21-year-old UK Malayali girl named in Queen's Birthday Honours list

21-year-old UK Malayali girl named in Queen's Birthday Honours list
Amika George | Photo: Amika's Twitter page

London: Indian-origin healthcare experts involved in the field of COVID-19 vaccine trials and community support efforts are among those in the spotlight at the Queen's Birthday Honours List.

The Queen's Birthday Honours List, unveiled on Friday evening, is released every year to coincide with Queen Elizabeth II's official birthday celebrations held during the second weekend of June. This time, it has a special focus on the extraordinary efforts made by individuals across the country during the pandemic.

UK Malayali Amika Sara George, founder of #FreePeriods Campaign has been honoured as Member of the British Empire (MBE) for her service in education for her campaign against period poverty. She is also the youngest in the MBE list.

She launched the #FreePeriods campaign as a response, gathering nearly 2,00,000 signatures on her petition to help eradicate period poverty; the movement eventually garnered the support of over a dozen UK policymakers, galvanising the government to allocate funds to the issue for the first time.

21-year-old Amika George's goal was to convince policymakers to end "period poverty," as she calls it, by funding the distribution of menstrual products to girls and women who cannot afford them. She was motivated by Kerala's 'She Pad' initiative. When she started the campaign, Amika was only 17 years old.

On a Twitter post, Amika said she was 'reluctant' to accept the MBE when she heard about the laurels. She wrote: ‚ÄúBeing offered an MBE was surreal. I felt so lucky to be able to represent young people and everyone who has supported @free_periods, but the associations with empire made me reluctant.‚ÄĚ In a magazine, she has also explained why she decided to accept it at the end.

Amika George is the daughter of Pathanamthitta native Philip George and Kollam native Nisha. Amika and her brother Milan were born and brought up in Britain.

Of the 1,129 recipient of an award this year, 567 are women which is 50 per cent of the total and 62 per cent of the recipients have undertaken outstanding work in their communities, either in a voluntary or paid capacity.  

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