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Romford public speaker wins honorary award at ceremony celebrating inspiring east London women

PUBLISHED: 07:00 27 July 2018

Carla Ah-Mane, from Romford, who was an honorary guest speak on the night, and Tulsi Vagjiani, who won the unsung heroine award. Picture: Aperture Photography

Carla Ah-Mane, from Romford, who was an honorary guest speak on the night, and Tulsi Vagjiani, who won the unsung heroine award. Picture: Aperture Photography

Aperture Photography

Women from all walks of life were celebrated at a prestigious awards ceremony recognising their achievements.

The winners of the She Awards. Picture: Apeture PhotographyThe winners of the She Awards. Picture: Apeture Photography

From raising thousands of pounds for charity to inspiring youngsters to be the best they can be, nominees gathered at the Golden Palace Banqueting Hall, in Edmonton, last week for the She Awards, which was also held to mark the centenary anniversary of women getting the vote.

Sharifa Begum, from Chadwell Heath, who organised the event with her husband Imdad Basit, was delighted with how the ceremony went.

“I wanted to provide a platform and space for women in the community to be recognised for their selfless work and achievements”, she said.

“Everyone has a story to share and is on their own journey.

Co-organiser of the She Awards Sharifa Begum. Picture: Aperture PhotographyCo-organiser of the She Awards Sharifa Begum. Picture: Aperture Photography

“Sometimes one negative word can destroy a woman’s confidence. Just because a woman smiles on the outside doesn’t mean she is smiling on the inside.

“I have experienced this kind of negativity first hand and has taken me a long time to grow thick skin.”

The concept of the She Awards, which stands for Saluting, Honouring Excellence, was to recognise talent and achievements of those in east London.

It was partly funded by events company Sapphire London Group and featured speeches from inspirational women across the capital as well as a three-course meal, a comedian and mucic from popular DJ and rapper Saiqa Rehman.

Carla Ah-Mane, from Romford, who was an honorary guest speak on the night, and Tulsi Vagjiani, who won the unsung heroine award. Picture: Aperture PhotographyCarla Ah-Mane, from Romford, who was an honorary guest speak on the night, and Tulsi Vagjiani, who won the unsung heroine award. Picture: Aperture Photography

Public speaker Carla Ah-Mane, from Romford, who was also presented with an honorary award on the night, was just one of the speakers who delivered a presentation on the struggle women have faced for centuries and the continuous battle for equality, which many guests described as an “enlightening history lesson”.

She said: “I was emotional about getting the award and would like to thank Sharifa for providing a platform for public speaking as this is what I aspire to do.

“I am so proud of my heritage as a woman from the Seychelles and would like more women from there to be recognised and given more opportunities like this.”

Other winners from the event included Tasleem Ahem, from Clayhall, who was given the award for inspirational role model and business woman and Lynne Northcott, from Dagenham, who was named community champion for raising around £17,000 in the past year for water wells in Gambia.

Tulsi Vagjiani who won the unsung heroine award. Picture: Aperture PhotographyTulsi Vagjiani who won the unsung heroine award. Picture: Aperture Photography

Another winner was 39-year-old Tulsi Vagjiani, who suffered second and third degree burns after a plane crash at the age of 10 and now visits schools to speak to children about body confidence, bullying and mental health.

Former contestant on BBC One’s The Apprentice Bushra Shaikh and award winning BBC journalist and founder of charity Rising Girl Emb Hashmi also spoke at the event.

But as well as celebrating women that have made great achievements in the east London area, the She Awards was an opportunity to raise money for a worthwhile cause.

From the evening, around £500 was made which will go towards the charity Action Aid, which will provide hygiene kits for disadvantaged women in third world countries.

The winners of the She Awards. Picture: Apeture PhotographyThe winners of the She Awards. Picture: Apeture Photography

Sharifa said: “My chosen charity was to do with period poverty, because although the event was a celebration of freedom, sadly there are some parts of the world where this isn’t the case.”

She hopes that the awards ceremony will become an annual event where more women can be celebrated and recognised for their successes.

She added: “The evening was to recognise all the unsung heroines and it gave me great satisfaction to see all of the smiles in the room.

“It’s not only just men that put men down but a lot of women put women down.

Co-organiser of the She Awards Sharifa Begum. Picture: Aperture PhotographyCo-organiser of the She Awards Sharifa Begum. Picture: Aperture Photography

“I’ve noticed this on social media and the aim was to send a message that we should support one another and not hate when someone is doing well.”

For any more information about the ceremony, visit the She Awards Facebook page.

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