Dubai: Siblings Mishal, 13, and Mir Faraz, 9, have received the prestigious Princess Diana Award for their civic and environmental work.
Established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, the international award is a prestigious accolade a young person aged nine-25 years can receive for their social actions or humanitarian work.
This year’s awarding ceremony – the first ever virtual iteration – was held on July 1, a day that would have been Princess Diana’s 59th birthday.
Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, graced the online ceremony from his home in California and paid tribute to the young people “for working to provoke change and making a difference in the world.”
Mishal and Mir, who is also the youngest recipient from the UAE, are students at GEMS Winchester School Jebel Ali. Both excel in academics and co-curricular activities and have previously received several awards, including the Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Distinguished Academic Performance and Sharjah Award for Educational Excellence.
Mishal has also been conferred with the Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Award for Excellence.
“We are committed to be useful to the people and the planet. We are also inspired by the ethos of giving and sharing, which are in the very foundation of UAE that is why we regularly participate in drives organised by various organisations in the country,” the siblings told Gulf News.
Mishal and Mir are members of Emirates Environmental Group (EEG). Promoting green living, the duo has participated and organised various awareness campaigns related to desertification, deforestation, food wastage, recycling and energy conservation.
Between them they have recycled more than 18,000 kgs of paper 600 kgs of plastic, 200 ink cartridges and 610 kgs of used batteries. They have also devoted hundreds of hours volunteering for initiatives organised by Dubai Cares, Emirates Red Crescent, Al Emarat Al Watani Foundation and Beit Al Khair Society.
They’ve also raised funds towards the education of children in underprivileged countries as well as collected and distributed necessary items in labour camps.
Talking about receiving the Diana Award, the siblings said: “It is an honour of a lifetime. We feel humbled to bring pride and happiness to our family, school and this glorious nation. The fact that we are residents of UAE plays a big part in shaping our thoughts and beliefs. We are greatly inspired by the compassion and generosity of the rulers of the nation and try to incorporate them in our lives. We are also fortunate that we’re supported in our endeavours by our parents and mentors,” the duo added.
Meanwhile, addressing the recipients of the award, Prince Harry said: “You are all doing such incredible work, and at a time of real uncertainty, you have found the power and inspiration inside of you to make a positive impact on the world. I am confident about the world’s future, and its ability to heal because it is in your hands.”