Jamaican Abrahim Simmonds was on Thursday presented with a Queen’s Young Leaders Award at Buckingham Palace by Queen Elizabeth herself, for his work in using the arts to help develop the skills of young people in his homeland.
Simmonds, 23, is a co-founder and the Executive Director of Jamaican Youth Empowerment through Culture, Arts and Nationalism (JAYECAN).
JAYECAN helps young people to identify a skill or talent that they can use to help their community and create programmes which use the arts to drive positive change. These include ‘ArtReach’, in which volunteers visit children’s homes and rehabilitation centres to provide music, art and drama sessions; and Herstory, which encourages young women from disadvantaged communities to use the spoken word and writing to help them to positively explore their past.
For the third year, the Queen’s Young Leader Awards were presented to a number of young game changers across the Commonwealth who have demonstrated commitment to transform the lives of people in their communities.
The programme was established in 2014 to help talented young leaders to realise their potential and position them for greater success in the future, to the benefit of the lives of people across the Commonwealth.
Young achievers from 36 countries across the Commonwealth on Thursday celebrated their Queen’s Young Leaders Awards with a number of special guests, including Sir John Major, Sir Mo Farah, Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, Liam Payne and Anita Rani.
Simmonds spent a week in the United Kingdom meeting and exchanging ideas with the other young leaders.