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The WOHAA Awards Ceremony 2018

Thursday 28th June saw the final event in the WOHAA calendar – our Annual Awards Ceremony to recognise and reward student participants in WOHAA. In the twelfth year of WOHAA, over 32,000 students have now taken part, and nearly 250 guests were in attendance to celebrate with us. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists played host to this fantastic evening, which was filled with student performances of music, poetry, and even some juggling! Our fantastic guest host AJ King – DJ and radio presenter – spoke about his own experiences working with young people, and the importance of planting seeds of encouragement for change to continue. We had wonderful musical performances of student talent, including Ran Mitani on the piano, and the country band from Dwight School London, as well as Beekay Sanyaolu from Dartford Grammar with a moving rendition of the Emmeli Sande version of John Lennon’s classic ‘Imagine’.

The audience was also treated to a more unusual performance of a circus act from Atticus Menders, a student from the International School of Geneva, and competing in WOHAA 2017-18 as part of team InterHOPE. Atticus showcased his juggling skills and his ability to backflip at any given moment, and made one of the most unique performances at an Awards Ceremony so far!

Another standout moment was Shaan Ghag, Darford Grammar, who performed her own spoken word piece ‘Education is the Key’. This was a powerful expression of injustice in education across the world and a moving call to action from such a young voice.

Trophies were presented by esteemed Professors from the London Business School, and representatives from John Lewis, as well as honoured academic and sitting peer Lord Bhiku Parekh, Richard Woolley (Director of Design at Jaguar Land Rover), and Sondra Ortalo-Magne, the wife of Francois, Dean of London Business School. Special guests included Dr Royston Flude from Rotary International Geneva, Tunji Akintokun, and we had a unique insight WOHAA from the perspective of a teacher who has worked with us in three different schools in two countries, and who flew from Geneva to be with us for Thursday’s event – Ian Smith. Ian also presented the Best Teacher Award to Tom Cannon from Blackheath High School for his support of Team Cannons over two years, as well as his starring role in their fundraiser which had teachers carry student bags for a day!

This year’s competition has been as tough as ever, with students going out and about around London to diverse audiences spreading the WOHAA message, running skateboarding competitions, talent shows, fashion shows and concerts to rival the professionals, jumping out of planes at 20,000 feet, organising cultural dinners and dances, cycling nearly 2000km, trekking for miles across London and the Wirral, and even up Mount Snowdon! They have stunned us with their performance talents, culinary excellence, self-made promotional videos and innovative performances.

Our overall winners for this year of WOHAA are team Apex, Dartford Grammar School who have worked extremely hard over the last months to pull off their events, which include no less than five Krispy Kreme sales over the Spring term, a Spring Soiree with DJs, food, drinks, and its own Snapchat geofilter for their peers, spreading the WOHAA message across Bexleyheath and in a primary school visit, and one brave team-member conquering their fear of heights by doing a tandem skydive from 20,000 feet. These six girls will now be heading to India to see the work of Wings of Hope in action, in the school and tuition projects in Chennai. It was a close finish for the Overall Runners up, Team InterHOPE from the International School of Geneva, who also won the Most Funds Raised prize for their efforts in organising a talent show, skateboarding competition, and cyclathon.

Wings of Hope are very proud of all student participants, and can’t wait to see what next year’s cohort come up with.

Most Awareness Raised

Winners: Team Cannons, Blackheath High School

Runners up: Team Dreamcatchers, Royal Masonic School for Girls

Community Action

Winners: Team M.A.D, West Kirby Grammar School, Liverpool

Runners up: Team Next Generation, Queen Elizabeth’s Girls’ School

Excellence in Culinary Skills

Winners: Team Change, Immanuel College

Runners up: Team Connected, Surbiton High

Excellence in Sports

Runners up: Team Swish, West Kirby Grammar School, Liverpool

Runners up: Team Helping Hands, Woodbridge High School

Excellence in Arts

Runners up: Team Action, Forest School

Runners up: Team ICUBS Care, Royal Masonic School for Girls

Runners up: Team 6ana, Dwight School London

Runners up: Team Lifechangers, Townley Grammar School

Best Presentation

Team Mariama, the Forest Academy

Most Entrepreneurial Team

Winners: Team Flame, Croydon High School

Runners up: Team CNC, Surbiton High School

Overall Runners Up & Most Funds Raised

Team InterHOPE, International School of Geneva (La Chataigneraie campus)

Overall Winners

Team Apex, Dartford Grammar School

Best Teacher Award

Tom Cannon, Blackheath High School


‘An unforgettable experience’: The WOHAA Winners’ Trip 2017

In December 2017, the overall WOHAA winners for 2016-17 Team Oak, travelled to Chennai for what would be an unforgettable experience of teaching and culture. They were in for a surprise this year as the 2015-16 overallwinning team,EduNation,would also be joining them! Inthe long journey from the UK to Chennai via Delhi, the teams were looking forward not only to meeting and teaching the students in Chennai, but also to learning from them and their unique experience.

Day 1:The teamswere given a tour around the school, and were immediately captivated by the grounds on which it lay. Both teams immediately noticedthe school’s focus on positivityand the harmonious environment this fostered. Following the tour, they were given the opportunity to jump straight into teaching, which they had prepared for and thoroughly enjoyed.

Day 2:The first full day of teaching was met with excitement; as well as teaching curriculum subjects like Maths, and Biology,EduNation and Oak involved themselves in the students’ games sessions. As in everything else, theChennai studentsexcelled at sports, and our teams also learnt some new games along the way!

Day 3:This day involved a mixture of teaching and absorbing culture for the teams. They met the Headmistressof the school as well as other key staff members, gaining an insight into the hard work that goes into running the school at its current high standard. Afterwards, they began to explore the vast culture and architecture of India. They saw extravagant temples, amongst other things, and were astounded at the amount that India had to offer- much more than they had previously imagined.

Day 4:This was our teams’ final day at the school, and they spent the morning teaching and talking to their newfound friends, making sure that theywould keep in touch in the future. The Chennai students had organised a cultural show to display the talents of themselves and our volunteers. The students blew our teams away with performances ranging from the fine arts to unbelievable feats in yoga. Our teams were presented with gifts at the end of the show to express the students’ gratitude for the time they had spent at their school, and engaging in every aspect of school life. It really was an experience that the volunteers will cherish throughout their lives.

Team Oak expressed the life-changing nature of the trip, saying: “Leaving the school was a difficult task but we managed it, saying farewell to all our new companions, and getting ready to go home. The trip was an amazing, once in a lifetime, and unforgettable experience.”

And Team EdNuation summed up their impressions of the Chennai students in a few sentences: “What we found particularly compelling was the attitude that the children had during our lessons. Despite some of them speaking limited English, they were all incredibly engaged. They were so eager to learn, attentive to anything we said and had a real excitement to find out about our lives. We were also inspired by how satisfied they were with their lives and their determinations and motivations for succeeding in the future. We are very grateful to have received this beneficial opportunity and urge others to get involved in similar projects as we learnt so much from ours.”


Team Barclays run for Wings of Hope at the Santa Fun Run 2012

On Sunday 9th December 2012 Kwok and Selasi from Barclays ran the annual Santa Fun Run to raise money for Wings of Hope.

The run took place in Greenwich Park, one of the largest parks on London area,a beautiful setting for the event.

Wings of Hope would like to thank everyone who ran to raise money for poor and underprivileged children in India and Malawi.





Spirits were high on the chilly December morning as over 2,000 people gathered in Greenwich Park. Santa costumes were provided by Doitforcharity to all the runners.


The annual Santa Run raises money for hundreds of different charities, as well as awareness for special causes.


It was great fun and watching hundreds of Santas running, walking and skipping around the park was certainly a memorable sight!

A big thank you top everyone involved!


There are lots of ways you can get involved in fundraising for Wings of Hope whether at school, in the office or at one of our organised events. Please visit our events page. 









Selasi and Kwok representing Wings of Hope at the Santa Fun Run 2012






WOHAA winners Team Aquila invitation to Buckingham Palace

About us

On Friday 16th November 2012 WOHAA winners Team Aquila took up Her Majesty’s kind invitation to attend Buckingham Palace to personally present a Diamond Jubilee card and mementos from their home town of Malvern to celebrate the occasion.

The Sixth Form students, Alice Quinn, Holly Makin, Rebecca Connell, Rebecca Raby-Smith, Jess Coulman and Amy Cooke – collectively known as team ‘Aquila’ – are from Malvern College and had been fundraising for the Wings of Hope charity through a fundraising competition, ‘The Wings of Hope Achievement Awards’ (WOHAA).






Team leader Rebecca Raby-Smith was elected by her team mates to deliver the A3 sized signed card and a unique jeroboam of Hollywell Malvern Spring Water, both arriving in a Morgan car, to Her Majesty. Wings of Hope Co-founder, Dr Sri Ram, and Smruti Sriram, the creator of WOHAA, were also in attendance.





Team Aquila took part in WOHAA 2011/12 by conducting a range of fund and awareness raising activities. They participated in ‘Santa’ and mud runs, donated profits from a baby-sitting service and sold Wings of Hope wrist bands, as well as conducting the Diamond Jubilee project. Their Jubilee work involved the students organising for their fellow students and members of the local community to sign a card for Her Majesty, gathering over 2,000 signatures in total. To achieve this they managed to secure a table in a local supermarket foyer, collecting signatures for the card and donations for the Wings of Hope at the same time. They also convinced a designer to help them create the card and a local printing company to sponsor its production.



Most impressive of all, they approached Morgan Motor Company and Holywell Malvern Spring Water – both being institutions synonymous with their hometown of Malvern – who donated a car to be used for the presentation and a specially-designed bottled gift, respectively. The team’s effort and dedication were outstanding and their commitment meant that they won ‘The Most Awareness Raised’ Award through WOHAA.



On the day of her visit to the Palace, Rebecca was chauffer driven in the Morgan – from Malvern to London – where she met with the Wings of Hope team at the Royal Automobile Club. All commented on what an amazing sight it was to see the car driving through the Palace gates, before Wings of Hope and Rebecca met with Chief Clerk, Christopher Sandamas. Rebecca expressed her hope, on behalf of team Aquila, that Her Majesty ‘enjoys the card and water- it comes with enormous thanks from everyone in Malvern for everything that she has done for us over the last 60 years.’








Speed Mentoring: The World of Work – The Next Generation 11/11/2012

Speed Mentoring: The World of Work – The Next Generation

On Sunday 11th  November 2012 young professionals, students and teachers from across the country gathered at the Royal College of Surgeons in Holborn for an afternoon of innovative ‘speed mentoring’. 60 young professionals from over 50 top firms and industries came to offer advice and guidance to secondary school students, this was a careers event like no other.

The concept of speed mentoring is a fast-paced format which ensured that students moved from table to table in ten minute slots. The format allowed students direct interactive advice and guidance from young professionals across numerous industries.

The event, Speed Mentoring: The World of Work – The Next Generation was free for students to attend, offering them a unique chance to explore a range of different professions including Banking, Law, Accountancy, Fashion, PR, Event Management, Acting, DJ’ing, Pharmacy, Sustainability, Music Production, Engineering, Dancing, Venture Capital, Veterinary Medicine, Interior Design, Medicine and Publishing, with one-to-one professional guidance over a two hour period.

“When are you ever going to get a vet in the same room as a BBC News anchor or a landscape gardener and an economist from the Bank of England, or a headline comedian from the Edinburgh Fringe alongside an Editor from Picador publishing, NHS doctors and engineers from MIT all in one room? The breadth and quality of the mentors was beyond my wildest dreams and I couldn’t have asked for a more qualified group to impart their advice and experience to the students we had attending”

– Smruti, Head of the Professionals’ Network and event organiser.


 Edward Lumley Hall, Royal College of Surgeons, Holborn, London


Our incredible line up of mentors


Mentors arrive at the venue (Left to right): Ian Wellby (Goldman Sachs), Matt Lacey (Actor, writer, comedian) and Ben Tansey (Elliott Advisors)


Kiss FM’s AJ King kick-started the event by welcoming an enthusiastic crowd of 14-20 year olds


Smruti welcomes the attendees with an inspiring speech about the future world of work – “The Wings of Hope is proud to host events like today’s, giving students the chance to embrace aspirations and encourage ambition”.


Journalism table featuring: Babita Sharma (Journalist/Presenter BBC News & BBC World News) Leo Kelion (Technology editor of BBC news website)  and Rebecca Burns (radio reporter and newsreader for Russian global service radio and a researcher for BBC’s Radio 4.)


Publishing table featuring: Bella Whittington (Random House) and Kris Doyle (editor at Picador)


Engineering table featuring: Nabori Santiago (Siemens SES) and Neil D’Souza-Mathew (The Technology Partnership) 

Students eagerly move to the next industry tables

Mentors give practical about industries, organisations and careers. Inspiring students to do what they did and aim high when planning and making important decisions about their futures.


Smruti sounds the gong to mark the next round of mentoring

Student attendees

Strategy Consultancy and Healthcare: Toral Pandya (Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children)  and Pulkit Agrawal (Booze & Co)

The Wings of Hope would like to thank the group of amazing young mentors who made this event such a success!


You can find full listings of all the mentors here.



WOHAA winners return from trip to India

The Wing of Hope Achievement Award winners of 2011 have just returned from a fantastic trip of a lifetime to Chennai in Southern India. This year two teams took the trip to India; team ‘Evolution’ consisting of 3 boys from 3 schools (ACS International School, Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School and Merchant Taylor’s School) and Team ‘Light Side of the Moon’ made of 6 boys from Haberdashers’ Aske’s Boys’ School in London.

Team Evolution’s award winning ideas included a dinner dance and fashion show, trick or treating, snow shovelling and tutoring to name a few! Light Side of the Moon organised a dinner dance, walked 15 miles in shorts, socks and sandles, and, if that wasn’t enough walking, they were also sponsored to walk on broken glass!

Shivankit Hora, Karan Gupta and Amar Sehgal from team Evolution jetted off with Anand Dhamecha, Rikin Shah, Paras Shah, Rohit Bhatia, Tej Malde and Vishaal Patel from Light Side of the Moon to Chennai in August. They were accompanied with the co-founders of Wings of Hope, Mrs Rajni Sriram and Dr Sri Ram.

Travel to India The boys had the chance to teach India children about life in London and Britain, showing them pictures from books and personal photographs. The boys taught students of all ages and their classes were packed with fun and entertaining activities for the children, as the boys designed and lead lessons themselves.

Travel to India One of the winners, Shivankit Hora, said,

“We’re here in India in the school and it is really amazing. I did not expect it to be like this – it’s really, really big and beautifully decorated and all the children here are so enthusiastic about learning and education. I would recommend WOHAA because it’s the children’s way of giving back to other children around the world.”

Travel to India In Chennai the Boys were very privileged to meet the Deputy High Commissioner of Britain, Mr. Mike Nithavrianakis, for Tea! The Deputy High Commissioner was very impressed by their achievements and gave them the benefits of working for and linking up with India as it is an up and coming country with a lot of scope for the future.

Whilst in Delhi, the Boys once again had the opportunity to meet the Minister from the Ministry of Indian Overseas. Once again a huge array of refreshments were provided and the opportunity for a photo shoot.

Here are further comments from Paras Shah:

“Overall, this trip was fantastic, and a real eye-opener for all involved. The experience we gained in teaching and interacting with the kids was invaluable, and taught us to appreciate everything we have. It made me realise the importance of education, and how it is desperately needed all around the globe. I can also understand how hard it is to be a teacher! It was great to see the work Wings of Hope are doing out there, and I recommend the achievement award to all future hopefuls! “