I am humbled to be recognised as a Commonwealth Youth COVID-19 Hero. I would like to thank all the volunteers who made this possible. The skills and relationships I developed during my time as both a student and staff member at King’s College London enabled me to turn this idea into a reality.Momin Saqib, King’s alumnus, KCLSU President (2017-18) and Engagement Officer (Vision 2029)
10 March 2021
King's alumnus and former KCLSU President named Commonwealth Youth COVID-19 Hero
Momin Saqib has been recognised for his One Million Meals initiative at the Commonwealth Youth Awards 2021.
Momin Saqib, a King’s alumnus, former KCLSU President (2017-18) and current King’s staff member, has been recognised as one of ten Commonwealth Youth COVID-19 Heroes at the Commonwealth Youth Awards 2021.
The Commonwealth Youth Awards aim to recognise the contribution young people aged 15-29 make towards promoting democracy and achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It raises the profile of committed and innovative Commonwealth youth who are working hard to address pressing societal issues, such as poverty and conflict. The Awards recognise that young people are actively involved in bringing about meaningful change and are integral to creating a more innovative and interconnected future.
This year, the Commonwealth Youth Awards recognised ten exceptional young people as Commonwealth Youth COVID-19 Heroes for the outstanding contribution they have made to address challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in their communities.
Momin was recognised as a Commonwealth Youth COVID-19 Hero for One Million Meals, the charitable initiative that he co-founded with a team of volunteers in March 2020. The initiative, backed by football legend David Beckham and boxing champion Amir Khan, provides NHS staff and other key workers, including police, school staff, and firefighters, with free nutritious meals by raising funds and working with food platforms, food chains and restaurants. The team identify demand from essential workplaces and arrange deliveries from participating restaurants, with each meal costing less than £5 to provide.
To date, One Million Meals has provided over 100,000 meals and beverages in more than 200 locations through 47 hospitals, trusts and food banks, including King’s College Hospital and Guy’s and St Thomas’.
One Million Meals has particularly helped isolated community hospitals, such as Savernake Hospital in Wiltshire, where staff were unable to access meals after the hospital canteen and local restaurants were closed. In addition to providing necessary sustenance for NHS staff and key workers, the initiative has also provided meals for vulnerable individuals, including families affected by the pandemic and people experiencing homelessness.
When Momin heard from friends working in the NHS that they were missing meals and often left hungry after gruelling shifts, he felt compelled to do something. Although Momin’s flight from Pakistan to the UK had been cancelled in March 2020 due to the coronavirus crisis, he found a way to bring together a team of social entrepreneurs to develop a solution. One Million Meals was up and running within 48 hours and in less than a week, the initiative had already provided over 4,500 meals to key workers, including doctors, nurses and police officers.
The central team behind One Million Meals includes Momin’s brother Bilal Bin Saqib, an LSE alumnus and Forbes 30-under-30 social entrepreneur, and Suleman Raza, an award-winning chef and Chief Executive of the Spice Village Group. The team also includes Arif Anis, a world-renowned author, speaker and philanthropist, who received the prestigious Brain of the Year award from The Brain Trust Charity for his role in developing One Million Meals.
Momin kick-started the One Million Meals campaign on social media, brought a team of volunteers on board and coordinated with hospitals through the support of friends who were working in the NHS as doctors and nurses, many of whom he met during his time as a sabbatical officer with KCLSU. He also organised Instagram live sessions daily with different doctors working on the front line to extend support, show gratitude and get more insight into the challenges they were facing.
As the Engagement Officer for King’s Vision 2029, Momin takes a leading role in engaging students in the university’s Internationalisation 2029 strategy and our overall mission to make the world a better place.
Find out more about the Commonwealth Youth Awards 2021.