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Queen recognises Bangladeshi charity leader with Commonwealth Points of Light award

Queen Elizabeth II, as Head of the Commonwealth, has recognised Kishore Kumar Das, representing Bangladesh, as the 223rd Commonwealth Point of Light in honour of his exceptional voluntary service founding ‘Bidyanondo’, a charity which has improved access to education for over 1,200 children from marginalised backgrounds.

Kishore, aged 40, set up ‘Bidyanondo’ in 2013, which started with only 22 students and now runs five primary schools which are free to access, as well as running free academic coaching sessions and scholarship programmes to help children continue into Higher Education.

Kishore has also instigated a meal programme, “Ek takay aahar” (Meal for one penny), which has provided more than 10,000 nutritious meals for vulnerable people, particularly children and those who are homeless.

During the Coronavirus pandemic, the charity further ramped up its efforts to distribute relief across the country, with Kishore and volunteers also working to sanitise public spaces and transport and provide ongoing educational, health and nourishment support to those in need.

As part of the legacy of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London 2018, The Queen – as Head of the Commonwealth – is thanking inspirational volunteers across the 54 Commonwealth nations for the difference they are making in their communities and beyond, by recognising one volunteer from each Commonwealth country every week.

By sharing these stories of service, the Commonwealth Points of Light awards celebrate inspirational acts of volunteering across the Commonwealth and help inspire others to make their own contribution to tackling some of the greatest social challenges of our time.

Kishore said: “I feel humbled to reflect on the fact that the world is benefiting from the work that we, the volunteers, are doing. And, the Commonwealth Points of Light validates that. Such honour helps volunteers to determine where our focus should be. I believe this prestigious recognition of ‘Bidyanondo’ will inspire different charitable organisations to be more humane and beneficiary oriented.”

“My earnest gratitude to Her Majesty the Queen as the Head of the Commonwealth for the recognition. Also, thanks to the British High Commission in Dhaka for acknowledging the hard work and determination of the volunteers of ‘Bidyanondo’ across Bangladesh.”

Javed Patel, acting British High Commissioner to Bangladesh, said, “My warmest congratulations to Kishore Kumar Das on his Points of Light award. Through this recognition we also acknowledge the inspirational volunteers of ‘Bidyanondo Foundation’ who are contributing to eradicating hunger, empowering people and improving access to quality education in Bangladesh.”

“Their outstanding efforts continue to drive young people in Bangladesh and across the world towards the spirit of volunteerism and compassion. This award further strengthens the Brit Bangla Bondhon and the values of the Commonwealth.”

The Commonwealth is a diverse community of 54 nations that work together to promote prosperity, democracy and peace.

The Heads of Government meeting brought together leaders from all the 54 Member countries to reaffirm common values, address shared global challenges and agree how to work to create a better future for all citizens, especially young people.

Voluntary service is a vital part of this agenda, which is why Her Majesty The Queen has chosen to recognise outstanding volunteers across the Commonwealth in this special way.