Penangite Priyanka Vairavasundaram has received the United Kingdom's Diana Award 2020, for motivating and academically coaching weak students from poor families.

The 23-year-old final year Chemical Engineering undergraduate from Monash University in Petaling Jaya, was feted for her work via SPARK, a student enrichment programme that has benefited more than 3,900 students from underprivileged background.

The Diana Award, which was conceived in 1999 by the British government to continue the legacy of the late Princess of Wales, recognises young people for their social and humanitarian work.

Priyanka got inspired to help others by watching her father, R Vairavasundaram, 59, give motivational talks. She, together with her father, created SPARK when she was just 19.

One of her success stories include coaching Mathematics for Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) at SJKT Jalan Sungai in Georgetown last year, which saw the students' scores improve drastically, from a mere 15 percent to 89.5 percent.

While most youths would spend their semester breaks chilling and hanging out with their friends, Priyanka spent hers by conducting motivational talks and passing on learning techniques to students.

Her work caught the attention of local activist Anwar Fazal, who nominated her for the award.

The Diana Award presentation ceremony was supposed to be held in the UK, but due to travel restrictions in the COVID-19 pandemic era, it was organised via a YouTube Live session on July 1.

Although a bit disappointed for not being able to receive the award in person, Priyanka nevertheless, plans to further her studies at the Master's degree level, and continue guiding and inspiring youngsters.

Source: FMT, NST
Photo source: Monash University Facebook via Rojakdaily