Students from schools in Menston and South Africa have become the first young people on different continents to receive a Diana Award for their collaboration in a schools partnership.

Fourteen students from St Mary’s Catholic High School, and 10 from Mnyakanya High School in rural Kwa Zulu Natal, South Africa, have been presented with the international award, set up in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales.

The Mnyakanya High School students are also the first South Africans to be presented with the Diana Award.

The award was made in recognition of the students’ collaboration on the Bambisanani Partnership.

For the past six years the two schools have worked together, using sport as a catalyst, to promote education, health, leadership and global citizenship.

Bambisanani is the Zulu word for working hand in hand and encapsulates the collaboration between the two schools.

Over the last year, the Young Leaders at Mnyakanya School have developed a HIV and AIDS-education programme, raising awareness in their community, supporting people with HIV and encouraging young pregnant teenagers to continue their education. The 14 St Mary’s students visited the country in July and worked at Mnyakanya School, Ntolwane Primary and the Zulufadder Orphanage.

Young leaders from Mnyakanya and St. Mary’s jointly organised sports and reading festivals for local primary schools. Assistant head teacher from St Mary’s and founder of the Bambisanani Partnership, David Geldart, said: “I am so proud of the young volunteers from Mnyakanya and St Mary’s.

“These young people are doing things for others that really matter. Their positive actions and commitment is making a difference in the world.

“They are wonderful role models who I know have already inspired others. They are all honoured to receive the Diana Award.”

The International Diana Award was launched in 2011, in keeping with the remarkable charitable work that Princess Diana pioneered all around the world.

Recipients are young people from across the globe who are committed to helping others and improving their communities.

International award holders include volunteers, fundraisers, campaigners and those who have overcome adversity.

Executive director at the Diana Award, Tessy Ojo, said: “The Bambisanani Partnership is a wonderful collaboration that joins young people from different countries together to achieve a common goal: improving the lives of others.

“We are delighted the dedi-cation of young people in Yorkshire and South Africa can be celebrated with a Diana Award.”