SSA Head Boy Shehbaaz (Year 11) who is currently enrolled in the DofE Award and is working towards his Bronze Award, joined a host of young people from across the UK to launch the DofE Living Legacy Fund in memory of the charity’s founder, The Duke of Edinburgh.
Shehbaaz spoke to BBC, BBC Newsround, Eastern Eye and DofE to give thanks to the DofE Award for helping him build the self-belief, confidence and skills he’ll need to overcome anything life throws his way. As part of the award, Shehbaaz has recently helped set up a charity for people who are in need as a result of the Covid pandemic.
“Lockdown made us nervous and anxious about what the future will hold but with the DofE we had the Zoom calls every week and it was the thing I looked forward to every week. Lockdown was kind of monotonous: doing school lessons every day, sitting at home. You couldn’t go out, you couldn’t play – there was nothing you could do.”
During one of his Zoom meetings, Shehbaaz suggested setting up a charity as part of the volunteering element of the DofE Award.
“We then kind of built off from that and we’ve created this whole charity. We are setting up an online GoFundMe page, we have posters ready so we can promote it online with our friends and on social media. We have teams focusing on different areas, so hopefully by the time the summer comes round we can have enough donations to start helping people in Newham who are struggling because of Covid”
“Essentially, we want to get about £5,000 donated over time and then hopefully use that money to either feed the poor, or if children in education need stationery, or anything like that, we will provide them with it.”
So far, Shehbaaz has completed his physical (gym), skill (cooking and photography) and volunteering (at his local mosque) and is hoping to go on expedition this summer. Although he has not achieved bronze yet, he is already keen to start preparing for his silver.
Headteacher Craig Hewitt said: “This is a great example of the positive contribution our young people make to society. Shehbaaz is a great role model and a fantastic ambassador for SSA”
The new Living Legacy Fund will give one million more young people the opportunity to do their DofE, from all circumstances and backgrounds. It will provide targeted help to young people who need specialist support to do their DofE, whether they are facing financial hardship, are in a young offender institution or prison, or have special educational needs or disabilities.