Noela Lyonga, a young female social entrepreneur in Buea, South West region of Cameroon, has received the Commonwealth Point of Light award.
Noela Lyonga, who is the founder of the ‘Noela Lyonga Foundation’, an organisation which improves education for prisoners and engages young people in volunteering, has helped over 380 young people to start their own volunteering projects.
Her project, ‘Inspire an Inmate’ programme, gave her the opportunity to train over 100 young and female prisoners, while supporting their economic reintegration into society when they leave prison.
Presenting the award to Noela on February 14, in Buea, Rowan Laxton, UK High Commissioner in Cameroon, said “Noela has shown remarkable compassion, creativity and commitment through her focus on community development, youth empowerment and prison care”.
“By inspiring over one thousand volunteers, she has given practical life skills and vital hope to some of the most vulnerable citizens in Cameroon”.
For her part, Noela, lauded the initiative stating that the award will inspire other young persons. Hear her: “this will inspire our volunteers and partners to engage in more voluntary moves, for youths to see volunteerism as a platform for more life experiences, knowledge, skills and networks that will develop them and their communities at large.
“Above all, I believe this award will inspire someone out there regardless of their background to volunteer to make a difference in any little way they can, whether they have a paycheck or not, because someone out there needs what they have at all times. I dedicate this award to all those I’ve been volunteering with since 2011: my mentors, mentees, partners, women and minors in the ‘Buea Central Prison’, those in orphanages and other less privileged homes, rural community inhabitants, cancer patients and survivors, job seekers, friends, relatives and you all who inspire me to inspire others.”