Hannah Chowdhry, a long-term British Asian Christian Association volunteer has received a Diana award for her social action and humanitarian work.
On 15th July 2019 at a lavish ceremony at the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff, Hannah Chowdhry from Chigwell, Essex, received her certificate for her Diana Award from HM Lord-Lieutenant of South Glamorgan, Morfudd Meredith. Hannah had to postpone her original certification date on the 1st of July at Westminster, due to being in the middle of her Duke of Edinburgh Award Silver Expedition (click here).
Hannah has always been a very community-spirited person, intent on improving the locality where she lives for the benefit of everyone. She triggered a campaign that led to the installation of a £50,000 mammoth skull replica which is housed in the Redbridge Museum, this little piece of history restored to its original location was Hannah’s first community campaign which she started at the tender age of seven.
At high school Hannah became aware that some local pupils were using legal-highs and more severe drugs (click here), so she initiated a campaign that led to the creation of a borough-wide drug crime reporting portal on the East Ilford Betterment Partnership website (click here). A solution she designed to help better map crimes of this nature and hopes that as awareness of the facility increases it can be used by local police to enhance drug operations ward by ward, whilst also safely galvanizing community action against this crime. Hannah has often spoken about the link between drug crime and teen knife crime through the growing phenomenon of County Lines entrapment (click here).
At 13 she had already become a competent and experienced volunteer and campaigner for the British Pakistani Christian Association. For the BACA she has spoken at Westminster Cathedral to an audience of over 1,000 people (click here) and was invited to an EU Conference on minority persecution in Pakistan (click here).
Although Hannah was diagnosed with Juvenile Arthritis from the age of seven she still represented her school in Badminton, Football, Swimming, and has won a national badminton competition and a local football tournament until this year. Sadly she has had to miss over 24 weeks schooling this year after a footballing accident whch revealed that her actual condition is Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy an extermely painful condition, meaning that she was not able to participate in any sports this year.
Hannah is determined that her physical condition does not deter her from helping her community wherever she can. When Hannah learnt about the desire of local people to have a nativity scene reinstated on the steps of Ilford Town Hall she helped obtain funding and subsequent permission to have it reinstated. In 2017, for the first time in 11 years, the nativity took pride of place to the approval of people of all faiths (click here). For the three years prior to that Hannah organised volunteers from amongst peers at her school who designed a Nativity window display at BACA’s head office made from recycled material (click here).
Hannah has been a long term campaigner against ten knife crime and her letter to PM Theresa May and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan received personal written responses. Moreover she now sits on a youth reference panel for the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC). Hannah held a successful knife crime summit at High Road Baptist Church at which the local police cadets launched a video on teen knife crime (click here) and also took part in the Serious About Youth Conference at City Gates Church last month (click here). In her desire to eradicate knife crime and improve youth cohesion Hannah is working towards a bold project to introduce a non-alcoholic bar for teenagers in Ilford (click here).
Hannah is currently an Essex Youth Councillor and a member of Redbridge Youth Council too and is the first young person to represent two constituencies.