TWO “exceptional” young Capetonians were honoured with awards from Queen Elizabeth yesterday.
Jessica Dewhurst, 24, from Rondebosch and Lethabo Ashleigh Letube, 20, from Langa, have been recognised by the queen for taking the lead in transforming the lives of others and making a lasting difference in their communities.
They received their Queen’s Young Leaders awards during a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
This year, the Cape Argus reported that Dewhurst was 14 when she started doing volunteer work.
She worked in NGO camps, supporting refugees, young people and children with HIV/Aids and victims of abuse.
She was 18 when she became the youth co-ordinator for The Edmund Rice Network for South Africa, training young people to start community-based projects.
In 2013, she co-founded The Social Justice & Advocacy Desk for South Central Africa. The organisation’s services include skills courses to help vulnerable young people to find employment.
Letube, who is known to friends and family as Lerato, grew up in Langa and is involved in Project Playground, which gives pupils a place to go after school.
They take part in activities including dance and drama after school and receive a hot meal.
She is the chairwoman of violence and crime prevention programme called Great Corner Lugna Gatna, which, among other things, helps young people who had been using drugs and alcohol to help turn their lives around.
The award winners, from more than 40 Commonwealth countries, visited 10 Downing Street, the UK headquarters of Twitter and senior executives at the BBC World Service, before receiving their awards yesterday.
They were selected after a process in which thousands of young people from all over the Commonwealth applied to be a Queen’s Young Leader.