Pakistani 'rizk' volunteers
Britain's Queen Elizabeth honours two Pakistani volunteers Huzaifa Ahmad and Syed Hassaan Irfan, who feed the poor across the country. Image Credit:

Dubai: Britain’s Queen Elizabeth has honoured two outstanding Pakistani volunteers Huzaifa Ahmed and Syed Hassan Irfan with a Commonwealth Points of Light Award.

The Queen also congrtulated the winners of the award during a phone call hosted by British High Commissioner to Pakistan Dr Christian Turner CMG on Saturday.

Huzaifa Ahmad and Syed Hassaan Irfan, representing Pakistan, represent ‘Rizq’, a social enterprise that is revolutionising the use of surplus food to end food poverty.

A United Kingdom (UK) Government statement issued said the award to Huzaifa Ahmad (Co-Founder and CEO Rizq) and Syed Hassaan Irfan (Executive Director, Rizq), recognised their work providing food security to local communities, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Commonwealth Points of Light Awards are given by Her Majesty as Head of the Commonwealth to recognise contributions from volunteers across the networks of 54 nations.

Members of the Royal Family regularly present these awards in person during officials overseas visits.

The call with Her Majesty The Queen also marked National Volunteering Week in the UK, an annual celebration of the power and contribution of volunteering.

The statement said Huzaifa Ahmed and Syed Hassaan Ahmed, representing ‘Rizq’ from Pakistan, a social enterprise, started as a university project in 2015 aimed at ensuring a hunger free Pakistan by distributing excess food to the most vulnerable.

During the coronavirus pandemic and in the holy month of Ramazan, Huzaifa and Hassaan mobilised a network of over 3,000 volunteers to distribute over 2.2 million meals to across 23 cities. reported APP.

Rizq heroes

Huzaifa Ahmad on winning of the award said, “Food is a fundamental need. For every human to reach his or her true potential it is important for this basic right to be accessible, affordable and available. I want to thank the Commonwealth for recognising our efforts and honouring us with this award. I would like to dedicate it to our amazing volunteers and Rizq heroes”, he remarke

Syed Hassaan Irfan said, “We have more food than ever before yet more people than ever go hungry every day. We all have an individual responsibility to eliminate hunger - no one should go without a daily meal. This award is a tribute to the people of Pakistan, the work of volunteers in Pakistan, and our strong tradition of helping each other”.

Example of positive relations

The British High Commissioner, Dr Turner, said, “It was an honour to hear Her Majesty recognises Rizq’s remarkable work to tackle food insecurity. Moments like this are examples of the profoundly positive relations between the UK, Pakistan and Commonwealth”.

What is the award

The statement further said the Commonwealth Points of Light awards were made by Her Majesty the Queen, as Head of the Commonwealth, to thank inspirational volunteers across all the Commonwealth nations for the difference they are making in their communities.

The Commonwealth Points of Light award were launched in April 2018 to coincide with the UK hosting the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, in London.

The British High Commission was asked to suggest volunteers from Pakistan for a Points of Light award, to coincide with national volunteering week happening this week in the UK, June 1-7.

Earlier Pakistani winners

The following people in Pakistan have previously been awarded a Points of Light Award:Master Ayub - a fireman who runs an open-air school for children who otherwise cannot have an education.

Mohammed Amjad Saqib - runs the largest microfinance organisation in Pakistan, ‘Akhuwat’ and Hamza Farrukh - addressing the water crisis, with ‘Bondh-E-Shams’, serving 45,000 people across 13 remote Pakistani villages.