The International Award Foundation work tirelessly in Africa to bring the programme to young people across the continent, an endeavour close to the heart of Fellow of the Duke of Edinburgh’s World Fellowship, Tunde Folawiyo.
Founded in 1956, the ethos of the Duke of Edinburgh Award is to help young people, whatever their adversities, to reach their full potential. Through practical activities and teamwork, the aim is to develop mind, body and soul, building confidence and self-esteem. By 1975 over 1,000,000 young people had participated in the scheme. In 1986 the Duke of Edinburgh’s third son, HRH Prince Edward, achieved his Gold Award. In 1988, the International Award Association was established to promote the award globally. Prince Edward continues to play an active role in the charity both as a UK and International Trustee. He is Chairman of the International Council, which governs the programme in 140 countries.
The Duke of Edinburgh Award has changed the lives of millions of young people for the better, and none more than Kenyan, Julius Irungu Krush, who grew up in the slums of Mathare. The makeshift shelters have no electricity; no running water; no sanitation. Julius and his family were under constant threat – both from opportunist crime and their exposure to the elements. Julius is the youngest son of a single mother who had three other children to care for. Schooling fees and learning materials slid from Julius’s grasp as his mother struggled to put food on the table.
Julius recounts the despondency of the slums – the bleak acceptance of those around him that there was no escape from the poverty trap. Julius dropped out of school twice. Surrounded by negative peer pressure and with no dreams, confidence, aspirations or ambition, Julius attempted suicide.
This young boy’s life was turned around when he was introduced to the Duke of Edinburgh’s International programme. Within six months he had achieved his Bronze Award, quickly rising through the ranks to Silver and Gold. Along the way, Julius said he reaped so many rewards: confidence; inspiration. The experience changed his life forever. Through the Service section, he learnt the importance of community, so much so that after achieving the Gold Award he went on to start a mentorship programme himself called Raising Hope, to inspire the children of the slums of Mathare.
Stories like Julius’s are an inspiration to us all, and none more than Tunde Folawiyo, a long-time supporter of the Duke of Edinburgh Award. As director of the African Leadership Academy, entrepreneur Tunde Folawiyo is committed to helping young people to achieve their full potential.