Filipina recipient of The Diana Award 'excited' for future opportunities
MANILA - Former Ateneo badminton player Shawntel Nicole Martinez Nieto was feted with a global prestigious award named after Britain's Princess Diana.
For organizing a food program that aided communities affected by the pandemic, Nieto was among 400 inspiring young people worldwide honored with The Diana Award 2021.
"I'm definitely at a loss for words still. I feel so much gratitude for the recognition. I'm excited for the opportunity that can come about," she told ANC's "Rundown."
"But I'm also deeply humbled knowing that this award is not a culmination but it’s the start of more things to come hopefully with my work here in the Philippines and perhaps abroad," she added.
Established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, The Diana Award is "the most prestigious accolade a young person aged 9-25 years can receive for their social action or humanitarian work," according to the charity's website.
Nieto, 25, is the first Filipino recipient of the coveted award. She was nominated by her colleagues under the Global Changemakers Association and the Dalai Lama Fellowship.
To date, the "One Cainta Food Program" that Nieto co-founded has helped 400,000 people and distributed 1.1 million goods in Cainta and 6 other cities.
"We knew there was a need to support our fellow Filipinos and we just wanted to do what we can to try help out," she said.
The OCFP started distributing 2,000 masks, 500 pieces of bread and 50 pieces of snacks when the lockdown was announced in March last year.
Nieto is also the president of the Society of Sustainability Practitioners and hosts the "SustainaRumble" podcast, which tackles sustainable development in the country.
As recipient of The Diana Award, she will undergo the youth charity's mentoring program.
"We enter into this global network and communities supported by The Diana Award itself... I'm excited to meet more people to see what opportunities and possibilities come about," she said.
"Hopefully by tapping into this network, I can grow our work here, as well as bring even more Filipinos into the spotlight. So that by next year, I won't be the only Diana awardee from the Philippines.