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Mohammed Yaaseen Edoo: "An extraordinary recognition"

Mohammed Yaaseen Edoo: "An extraordinary recognition"

Looking back as a Queen's Young Leader, one year on

In June 2015, Mohammed Yaaseen Edoo received his Queen’s Young Leader Award from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace in London. A year on, he reflects on how it has helped with his project – and life in general.

What an extraordinary recognition of my advocacy work for the equal rights of persons with disabilities in my paradise island, the Republic of Mauritius!

Since I have won this prestigious award, a lot of positive impact has taken place in my life and in my project.

Since I became a Queen’s Young Leader I feel really proud and special. I have received so much congratulation from family, friends, teachers, neighbours and everyone I meet whenever I attend a wedding or go to a public place.

Project boosting

In terms of my project, I have received much more attention on the disability issues I raise. The three major issues which act as barriers in the daily lives of persons with disabilities are inclusive education, accessibility and employment.

Now, I am a board member of the National Council for the Rehabilitation of Disabled Persons (NCRD) which is a committee of the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Reform Institutions. Through this board I raise questions in these three areas to make things move quickly.

At the same time I am involved on high-level committee regarding policy on disability in Mauritius. Soon the Ministry of Social Security will release a Disability Bill where all laws regarding persons with disabilities will be found in a single law, and I am being consulted on this.

And I am on a steering committee of the Implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) following UN recommendations.

Yaas with David Beckham inside Buckingham Palace

Yaas with footballer, David Beckham, at the reception in Buckingham Palace, 2015

Life improving

On a personal note, before becoming a Queen’s Young Leader, I was not able to secure a job because of transport inaccessibility for wheelchair users in Mauritius.

But now being a Queen’s Young Leader has allowed me to secure an internship in a company. This is another development because Mauritius did not have a dedicated newspaper for persons with disabilities. Now some people have approached me to contribute to a new newspaper for persons with disabilities.

In the newspaper we raise the issues which the government needs to consider to improve the standard of living of persons with disabilities. So I am using the newspaper to raise my voice.

Recently, I have also received the very prestigious distinction of Associate Fellow from the Royal Commonwealth Society. This is in recognition of the promotion of Commonwealth values through my work. I have also won the Junior Chamber International (JCI) Mauritius the Outstanding Young Person 2015. With the Queen’s Young Leaders Award, this will have a huge impact on my curriculum vitae together.

Meeting the president

On 14 March 2016 – two days after the Independence Day of Mauritius – I was invited to a Youth Rally for persons with disabilities and disabled non-governmental organisations (NGOs) arranged by a committee from the Office of the President.

The rally was held at the State House which is the Official Residence of the President of the Republic of Mauritius. The aim was to showcase the talents, skills and ability of persons with disabilities. I was the special guest and asked to deliver a speech of my experience as a Queen’s Young Leader and my life story.

Yaas with Mauritian President, Dr Mrs Ameenah Gurib-Fakim

Selfie with the president of Mauritius, Dr Mrs Ameenah Gurib-Fakim

It was a very special event where I was honoured with a huge round of applause after my speech. I received a gift from the President of the Republic of Mauritius Her Excellency Dr Mrs Ameenah Gurib-Fakim. Please note that Mrs Ameenah-Gurib-Fakim is a well-known eminent scientist and the first female President of Mauritius.

Many thanks

Finally, I would like to convey my sincere thanks to:

  • Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for her recognition of my work
  • the Advisory Panel for the selection
  • the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust – the CEO Dr Astrid Bonfield and her lovely team
  • the Royal Commonwealth Society
  • Comic Relief with the fantastic and super talented Project Manager of the Queen’s Young Leaders, Fabienne Katy Camm and her lovely team
  • and the Director of the Leadership Course Leading Change Frances Brown for preparing such an inspiring course.

As a person with disabilities they made all the necessary arrangements for me – and all my friends with disabilities who were honoured with the Queen’s Young Leaders Award – to have the most comfortable stay and memorable moment ever spent in London and Cambridge.

I was privileged also to meet many inspiring fellow friends and Queen’s Young Leaders.

Last but not the least my sincere thanks goes to: