Her Majesty The Queen joined a video call this week with three winners of the Commonwealth Points of Light award, to celebrate their achievements and the importance of volunteers across the Commonwealth. The call included The Queen’s first ever virtual musical performance and virtual tour.

The Queen awards one volunteer from across the Commonwealth each week with a Commonwealth Points of Light award, in recognition of the difference they have made while volunteering in their local community. During the call Her Majesty thanked the volunteers, praising their work.

Her Majesty The Queen said: “Thank you all for taking part in this programme. I’m delighted to have heard your stories and I think it’s wonderful work that you’re all doing, and volunteering so much. Thank you very much.”

During the call, Her Majesty, Head of the Commonwealth, was introduced to three award winners from Trinidad and Tobago, Mozambique and Cyprus, who spoke of the impact of their initiatives in their local communities and beyond.
During The Queen’s first ever virtual musical performance, 45 children performed a piece of music in celebration of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh’s recent 73rd Wedding Anniversary.

The Sistema Cyprus Symphony Orchestra performed a never before heard piece – Modus Cyprius – due to be premiered to the public next week (composed by Cypriot composer Andreas Michalopoulos).

Nikoletta Polydorou, a music teacher from Cyprus who received her award in August 2020, founded ‘Sistema Cyprus’ in 2018. The initiative transforms the lives of children and young people from challenged communities by providing free music education and instruments, and runs its own children’s orchestra and choir. The initiative also collaborates with three Cypriot Universities to provide academic scholarship opportunities, and now has their first student studying music at University.

Her Majesty also spoke to Len Peters from Trinidad and Tobago, who received the first ever Commonwealth Points of Light award in February 2018 in recognition of his community driven conservation organisation – the Grande Riviere Nature Tour Guide Association. Over 30 years, Len’s educational work in local communities and regular patrols of local beaches has transformed entire communities, with Trinidad and Tobago now home to one of the densest leatherback sea turtle  nesting sites in the world. Len’s work also appeared on BBC’s ‘Blue Planet 2’ with Sir David Attenborough.

Len Peters said; “Here you have a young boy from a turtle eating family wanting to make a difference…at night we would walk the beach back and forth protecting the turtles…to try to convince people that it was the right thing to do. What we didn’t know, that 30 years later that effort…would see Trinidad being recognised as one of the most important nesting sites for the leatherback seas turtles in the world.”

The Queen then spoke to Ruy Santos from Mozambique who received the Commonwealth Points of Light award in July this year. Ruy founded Makobo in 2009, a collaborative working space to promote nutrition, education and youth employment, of which Her Majesty had her first virtual tour.

The space includes a Soup Kitchen, which during the pandemic fed 6,000 people daily, including lunchboxes to support local school children. In response to Covid-19, the organisation also began working with 15 local dressmakers, producing over 6,000 masks for underprivileged communities, hospitals and charity workers.

Ruy Santos said; “We are trying to replicate the lunchbox initiative and…kitchen all over the country to feed one million children by the end of 2025. But it’s more than food, we want to promote more opportunities for young people and especially women to reduce the high rates of malnutrition and illiteracy in Mozambique that effects 80% of our population.” During the call, Ruy presented Her Majesty her first gift of a facemask – one of Makobo’s handmade facemasks “from Mozambique with love”

THE YIANIS CHRISTODOULOU FOUNDATION: is their String Instruments Funder

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