Tag Archive: hanif malik

Regal recipients: Two of Yorkshire’s finest receive OBEs

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PROMOTING THE ARTS: Geetha Upadhyaya, of Kala Sangam, is another recipient of an OBE

PROMOTING THE ARTS: Geetha Upadhyaya, of Kala Sangam, is another recipient of an OBE

When Hanif Malik began fundraising to establish the Hamara Healthy Living Centre in 1998, there was neither an office nor a building to operate out of as the charity was in its infancy.

Fast forward almost two decades, and Hamara has grown into the largest ethnic minority organisation in the voluntary and community sector in Leeds, employing over 20 staff members and helping hundreds of local residents every year.

In recognition of his work as founder and chief executive of the charity, Hanif has this week been named on the Queen’s Birthday Honour’s List and will receive a prestigious OBE for his services.

For many, the extra three letters at the end of their title would be something to brag about, but Hanif recognises that it’s a team effort which eventually led to his name being stamped on the Royal list.

“It’s right up there with some of my proudest moments,” he said. “But it’s not an egotistical pride.

“I’m proud, not just for myself, but for the whole community and Leeds and everyone I’m associated with.

“I am as proud of everyone else as I am of myself. You can see the real genuineness and warmth from people when things like this happen. It’s the highest accolade I’ve ever received.”

Although Hanif is seen by many as a role model in the local community, his life could have played out differently had he followed his original career path.

Jumping betweens jobs in the private sector, with BT and HSBC, it wasn’t until a death in the family that he began working in the community sector.

COMMUNITY STALWART: Hanif Malik has been awarded an Order of the British Empire for his services to sports and the community

COMMUNITY STALWART: Hanif Malik has been awarded an Order of the British Empire for his services to sports and the community

Almost 20 years on, Hanif hopes his latest accolade will inspire others to build a legacy of their own.

“I hope it encourages other people,” he said, “especially youngsters.

“The OBE shows that it is possible - regardless of your background, how well you do at school, your race or your ethnicity – that if you continue striving to do good, you will achieve something.

“Regardless of any barriers and labels, if you apply yourself and if you’re sincere with what you do, you will get somewhere in life.”

Elsewhere in West Yorkshire, arts visionary, Dr Geetha Upadhyaya, who co-founded Bradford’s Kala Sangam arts centre in Little Germany 20 years ago, has also been awarded with an OBE.

She and her husband, Dr Shripati Upadhyaya, a consultant psychologist at Bradford District Care Trust, began the charity in her home in 1996 and it soon expanded to its current base in St Peter’s House. Her vision was to create a pioneering centre, bringing all cultures together through the world of art.

“It is so nice to be recognised in this way. I feel Kala Sangam - which means ‘art’ and ‘bringing together’ - has created something wonderful and feel that art is the best way to to this,” said Dr Geetha Upadhyaya, a consultant in metabolic medicine.

“I really wanted to make this a beacon centre and the response it has received from Bradford is wonderful.”

The centre has been a labour of love for Mrs Upadhyaya and has grown from a few dance classes to the only South Asian arts centre in the UK with its own dedicated performance space.

Over the years the 200 artists working with the company have appeared on Songs of Praise and at the Houses of Parliament and the Royal Albert Hall.

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Community spirit: Local champions blossom at White Rose awards

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COMMENDED: Hamara Healthy Living Centre CEO, Hanif Malik, and Business Development Manager, Habib Khan, receive their ‘Extra Mile’ award from White Rose Shopping Centre Manager, Dean Stratton

COMMENDED: Hamara Healthy Living Centre CEO, Hanif Malik, and Business Development Manager, Habib Khan, receive their ‘Extra Mile’ award from White Rose Shopping Centre Manager, Dean Stratton

A community organisation in Beeston, which raised two truck-loads of aid for Syrian refugees earlier this year, has been commended at a prestigious awards ceremony.

The fourth annual White Rose Shopping Centre Community Awards paid tribute to the Hamara Healthy Living Centre last month in the newest category - the Extra Mile award.

Set up to commend organisations which go out of their way to help others, the Leeds team were selected for their work with the Syrian refugee crisis.

Attendees at the awards last month heard how Hamara, acting as a collection point for food, clothing, toiletries and bedding, received enough donations within a matter of weeks to fill two large garages.

Many of the goods have already been distributed to refugees abroad whilst the remaining collection will be handed out to refugees arriving in Leeds.

SMILES: Brother and sisters, Arooje and Adie Khan, were awarded for their committed volunteering work with the Give a Gift initiative

SMILES: Brother and sisters, Arooje and Adie Khan, were awarded for their committed volunteering work with the Give a Gift initiative

Hamara CEO, Hanif Malik, was presented with the ‘Extra Mile’ award alongside colleague Habib Khan, and the pair paid tribute to the generosity of the local public.

“We made the appeal for donations after seeing these shocking images of refugees struggling around the world,” Hanif said.

“For the past two years we have worked alongside organisations such as PAFRAS (Positive Action For Refugees and Asylum Seekers) and have heard of the struggles individuals and families can face.”

He continued: “The appeal was a huge success thanks to the generous actions of the local community and we have to thank everyone who has helped, with a special mention for the White Rose Shopping Centre.

“We are now working with organisations to get the aid sent over to those who need it most and hope it can help make a difference to just some refugees.”

As well as being recognised for its collective work, two young Hamara members received a joint award for the tireless work they have done raising money for the Leeds Children’s Heart Surgery Fund and Martin House Children’s Hospice.

CHAMPIONS: 20 community champions were awarded at the fourth annual White Rose Shopping Centre Community Awards last month

CHAMPIONS: 20 community champions were awarded at the fourth annual White Rose Shopping Centre Community Awards last month

11-year-old, Arooje Khan, and her 10-year-old brother, Adie, volunteer with the Give a Gift team, of which both Habib and Hanif are also ambassadors. Their tireless fundraising efforts earned them ‘Achievement Awards’ last month.

Hanif added: “Arooje and Adie have worked really hard with the Give a Gift team for a long time so it is nice to see them recognised in these awards.

“We have a fantastic team of volunteers who help the project grow every year and we are always on the lookout for new ways to support these two fantastic charities.”

Other commendations at this year’s Community Awards included Chrissy Silvey, from Kippax, who not only gives up her spare time to work as a Dementia Awareness Champion, but also volunteers as a Community First Responder as well as holding down a full-time job.

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Leeds acknowledges its finest with Hon Doctorates

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An Imam, a Sikh Leader and a community champion lead the way in this year’s honorary doctorates list who were commended this past week as part of Leeds Metropolitan’s summer graduations.

Hanif Malik of the Hamara Centre in Leeds

Hanif Malik of the Hamara Centre in Leeds

Amongst the total 17 recipients of this year’s awards was Hamara Healthy Living Centre’s Hanif Malik,who was commended for his work in helping to develop the largest ethnic minority organisation in the voluntary and community sector in Leeds.

Mr Malik worked closely with the university earlier this year on a project aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of taxi drivers by supporting them to make positive changes to their diet, exercise and lifestyle.

On receiving his honorary degree, the Leeds resident said he was ‘honoured’ and‘privileged’ to be commended by the educational institution.

“My advice to students graduating today is to aim high and never let people tell you that you can’t achieve your goals because I’d like to think I’ve proven people wrong over the years,” he said.

“Regardless of your background, if you aim high and you’re committed and passionate about what you do, you can get there.

“Leeds Met were involved with the Hamara Centre right from the outset in terms of its development so I think it’s not an exaggeration to say that without the input of theUniversity, we may never have had the Hamara Centre.”

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Also accepting his award on the same day was Imam of Leeds Makkah Masjid, Qari Asim MBE. Mr Asim has worked tirelessly to build bridges between communities in Leeds since the 7/7 terror attacks and was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Laws for his contribution to public life.

On receiving his award, he commented: “I am absolutely delighted and incredibly humbled tohave received this prestigious honour from a distinguished institution.

“This honorary Doctorate gives me a renewed sense of purpose to work even harder to enhance community relations."

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Also accepting his Honorary Doctorate was Chairman of the Guru Nanak Nishkam Sewak Jatha (GNNSJ), Harban Singh Sagoo.

Ever since moving to the UK in the 1960’s, Mr Sagoo has been helping to support Sikhs in the city become part of mainstream society.

The 73-year-old grandfather was awarded an Honorary Doctorate for his service to the city and region and contribution to public and voluntary service.

"Initially, I believed the actual degree may have conflicted with my own ideologies so I actually sat on it for a month before I could accept it,” he said.

“I consulted a few people and they all said that I didn’t ask for it, and in fact I was being given it, so I should take it."

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