09:00AM, Sunday 05 April 2020
A Holyport teenager has been nominated as a positive role model in the National Diversity Awards (NDAs).
Maleeka Abbas, 13, who has Leber’s congenital amaurosis and is visually impaired, said the nomination came as a complete shock and she does not know who put her forward.
The NDAs, in association with ITV News, honour those who inspire people through their work, their personalities, their commitment to helping others, and their resiliance in the face of adversity.
Maleeka has been nominated as a positive role model in the sub-category of ‘Age’ for young people under 18. Other sub-categories include LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender], disability, and race, faith and religion.
Maleeka suspects the person who made the nomination views her as ‘a young person with a unique perspective’ which she voices through her ‘Meeks Speaks VIP’ website and YouTube Channel.
The teenager, who says it is one of her dreams to remove the word ‘disability’ from the dictionary and replace it with ‘challenge’, uses the platform to share her ‘perception of the world’.
It began two year ago as an outlet for her musings and feelings when life at school left her isolated, sad and ‘with a bunch of unheard thoughts’.
Formerly a student at Holyport College, Maleeka has been home educated since September and says being a young person means ‘people have the heart to actually listen’ to what she has to say.
She has been touched by the kindness at least 100 people have taken to vote for her.
“Knowing that people do care, and take the time to care, and take the time to say these nice things reassures me,” she said.
“I don’t have to linger and dwell on the past because I can actually focus on the good things that are happening now.”
Achievements to date Maleeka is most proud of include receiving a letter from Theresa May, appearances on radio, speaking at public events, and starring in two short films and one ‘mini-documentary’.
She said if she were to win, she would feel like she is ‘on the right path’.
“I feel like I have to change something in this world, I am here for a purpose and even if I didn’t win I would still feel proud to be in that group of people,” said Maleeka.
More than 50 street parties are set to take place this weekend across the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and the surrounding areas.