Her Majesty The Queen recognises Hyderabad volunteer with Commonwealth Points of Light award during COVID-19 pandemic

British High Commission Hyderabad
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Hyderabad, July 27th 2020: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has recognised Manju Kalanidhi, representing India, as the 149th Commonwealth Point of Light in honour of her exceptional voluntary service feeding the most vulnerable across India. Dr Andrew Fleming, British Deputy High Commissioner to Telangana and Andhra Pradesh presented her the award  in a physically distanced ceremony.


Manju Latha is founder of the ‘Rice Bucket Challenge’ which harnesses the power of social media to encourage people to donate a bucket of rice to those living in poverty and then challenge three others to do the same. Manju initially launched the challenge in 2014, in response to the viral ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’, with the simple thought of “Why waste water when you can donate rice?” During COVID-19, with lockdown preventing many people from working and being able to buy food, Manju has reached out through the challenge to ensure marginalised communities in Hyderabad and beyond have access to groceries and hot meals. So far, it has raised over 27,000 kilos of essential food, nourishing 400,000 vulnerable people.


As part of the legacy of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London 2018, Her Majesty The Queen – as Head of the Commonwealth has embraced the Points of Light initiative. Under this, The Queen 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, including the current COVID-19 pandemic.


Each Commonwealth Point of Light receives a personalised certificate signed by Her Majesty The Queen as Head of the Commonwealth.


Dr Andrew Fleming, British Deputy High Commissioner to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, said, “I was delighted to hear that Manju Latha Kalanidhi had won the 149th Commonwealth Points of Light Award for her exceptional voluntary service feeding the most vulnerable across India during this pandemic time. Manju’s work is an inspiration to all us on how we can contribute to the society.”


Receiving the honour at Hyderabad, Manju Latha Kalanidhi said:  “A prestigious international recognition such as this is like a shot in the arm. It puts my initiative in a different league, giving it more visibility and credibility. I am overwhelmed with the warm, fuzzy feeling of being called a Point of Light. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.”