Local volunteer honoured by Queen for exceptional service improving the health and educational attainment of young people
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth last week recognised Ursula Matzopoulos as the 42nd Commonwealth Point of Light in honour of her exceptional service improving the health and educational attainment of young people in Namibia.
“In the lead-up to the Commonwealth Heads Government Meeting in London on 19-20 April, Queen Elizabeth as the Head of the Commonwealth gave thanks to inspirational volunteers across the 53 Commonwealth nations for the differences they are making in their communities and beyond,” said Hans-Christian Mahnke from the British High Commission to Namibia.
And by sharing these stories of service, the Heads of the Commonwealth meetings will celebrate inspirational acts of volunteering across the Commonwealth and help inspire others to make their own contribution to tackling some of the greatest social challenges of our time, he added
Ursula is a former primary school teacher who is involved in an after-school club in Katutura , Windhoek called Physically Active Youth (PAY). The club focuses on using educational games to improve the literacy and math skills of local children from disadvantaged backgrounds, whilst also improving their health and fitness through BMX riding, football, swimming and basketball.
Since 2015 Ursula has led the organisation’s extra curricular tutoring helping over 150 pupils aged 12-13 to achieve twice of the national average pass rate for the year end exams. She also encourages young people to continue with their education with 80% of children from the programme enrolling in secondary school compared to national average of 54%.
The Commonwealth Point of Light will receive a personalised certificate signed by Queen Elizabeth as the Head of the Commonwealth. The award of Ursula Matzopoulos was presented on 27 March at the Physically Active Youth by Kate Airey UK High Commissioner of Namibia.
“It’s a wonderful to receive this award, not for myself but to get recognition for all the amazing volunteers at PAY who give so much of themselves to make sure the children get a better start in life. It’s not always easy and we rely on kindness of so many people and organizations to keep PAY going. So this is a huge thank you to all of them,” said Ursula.
“I’m delightful that Ursula is receiving this award. The amount of effort she puts in to ensuring these children get a good meal, the creativity with which she approaches the extra-curricular work, the team she has created and the impact she has is phenomenal. I hope this award means that the work PAY does reaches a wider audience and they can carry on making the enormous difference to the lives of the children in Katutura,” said Airey.