LONDON: Queen Elizabeth has honoured two outstanding volunteers with a Commonwealth Points of Light Award during a phone call hosted by British High Commissioner Dr Christian Turner CMG.
The award to Huzaifa Ahmad (Co-Founder and CEO Rizq) and Syed Hassaan Irfan (Executive Director, Rizq), recognised their work providing food security to local communities, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.
The call with The Queen also marked National Volunteering Week in the UK, an annual celebration of the power and contribution of volunteering.
Huzaifa and Hassaan run social enterprise Rizq, which started as a university project in 2015 aimed at ensuring a hunger free Pakistan by distributing excess food to the most vulnerable.
During the coronavirus pandemic and in the holy month of Ramazan, Huzaifa and Hassaan mobilised a network of over 3,000 volunteers to distribute over 2.2 million meals to across 23 cities.
Huzaifa Ahmad said:‘Food is a fundamental need. For every human to reach his or her true potential it is important for this basic right to be accessible, affordable and available.
‘‘I want to thank the Commonwealth for recognising our efforts and honouring us with this award. I would like to dedicate it to our amazing volunteers and Rizq heroes.’
Syed Hassaan Irfan said: ‘We have more food than ever before yet more people than ever go hungry every day. We all have an individual responsibility to eliminate hunger – no one should go without a daily meal.
“This award is a tribute to the people of Pakistan, the work of volunteers in Pakistan, and our strong tradition of helping each other.’
The British High Commissioner, Dr Christian Turner CMG, said:“It was an honour to hear Her Majesty recognise Rizq’s remarkable work to tackle food insecurity. Moments like this are examples of the profoundly positive relations between the UK, Pakistan and Commonwealth”.