“The Award taught me how to live,” Amos tells donors

Published: 26 Nov 2014

HRH The Earl of Wessex and speakers at the Special Projects event

At a recent event, 40 existing or new major supporters of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award’s Special Projects heard first hand how their donations are equipping young people for life.

Special Projects aims to extend the reach of the Award to marginalised young people. At an event hosted by TRH The Earl and Countess of Wessex, 25-year-old Amos explained to guests that, “school taught me how to study, but the Award has taught me how to live.”

Survival of the fittest

Having been born and raised in a slum community in Nungua, a town in Ghana, Amos Nii Quaye Kotey described daily life there as “survival of the fittest”. He explained that the Award had transformed him from “a shy, quiet and confused young man” into someone who has “brought hope and transformation” to his community.

His was a message echoed by Butsha Ngani, another one of the four speakers at the event. She described rural life in South Africa as “at the extreme... mud huts, no running water, no electricity, no medical services and minimal opportunities and infrastructure for education. As you can imagine, achieving your dreams and being able to add value to society becomes a daunting task.” However, as part of her Gold Award, she and other young people from her school, Cathcart High School, have taken on an ambitious project to build a house for “an old man who lives in utter despair and poverty with his four grandchildren in a squatter camp. The completion of this house will be the highlight of my Award journey.”

Mary Brown, Butsha’s Award Leader, and a teacher at Cathcart High School, spoke of how, “...through the service component of the Award, I have seen poor young people reduced to tears by the circumstances of others poorer than themselves. Their willingness to step in and help wherever they can never ceases to amaze me and continually blows me away.”

Vital support

Guests at this special event were so moved by what they heard that they committed ongoing support for the Special Projects initiative.

The theme of triumph in the face of challenge was summed up by 19-year-old Lucie Leišová, who recently braved huge waves to swim 26 kilometres across the Gibraltar Strait as part of her Gold Award. Addressing guests she said, “I have a piece of advice to those who doubt their abilities, skills or dreams. Go for it and start right now. I gained a lot of experience, I feel more confident and I just did what I love.”

You’ll soon be able to find out more about Amos and the other speakers in Award stories.

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