Waleed is an #iwill ambassador and a survivor of the Peshawar school attack in 2014 who spent two years in hospital in Birmingham recovering from injuries.
Waleed is now a leading advocate on the importance of education and the dangers of radicalisation, speaking to over 1,500 young people in schools and universities across England. He is also a representative for the UK Youth Parliament, where he has spoken on issues including criminal gangs and knife crime, and is a member of the Birmingham Aspiring Youth Foundation.
In a personal letter to Waleed, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“I know you do this with no thought of praise or reward, but allow me to offer my own recognition of your exceptional bravery in overcoming the horrific injuries you suffered from the Peshawar attack to share your experiences with young people across the country and advocate the importance of education in counteracting radicalisation.”
Dr Rania Marandos, CEO of ‘Step Up To Serve’, which coordinates the #iwill campaign, said:
“At the #iwill campaign we know that young people have the energy, ideas and drive to create positive change in their communities and to tackle many of society’s tougher challenges. We are so pleased to see the Prime Minister recognising Waleed’s remarkable achievements. Following profound personal loss, not only has he adapted to an entirely new country and is flourishing, but is committed to reaching out to other young people and amplifying their voices. Waleed’s powerful story should remind organisations across sectors of the courage and determination young people show when taking action on issues they care about, and inspire them to work with young people as leaders of change.”
“I am truly humbled and honoured to receive the Points of Light Award and thank the #iwill campaign for nominating me. I will continue to work for the empowerment of youth and the struggle against radicalisation. Today, youth in UK and around the world, are making strides to change the world around them. From powerful social media movements, to political organising and protesting on the ground, the voice and passion of young people have convinced society to take us seriously. I am really grateful and glad that the Prime Minister is recognising the contribution of young people to society. Recognitions like these not only encourage thousands of young people like me to continue our effort, but also increases their self-esteem and self-efficacy.”
“So well deserved; an exceptional young man who humbly and bravely shares his message of peace and tolerance and sets an example for us all. Well done Waleed.” – Mrs Tigue, Head of School, University of Birmingham School.