The Royal Commonwealth Society international schools’ writing contest – the world’s oldest – is a highly regarded and popular international education project which we run in partnership with Cambridge University Press.
Senior Winner Inessa Rajah, 17, is from Durban, South Africa, runner-up Esther Mugalaba, 19, comes from Lusaka, Zambia. The Junior Winner and Runner-up, Gauri Kumar, 13, and Tan Wan Gee, 14, respectively, are both Singaporean nationals.
With approximately 13,500 entries from nearly every Commonwealth country, the submissions were described as ‘inspirational’, ‘brilliantly written’, and ‘mind-blowing’.
Entrants wrote about contemporary issues including the Syrian refugee crisis, conflict migration in Africa and finding a diasporic identity.
Inessa wrote a remarkable short story exploring the difficulty of holding an entitled position in the face of poverty and conflict-induced resettlement. Her piece grapples with the reconciliation and embarrassment of social status.
It is through youth empowerment, education and advocacy, the Royal Commonwealth Society promotes the value and the values of the Commonwealth. The organisation has a rich history of nurturing the creative talents of young people around the Commonwealth. Endeavouring to promote literacy, expression and creativity among young people by celebrating excellence and imagination.
In recognition of their achievement, Inessa, Gauri, Esther and Tan Wan Gee will be flown to London in October to take part in a series of educational and cultural events.
They will be presented with their certificates by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall at Buckingham Palace at a formal Awards Ceremony on 26 October, 2016.
Inessa is a student at Durban Girls’ College and enjoys reading, writing, playing football and learning piano. She has an older brother and a dog named Sally. She entered the competition as she felt, in her words, that it gave her a platform to write about a relevant, thought-provoking topic.