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Elsia Pop receives Diana Legacy Award at Saint James Palace in London, England Print E-mail
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Thursday, 08 June 2017 00:00

Meet an outstanding 17 year old youth: Elsia Pop. She lives in Bella Vista Village, a small village located in the Toledo District. Elsia is a scholar recipient of the Energy for Life Program which a BNE employee initiative that sponsors, tutors and mentors underprivileged youths to obtain a secondary school education. In 2015, because of her outstanding community service, Elsia was nominated and received the International Diana Award.  This year Elsia was nominated for the Diana Legacy Award and she is one of 20 youths chosen from around the world who was honored with this Prestigious Award at a ceremony held in Saint James Palace, London, England on May 18, 2017. Elsia was presented with the award by Prince Harry and Prince William, the sons of Princess Diana.

The Diana Legacy Award celebrates the 20th year of Princess Diana’s death, and is given to youths between the ages of 9 and 18 who demonstrate similar qualities like that of Princess Diana: kindness, compassion, humility and service. The Diana Legacy Award is a legacy to Princess Diana’s belief that young people have the power to change the world for the better.  On June 1, 2017, Elsia gave a presentation to BNE staff, other Energy for Life Program scholars, representatives from the British High Commission in Belize and representatives from the media about her journey leading up to her winning the international awards and on her recent experience in London, England.

Elsia’s amazing journey began in 2013 when she applied for and received a scholarship from the BNE staff initiative - Energy for Life Program.  The Energy for Life Program does not only focus on academics but also on developing the person. Elsia did a lot of community service at her elementary school, Our Lady of Bella Vista RC School in Bella Vista Village. Such services included assisting the secretary with organizing the students’ files and teaching students how to write and read using fun ways like songs and games.

In 2015 Elsia took lessons in handicraft techniques from various individuals across the country. She took lessons in crochet, embroidery, wristband making and sea glass jewelry. Through the Energy for Life Program she received a grant from the Pan American Development Foundation to start her own handicraft project; this project was a handicraft club at Georgetown Technical High School.  There, she taught her peers and some of her teachers how to make wristbands. It was for this handicraft project and for documenting the stories of elderly Mayan traditions that she won the Diana International Award in 2015.

Her journey continued when a retired American professor, via the Energy for Life Program, sponsored Elsia and another Energy for Life Program scholars for a trip to Panajachel Guatemala. In Panajachel she learnt how to make earrings, bracelets and chains using beads and wires. On her return, and as a project for her community, she started teaching community members, especially the youths, about handicraft making.  She encouraged them to interview and interact with the elders in the community and learn more about the Mayan culture and document these stories.

In early 2017 Elsia was nominated for the Diana Legacy Award for preserving her Mayan culture and learning and teaching handicraft techniques to youths countrywide.  Elsia is a very talented youth and she continues to share her knowledge with youths in Belize.

She encourages them not only in Belize but also those outside of Belize to work hard for their dreams and to give freely while expecting nothing in return. Elsia was pleasantly surprised at being recognized internationally for all her hard work. Her advice to youth is to do something they like and not to simply follow in the footsteps others. Elisa encourages youth to follow their heart because only then can they achieve something and feel good about the accomplishment. After taking several trainings and workshops and after doing a lot of community service, Elsia is coming to realize that hard work does eventually pay off. To find out more about Elsia’s handicraft project, contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it