New Year's Honours: 'Uniquely talented individual' from Brentwood made MBE for services to diversity and female empowerment

Anita Goyal

48-year-old Anita Goyal from Brentwood has been recognised for her influential work on addressing female genital mutilation, menstrual discrimination and human trafficking. - Credit: Anita Goyal

A philanthropist from Brentwood has been made an MBE in the Honours List for her services to diversity and female empowerment. 

Anita Goyal, 48, received the accolade for a career in which she has reached 10,000 women with her work on female genital mutilation (FGM), menstrual discrimination and human trafficking. 

Currently the CEO of the Hemraj Goyal Foundation, Anita - whose family are from Punjab - is also an author alongside being involved with a number of related charities.

She is hailed for her "long-term commitment and dedication". The citation particularly highlighted Anita's achievement of raising £191,000 for the FGM appeal in her role as an honorary lead with Barnardo's.

To raise this, she organised educational and awareness events - including the FGM Centre Conference - which reached audiences of more than 1,000 people.

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Those efforts led to the recruitment of the first FGM social workers, four of whom are embedded in areas where the FGM Centre currently operates. 

Voices from Punjab

Anita's first book, Voices from Punjab, features interviews with fifteen highly influential Punjabi women who've made their mark in British society. - Credit: Anita Goyal

Training has also been provided for 3,500 agency professionals working with children and teachers; as a result, more than 300 survivors have received support, with more than 20 protection orders in place for at-risk girls.

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Anita has also been hugely influential in the areas of menstrual discrimination and human trafficking. With respect to the former, she is the patron of charity BINTI International, whose mission is to provide menstrual dignity to girls all over the world. In this capacity she has helped launch awareness campaigns including a 500-mile car rally.

In terms of the latter, a fundraising ball and educational seminars organised by Anita have raised £200,000-plus for Lily Against Human Trafficking. Proceeds from this also helped British Asian Trust expose a major anti-trafficking programme in India.

Of being made an MBE, she said: "I am honoured and proud to have received this recognition as it will help me serve communities even more. 

"I'm hugely committed to equality and expanding the opportunities available to women, children and young people especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds."

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