21 July 2016 – International Medical University’s Psychology student, Bushra Farooq, was honoured with a Diana Award at an award ceremony in London. Bushra, 19, from India and was raised in the Middle East, received the International Diana Award as a Regional Winner for her volunteer work in the Diana Champion Volunteer category. This award is for young people who have given their time to improve the lives of others. Commenting on receiving the award, “They called out my name and until then it did not feel real to me, it was an ecstatic feeling just like they say in those award show ceremonies, it seemed cliché but the feeling that followed was that an immense joy. In all honesty, the award initially just seemed like a piece of paper with my name on it, because the work I do always have been for the community and I never looked for anything in return.” “Reflecting back now I realise that receiving this award gives me the recognition and a platform to do even more community work that I’ve been aspiring to do because of the support system that follows. This award definitely has risen my intrinsic motivation in a positive aspect.” To date, Bushra has volunteered more than 500 hours over 4 years since starting in 2012. She has devoted her time to the Oman Cancer Association, mentored children at a special school, was an active member of the Indian School Muscat Charity Club, promoted mental health to an underprivileged population, and helped educate refugee school children on sexual education in Malaysia. She has also been actively involved in various community projects via the University-run IMU Cares. The IMU Cares is a platform for staff and students of the University to make meaningful contributions to the community in producing skilled, knowledgeable, caring and ethical health professionals who will serve the community at large.
Alexius Cheang, the Psychology staff who nominated Bushra for the Diana Award, supported by A/Prof Andrew Foong and Norul Hidayah shares that, “In fact, volunteering, or the act of helping others has been shown to have multiple benefits.” Studies have shown that people who regularly volunteer find that it is a powerful boost to their happiness, tend to have higher self-esteem, have improved psychological well-being, provide a sense of meaning, lowers depression, which also improves their health and even their longevity.
“We at the International Medical University are extremely proud of Bushra. The Diana Award will encourage her to continue her fantastic work and will hopefully inspire others to make a difference in the community. Bushra is delighted to receive an award in recognition of her volunteer work.”
Photo credit: The Star “I just wanted to do something which seemed significant and being there for someone else helped me achieve that. I wrote a letter to the supervisor of my high school that I would like to volunteer at the special education section of the school and got permission. And like they say the rest is history because somehow life kept giving me more opportunities in aspects of volunteering through different associations in Oman such as the Whispers of Serenity, Oman Cancer Association etc.” “Malaysia has been welcoming to me in aspects I cannot even begin to describe because I’ve been privileged enough to meet mentors and people who inspire me and support me to continue the community work I do. Associations like Do Something Good, Incitement, Girls for Good and many more have always followed up with me and helped me stay involved,” added Bushra.
“Everyone around me during my high school days was just talking about things which seemed not that important, all they cared about was the next gossip and there came a point where I realized that if this is how the youth is there needs to be someone who is willing to break that cycle. The only way to not feel hopeless was to actually get up and do something about it.” “Making a difference in someone’s life has always been a priority for me even if it is a momentary thing. I would always recommend everyone out there who wants to change the world to Just do it because you can’t wait for good things to happen, you have to make them happen.” Since 1999, over 47,000 young people have been recognised with a Diana Award for making an outstanding difference in their communities’ across the globe and continuing Princess Diana’s legacy. With the support of HRH Prince William and HRH Prince Harry, The Diana Award aims to inspire and recognise social action in young people by going beyond its Awards programme with youth-led initiatives that empower young people to achieve their full potential and make a difference. “I am now carrying on some work with another Diana Award holder on her project about child awareness and I am privileged to be working with a great team on it. I have also been working on a stress management programme for high school children and hopefully it can start off soon.”
Tessy Ojo CEO of the Diana Award said: “The Diana Award is proud to recognise incredible young people, like Bushra who have the confidence and courage to stand up for what they believe. The Diana Award is presented to inspirational young people who work to improve the lives of others in their schools and communities. With a growing network of over 47,000 Award Holders, we are building a force of young people who are committed to taking action and improving the lives of others.”
Related article: Earl Spencer Presents Young People with Diana Award in Memory of His Late Sister Stay seated and see the world Diana Award Winner is Changing World Inspired? Click on the link to find out about some more organisations: Do Something Good The Incitement Another winner of this award is an IMU medical student, Taha Fathima Khan. Taha won the International Diana Award in 2012.