A female football coach, a hijab-wearing train conductor and a balloon-sculpturing entrepreneur are among more than 20 Bradford district young people vying for victory in this year’s Yorkshire Asian Young Achiever Awards.
Ikra Ali, who created two soccer teams for women and girls, will be hoping to score a double as last year she won a national Asian Women of Achievement award in the Sports Category.
Also among the 33 shortlisted candidates for the awards – dubbed the YAYAs – and from Bradford, are: Usama Mujtaba who is helping to make history as one of only a few Asians in professional football in North America; Zahida Sultan, believed to be the only female Asian hijabi train conductor for Northern Trains Limited; Junior doctor, Anish Mistry; Mariyah Kayat, who is creating opportunities for women to be themselves; Mariam Rashid, who helped to produce a show about female Muslim boxers; Awais Hussain, who is working to preserve his heritage language; news reporter Yusef Alam; Video maker Pishdaad Modaressi Chahardehi; Bilal Akhtar, who launched his own diner after serving time for dangerous driving; Aminah Ahmed, who is supporting international students; Iqrah Ali whose ambition is to become a pharmacist; Behaviour Support worker, Iesa Sabir; Associate Investment Manager, Habib Karimi; Student midwife, Jawairiya Khan; Hunniya Akram, who has supported research within the NHS; Zain Hussain, who hasn’t let his health issues hinder his education; Police officer, Mehr Ahmar; Thanim Adil Hussain, a games design lecturer at Keighley College; Volunteer Sahar Ijaz; Bingley restaurant owner, Yeasin Mohammed; Kiran Dhillon who set up a relocations company during the Covid pandemic; Balloon academy entrepreneur, Haseeb Hussain, Bradford Council worker Muhammed Waqar Ahmed and Maihvish Iqbal who was shortlisted in 2022 for ‘Skin Specialist of the Year’ by the British Hair and Beauty Awards. Maihvish established her business, AestheticsbyM, at the beginning of the Covid lockdown. Optometrist, Benji Chandra, of York, is also among the shortlist. Benji works for Bradford Hospitals and York Hospitals.
Now in their third year, the YAYAs are open to any young person aged 16 to 30 of South Asian heritage who was born in, or lives and works in Yorkshire.
Aimed at rising stars who have overcome deprivation and disadvantage, or have broken down traditional barriers to progress, this year the YAYAs have attracted a record entry from throughout the county.
The awards will culminate in the announcement of the overall Young Achiever of the Year 2022 title, which was won last year by NHS worker Huma Malik, of Bradford, who was recognised for volunteering during the pandemic, despite her own long-term health problems. Since winning, she has become a trustee of the Mental Health Foundation, and is progressing in her role as an engagement officer for NHS Leeds CCG.
This year’s winners will be announced during a celebration dinner hosted by BBC TV and Radio presenter and stand-up comedian, Noreen Khan, at the Cedar Court Hotel, Bradford on Friday, 11 November. The event will also be broadcast live on the internet.
Bradford-based QED Foundation, a registered charity which exists to improve the social and economic position of disadvantaged communities in partnership with public, private and civil society organisations, worked with their headline partners, York St John University, to organise the awards.
Dr Mohammed Ali OBE, QED founder and chief executive, said: “We are absolutely thrilled with the quality of entries from across Yorkshire. Many have overcome great obstacles to achieve what they have and it’s wonderful to be able to share their stories with a wider audience and highlight their successes and achievements in such a positive way.”
The 11 award categories are: Achievement in School or College; Health/Mental Health and Healthcare; The Arts & Creative industries; the Private Sector; Media; Education; the Public Sector; the Not-for-Profit Sector; Sport; Achievement as a Young Entrepreneur; and Achievement in Overcoming Life Obstacles.
Other sponsors and supporters of the awards include: Regal Foods; the University of York; the National Science & Media Museum; LOCALiQ; People Cert; Morrisons; Bradford Council; the Home Office; Barnardo’s; MyLahore and the University of Bradford.