Cypriot Patricia Phaedonos was announced as the 197th Commonwealth Point of Light by British High Commissioner Stephen Lillie in recognition of her exceptional voluntary work.
The award recognises outstanding volunteers across the Commonwealth for the difference they are making in their communities.
Phaedonos is a full-time school counsellor and long-standing volunteer dedicated to supporting LGBTQ+ rights in the country and combating violence against women.
She volunteers for a number of organisations including LGBTQ+ NGO Accept Cyprus and Cyprus Family Planning Association, the leading reproductive health and rights organisation on the island.
She has also volunteered extensively with SPAVO (Association for the Prevention and Handling of Violence in the Family) where she worked to build greater capacity for handling cases involving domestic violence, as well as providing counselling and support for women who have experienced such violence.
“Actively working for what you feel passionate about can be very challenging,” as people working with NGOs can get disheartened when things are not happening fast enough, Phaedonos said after receiving her award.
“This award is a reminder, for all of us, that the hard work of NGOs is visible and meaningful. It is true that dreams can come true and positive change can take place when there is respect, support, encouragement and, most importantly, teamwork”.
In turn, Lillie congratulated Phaedonos, saying the award is a well-deserved recognition for her long-standing voluntary and advocacy work in promoting and defending the rights of vulnerable groups.
“That work exemplifies the values of tolerance, diversity and respect for individual rights which characterise the Commonwealth,” he said.
“I know that Patricia’s co-workers and colleagues will also take great satisfaction in the award, which reflects well on them also”.