Brief description of achievement:
Born of British Pakistani parents, fifteen year old Londoner Sarah Francis raised over £12,000 for Afghan Refugees while still
in full-time education by communicating both the struggles and the solutions of human existence through her own music.
Sarah has used her background of a British/Asian/Christian identity to bridge the gap between Muslims and Christians, especially
after the occurrence of 9/11, by recording her song ' Voice of Freedom' and dedicating the proceeds from the recording to the
relief of Afghan refugee children.
As a member of a minority community, Sarah has first hand experience of the tensions that can exist between peoples of different
cultures. She turned to music to escape such pressures, composing and singing her own songs. When Sarah applied to St Elphin's
School she was granted a music scholarship in voice and began lessons with West End coaches.
Her debut at a private concert in Karachi, Pakistan, led to her recording a national song for Pakistan in Urdu. Following this,
and in response to her concerns for the welfare of Afghan Refugees, Sarah recorded 'Voice of Freedom', which launched at the
Pakistan High Commission, London, in August 2001, shortly before 9/11.
On hearing this peace song, Pakistan's minister of culture invited Sarah to perform in centenary celebrations for Pakistan's
Northwest Frontier Province. Sarah accepted, so long as the song was licensed to the Pakistani government and that all the
proceeds would go towards helping Afghan refugee children. In recognition of the excellent example she was setting for the
nation's youth, the Minister of Culture nominated her for the Pakistan President's Award, "Pride of Performance". Since then
Sarah has arranged fund-raising concerts, performing her songs in London, Spain, Switzerland and Holland.
"Her great singing ability and her dedication to the cause of suffering children due to Afghan war, has
earned her great appreciation from the people and Government of Pakistan."
Col. (Retired) S.K. TRESSLER,
Minister of Minorities, Culture, Sports Tourism and Youth Affairs,
Government of Pakistan.