Inspiring women honoured at Asian Awards

THE most inspiring and successful ­women in Scotland's Asian community were celebrated at a glittering event.

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Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh praised the winners
Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh praised the winners

The Scottish Asian Women's Awards, organised by the Scottish Asian Women's ­Association, was held at Hampden Park last night, with First Minister Alex Salmond among the guests.

Lilian Lee, director of Fourth World Art, was the big winner on the night, taking the prize for RBS Scottish Asian Woman of the Year 2014.

She set up Fourth World Art in Edinburgh after visiting Haiti in the wake of 2010's devastating earthquake.

Fourth World Art is a social enterprise that support fair trade for artisan artists in developing and disaster struck countries.

Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh is the chairwoman and founder of SAWA.

She is a lawyer in Edinburgh and has starred in a range of Indian TV shows, and this year she will stand as an SNP candidate in the European Parliament elections.

Tasmina said: "All of the winners are incredible women and have not only done well for themselves but also ­contributed to the Scottish community which has ­embraced us so beautifully.

"Lilian Lee especially ticked that particular box for the judges, although all the winners have amazing stories to tell.

"Look at our sports winner Samera Ashraf for example, who is a kickboxer but is also teaching Asian women self-defence to protect themselves from abusive husbands.

"It's wonderful that the number of nominees doubled this year and shows that the drive to have women recognised is growing rapidly."

Other winners at last night's event included Uugana Ramsay who won the Award For Achievement Against All Odds.

A Mongolian woman living in Troon, Uugana became a campaigning writer following the death of her son who was born with Down's Syndrome.

The Award For Lifetime Achievement went to Neena Mahal, chairwoman of NHS Lanarkshire, while Samina Ansari of the AMINA Muslim Women's Resource Centre won the Award For Outstanding Contribution To Scottish Asian Community.

Aarti Joshi, head of communications at DF Concerts, scooped the prize for Excellence in Arts And Media and Mother of the Year went jointly to Nazia Akhtar of the Islamic Centre in Stirling and Paisley woman Amreeta Chawala.

Kickboxer Samera Ashraf won the Award For Excellence in Sport, while Romana Khan, a lecturer in Computer Game Design at Glasgow Caledonian University, was named Scottish Asian Woman of the Future.

The Award For Professional of the Year went to Dr Narinder Bansal, from Edinburgh University, and the Special Award for Outstanding Contribution to International Business was won by Rabinder Buttar, the CEO of Clintec International.

Rita Ahmad-Poddar, from Peppermint Dental Studio, landed the Award for Business and fashion designer Kanval Afzal took the prize for Emerging Entrepreneur.

stef.lach@eveningtimes.co.uk

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