Amal Clooney praised young female community leaders and said lasting change “has to be led by people on the ground” as she presented a special honour at the Prince’s Trust awards.
The high-profile barrister and wife of Hollywood star George Clooney presented the Amal Clooney Women’s Empowerment Award to a young Tanzanian woman at the ceremony on Tuesday.
The annual Prince’s Trust Awards recognise young people who have succeeded against the odds, improved their chances in life and had a positive impact on their local community.
Award winner Zamana was recognised after launching her own campaign to support and encourage girls to stay in school in Tanzania.
The campaign translates as “Allow Me To Study” and focuses on helping schoolgirls and their parents understand the importance of completing their education.
Presenting her women’s empowerment award, Amal Clooney said: “As a lawyer, I can work to change laws.
“But lasting change has to be led by people on the ground, in the community. Sometimes, these leaders can be found in girls as young as 16. Like Zamana, who we are honouring today.
“Zamana told me that one of the ways she convinces parents to let girls study is by showing them images of successful women – and I have no doubt that she will one day be among them.”
The actor also presented the Homesense Young Achiever of the Year award to 24-year-old Joanna Drewett from South Manchester.
Ms Drewett was admitted to a psychiatric hospital at 15, which disrupted her education, and she finished school with just three GCSEs, before reaching out to the Prince’s Trust.
Presenting her with the award, Graham said: “Joanna should be very proud of herself.
“This is a real testament to her strength and determination. Congratulations on the award win and best of luck in your future endeavours.”
Awards were also presented by celebrity supporters and Prince’s Trust ambassadors including Edward Enninful, Geri Horner, Fearne Cotton, Holly Willoughby, Rylan Clark and Kate Garraway.
Tuesday’s event was hosted by celebrity presenters and long-term ambassadors of The Prince’s Trust Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, and featured a performance by Ryder.
Ryder, who was heavily involved in the recent Eurovision celebrations in Liverpool, said he had “nothing but respect” for those who had overcome “tribulations and challenges” in life.
“I had a dream of a career in music since I was about 14 years old… it took a long time and the only thing that I can attribute that is just never giving up.
“You have this feeling and this fire inside of your heart that you want to share music for no other reason but a connection with total strangers and to enrich your life in that way.
“So, I’ve got nothing but respect for people who have that same spirit and same vigour.”
He added: “Whatever life throws at them, whatever failures, tribulations and challenges, they will never cease in this search to share light.”
Charles is set to meet the winners of this year’s Prince’s Trust awards at a reception at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday.