Saj Ghafoor OBE – CEO Multicultural Cumbria
2022 New Year’s Honours For Services to Cultural Awareness and Integration in Cumbria.
I can’t quite put into words what this means to me. It literally left me speechless when I found out! Quite simply, I am over the moon to receive the honour of the OBE.
My faith has played a large part in what I do and this journey has been full of experiences that have influenced me, strengthened my faith and made me grateful for all that I have been blessed with. Islam teaches us about multiculturalism and the importance of engaging and contributing to the community we live in. We should respect other beliefs to receive the same respect for our own. We share much more than that which divides us, and having more opportunities to come together to break down barriers and talk to each other has taught me so much.
This honour is a recognition of the changing times in Cumbria and I hope it will inspire many to know they have had the 1st Black High Sheriff of Cumbria, and the 1st Muslim woman of Pakistani diaspora recognised with an OBE in Cumbria, which will sit proudly alongside the silver jubilee coin I was gifted in 1977.
Some very special people have travelled this journey with me and their efforts, support and belief in me has carried me through many highs and lows. To them all, I am grateful beyond words. A special thanks to my team and trustees at Multicultural Cumbria and all that came before; to senior management at the University of Cumbria, Cumbria Community Foundation and The National Lottery Community Fund who have made the seemingly impossible, absolutely possible.
Most of all thank you to my husband Abdul and my four children Nazia, Samina, Rehma and Humza, for your patience, encouragement and support. You have always been my inspiration and I could not have done it without the sacrifices you all made. All my love, respect and gratitude.