Belize’s First International Diana Award Holder is making her mark in the United Kingdom Print E-mail
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Thursday, 09 November 2017 00:00

In September 2017, twenty one year old Claudia Garcia travelled to England to study for a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology at the University of Westminster.  Shortly after her arrival, she was invited by charities and international development organizations in the United Kingdom to attend conferences on youth development. She was also asked by UK  universities to speak about her work in youth and community development in Belize.

One of those events was the Annual Meeting of the UK Belize Association held at the University of Oxford on October 7, 2017.  There Claudia Garcia and Manuela Lue,  who accompanied Claudia to the United Kingdom, gave a speech to  various professors, diplomats and managers about their work in youth and community development in Belize.

Claudia obtained a full scholarship to study for a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Psychology at the University of Westminster.  This course will last three years. In 2014, Claudia became the first Belizean to be awarded with the International Diana Award from the Diana Award in the United Kingdom. Claudia obtained this award for her selfless work in community service and for being a positive role model for youth. In 2015, Claudia was the first Belizean to be awarded with the Scotiabank International Bright Future Young Leader Award. In 2016, Claudia travelled to England to represent Belize at an international youth meeting hosted by the Royal Commonwealth Society. Claudia is an Associate Fellow of the Royal Commonwealth Society.

At the University of Oxford, Claudia spoke of the value of perseverance and sacrifice.  Claudia has eleven siblings. Her family lives on the outskirts of Buena Vista Village in the Cayo District.  All through her high school and sixth form education, Claudia studied with a candle or lantern as her family home does not yet have electricity. Nevertheless, Claudia graduated on the honor roll in 2016 from Saint John’s Junior College in Belize City.  While still enrolled at Saint John’s College Junior College, Claudia obtained a scholarship from Education Canada College to become a certified Spanish teacher.

Claudia was the co-leader of a group of active scholars throughout the country of Belize, many of whom have won international awards for their leadership and community service. Claudia was instrumental in helping 18 year old Elsia Pop of Toledo to complete the requirements for her Diana Legacy Award. Claudia also spearheaded the publication and launch of the Beacon Youth Magazine. Recently, Claudia was instrumental in helping 17 year old Bernice Ramirez to finalize her scholarship documents for her A level studies in England.

Claudia took a year off after completing sixth form  to apply to overseas universities. She applied to 25 universities all over the world and received many partial scholarships.   Claudia advises youth to never lose hope, to work hard to accomplish their dreams and to go out and help others, expecting nothing in return. Claudia presently volunteers for The Diana Award in the United Kingdom. This is the organization where several of her peers in Belize won international awards from. Claudia would like to become a Psychologist and return to Belize to assist youth. She hopes to work with high school or university students on her return to Belize.