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 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 first steps in volunteering.
The award for Noela was announced on 15th February after presentation by Rowan Laxton, UK High Commissioner in Cameroon, on a visit Buea, where the Noela Lyonga Foundation is based.
By inspiring over one thousand volunteers, she has given practical life skills and vital hope to some of the most vulnerable citizens in Cameroon
“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!”
UK High Commissioner in Cameroon, H.E. Rowan Laxton said:
“Noela has shown 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.”
A student of the University of Buea, Noela is also an alumna of the British High Commission’s girl’s education flagship programme called the Cameroon Women’s Scholarship.