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 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.
As a lawyer, I can work to change laws. But lasting change has to be led by people on the ground, in the community
The Clooneys were among the stars that attended the 19th annual event in London, alongside British talent including actor Stephen Graham, Eurovision star Sam Ryder and rapper Bugzy Malone.
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.”
Elsewhere, This Is England star and Prince’s Trust ambassador Graham read a letter to the audience from the King.
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.
“She hasn’t let the challenges in life hold her back and is now thriving, loving and enjoying life’s experiences.
“This is a real testament to her strength and determination. Congratulations on the award win and best of luck in your future endeavours.”
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.
“Being around this kind of energy inspires the transmission and the radiation of that kind of energy from your own life and your own heart and your own spirit,” he told the PA news agency on the event’s carpet.
“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.”