Singaporean to receive young leadership award from Britain's Queen Elizabeth II

Mark Cheng, 23, executive director of Avelife, has been selected to receive an award from Britain's Queen Elizabeth II. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A 27-year-old environmentalist has been selected to receive an award from Britain's Queen Elizabeth II for his work in protecting the environment and tackling poverty.

Mr Mark Cheng is one of 60 young people from across the Commonwealth who will be presented with the Queen's Young Leaders Award in London next year.

The award celebrates the achievements of young people who are taking the lead to transform the lives of others and make a lasting difference in their communities.

Mr Cheng is the co-founder of Avelife, a non-governmental organisation which focuses on social enterprise and the environment.

In 2001, he started a programme called Green Xchange, where disadvantaged elderly people who collect recyclables can exchange them for necessities such as rice, oil and sugar. The project has been extended to Brunei and the Philippines and is the largest social-environment charity based in Singapore.

In 2011, Mr Cheng received an EcoFriend Award from the National Environment Agency, which recognises individuals who have contributed significantly to environmental sustainability.

On his latest award, Mr Cheng said: "I am so honoured to be part of the Queen's Young Leaders programme."

This year's winners, aged between 18 and 29, work to raise awareness on various issues, ranging from education and climate change to mental health and disability equality.

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