Commonwealth Point of Light 11. Noela Lyonga
Noela Lyonga, representing Cameroon, is the founder of the ‘Noela Lyonga Foundation’, an organisation improving education for prisoners and engaging young people in volunteering.
Through her ‘Inspire an Inmate’ programme, Noela has led training workshops for over 100 young and female prisoners to support their economic reintegration into society when they leave prison. Using sports, music and art as tools for engagement, she has also helped over 380 young people to start their own volunteering projects.
The award for Noela was presented on 14th February by Rowan Laxton, UK High Commissioner in Cameroon, on a visit to the Buea, where the ‘Noela Lyonga Foundation’ is based.
“I really sincerely feel super, super inspired winning this award. It’s still so, so unbelievable that my heart can’t send more than enough gratitude as it is deep inside me. I believe this award will open my mind to new ideas, moves and a whole lot. For ‘Noela Lyonga Foundation’, this will inspire our volunteers and partners to engage in more voluntary moves, for youths to see volunteerism as a platform for more life experiences, knowledge, skills and networks that will develop them and their communities at large.
“Above all, I believe this award will inspire someone out there regardless of their background to volunteer to make a difference in any little way they can, whether they have a paycheck or not, because someone out there needs what they have at all times. I dedicate this award to all those I’ve been volunteering with since 2011: my mentors, mentees, partners, women and minors in the ‘Buea Central Prison’, those in orphanages and other less privileged homes, rural community inhabitants, cancer patients and survivors, job seekers, friends, relatives and you all who inspire me to inspire others. God bless you all!”
Rowan Laxton, UK High Commissioner in Cameroon, said:
“Noela has shown remarkable compassion, creativity and commitment through her focus on community development, youth empowerment and prison care. By inspiring over one thousand volunteers, she has given practical life skills and vital hope to some of the most vulnerable citizens in Cameroon.”
Noela also attended a special event on 12 March, Commonwealth Day, to celebrate her achievements and recognition as a Commonwealth Point of Light.