Malaysian to Get Award from Queen Elizabeth II for Refugee Work

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Recognition for her work with the NGO she founded in Malaysia, Refuge For The Refugees. 

At just 23, Heidy Quah has achieved something few people have: she will receive a Young Leaders Award directly from Queen Elizabeth II.

The award from the British monarch is recognition for Quah’s work in supporting refugees in Malaysia

The queen will present the award at Buckingham Palace on Jun 29.

The award celebrates and recognises exceptional young people from across the Commonwealth, who are dedicated to driving change in their communities and beyond.

Quah will be representing Malaysia as she joins winners from all over the Commonwealth in the UK. She is among 60 winners selected to take part in a one-week residential programme, which includes high-level engagements, training, mentoring and networking, all of which are designed to help them further their life-changing work.

This year’s winners are advocates of various issues ranging from tackling bullying in schools and preserving the environment, to promoting gender equality.

Before receiving their awards, the winners will visit 10 Downing Street and take part in master classes at the BBC World Service and the Facebook’s UK headquarters.

They will also meet the Commonwealth Secretary-General, join workshops at the University of Cambridge, meet senior executives from some of the UK’s leading organisations and visit projects that are changing the lives of vulnerable people in the UK.

The programme will end with the launch of the final ever search for the Queen’s Young Leaders.

“I am delighted to have been selected for the Queen’s Young Leader Award and hope to expand my role as a youth advocate and spokeswoman for refugees,” Quah said, referring to her role and work in NGO Refuge For The Refugees (RFTR).

Quah set up RFTR in 2012 after she realised how refugees in Malaysia lacked access to basic amenities like education.

“No one should be robbed of the basic access to human rights like education and job opportunities.

“With the right education, these kids can and will go very far in life,” said Quah.

Today, RFTR operates 10 schools in Kuala Lumpur and Penang, each with 70 to 150 refugee students.

Besides busy expanding RFTR’s reach and working to set up a school in Myanmar, the young achiever is pursuing her degree in accounting and finance.