14 March 2011
Inspirational speakers 'inspired'
on International Women's Day
Several female inspirational speakers invited to
speak at a 'hugely successful' event to celebrate International
Women's Day found themselves too being 'inspired' by the amazing
stories of their fellow speakers.
The event, which was organised by BritBangla, and
the Diaspora Volunteering Alliance (DVA), saw women who have climbed
to the top of the success ladder of their professions in the fields
of science, entrepreneurship and volunteering inspire more than
120 women from diverse cultures and professions.
A list of accomplished women speakers included Sandra
Kabir (DVA), Lynne Berry OBE (CEO of WRVS), Hannah Simcoe-Read (Psychologist
and Industrial Analyst, UEL), Karishma Huda (Research Manager, BRAC
Development Institute), Katie Walsh (Science Council), Ariel Vaagen
(Assistant Cultural Attache, US Embassy London) and Perez Ochieng
(CEO of SACOMA).
Among the inspirational speakers were Dr Lena Ciric, a Postdoctoral
Research Fellow at University College London, who specialises in
microbiology; Dr Priti Parikh, a Research Associate at the Business
School of Imperial College on the Energy for Development project;
and Dr Rim El-Rifai, a consultant paediatrician and Neonatalogist.
These inspirational women shared their passion for science and highlighted
to see science not only as a fulfilling career but one that can
change the world and contribute to our quality of life.
Lynne Berry OBE, CEO of WRVS, who received an Honorary Doctor of
Health Science award last year for her inspiring role within the
Third Sector; and Bola Ojo, a Diaspora volunteer participant who
volunteered in Rwanda and Nigeria and now works for African Child
Trust's Volunteering programme in Tanzania, were also among the
One of the outstanding speakers Perez Ochieng, CEO of the successful
and sustainable social enterprise, SACOMA (Sahara Communities),
spoke of her personal challenges she faced in her early career path
and why this led her to set up the organisation to support and empower
people to reach their potential in becoming entrepreneurs.
All speakers shared their stories of success, their inspiration
and passion and amazed attendees their rise to the top regardless
of barriers and challenges they faced along the way.
Dr Ciric said: "It was wonderful to hear about the remarkable
achievements and amazing stories of the speakers. I was asked to
be one of the inspirational speakers, but in anything I felt more
inspired by the amazing stories of the other speakers.
"The event has motivated me to go out into the community more
and speak about my research and science in hhgeneral, and to encourage
any aspiring women scientists to reach their goals."
Describing the event as "truly inspirational and an eye-opener",
Dr Parikh said: "The evening managed to bring together women
from diverse cultures, countries, professions and age groups. "It
was refreshing to know that everyone faces similar challenges in
their profession and that these challenges can be taken on."
The evening celebration treated attendees to Indian head massages
and henna art applications by Green Purity, and the evening ended
with delightful music from Japan-born violinist Mansoon Bow, a Japan-born
musician who studied the violin at the age of three and received
scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music (London).
Organiser Taryn Khanam, from BritBangla, said: "The evening
was an enormous triumph as my aim was for every women at our 100th
International Women's Day celebration to feel proud of themselves
and to honour their actions and achievements and recognising the
continuing challenges in achieving equity and fairness. After all
it's only one day out of 365 days that is dedicated to women!"
Guest member, Shamim Chowdhury, Journalist, Al Jazeera said: "What
an excellent job of finding some of the most inspirational women
of our times as I came away feeling humbled and empowered at the
The event was held at The Abbey Centre in Westminter, London, and
was supported by UKAid, VSO, European International College, WRVS
and the Science Council.
For further information Colette Machado on 07803 606072 or Jenni
Asiama on 07852 224078 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Notes to Editors
1. The Diaspora Volunteering Alliance (DVA) brings together UK organisations
with a common interest in engaging and sending Diaspora volunteers
to support projects in their countries and continents of origin.
2. BritBangla is a network of professional Bengalis who collectively
celebrate the achievements of British Bengalis from all over the
country and their contribution to British society. Visit www.britbangla.net
3. WRVS is a registered charity which aims to give older people
the opportunity and choice to get more out of life. Visit www.wrvs.org.uk
4. Photo Credits: Nirja Raam