Jasvinder Sanghera CBE: OBV alumni receives award


What a pleasure it was on Friday afternoon when I received a call from Jasvinder Sanghera the founder of Karma Nirvana, and long time activist against forced marriages and honour based violence. She telephoned to inform me that:

“Simon, I have some good news for you”, she said, “although the news is embargoed until Saturday I can tell you that as part of the Queens Birthday Honors list, I’ll be awarded a CBE."

“I’m thrilled”, I replied, “It's one of the highest civil honors in the land. It’s been a long journey for you. This is a well deserved reward. You’ve made my day Jasvinder.”

I first me Jasvinder when she applied to take part in our first MP shadowing scheme back in 1999. She told me then that she wanted to understand power so that she could change the world. 14 years on Sanghera has changed the world for many vulnerable women, who like her have been victims of forced marriages, and ‘honour’ based violence.

During those intervening 14 years we’ve stayed in touch. Her son Jordon finished a summer internship with us at OBV last year, and cousin took part in another leadership programme some years ago. We have watched with pride her success and influence as an expert in this area.

Reflecting on her time with OBV, Jasvinder stated:

“All those years ago Operation Black Vote gave me the knowledge and confidence to achieve the many things that I’ve done. And although I haven’t gone directly into politics, as you know, Simon I’ve always remained political, fighting for justice.”

The Prime Minster David Cameron is amongst senior politicians who call upon Jasvinder for insight and knowledge about how best to deal with this persistent problem of a small minority of Asian sub-continent cultures which engage in the horrors of force marriage and ‘honour’ based violence. Some acts leading to families murdering their daughters.

As a small organization if we have contributed to help women such as Jasvinder Sanghera literally save lives and challenge unacceptable cultural practices then this is a good day first  for us, of course Jasvinder,  but above all for justice and equality.

Congratulations Jasvinder.

Simon Woolley