6-year-old Indian-origin girl wins UK PM’s award for climate campaign

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A six-year-old Indian-origin girl who campaigns to raise awareness of deforestation and climate change issues was on Thursday named a winner of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s daily Points of Light award.

Aleesha Gadhia is a climate activist and mini ambassador for UK-based non-profit Cool Earth and has raised over GBP 3,000 for the organisation, which works alongside rainforest communities to halt deforestation and lobbies business to create more sustainable practices.

She has also set up a climate change club at her school, encouraging others to look after the environment and include activities such as litter picking and planting trees.

“I feel really excited and happy to have won the award. I am really grateful and honoured to have Prime Minister Boris Johnson to award and write a letter to me. I never thought I would receive such an award,” Gadhia said.

“Climate change is a really important issue and I hope raising awareness will tackle this problem. Thank you to everyone who has supported me, including my teachers Mrs Heatlie and Mrs Wandand. Thank you also, to Cool Earth for making me their first youth ambassador,” she said.

Gadhia was recognised with the honour for also writing hundreds of letters and emails to some of the UK’s largest companies and most influential people to encourage them to take climate action.

“I’m absolutely delighted to hear that Aleesha has been recognised as one of the Prime Minister’s Points of Light for all her amazing work to protect rainforests and raise awareness around climate change,” said Ruth Edwards, Gadhia’s local MP for Rushcliffe in Nottingham, central England.

“I have had the pleasure of meeting Aleesha, who is currently raising money for ‘Cool Earth’, last month and I think she is setting a great example of what we can all do to help our environment. This award is truly well-deserved, and I can’t wait to see what’s next for Aleesha and her campaign,” she said.

Earlier this year, Gadhia set up a Just Giving online fundraiser page and raised GBP 3,400 for Cool Earth with her 80-km scooter challenge, which received the backing of Queen Elizabeth II and environmentalist Sir David Attenborough.

“I would like to do my part and try and save the rainforests. All the money raised will go towards making this a greener planet,” she said of her fundraising drive.

Gadhia’s parents, Kiran and Pooja Gadhia, added: “We are so proud of Aleesha, she has done so much over the past year for someone so young. She has inspired us all and we hope she continues on this amazing journey.”

Gadhia becomes the 1,755th person to receive the British Prime Minister’s Points of Light award, which was launched in 2014 to recognise people making a difference in their communities.

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