to resources, advice and support available to them varies dramatically. To Zubair, this seemed grossly unfair. So he decided to set up a blog to share the resources he created for his own exams, completely free of charge, whilst reiterating the principle that quality education is a right, not a privilege. His high-quality and concise revision notes were discovered by students all over the world and ‘ZNotes’ was born. Today, with hundreds of contributors, ‘ZNotes’ has passed 24 million hits with more than 3.5 million unique visitors, becoming a go-to resource for students and teachers all around the world.

VARAIDZO VEE KATIVHU, EMPOWERED BY VEE, AGE 23

From losing her father and leaving her home country of Zimbabwe, to feeling unsupported in her studies while juggling her part-time job at McDonald’s, Vee has overcome her fair share of obstacles. Since then, Vee has now attended and graduated from both Oxford and Harvard Universities and wants to see young people from backgrounds like hers excel in life through equal opportunities. She campaigns endlessly for diversity within higher education, challenges her own institutions and shares her message through news channels and volunteer work. While a student, Vee created her online platform ‘Empowered By Vee’ to empower others experiencing the same sense of un-belonging that she felt.

LOTTIE LEACH, WELLINGTON COLLEGE, AGE 19

After attempting to take her own life following years of depression and an eating disorder, Lottie became determined to destigmatise discussions around mental health through education and raising awareness in her school and the wider community. Lottie began by organising a 24-hour danceathon, attended by 500 students and teachers, and raised an incredible £3,200 for charity Mind. Lottie has given many speeches about her own mental health experiences, as she ‘speaks from the heart’ at school assemblies, external workshops and more. Her work is described as truly ‘life-saving’ and Lottie was appointed a school ambassador to stop stigma around mental health.

ANNA MCGOVERN, #IWILL CAMPAIGN, AGE 20

As a volunteer journalist at ‘First News’, Anna educated over 2,000,000 readers on the social issues affecting them. Through this, Anna was offered a national ambassadorial position representing the NSPCC and Childline and campaigned on many important topics surrounding young people, including child safeguarding, online safety and mental health support. Anna is now the Executive Director of Terrestres Servo Coronas, a non-profit dedicated to supporting philanthropic projects and charities operating within the Commonwealth of Nations and the United States of America.

AODHÁN ROBERTS, HEADLINERS NI, AGE 19

Following the murder of a local journalist in Derry, Aodhán set up the social media page ‘Derry Footage’ to share stories and encourage other young people to speak up against wrongdoings. Despite having struggled in the mainstream school system, Aodhán started college to study creative media. Through tragic family loss, he still achieved journalistic success. Aodhán has released multiple short films including ‘Impairment’ to bring attention to the recurrent problem of drink-driving and ‘Overcoming adversity as a community’ to showcase the unique sense of community. These films were shortlisted in several film festivals. His photography series covering the Black Lives Matter demonstration in Derry was also shared substantially by mainstream media such as the BBC.

ALLY ZLATAR, UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW: GLASGOW INTERNATIONAL COLLEGE, AGE 23

Her own struggle against anorexia motivated Ally to raise awareness of eating disorders, body dysmorphia and illness through the power of art. In 2020, Ally’s work was included in over 15 exhibitions and residencies, with her exhibition ‘One Body, My Body, No Body’ debuting in London, Glasgow and Amsterdam. Ally also created ‘The Starving Artist’, a global outreach initiative and publication covering artistic research and reflection from over 25 international artists. The publication also provided educational resources around eating disorders and can be found in over 30 universities worldwide. Ally also volunteers with eating disorder awareness groups across the UK and has worked directly with mental health organisations such as ‘Together! Disability’.

International 2021 Legacy Award recipients who met with The Duke of Sussex:

ROUDY ALI, AFAQ E.V, AGE 26

Roudy is a Kurdish activist and refugee, who was forced to marry and have a child while still a minor in Afrin, Syria. She has battled with the effects of war and asylum, as well as travelling for 28 days to reach Germany. Roudy has supported women in refugee camps and organised empowerment sessions for those coming from conservative families and women experiencing marital problems. Wanting to help women back in Syria, Roudy started a social media campaign that reached thousands of women in need of support and advice. Roudy has also fundraised to help women access education and enrolled in a social work programme at university to expand her positive impact.

ANGELO CARDONA, HUMANITY UNITED FOR UNIVERSAL DEMILITARISATION, AGE 24

Angelo witnessed the harmful effects of armed conflict as a child and has been campaigning for peace ever since. In 2009, he co-founded the ‘Network for Peaceful Coexistence’, offering workshops on peaceful conflict resolution to young Columbians. In 2013, Angelo became a ‘United Nations Youth Delegate’, joining the international conversation to end armed conflict in Colombia. Angelo advocates for peace on an international level and has spoken about human rights and disarmament at conferences in over 15 countries. In 2018, he co-founded the ‘Ibero-American Alliance for Peace’ and organised the first ‘Latin American Youth Congress for Peace in Medellín’ which hosted over 100 young people.

DIANA CHAO, LETTERS TO STRANGERS,  AGE 23

Diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 13, Diana Chao founded ‘Letters to Strangers’ to help others suffering from mental health issues, following her own suicide attempts, hospitalisation and medication, stigma and cultural shame as a first-generation Chinese-American. She found healing through letter-writing, starting ‘Letters to Strangers’ as a club in her second year of high school. Since then, this unique anonymous letter exchange programme, which includes therapy-informed themes and peer discussion, has reached over 35,000 people globally. Diana, now 21, speaks worldwide and, despite a debilitating eye condition, furthers her creative impact through conceptual photography. Her self-portrait series went viral, reaching over two million people.

ADITYA DUBEY, PLANT A MILLION TREES, AGE 18

After experiencing poor health as a result of severe air pollution in Delhi, Aditya founded ‘Plant a Million Trees’, an initiative that has led to the planting of over 100,000 trees. Aditya also successfully campaigned against single-use plastic by working with the ‘National Green Tribunal’ to introduce environmental compensation from some of the largest organisations in India, including Amazon, Walmart and Pepsi. His work has been featured by the BBC, Channel NewsAsia, TRT World and Indian News Channels. Through his work, Aditya has inspired countless young people to campaign on environmental and social issues.

SIA GODIKA, SOLE WARRIORS (WWW.THESOLEWARRIORS.COM), AGE 15

At the age of 13, Sia was deeply disturbed by the situation of some people in her neighbourhood who were living without any footwear. She noticed adults and children with bruised and swollen feet, construction labourers, families and street vendors, all working barefoot in hazardous conditions. Inspired by the statistic that 350 million pairs of footwear are discarded annually, she launched ‘Sole Warriors’, a nonprofit collecting footwear from privileged communities and donating them to those in need. Over the past 18 months, they collected over 15,000 pairs from 4,000 households through a network of 50 volunteers and eight supporting organisations, with the ultimate aim to reach one million feet.

WEI VIVI LIN, GLOBAL LITTLE RED HOOD ASSOCIATION, AGE 23

Vivi has had dysmenorrhea and endometriosis since she was young and was diagnosed with an ovarian tumour when she was 17 years old. Not to be beaten, she faced her challenges head-on and became determined to promote menstrual equity and eliminate period poverty in Taiwan, where menstruation can still be considered embarrassing, just as in lots of places in the world. In 2021 alone, Vivi has raised £100,000 to fund period education materials, training programmes for social workers who work with teenage girls experiencing period poverty, monthly sanitary products for at least 500 girls, menstrual education training programmes for teachers and school nurses, and social movements to eliminate period stigma.

CARYS MIHARDJA, CARYS CARES, AGE 17

Carys is the founder of ‘Carys Cares’, promoting the rights of people with Down’s syndrome and breaking down its stigma. Through the sales of art produced by members of the Down’s syndrome community, Carys has raised over $74,000 and donated these funds to ‘Persatuan Orang Tua Anak Down’s Syndrome’ (POTADS). She further campaigns for equal workplace integration for the Down Syndrome community by providing internship opportunities through partnership with public and private sectors. An inspiration to many, Carys has spoken on Indonesia’s renowned talk shows, which led to a large following on social media, helping her spread her message even further.

TUNDE OYEBAMIJI, LEND AN ARM, AGE 26

Following the tragic death of one of his patients due to the lack of a blood donor match, a problem that kills 19 women a day in his city of Ibadan, Tunde co-founded ‘Lend an Arm’ in 2017. The aim is to improve access to blood for pregnant women who have a bleeding emergency. At the age of only 21, Tunde grew his blood supply logistics initiative into one of the biggest donation campaigns in Nigeria. ‘Lend an Arm’ has sensitised over 11,000 people, supplied 1,240 litres of blood and saved an incredible 3,500 lives in 40 months. 

JAHIN RAHMAN, EFFORTS IN YOUTH DEVELOPMENT OF BANGLADESH, AGE 18

During childhood, Jahin lost a friend to child marriage. Then, in third grade, Jahin became the victim of violent political aggression in Dhaka. During this time, Jahin saw many street children who were brutally beaten on the road, demonstrating how urgently the world needed to change. After immigrating to the United States, Jahin founded the NGO ‘Efforts in Youth Development of Bangladesh’ (EYDB). EYDB’s Bangladesh foundation is now building a free school and training teachers to support young people who wouldn’t otherwise have gotten access to education. Jahin's work have been and will continue to be, shaped through the experiences of the thousands helped.

HIYA SHAH, FUNDRAISING FOR THE GIRL CHILD, AGE 18

As a girl of Indian origin living in Saudi Arabia, Hiya understood from a young age the barriers women and girls face. In 2017, ‘Fundraising for the Girl Child’ was born, applying social entrepreneurship to elevate, educate, and empower girls to close the educational and economic gender gap. Her work has seen the organisation fund the full education costs for 500 girls from rural India, run interactive webinars on girls’ empowerment to over 2,000 young people from over 40 countries, and offer online classes to refugees. Hiya’s passion and commitment continue to inspire thousands of girls, with many starting their own initiatives to join her in breaking the glass ceiling for women and girls around the world.

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