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Inspiring Change: Sabah Gilani, O.B.E, Empowering Communities and Redefining Excellence

Receiving an O.B.E in the 2020 Queen’s New Year Honours List for my service to young people and Muslim communities was a profoundly humbling experience. At 34, becoming one of the youngest Muslim women to receive an O.B.E feels like a lifetime achievement bestowed early in my journey.

This recognition is not just a personal accolade but a collective one, this honour has invigorated my commitment and passion to continue and expand my work.  I hope to encourage more people to support and participate in charitable initiatives, fostering a sense of community and collective responsibility.

Receiving an O.B.E is a chance to showcase the beneficiaries of our charitable work, to share their stories of triumph and perseverance, and to inspire others to join in these efforts. My service to communities for over 10 years spans a range of preventative interventions and support services, from educational programs aimed at empowering young people

to community outreach projects that provide essential resources and support to marginalised groups.

In each of these projects, I see the faces of those who have benefited – the children whose horizons have expanded through education and supported care, the families who have found solace and support during difficult times, and the individuals who have rediscovered hope and resilience. Each story, each life touched, reaffirms my belief in the importance of the work we do. These experiences drive me to amplify the voices of our communities, ensuring they are heard and valued in broader societal conversations.

Moreover, I see this recognition as a responsibility to continue advocating for those who are often voiceless. It is a call to action to ensure that the needs and aspirations of disadvantaged communities are not overlooked but are instead at the forefront of our social agenda. By amplifying these voices, we can work towards creating a more inclusive and equitable society. Together, we can build a future where every individual, regardless of their background, has the opportunity to thrive and succeed.