Tonga Leitis Association
Commonwealth Point of Light 199. Taufu’i 'Ae Valu Naufahu
Taufu’i ‘Ae Valu Naufahu, representing Tonga, aged 33, is President of the ‘Tonga Leitis Association’, the island’s only organisation providing advocacy for transgender and non-binary communities.
The group has recently collaborated with religious organisations that run emergency weather shelters to accommodate LGBTQI citizens, after research conducted by the association found that this community will be among the most vulnerable to climate change.
“I am extremely honoured to have been nominated for this award. It first caught me by surprise because I did not think for a second that what I do, in a small island such as Tonga, can receive this type of recognition. I am excited and proud of myself. I’ve taken the time to look back and think about the youth and the community that I am highly involved in their activities and works and said to myself, this is a great start for Tonga. If we need to make a change then we should just do it while we still can and change it to the max.”
Lucy Joyce OBE, British High Commissioner to Tonga, said:
“We are very pleased to have Taufuʻi represent Tonga in this capacity and congratulate him for this achievement. We recognise the great deal of work he is a part of and the inspirational figure he is to our young people. May his example encourage individuals to serve willingly and rise where they stand in making a difference for the greater good in their respective communities.”