Two Burnaby young adults have been recognized nationally for their humanitarian efforts.
David He and Nazifa Nawal have been chosen as two out of 17 recipients of the 40th annual Terry Fox Humanitarian Awards which provide individual scholarships valued at up to $28,000.
The 17 recipients were chosen from more than 500 applicants.
“These young humanitarians have worked tirelessly to channel the same values and goals that Terry Fox held, be it a passion for helping those in need or demonstrating perseverance in the face of adversity,” John Kearsey, chairperson of the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award, said in a news release.
“The award will support these exceptional young leaders through their first post-secondary degrees. We are thrilled to help contribute to their further growth and look forward to watching as their careers flourish.”
David He founded the Global Spotlight Foundation in 2017, an international student initiative that transforms youth into change makers through stories and mentorship.
He has led community projects including human libraries, conferences and town halls. He's also given three TEDx talks and represented Canada at the Human Rights Conference in Copenhagen, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the 2019 Vimy Pilgrimage Award and is a Yale Young Global Scholar.
In 2021, He was chosen by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to provide policy advice to the Government of Canada through his youth council. He advocated for the national conversion therapy ban and increased funding for marginalized communities.
"I feel incredibly proud to take on this role of fostering safe spaces for my peers to share who they are without inhibition," He said in the announcement.
"It's inspired me to continue on this path in life and serve as a policy maker in our federal government - helping create a more inclusive Canada that works for everyone."
He was also recently announced as a recipient of the BC Achievement Foundation community award.
Nafiza Nawal is president of the Britannia Leo Club, where she leads a group of students working to build a sense of community by engaging their peers in volunteer opportunities while also fundraising for humanitarian causes.
She moved to Vancouver from Bangladesh with her family when she was eight years old. The family faced language and cultural barriers, poverty and the social pressure of living in one of the highest-risk housing projects in the region.
Nawal and the club have raised money for a new community centre in Kamloops supporting Residential School survivors and others.
She also is the chair of the Britannia Youth Council, a school ambassador of Girls Can Talk Society and a youth collaborator on AgendaGap, a mental health research project, where they made calls to action about racism's impact on the mental health of youth.
She also volunteers for the Britannia Secondary School and Community Centre as well as the BIPOC club and hopes to attend UBC to study psychology to become a criminal lawyer.
“The injustices I have faced have inspired me to make changes on a large scale, which is where my ambitions of becoming a criminal lawyer stem from," Nawal said on being chosen as a recipient.
"My strong determination to become a criminal lawyer started at an early age because I have always been passionate about serving my community and this inspired me to represent marginalized communities in court. It is critical for me to advocate for equity for myself and people like me in the next generation.”
The 2022 Terry Fox Humanitarian Award recipients are as follows:
- Alex Munn - Bedford, N.S.
- Ashki Shkur - Vancouver, B.C.
- Brendon Gallacher - Burlington, Ont.
- Caleb Small - Barrie, Ont.
- Cassandra Gillen - Pointe-Claire, Qué.
- Chloe Gylander - Edmonton, Alta.
- David He - Burnaby, B.C.
- Justin Langan - Winnipeg, Man.
- Katrina Lengsavath - Winnipeg, Man.
- Maddison Tory - Calgary, Alta.
- Mikayla Astroff - Richmond Hill, Ont.
- Nazifa Nawal - Burnaby, B.C.
- Paityn Bobay - Port Perry, Ont.
- Confidential recipient - Sask.
- Sarthak Tyagi - Surrey, B.C.
- Ye-Jean Park - Calgary, Alta.
- Zachary Newman - South Brook, N.L.