Diana award for Danyal for his incredible humanitarian work
By Aimee Walsh
A LUCAN man has made history by being the first person in the Republic of Ireland to receive the prestigious Diana Award for his humanitarian work.
24-year-old Danyal Khan, who lives in Lucan, has been awarded The Diana Award for his incredible humanitarian work, inspired by his experience of a terrorist attack in his native country of Pakistan when he was 16 years old.
Danyal is currently in his fourth year studying medicine at Trinity College Dublin and spent his early youth meeting marginalised groups after being inspired by the attack.
Danyal was motivated by his own personal experiences, prompting him to set up his own initiative ‘Project Let’s Move Forward’, which is an online career and educational progression programme for refugees who are struggling to continue with their studies.
Speaking to The Echo about the inspiration behind his work, Danyal said: “One common concern from refugees I heard was that they weren’t able to work, continue their studies or build up their CV since they settled – whether this was due to lack of opportunity or ill health.
“To address this, I initiated ‘Project Let’s Move Forward’ – a programme allowing refugees to take from a range of over several thousand online courses, in over several hundred different languages from over a hundred top institutions from institutions such as Google, but Yale, Stanford and Harvard were also available.
“This allowed the refugees to complete a free course online, get a certificate and put it on their curriculum vitae,” explained Danyal.
Danyal has gone on to collaborate with the United Nations and campaigned for mental health, education and discrimination.
The Diana Award is the highest accolade a young person can receive and was established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales. The award is given out by the charity of the same name and has the support of both her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry.
Speaking at the virtual award ceremony where Danyal was one of those honoured, Prince Harry said: “I’m truly honoured to be celebrating your work, your commitment to change making and the vital role that you’ve taken on representing a new generation of humanitarianism.”
Prince Harry went on to pay tribute to his mother, who would have celebrated her 60th birthday last week. “She would be so proud of you all for living authentic life with purpose and with compassion for others,” he said.
Danyal said he is “humbled” to be a recipient of the award: “It’s great to have work like this recognised. It has motivated me to continue my work and if any young person is reading this, I hope it inspires them also.”
Tessy Ojo, CEO of The Diana Award said: “We congratulate all our new Diana Award recipients from the UK and all over the globe who are changemakers for their generation.
“We know by receiving this honour they will inspire more young people to get involved in their communities and begin their own journey as active citizens.
“For over twenty years The Diana Award has valued and invested in young people encouraging them to continue to make positive change in their communities and lives of others.”