1687. Bhavesh Patel
Bhavesh Patel, from Birmingham, set up ‘Storyteller’, a social enterprise which runs educational workshops around the world, working in eight countries, including the UK and India, to help over 1,500 children access a quality education.
‘Storyteller’ sells uniquely designed travel accessories with the aim of directing profits towards educational programmes, using people’s passion for travel as a means of improving opportunities for others. Bhavesh and his team’s workshops focus on developing life skills as well as sharing the importance of gender equality, the environment and sustainable living, and are particularly targeted at pupils around the world who do not have access to such educational resources and in many cases, have the pressure to drop out of school due to family commitments. They also run workshops with adults where they teach micro-enterprise skills to help them build small businesses.
‘Storyteller’ has also completed school renovations in rural areas of Nepal, and continues to work closely with a number of non-conventional schools in Delhi such as The School under the Bridge and School in the Park with by helping provide educational support and equipment to help teachers and children access quality education.
Whilst the pandemic has prevented Bhavesh from travelling, he has collaborated with UK-based education charity Ark Academy to provide online workshops to children from less privileged backgrounds, as well as volunteering his time with the Prince’s Trust serving as a business mentor.
In a personal letter to Bhavesh, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“Congratulations on the success of your fantastic initiative, ‘Storyteller’. You have reached over 1,500 children globally and your service exemplifies the great British spirit of generosity.
“You have combined a love for education and travel by volunteering your time to children across the world. You are giving the gift of learning and skills for life to those who need it so much.
“I hope that in recognising your outstanding voluntary work, we can help you tell the story of the extraordinary work you are doing.”
Nicola Richards, Bhavesh’s local MP for West Bromwich East, said:
“I was immensely proud to hear the news that Bhavesh has won the Prime Minister’s Points of Light Award.
“His work to improve his local communities – and communities around the world – is a shining example of our dedication, humility and generosity in Sandwell.
“He truly represents the very best of us and is a worthy winner of this prestigious award.”
In response to receiving the award, Bhavesh said:
“It is such an honour for me to receive the Point of Light Award and I am grateful to the Prime Minister for the recognition I have received for my work.
“It is heartbreaking to see first-hand that so many children around the world do not have access to quality education, something which is a fundamental human right for all and in turn is leading to a continuous cycle of poverty. Therefore, I made a conscious decision to work with my team to find long term solutions to the educational problem and create the changes we wanted to see.
“Together with the incredible ‘Storyteller’ Team we have been able to complete some amazing projects over the years which has helped thousands of children and adults to access quality education around the world, including the UK.
“I would like to dedicate this award to the ‘Storyteller’ team and my family and friends for all of the support they have shown me throughout this journey.”