Himakshi Shastri is one of the UAE-based students who have won the Diana Award. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: UAE students shine bright at the coveted Diana Award.

At least 21 students from the UAE have been recognised for rising above their comfort zone to create a positive change in their respective communities.

UAE students received email notifications of their award in May. On June 30, the students were officially declared the Award recipients via Zoom. They will receive their certificates soon from the organisers after the ceremony.


Diana Award

The Diana Award is a charity set up in memory of the late Diana, Princess of Wales. The Award is set up under the belief that young people have the power to change the world. It’s mission is to empower young people to lead change through a range of initiatives which unlock their potential, inspire action and create opportunities, ensuring that no young person is left out or left behind.

Last year there were 16 awards from UAE. According to the organisers, there is a wide range of issues that the award winners are tackling. They include, good health and well-being, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Responsible Consumption and Production, Zero Hunger, Quality Education, Climate Action, Clean Water and Sani5a5ion, Life on Land.

Imranah Illias advocating community empowerment through Model UN sessions-1688135726548
Imranah Illia, winner of the Diana Award, advocating community empowerment through Model UN sessions. Image Credit: Supplied

There are 20 Diana Award Judging Panels representing each region or nation both in the UK and internationally. Panels consist of three judges who understand the value of young people, including one young person representative. The panels have an important main purpose: to determine which nominations from each region or nation will receive a Diana Award.

The nominations are judged using the Criteria Guide and Scoring Guide which have been created to measure quality of youth social action.


UAE based student Himakshi Shastri, 16, is one of the students recognised for her social action and humanitarian efforts.

Himakshi been running her own hair donation campaign for cancer patients for over five years and has collected over 3,000 hair donations internationally. She is also a climate activist and has even started her own sustainable stationery start-up, ‘Sustainery Co’.

Winner of the Diana Award Aalia serves as a brand ambassador for the ‘Protect Your Mom’ organisation, Image Credit: Supplied

Another young award recipient from UAE is Aalia Rumana, 15.

At just eight years old, Aalia began supporting breast cancer patients, orphans, people with disabilities, and underprivileged students. She successfully balanced her charity work with her studies, receiving local recognition for their academic achievements. “My vision was shaped by personal experiences with cancer in my family. It motivated me to raise awareness and support cancer patients.”

Brand ambassador

Aalia serves as a brand ambassador for the ‘Protect Your Mom’ organisation, organising campaigns and fundraisers. Aalia’s inspiring efforts have motivated others to get involved; they have shown exceptional leadership skills as a youth advocate.

The Gems Our Own Indian School, Dubai also announced five of its students, Muskan Fathima, Shiuli Shetty, Muhammed Yaseen Nivas, Imranah Ilias, and Dhanu Sree Suresh have been honoured with

Dhanu Shree introduced STEM Club to the younger students.-1688135725175
Dhani Sharee, winner of the Diana Award, introduces STEM Club to younger students Image Credit: Supplied

Your Islamic Guide

Muskan is a compassionate humanitarian who has launched ‘Your Islamic Guide,’ an Instagram page educating people on social topics from an Islamic perspective. She contributes to various charitable events and also runs the ‘Ataraxia well-being blog, helping students navigate through their daily pressures and find peace.

Muskan Fathima has been avidly advocating the importance of mental health-1688135728169
Image Credit: Supplied

Shiuli has made a significant impact through various initiatives. Her project ‘Suyog’ aims at empowering and supporting disadvantaged individuals along with which she has raised funds to provide aid to victims of catastrophes. Her environmental conservation efforts include the ‘KitchenToFuel’ drive and the ‘Green Call 2021’ recycling campaign.

Combining his expertise in the sciences with his passion to revolutionise the education system, Yaseen has given free Math lessons to students. He also organised a variety of international science contests like the Asian Biology Bowl, developed a biology curriculum for Everaise Academy and lectured in the school science and math clubs and brought science contests to his school.

Community empowerment

Imranah on the other hand is a dedicated advocate for community empowerment. Through the PALS Programme, she helps improve the English language skills of support staff, as well as, organises food donation drives during Ramadan, benefiting immigrant workers in labour camps.

During the pandemic, Dhanu Sree started the ‘The Harbingers of Amity’ initiative to support those suffering from loneliness. Dhanu has also focused on other initiatives, including bridging the education gap by providing resources to underprivileged students and promoting STEAM.

Lalitha Suresh, Principal, GEMS Our Own Indian School said the educational institution has produced 35 Diana award winners.

“When students develop empathy towards fellow citizens and put their thoughts into action, then nothing can stop the youth of today from using their emotional and spiritual quotient in trying to achieve equity. I congratulate all the Diana Award winners for making a difference in this world,” she said.

Amarnath Sreevalsan - Grade 8, Adithya Anush- Grade 9 and Sreepadmanabhan Vimal-Grade 10 from Our Own English High School, Sharjah have won the highest accolade for social works and humanitarian efforts-The Diana Award.

Amarnath is an inspiring youth volunteer who tirelessly serves the less privileged.

Through their 'Edu Mission' project, Adithya has supported the education of over 400 tribal students in India for the past four years.Sreepadmanabhan is a charismatic leader and influencer who actively uplifts underprivileged people, promotes health education, and conserves the environment.

Shreyas Krishna Prasad Sunnanguli, aged 14, studying in Grade 9, Delhi Private School, Sharjah also won the Diana Award.

Prasad's initiative, 'Ignite-Young-Minds’ was founded in 2019 to enhance the quality of education for underprivileged children across the globe. It won him the award.

Shreyas Krishna Prasad Sunnanguli,
Shreyas Krishna Prasad Sunnanguli, 14 Image Credit: Supplied

The nomination process

The names of Diana Award recipients are put forward by adults who know these young people in a professional capacity and those who are recognised because of their positive efforts and contribution to the society.

Through a rigorous nomination process, these nominators had to demonstrate the nominee’s impact in five key areas: Vision, Social Impact, Inspiring Others, Youth Leadership, and Service Journey.