The Diana Award is the highest accolade a young person can get for humanitarian work. Zubair, in an interview with BBC radio after being conferred with the award, shared the story that led to ZNotes and the spirit that keeps it going.
It all began with a simple yet stark realization when Zubair took his first international examinations in Saudi Arabia. Students all across the world take these same sets of exams, and yet, access to educational resources varies widely depending on uncontrollable factors like socio-economic circumstances or geographic location. So, 16-year-old Zubair did what he could, sharing revision notes on his blog for the world to see. Steadily, ZNotes grew through word of mouth and has had over 20 million hits from about 3 million people.
Further, Zubair talked about the changing dynamics of the future of work. ZNotes happened because hundreds of students from around the world came together and put their energies into creating something worthwhile, taking the lead in their educational journeys. The transforming nature of work promotes such a spirit, extending the scope of entrepreneurial learning beyond just business-minded people.
Amidst all the statistics and honours, the most rewarding experience for us has been to see stories of people whose lives we have been able to impact. We see people using printed versions of our resources in remote corners with limited access to the Internet. We hear of students unable to access formal schooling, relying on our resources to make strides in their careers.
And perhaps, seven years since we first began, that is what motivates us to continue doing what we do: creating value in the lives of people and moving closer to our goal of accessible education for all.