Trini teen’s autism advocacy recognised with 2020 Diana Award
Pictured: Maya Kriti Nanan. Photo courtesy Support Autism T&T.
T&T national Maya Kriti Nanan has created history after becoming the first Diana Award recipient from Trinidad and Tobago.
The 17-year-old was named a recipient of the 2020 Diana Award for advocating and creating opportunities for those living with autism in Trinidad and Tobago.
She was recognised for her work as the President of the Siblings and Friends Network, the Youth arm of Support Autism T&T, an organisation she established at the age of 12.
Nanan has built the advocacy group into a formidable network with more than 200 youth volunteers.
Since her brother’s autism diagnosis, the 17-year-old has sought to make Trinidad and Tobago a place that is inclusive of those with autism and other special needs.
The Siblings and Friends Network advocates for opportunities for people with special needs and conducts fundraises to create and provide these opportunities themselves.
Tessy Ojo, CEO of The Diana Award during a virtual ceremony on Wednesday congratulated the Diana Award recipients who she labelled the “change makers” of their generation.
She said: “We know by receiving this honour they will inspire more young people to get involved in their communities and begin their own journey as active citizens.
For over twenty years The Diana Award has valued and invested in young people encouraging them to continue to make positive change in their communities and lives of others.”
Maya said she felt honoured to receive the award.
“It is an honor to be a 2020 Diana Award recipient. It means that the work my team and I are doing here in T&T is recognised. I have always admired Princess Diana’s humanitarian work and I truly share Princess Diana's vision that young people have the power to change the world.
I look forward to our Siblings and Friends Network continuing to make T&T inclusive for everyone with Autism and special needs.”
Established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, the Award is given out by the charity of the same name and has the support of both her sons, The Duke of Cambridge and The Duke of Sussex.
The prestigious accolade is bestowed on young people from nine to 25 for social action or humanitarian work.