Commonwealth Points of Light Award: United Kingdom Queen Congratulates Pakistani Volunteers

Her Majesty The Queen has honored two outstanding volunteers with a Commonwealth Points of Light Award.

British High Commission Islamabad 7 June, 2020: Her Majesty The Queen has honored 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 contribution millions of people make across the UK through volunteering The call with Her Majesty The Queen also marked National Volunteering Week in the UK, an annual celebration of the power and contribution of volunteering.

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Huzaifa Ahmed and Syed Hassaan Ahmed, representing ‘Rizq’ from Pakistan, a social enterprise, 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.

Notes to editors on the Commonwealth Points of Light award:

  • The awards are made by Her Majesty the Queen, as Head of the Commonwealth, to thank inspirational volunteers across all the Commonwealth nations for the difference they are making in their communities.
  • The Commonwealth Points of Light award launched in April 2018 to coincide with the UK hosting the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, in London.
  • The British High Commission was asked to suggest volunteers from Pakistan for a Points of Light award, to coincide with national volunteering week happening this week in the UK, June 1-7.
  • More details of the work of Rizq can be found here
  • The following people in Pakistan have previously been awarded a Points of Light Award:

Master Ayub – a fireman who runs an open-air school for children who otherwise cannot have an education.

Mohammed Amjad Saqib – runs the largest microfinance organisation in Pakistan, ‘Akhuwat’

Hamza Farrukh – addressing the water crisis, with ‘Bondh-E-Shams’, serving 45,000 people across 13 remote Pakistani villages.


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