Prize-giving Ceremony sponsored by the Barclays Bank Plc, held on Friday 9th December, 2011 @ 14:00.   Venue :  Barclays Bank Plc, Cybercity, Ebene

In January 2010, the RCS launched the “Young Commonwealth Competition” by complementing the “Commonwealth Essay Competition” with the “Commonwealth Vision Awards” for young film makers and the ”Commonwealth Photographic Awards”.

The result was a fabulous collection of thousands of essays, photos and films from around the 54 countries of the Commonwealth exploring the Commonwealth annual themes.  The theme for 2011 was “Women as agents of change”.  Participants were able to reflect on the opportunities and barriers faced by women around the world and the role they play in our community, country and elsewhere.

About the Commonwealth Essay Competition:

The Commonwealth Essay Competition, established in 1883, is the world’s oldest and largest school’s writing contest, providing a unique opportunity for young people throughout the Commonwealth to take part in a global educational project using English as a leading world language.  Writing is a universal mode of expression which gives young people a platform to express their views about the world and their dream for the future.  The competition promotes literacy, academic excellence, story telling, reflection, awareness, creativity and enthusiasm.

This year, a total of 171 participants entered the competition as opposed to 91 entrants in 2010 and 55 in 2009.   Forty participants received awards, and our local winners are:

  Award Age Group




1. Class B

Indian Ocean Gold Award (2nd)

14 to 15 years Estelle Ah-Kiow (Mauritius)
2. Class A

Mauritius Bronze Award

16 to 18 years Pooja Biswas of Mahatma Gandhi Secondary School
3. Class C

Mauritius  Bronze Award

12 to 13 years Yaadav Damree of Royal College Port Louis
4. Class D

Mauritius Silver Award

Under 12 Rachel Denis of Port Louis High School
Imaan Mariam Hingun of Queen Elizabeth College

Hereunder, are the comments of the Chief Examiner of the Royal Commonwealth Society:

Indian Ocean Gold Award –  Class B (2nd) – Estelle Ah-Kiow :   This is the very first time, a Mauritian participant receives the “Indian Ocean Award.  Estelle Ah-Kiow’s gave a well written account of an inspiring Canadian girl who died of cancer aged 15 but not before she had set up a charity to help children in Africa whose lives are less favoured than most of their counterparts in the industrialised countries of the West.  The entry was an excellent response to the topic “Tell us about a woman who has been an agent of change”. The writing was clear, simple and to the point.

Estelle Ah-Kiow has recently emigrated to Canada with her family and was therefore unable to attend the award ceremony.

Mauritius Bronze Award – Class A – Pooja Biswas : This was a very honest and moving account of the impact of the writer’s beloved grandfather’s dementia. The reader is privileged to share the writer’s thoughts and feelings – to witness her love and confusion on seeing her grandfather ‘taken’ away from her.  This was a special entry of the kind that doesn’t happen often.

Mauritius Bronze Award – Class C – Yaadav Damree : This was a straightforward account of Cyclone Carol which hit Mauritius on 28th February 1960. The strength of the entry lies in the simplicity of the writing which allows the facts to speak for themselves. That said, the writer has skilfully presented the information in a way that wholeheartedly engages the reader’s attention and sympathies.

Mauritius Silver Award – Class D – Imaan Mariam Hingun & Rachel Denis :   It was impossible to choose between Imman and Rachel.  Both entries showed an excellent command of language and were well presented.  Imaan’s discussion on whether she would rather have been born a boy or a girl was thoughtful with delightful illustrations.  It was personal, engaging and full of interesting observations.  Rachel’s adventure story was well told and held the readers attention from start to finish. It was nicely paced and observed with a frisson of danger around the pirates before it came to a satisfying ending.

About the “Commonwealth Photographic Awards” – One powerful image can often say more than pages of writing.

Two young students who took part in the “Photographic Awards” were short-listed and received awards, Pravi Leung Pack Wing and Aqiil Gopee. 

  Award Age Group




1. Photographic Award – Short listed 16 years Pravi Leung Pack Wing of Camps de Masque SSS
2. Photographic Award – Short listed & Exhibition 16 to 18 years Aqiil Gopee of Royal College Curepipe

Besides, the RCS judges selected Aqiil Gopee’s entry to feature in a special exhibition commissioned by Commonwealth Festival Perth.

Sir Victor Glover, Patron of the ESU Mauritius and Honorary Representative of the Royal Commonwealth Society in Mauritius, stated that he was delighted that each year, the number of participants has increased.  This shows the interest of our young students to take part in this global educational project.