Tag Archive: award-winning

Nina on a mission: Award-winning actress to host nationwide anti-trafficking appeal

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Around 22.5 million South Asians suffer violence, trafficking and abuse, including sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, child labour, forced marriage, bride-buying and sex tourism.

Now, award-winning actress Nina Wadia is set to present a radio appeal, to increase awareness about human trafficking. She also aims to raise donations to help fight against it, as part of her role as an ambassador of the British Asian Trust.

The BBC Radio 4 broadcast will be aired twice, at 7.55am and again at 9.26pm on Sunday 5th February. The appeal will be repeated on Monday 9th February at 3.27pm.

Around 70% of  trafficked victims are female and one in three are children.  

Extreme poverty and lack of education means that 70% of victims are illiterate and 50% earn less than $1 per day. An astonishing 40,000 children are reported abducted each year, with 11,000 untraced. In addition, 53% of children have reported sexual abuse.

Nina Wadia said: “I feel so proud to deliver this anti-trafficking appeal for the British Asian Trust to help protect the welfare of children and young people in South Asia.”

The British Asian Trust was founded in 2007 by HRH The Prince of Wales, who wanted to do something about the widespread poverty and hardship that he saw in South Asia.

He turned to the entrepreneurial spirit of the British Asian diaspora, bringing together visionary philanthropists and supporting grassroots initiatives that enable people to help themselves.

“I am hugely passionate about this cause and share a vision with the Trust to eliminate trafficking and enable all young people to fully achieve their potential and help shape the future of South Asia,” Nina added.

Richard Hawkes, CEO, British Asian Trust said: “We’re thrilled to have our ambassador Nina Wadia supporting us with our anti-trafficking campaign.

“The Indian Government reported a 25% increase in trafficking in 2015, which is a disturbing statistic. At the British Asian Trust, our vision is to protect children and young people from trafficking and abuse, while also rehabilitating victims.

“By forging partnerships with frontline organisations, stakeholders and the Government, we hope to work collaboratively to increase impact and raise awareness.”

So far, the charity has supported 9,500 girls and 18,600 families to improve safety, which includes collaboration with police and education officials, community supervision and links to key influencers.

Leeds Beckett student designs award winning mental health

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BRIGHT SPARK: Zainah’s programme impressed the judges and she was offered a one year support package worth around £5,000

BRIGHT SPARK: Zainah’s programme impressed the judges and she was offered a one year support package worth around £5,000

Psychological package bags top prize

A student from Leeds Beckett University has won a prestigious Business Advantage Award (BAA) after designing a ‘Corporate Mental Strength Training Programme’.

The BAAs, developed in partnership with Lupton Fawcett Denison Till (LFDT) Solicitors, offered a one year support package worth up to £5,000 of mentoring and legal support to each winner.

Zainah Khan, who was one of this year’s winners, is studying for a Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy as well as working in Financial Services at Leeds Beckett.

She is planning to launch Chakra, a Corporate Mental Strength Training Programme, which focuses on increasing the stress-resilience and motivation of managerial staff in the finance and legal industries.

Zainah chose the name ‘Chakra’ as it translates from Ancient Hindi to mean ‘energy point’.

The business will deliver a range of interactive workshops and training sessions which include packages that cover neuro-linguistic programming, cognitive behavioural therapy, mindfulness meditation, mental toughness, expressive arts, emotional intelligence and group dynamics.

Speaking about winning the award, Zainah thanked everyone that had helped her along the way and said: “I am absolutely thrilled to have won the Business Advantage Award and believe that this incredible opportunity is really going to give Chakra a solid foundation upon launch and beyond.

“I am very excited about working with Lupton Fawcett Denison Till and being able to use their expertise to benefit my consultancy, as well as to expand my knowledge and networks. The initial experience of delivering my business pitch and gaining feedback from the panel has already taught me a huge amount and I look forward to developing myself and the business further with this award.”

Zainah said she designed Chakra because she saw a need for it through her personal experience of working in finance and higher education.

She said: “I have observed the high frequency and impact of stress and poor mental health amongst staff.

“I had witnessed the impact on staff members themselves, their teams and workloads. This told me there was a need to address this problem. Mental health at work is currently high on the government agenda and therefore employers are under pressure to offer support to staff.”

Zainah graduated at Leeds Beckett University in 2012 with a degree in Criminology and Sociology. Through exploring the careers she wanted to pursue, she began volunteering with victims of crime and an organisation supporting perpetrators of domestic abuse.

She said: “A lot of my work was centred around providing emotional support for individuals and groups and I thoroughly enjoyed the reward and value that came from it. There is a certain energy which is produced when you support someone during a time of personal struggle and it motivates them to change; and this is what I wanted to learn more about.”

The awards were open to Leeds Beckett students, graduates and business clients of the University’s Enterprise and Innovation Academy (EIA) and the Digital Hub.

Applicants to the awards had to submit a brief business plan and then deliver a 10 minute presentation on their business to an expert panel.

Daniel McCormack, director at Lupton Fawcett Denison Till, added: “We were very impressed with the quality of start-up businesses that won the Lupton Fawcett Business Advantage Awards in 2015 and very much enjoyed mentoring them and seeing their businesses take off.

“Once again in 2016 we are stunned at such another great set of winners.  My fellow partners and I who will be mentoring them can’t wait to get started.”

The Enterprise and Innovation Academies are currently home to 200 businesses across Leeds and Headingley.

Track of the year!

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Soni Soni Selfiyan- Maz Bonafide 5 (800x472)

Maz Bonafide’s ‘Soni Soni Selfiyan’ smashes over a quarter of a million views within days of release

Soni Soni Selfiyan- Maz Bonafide 4 (299x450)It comes as no surprise as Maz, who’s one half of the award-winning UK Asian music duo ‘Bonafide’, racked up tens of thousands of views within hours of it’s release on YouTube.

Following on from the worldwide success of his first solo single ‘Jaan’, Maz Bonafide has now got everyone groovin’ to a mind-blowing anthem ‘Soni Soni Selfiyan’, which he has written and composed himself.

The entertaining dance floor track is very much aimed at the millions of people who click selfies on a daily basis and has been produced by acclaimed music makers 'Bloodline'.

Fresh from his North America Tour Maz says: “I literally wrote and composed the whole song in a couple of hours!

“I wanted to write a fun up-tempo track dedicated to the current selfie phenomenon, which has swept across the globe and become so popular on social media.

“Everywhere you go these days fans want selfies. When I’m out and about; be it here in the UK or another part of the world, fans want to take selfies.

“It’s no longer just about meet and greet, everyone wants to capture the moment. So naturally I wanted to give back to all, say a thank you for all the love and support and what better way to do this than portray this in my music and capture the fun and excitement.”

Maz Bonafide Soni Soni Selfiyan COVER (300x300)Starring the tremendously stunning Jasmin Walia (The only way is Essex, Towie, Desi rascals fame) and set in a luxurious venue ‘Arabian Nites’ in Birmingham, the big budget video has caused quite a stir.

As part of Bonafide, Maz along with his partner in rhyme, Ziggy recently collaborated with Bilal Saeed to give us the beautiful melodic summer hit 'memories'.

With ‘Soni Soni Selfiyan’ the popular British-Pakistani singer is hoping to expand his musical horizons and reach out to even more people.

“I enjoy both working as a solo artist as well as being a part of Bonafide.

“We like to switch it up and make each release fresh and different to our previous songs hence I followed up a romantic number 'Memories' with a fun up-tempo song many people will be able to relate to. I really hope people make Soni Soni Selfiyan their own,” said Maz.

Well maz, you’ve got us at Asian Express hooked on the track – can’t wait to hear what you’ve got lined up next!

Soni Soni Selfiyan- Maz Bonafide 6 (800x532)

Turning her life around

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SUCCESS: Razan Alsous set up her own cheese business earlier this year and won a World Cheese Award for her halloumi produce

SUCCESS: Razan Alsous set up her own cheese business earlier this year and won a World Cheese Award for her halloumi produce

From Syrian refugee to award-winning cheese maker

As the UK continues to fall in love with food delicacies from around the world, one Syrian refugee has made it her goal to bring halloumi cheese to the tables of Britain and guess what... she’s winning.

Arriving in the UK just two years ago, Razan Alsous - a determind mum-of-three, set up her own Kirklees-based cheese factory.

The 31-year-old has a background in microbiology and upon moving to Huddersfield, decided to try her hand at running her own business with a Syrian favourite at the heart of operations.

“Halloumi is a product which is very popular back in Syria and we eat it every morning for breakfast,” she said.

“After conducting some research on the internet, I found that Britain was actually the second biggest consumer of halloumi cheese in the whole of Europe, only Sweden was ahead.

SONY DSC“The problem I found was that quality halloumi cheese was not available in all seasons in the UK market yet there is a demand for the product all year round.

“It is becoming a trendy food here and so I decided to try and set up a halloumi cheese business which sourced all ingredients from local suppliers.”

Despite only starting production earlier this year, Razan’s halloumi cheese has already proven to be a huge hit with the public and critics alike, as it was awarded a prestigious food award last month.

At the BBC Good Food Show in London, more than 2,700 products were nominated for the top honour, and it was Razan’s locally-produced cheeses that were awarded a Bronze accolade in the 2014 World Cheese Awards.

Explaining how she always had faith in the local produce, the dedicated mum who is now settled in Linthwaite with her family said: “Before we went down to the ceremony, I was confident in our cheese because we knew that it was a really good product.

“It wasn’t until we got there and saw all these different cheeses from around the world that I began to get a bit nervous. There were really big businesses who had huge pieces of cheese with them and we just had our little box of halloumi.

“When I heard that we won the award, it was great and the whole experience of the ceremony confirmed our cheese was one of the best.”

Razan added that the success of the business would not have been possible without the support of her husband, Raghid Sandouq, yet there wouldn’t even be a Yorkshire Dama Cheese company, had no backing been made possible by local bodies.

With little capital behind her back in 2012, Razan initially approached the job centre for advice about setting up her own business and was soon put in touch with the West Yorkshire Enterprise Agency (WYEA).

After drawing up business plans and conducting research, she was placed on the New Enterprise Allowance - a Government scheme which helps those out of work to start their own business.

With the support of a business mentor, she produced a business plan and within 12 months of extensive research, sampling and dozens of recipes, the business was finally born.

“My motto is that nothing is impossible, especially when there are people out there who can help you,” she said.

“The financial help from the New Enterprise Allowance is small in value but big in opportunity – it gave me the ability to buy the equipment, start my business and turn my dream into reality.”

Ayesha Takia Azmi gives chicks a clucking chance

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Ayesha Takia Azmi

Ayesha Takia Azmi

Since her award-winning debut in ‘Taarzan: The Wonder Car’, it was clear that Ayesha Takia Azmi would be one to watch.

She blew audiences and critics away in the thriller Wanted, and now India's sweetheart is starring in a role that is true to life for her: that of an animal advocate.

Just in time for World Vegan Day on 1st November, Takia Azmi flashes her lovely smile in a new PETA India ad, that lets everyone know that "vegans make chicks happy!"

Her co-star is one of the few "chicks" whose sweet face can hold her own next to Takia Azmi: a fluffy baby chick. Celebrated photographer Gaurav Sawn shot the ad, and talented artist Satyam Kadu did her hair and make-up.

Takia Azmi also sat down with PETA India for an exclusive video interview.

On set, Takia Azmi talked about how her respect for animals made her go vegan.

"It's beyond traumatic to hear the things that the animals go through when they are obviously slaughtered, the way they are kept, the way they are treated", she said.

She thinks it is inexcusable that chickens' throats are slashed and they are dunked into scalding-hot feather-removal tanks, often while they are still conscious.

She is proud that she helps end cruelty to animals every time she sits down to eat. "Being vegan is something that has changed my life tremendously", she said.

Takia Azmi joins a long list of actors, athletes and other celebrities – including Lara Dutta, Shahid Kapoor, Esha Gupta, Sonu Sood, Richa Chadda, Pankaj Advani, Anil Kumble, Hema Malini, VVS Laxman, Amrita Rao, R Madhavan, Kartik Murali, Rahul Sharma and Monica Dogra – who have starred in pro-vegetarian ads for PETA India.