Theirworld activist wins Diana Award for working with young people on sustainable change

Gya Palak Sharma With Diana Award

Girls' education, Global Youth Ambassadors, Sustainable Development Goals

Palak Sharma, a Global Youth Ambassador from India who also campaigns on period poverty and rural sanitation, received three awards from different countries. 

Palak Sharma believes passionately in showing young people they have the potential to change the world. A Global Youth Ambassador for Theirworld, she leads by example on issues including sustainable development, period poverty and rural sanitation.

The 23-year-old’s tireless efforts have earned her three awards in three countries in one week – including The Diana Award, the most prestigious prize for young people’s social action or humanitarian work.

Palak, from Kota in India’s Rajasthan state, said: “These awards are a reminder that whenever someone is working to make lives better, even in the smallest of communities, even at the tiniest scale and the most limited capacity, the ripples of their work have reached their destination.”

She received The Diana Award – established in memory of the late Princess of Wales – for her work on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

After studying in the UK, she returned to India and co-founded the Green Governance Initiative. The award citation said she had “trained thousands of young people to understand the SDGs and connected policymakers with young people to create real change”.

Sarah Brown And Gya Palak Sharma At Theirworld Iwd 2020 Event

Palak with Theirworld Chair Sarah Brown at the Theirworld International Women’s Day event last year (Theirworld / Heathcliff O’Malley)

Palak also received the Plan India Impact Award – given to a young person working with communities during the Covid-19 crisis – and the Bangladesh Digital Social Innovation Award for Voluntary Leadership. This was for her contribution to sanitation and sustainable development during the pandemic in India.

She said: “I am currently working on two initiatives that focus on the Sustainable Development Goals. The Green Governance Initiative has recently launched a Young Leaders Programme, where we train people on the SDGS and the path to achieving them in India.

“Through the Arogya Rakshak Toilet initiative, I worked in rural areas of India, from schools to old age homes, to rebuild toilets with basic hygiene products and water systems. 

“I also began a campaign for young girls in these areas because of the lockdown, providing them sustainable reusable sanitary pads.”

The Theirworld Global Youth Ambassador Programme is a network of nearly 1,000 young people from more than 70 countries across the globe working together to end the global education crisis.

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