A Sunderland business student has won royal recognition for an initiative which converts leftover bread into scholarships for disadvantaged students and refugees.
Abedalrahman Al-Zghoul founded the Bread for Education project in 2013, with bread leftovers from hotels, restaurants and schools being turned into healthy feed for livestock sold to farmers and traders.
The money from the dry bread is then used to provide scholarships for underprivileged students and refugees in Jordan.
Now, in recognition of his ingenuity, Mr Al-Zghoul – who is studying a Master of Business Administration (Enterprise and Innovation) at Sunderland University – has been presented with an international award by the King of Dubai at an award ceremonty at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
He has received the Mohammed Bin Rashid Award for Young Business Leaders in the Community Entrepreneurship Initiative Category for his innovative project.
The award was established by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, as part of his global initiatives to reward and honour outstanding entrepreneurs.
Mr Al-Zghoul, who is 28 and from Jordan, said: “This award is a fantastic start for our initiative as we go into this New Year.
“I was very honoured to receive it, especially as a representative of the University of Sunderland. I want the university to share in its success as the Masters programme is the very foundation and motivation for the initiative which has become a non-profit organisation in the Arab World.
“This is the first Jordanian-Arab initiative based on spreading the concepts of recycling, starting with bread, because of its symbolism and association with the conscience of the people as a basic material in every Arab house.
“It also places greater responsibility on us to serve the community and the environment and to create a generation that believes in the importance of recycling.”
Bread for Education trained 17,500 students in recycling, collected more than 10,000 tons of bread scraps, and provided 1,200 scholarships to students in Jordan as well as refugees.
It also allocated 1,200 boxes to collect the remains of bread, offering job opportunities for young people.
Mr Al-Zghoul was given support to get the initiative up and running by King Abdullah II of Jordan’s Fund for Development programme.
Last year the King awarded him the Order for Distinction of The Third Degree for the programme.
Other award wins include the Best Entrepreneurial Award by the International Youth Organisation, the Volunteer and Humanitarian Initiatives Award for Youth in Kuwait and the Arab Creativity Award in the Community Sector in Abu Dhabi.
Bread for Education has also been chosen as a success story in the global campaign for education launched by former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in the United States.
Last year, Mr Mr Al-Zghoul turned his initiative into a not-for-profit organisation under the name of Recycling for Education, which includes the divisions Bread for Education, Paper for Education, and Plastic for Education, expanding its work to Kuwait, Palestine and Morocco.
Karen Wharton, MBA programme leader at Sunderland University, said: “We are extremely proud of Abedalrahman and that one of our current MBA Enterprise and Innovation students has achieved this accolade for an entrepreneurial venture.