The group of young leaders was specially selected to attend the 2009 Games, in Cardiff, Newport and Swansea. In the group were two young people from each of the 12 countries currently involved in International Inspiration (Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Brazil, Ghana, India, Jordan, Mozambique, Nigeria, Palau, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago and Zambia). They worked alongside 24 young leaders from more than 20 UK schools that have school links with the International Inspiration countries.
The young leaders took part in training in leadership, volunteering, child protection and welfare, national governing body accreditation, event management, press operations and athlete support before they carried out their volunteering activities at the Games.
The young leaders had the amazing experience of meeting Olympic gold medallist Denise Lewis in her role as an ambassador for the International Inspiration programme. It was great to chat to them about their experience afterwards.
Rosalia Zuma, pictured with Denise, from Mozambique said: 'I feel like a famous superstar - meeting Denise Lewis and Darren Campbell was amazing! What will I take back to my school with me? Knowledge of volleyball and athletics, and how to run an event – I will use it to make sports festivals with my school.'
Samira Husseynova, Azerbaijan (linked to Childwall Sports College in Liverpool): 'The Games have been so much more than I ever expected. I can't believe we got to meet Denise Lewis!! She was very inspiring. I'll never forget it.'
Nduduzo Khanyile (also known as 'Freedom'), Mnyakanya High School, KwaZulu Natal Province, South Africa: 'Empowering young people to do more. We are motivated to participate more in our schools and communities. International Inspiration has brought so much to our community – we have learnt to rise through sports.
'My self confidence has grown so much. Other pupils look at me as a young leader. Now I can approach anyone at school and approach any challenge without being afraid – International Inspiration has taught me that.'
Oluwatoyosi Oladapo, Surulere Seniour Secondary School, Lagos, Nigeria: 'We might have all come here in different boats, but now we're all sailing on the same ship. We have been given the wings to fly and this is something we will have forever.
'Inspiring young people around the world through sports, connecting countries together and increasing young people’s interest in sports.'
Stephen Oladepo, G.S.S.S. Kakuri Kaduna, Nigeria: 'What is International Inspiration about for me? Self motivation. It's an inspiration and it's going to affect the lives of so many people. I've learnt a lot and have been motivated by what I've seen, knowledge of regulations and rules regarding the different games, and a positive mental attitude regarding other people.'
'I'm taking the spirit of friendship and the inspiration I've gained from here, as well as self-responsibility and leadership.'
Ayah Abualfailat, Jordan: 'It's been an experience we will never forget.'
Kazi Fahim-Al Islam, Bangladesh: 'It has expanded our knowledge and has taught us what it's like to be friends with our other friends around the world. We have learnt so much – teamwork, making friendships and being involved in every sport.'
We've got more in depth interviews with the participants too - they'll be available to read soon!