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Clayhall woman wins titles of inspirational role model and businesswoman at ceremony celebrating east London women

PUBLISHED: 07:00 27 July 2018

Shakira Ashraf who won the the Sapphire, girls' best friend award. Picture: Aperture Photography

Shakira Ashraf who won the the Sapphire, girls' best friend award. Picture: Aperture Photography

Aperture Photography

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

Tasleem Ahmed who won the inspirational role model and business woman award at the She Awards. Picture: Apeture PhotographyTasleem Ahmed who won the inspirational role model and business woman award at the She Awards. Picture: Apeture Photography

From raising thousands of pounds for charity to inspiring youngsters to be the best women 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, 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 told the Recorder.

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

The winners of the She Awards. Picture: Apeture PhotographyThe winners of the She Awards. Picture: Apeture 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 it has taken me a long time to grow a thick skin.”

One of the winners from the evening was Tasleem Ahmed, from Clayhall, who was shortlisted for inspirational role model and business woman and won through the public vote.

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

She is described as a “dedicated, skilled and compassionate” dentist and dental practice owner who is an inspiration to other businesses.

As well as running a successful private general and referral practice, the mum-of-two also runs free seminars, open days and courses to help others.

“My primary focus has always been to be the best I can be at whatever I do”, she said.

“To be empathetic and supportive to all those around me, sharing my knowledge and experiences to make life easier for all those in what I used to find a really tough career.

Shakira Ashraf who won the the Sapphire, girls' best friend award. Picture: Aperture PhotographyShakira Ashraf who won the the Sapphire, girls' best friend award. Picture: Aperture Photography

“I am touched that so many dentists and friends that I have had the privilege to know, have nominated me for both business woman of the year and inspirational role model.

“I really hope many more young girls learn to believe in themselves, work hard to better themselves, gain 
inner confidence and just keep going and achieve beyond their expectations too.”

Another winner was mum-of-two Shakira, 36, who was given the Sapphire girls’ best friend award after she was nominated by a couple of friends and other mums from her children’s school for her dedication to the PTA and mentoring someone in her spare time.

She has also recently retaken her maths and English GCSEs.

Tasleem Ahmed who won the inspirational role model and business woman award at the She Awards. Picture: Apeture PhotographyTasleem Ahmed who won the inspirational role model and business woman award at the She Awards. Picture: Apeture Photography

Shakira said: “When he announced my name after a pause I was quite shocked.

“My legs felt like jelly,

“I was really over the moon.

“I want to be successful in life

“I don’t feel I belong in a kitchen or a bedroom.

“But I have to start from somewhere so going back to education has opened up so many opportunities,

“I’m not a person who can sit still and give up.

“If I can’t do something for myself I will help others.”

The She Awards, which stands for Saluting, Honouring Excellence, 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 music from popular DJ and rapper Saiqa Rehman.

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

Around £500 was collected which will go towards the charity Action Aid, which will provide hygiene kits for disadvantaged women in third world countries.

Sharifa 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.

“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.”

Visit the She Awards Facebook page to find out more about the awards.


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