Naomi Campbell Says It's a 'Privilege' to Take Lead Role in Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Former Charity
The Trust is a trailblazing organization set up 2018 to invest in young leaders who are transforming their communities across the Commonwealth of 54 nations that have close ties to the U.K.
Campbell — who has worked with numerous international charities with the common goal of improving lives and creating opportunities for young people, particularly in Africa — has also run successful fundraising efforts through her charity Fashion For Relief. Making a speech at the Hotel Café Royal in London on Thursday evening, she called the role a "privilege."
On Thursday, Campbell began her speech by saying, "I just want to start with I'm from a Jamaican heritage. And so I always grew up hearing about the Commonwealth and never thought I would ever be anything to do with the Commonwealth, but I know how proud my grandmother and my great aunts and uncles were of being part of the Commonwealth, being a Jamaican."
She added, "It's an honor for me to take this very grown-up role."
The trust has just launched QCT Platinum Jubilee Fund for Young Leaders, set up in support of their service to others around the Commonwealth, and aiming to generate further support for young entrepreneurs across the Commonwealth.
"Regardless of where you are from or where you are now, there are young leaders within your community doing amazing work," noted Campbell, 51. "Sometimes they are not seen and some of them may not even see themselves as 'leaders' yet, but they all deserve our support, and access to education and resources."
She continued, "I have been doing the work with empowering young people for over 25 years. This is something very close to my heart and I will continue to do everything I can to uplift the next generation, so they can create a better future for their communities."
Queen Elizabeth, who marks 70 years on the throne next year, appointed Harry as President and then Meghan, Duchess of Sussex joined him as Vice President when she married him.
When they stepped down from their royal roles, they had to give up their roles as as President and Vice President of the trust. The organization, which supports youth empowerment in Commonwealth countries around the world, said in a statement that they felt "lucky" to have worked with the couple.
"They enabled us to make fast progress and have helped us to take the organisation to readiness for its next phase," they wrote. "We are glad they remain in our circle of supporters."
On Thursday, Campbell was joined by Christopher Kelly, CEO of the Trust, and one of its young entrepreneurs Bukola "Bukky" Bolarinwa.
Bolarinwa, a sickle cell disease and blood donation advocate, spoke of how funding and support from Trust enabled her organization Haima Helath Initiative to implement "social distancing blood drives" during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement, Bolarinwa said, "Support from QCT meant that we could provide transport to over 150 blood donors across three states in Nigeria, taking them from their homes and workplaces to blood banks in their local government blood donation points. With QCT's backing, we were able to reduce the needless trauma and loss of life which can result in lack of donated blood."
According to Campbell, "At this time, where some of the countries are drifting apart [and] isolation feels like the order of the day ... Bukky is a great example of the people who we need for the future in this world. It's easy to sit back and wait for politicians to things and do something, but we know that it can very slow and tedious. So we have to do that ourselves."
Kelly returned the compliment on behalf of the Trust: "We are delighted that Naomi has agreed to support QCT as our first Global Ambassador at what is a pivotal moment for QCT and the young leaders we support, like Bukky. Naomi brings a shared passion for improving the lives of people all over the world, a cause we aim to accelerate through the QCT Platinum Jubilee Fund for Young Leaders.
He continued, "Through the Platinum Jubilee year and celebratory events around the Commonwealth in 2022, we aim to bring to life the rich narrative of Her Majesty The Queen's own commitment to young leaders and the Commonwealth. Naomi will help us to shine a spotlight on their service, innovation and achievements."