This year’s inspirational winners of the Rotary Young Citizen Awards include two from the Rotary in London District. They are 16-year-old Hannah Chowdhry nominated by Redbridge Rotary Club and 19-year-old Theo Sergiou nominated by Enfield Chase Rotary Club. They were interviewed on the BBC News Channel’s ‘Afternoon Live with Simon McCoy’ programme and here are more details about them:
During the Coronavirus Pandemic, 16-year-old Hannah Chowdhry is on the frontline helping at a daily project to feed the homeless and vulnerable in Ilford, as the youngest volunteer for the British Asian Christian Association.Hannah started volunteering at a food bank and “Meals for the Homeless” project in January 2020, which included cooking meals for the rough sleepers and she has built up a strong bond with many of them.
At secondary school, Hannah became aware that some pupils were using legal-highs, so she started a campaign which led to the creation of a borough-wide reporting portal to help map drug-related crime. She is also a long-term campaigner against knife crime and sits on a youth reference panel for the Mayor of London’s Office for Policing and Crime. Redbridge Rotary were so impressed by Hannah’s community work that they nominated her for a Rotary Young Citizen Award.
Theo Sergiou was nominated by Enfield Chase Rotary Club. When he was just two-and-a-half months old, 19-year-old Theo Sergiou was diagnosed with bilateral Retinoblastoma (cancer in both his eyes) and after chemotherapy regained some sight. However, at the age of four, he was diagnosed with cancer again, this time the tumour had grown so big, his parents were told he only had a few days to live, the cancer was terminal.
Distraught, they prepared for the worst yet insisted on continuing the fight and the treatment. Theo says: “Then suddenly one day the tumours froze, they never shrank but they stopped growing. I still am partially blind and in fear knowing that the cancer could come out of remission one day and kill me, but I survived.”
He says: “Even though I encounter daily barriers being visually impaired, I am adamant not to let this affect my everyday life and will go over and beyond to do any aspiration I set for myself and inspire others.”
His ongoing medical condition and regular hospital admissions haven’t stopped him from doing so much for others. He’s the London representative on the UK’s Youth Parliament and is passionate about reducing knife crime. He was recruited to the Youth Advisory Forum, the first ever youth civil service body and Theo is the youngest person in British history to contribute to a No. 10 Cabinet meeting.
You can see their interviews on the BBC News Channel on the Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland YouTube Video Channel:
Their stories and videos about them are on the Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland website: https://www.rotarygbi.org/rotary_young_citizen_awards/