Honour-based violence campaigner honoured by Blackburn College
2:00pm Sunday 3rd November 2013 in News
LEADING campaigner against honour based violence has been recognised by Blackburn College.
Saima Afzal MBE was given an Honorary Fellowship by the college which she hopes will help to inspire other women to follow in her footsteps.
The 42-year-old Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire has come a long way since she escaped a violent forced marriage in her twenties.
She was awarded an MBE in 2010 for her Services to Policing and Community Relations.
At the formal event at Blackburn College to receive her honour she said the building brought back positive memories for her. A former student, she studied both a Diploma in Public Administration and then a BA (Hons) degree in Criminology.
Growing up, she said having local access to higher education was a ‘lifeline’ for her.
She said: “I am so proud as this recognition shows I am actually making a difference and people are noticing me.
“This will present me with more opportunities to help those woman who need it and give them a hand which I never had.
“Growing up, it was a struggle. I had a forced marriage and I had a child,” said Saima, who still lives in Blackburn.
“I couldn’t travel too far afield to study culturally, and I also couldn’t afford to, and was lucky that Blackburn College helped me. I could work before and after college but I was always late for classes due to child minding. The tutors knew my circumstances though and they worked around me.”
Saima has been a serving Independent Member of Lancashire Police Authority for eight years, working with minority communities in Lancashire and the issues that affect them such as crime, forced marriage and domestic violence.
She was appointed as an Executive Board Member for the Association of Police Offices in 2007 and fights for the eradication of inequality and discrimination.
She said: “Blackburn College is the engine of the town. You get cohesion, and economic and financial opportunities. The diversity of what it offers also means that we don’t have to call out to other countries for engineers, police officers and so on as we have them on our doorstep.
“It’s a huge asset for Blackburn and it helped to change my life.”
Comments are closed on this article.