June 30, 2021 9:06:59 am
Three students from Delhi — Kaif Ali, an undergraduate student of Jamia Millia Islamia; Sana Mittar, an undergraduate from the University of Warwick; and Devanshi Ranjan, a final-year student at Lady Shri Ram College —have won the prestigious Diana Award 2021 for their contribution to society during the Covid pandemic. While Mittar (19) won the award for fundraising activities during the pandemic, Ali got the award for designing a “prefabricated sustainable shelter” to reduce the virus’s transmission. Ranjan, during this period distributed books, stationery and other resource material to underprivileged children, especially girl students, in semi-urban and rural areas of Delhi-NCR.
The Diana Award is established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, and is given out by a charity of the same name, which is supported by her sons, William, the Duke of Cambridge, and Harry, the Duke of Sussex.
At the start of the pandemic, Mittar had coordinated a digital campaign and worked with 150 volunteers to raise Rs 5,00,000 for vulnerable communities. She also raised funds for 40 disadvantaged children to buy mobile phones, so they could continue learning from home during the lockdown. She has also started her own social enterprise Global Volunteers Action Network (GVAN). Mittar said seeing the “helplessness” of the youth during the pandemic inspired her to start GVAN. “So many young people were helpless but also passionate about causes and helping others, but they didn’t have resources. I started GVAN as I felt the young should be able to help despite not having the skills, qualifications or resources,” she told The Indian Express.
Ali, a fourth-year student of Bachelor of Architecture, got the award for “designing a prefabricated sustainable shelter that would not only help reduce transmission of the virus but also house refugees worldwide in the future”. Ali said the design was being implemented in Lagos and Nigeria, and was “appreciated” by the Government of India, the Commonwealth of Nations, and the United Nations under the top 11 emerging Innovation startups solving climate action.
Congratulating him, Jamia V-C Najma Akhtar said, “The innovation is according to the need of the hour. It also shows that in today’s competitive world, one must think out of the box to get noticed.”
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