SHEFFIELD student Amy Melody has been named a Young Leader of the Year – for her work with a community project in Tanzania.
Amy, aged 21, from Ecclesall, volunteered to help out at the Newlands orphanage close to Mount Kilimanjaro more than two-and-a-half years ago when she began her studies at Sunderland University.
The former Silverdale pupil has now visited the African nation twice to work with young people there, many of whom are carrying the HIV virus.
Amy’s efforts were recognised at a ceremony for the north eastern region held in Newcastle and she is due to pick up a second award at a celebration evening next month.
Amy, in her final year of a criminology and journalism degree, said she joined the programme soon after starting university.
“I’d been involved in volunteer projects in Ghana and Uganda during my gap year so I was interested in helping young people in Tanzania too,” she said.
“It’s been great to see the links grow between the two countries. In the last two years with the Mount Kilimanjaro programme I’ve learned so much.”
Project founder member Christina Wren said Amy was a very special young woman who jumped at every opportunity that came her way.
“She has never let us down once. What makes her stand out from the crowd is that she absolutely loves the kids and the kids equally love her too. Amy is amazing,” she said.
“She has been promoted to a team leader’s position and is truly committed to our cause.”
Amy said she was planning another six-week stay in Tanzania this summer as an intern in a school.
“I’d love to make a career out of this sort of work, and I hope to carry on my efforts both in this country and in Africa,” she said. “The people I have met there have had a real impact on my life.”