A Samoan girl, who overcame her own personal trauma to share her story to support victims of sexual abuse, has celebrated the biggest moment of her life meeting Prince Harry at the Marlborough House in London.
Leilua Lino was the recipient of special prizes presented by the Duke of Sussex during a garden party celebrating the Commonwealth’s 70th anniversary.
Ms. Lino was among 14 other innovators in international development who received a trophy, certificate and £2,000 (T$6,743).
Held at the Commonwealth headquarters in Marlborough House, London, the awards recognised, celebrated and showcased impactful innovations and forward-looking solutions which help Commonwealth countries develop and advance the Commonwealth charter values.
“Leilua was raped by her own biological father at age 9 and was evacuated under Samoa Victim Support Group’s shelter and care in 2011,” said a statement from the Commonwealth.
“In 2018 she walked tall to court and achieved justice against her father who is now imprisoned for 29 years.
“Following her traumatic experience, she created a Peace Garden in 2017 as her way of healing from her experience of gender based violence. To date the Positive Movement has reached 20,000 children.”
The winners were selected by an independent jury, based on the impact or potential of their innovations to advance one or more of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, congratulated Ms. Lino and the other award winners.
“I hope you are as impressed as I am by the talent that is mobilised and multiplied through Commonwealth connection," she said.
“There are also many other inventors and innovators of all ages in every country and community of the Commonwealth and it is they who drive us on towards a future of health, hope and harmony.”
The competition aims to shine the spotlight on revolutionary ideas that could improve prosperity, protect our planet, promote peace and justice and encourage partnerships in the Commonwealth.
Nitesh Kumar Jangir, from India, co-founded a medical device company designed to prevent deaths in the field of emergency and critical care. Rosette Muhoza, from Rwanda, co-founded a social enterprise that ensures environmental sustainability through recycling plastic waste into construction materials.
A visibly-excited winner, Joanna Ewart-James, said the award signifies that ending modern slavery is a priority for the Commonwealth.
Fellow winner and company C.E.O. Elizabeth Kperun was chosen for her idea to simplify learning for African children and young adults by creating mobile applications and video content which educated them in their native languages.
“This award will give us more visibility. It goes a long way towards helping us achieve our objective of making education more accessible for under-privileged kids in Africa,” she said.
This is the first year of the awards, which were open to all citizens and organisations of the Commonwealth’s 53 countries.
Story from Samoa Observer.