The Queen has praised the “wonderful work” of a charity founder whose app is supporting isolated cancer patients as she spoke to young Commonwealth leaders about their efforts.
The head of state was told about a range of initiatives from making face shields for frontline healthcare workers and training young people in digital and creative skills, to the development of the app which has been downloaded by nearly 1,500 people since the start of the year.
The Queen spoke to the global group on Monday from Windsor Castle during a video call to learn more about their work which has been supported by the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust (QCT), an organisation which funds, connects and champions young leaders.
Brad Gudger, from the UK, founded Alike, a charity that connects people with cancer, especially the young, through an app, and he told the Queen how the project was supported by the QCT’s emergency response fund.
Diagnosed with a chronic form of leukaemia, he eventually required a bone marrow transplant in 2018, and told the Queen: “It’s easy for me to say that the cancer completely changed my life.
“I know that young people with cancer are impacted by a different kind of loneliness.
“When I…originally went through treatment.
“I felt lonely in a rural North Yorkshire village that I grew up in, and later I felt lonely in the heart of central London, where I worked.
“For me, speaking to other young people with cancer was essential, empowering and life saving.”
He said about the app: “We help people find support, whether it’s a late night, or a lonely weekend, which makes a huge difference for people in rural areas in hospitals everywhere – Alike is about love.”
In response the Queen said: “Thank you for telling me all your experiences and wonderful work you’re doing, I am very grateful.
“Thank you very much.”
The Queen also heard from Jubilante Cutting, founder of the Guyana Animation Network, a non-profit organisation that provides digital and creative skills training opportunities and resources to children as young as five years old in the South American country of Guyana.
During the pandemic, she received funding from the QCT to produce face shields for frontline healthcare workers across the community as well as to provide extra online curriculum for young people in lockdown.
She said, “Your Majesty, I am honoured to represent my team today, from the standpoint that even while we are in the pandemic, the future of digital technology and creativity is already here, it’s no longer future.
“And we recognise that in some parts of the Commonwealth, particularly in the Caribbean, young people still do not have access to quality education resources and role models to prepare them, and also to have their voices, added to global innovation and creativity.”
After her presentation the Queen, patron of the QCT, said: “It’s really interesting to hear about it.
“And as you can see this is some of your creative work behind me, they decided to showcase their artwork to you today and I am happy to represent that.”
Jean d’Amour Mutoni, co-founder and chief executive of the social enterprise AOG Rwanda which supports Rwanda’s social entrepreneurs, spoke to the Queen from one of his centres in the capital Kigali.
After giving the Queen a brief guided virtual tour, he said: “I have one example to share with you, Your Majesty, today.
“Nina here joined our programme in 2019, and (wanted) to launch a social enterprise in agriculture.
“And last week, she was celebrated on the national television for creating more than 80 jobs for young people in the space of only two years.”