Mar 16, London: Krystle Reid, the co-founder of a foundation which supports persons with disabilities in Sri Lanka has been named Commonwealth Young Person of the Year 2017.
Krystle Reid co-founded Enable Lanka Foundation to break stereotypes and stigma, and was recognized along with three other outstanding regional winners in this year's Commonwealth Youth Awards for Excellence in Development Work.
Through her foundation, Krystle and her team have helped disabled young people to secure employment and become self-sufficient. She was also part of the first ever campaign in Sri Lanka aimed at encouraging participation of persons with disabilities in the electoral process.
Reid and her organization have helped to launch the Enabled Elections initiative, which was one of the largest civil rights campaigns for the political and electoral rights of persons with disabilities in Sri Lanka organized by the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence.
On learning of her award, Krystle said, "Winning this award means that people do believe in our work and admitting the fight for the largest minority in the world is real."
"This award will definitely be advantageous as it would give more credibility to the work we do at Enable Lanka Foundation and bring more opportunities to collaborate with other organizations and like-minded people. It's an opportunity to tap the many potential resources within the Commonwealth and to expand the work we do for the greater good."
Her work has impacted many persons with disabilities through community-driven economic empowerment courses across the country. The foundation also organized the #ComicForCause campaign which focuses on comedians and comic artists on issues facing young people living with disabilities.
Krystle and her team also introduced an incubator space for young entrepreneurs with disabilities and a mobile application of audio books to local universities and school students.
Krystle said the award will definitely make "any young person out there to look hard at what they are doing to improve sustainability."
The Commonwealth Youth Awards for Excellence in Development Work, an initiative of the Commonwealth Secretariat's youth program, celebrate outstanding young adults aged under 30 who are leading initiatives ranging from poverty alleviation to peace-building.
This year's winners, drawn from over 200 entries, are recognized for spearheading projects that will contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals - a set of 17 global targets that governments have committed to achieve by 2030.
At the awards ceremony on 15 March at Marlborough House, the Commonwealth's headquarters in London, regional awards were presented to three other young people chosen from a shortlist of 17 finalists. The awards were presented by Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland, who praised all this year's finalists for their efforts to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals.
Charles Lipenga from Malawi - Commonwealth Africa Young Person of the Year, Jacqueline Joseph from Papua New Guinea - Commonwealth Pacific Young Person of the Year and Tricia Teekah from Guyana - Commonwealth Caribbean Young Person of the Year were the other awardees.