Durban – MEHREEN Mia-Cassimjee has been recognised for her contribution to the betterment of society, after she won an International Goodwill Ambassador in Humanitarianism award.
The Global International Alliance – an affiliate of the UN and People of Choice Award Programme – notified Mia-Cassimjee, of Durban, last week.
A goodwill ambassador advocates for a specific cause or global issue on the basis of their notability as a public figure.
Mia-Cassimjee also became the diplomatic official of the alliance to South Africa.
The 45-year-old is the director of the NGO Muslim Relief Alliance-KZN, and the co-founder and director of the NGO Helping Hands Social Society.
“It is a great feeling to have my many years of hard work recognised, and my goals and vision to make a positive difference to our people, especially women and children, noticed.
“I am in awe of the role and leadership I have been granted, and I pray to keep maintaining and sustaining humanity as best as I can, staying true to my ambassadorship.
“Goodwill ambassadors are distinguished individuals, carefully selected from the fields of public life. They have agreed to help focus worldwide attention on the work of the programmes recognised by the United Nations.”
Mia-Cassimjee said that as the ambassador, she was entrusted with upholding her designation while continuing to help communities and organisations in South Africa and globally.
“As the highest ranked in humanitarianism, it requires that I place every effort into bringing peace and harmony in the transformation of lives across the globe.”
Mia-Cassimjee, the chief executive and founder of the motivational and empowerment foundation, the MEA Company, said her journey started at the age of 14.
“I gave my first workshop and lecture to a group women and their daughters in Cape Town. Back then, I never realised that this would become my passion and drive, to better women and children and their lives globally. I was young and fearless in my youth. I believed I could achieve anything.”
Mia-Cassimjee said besides taking various knocks while trying to pursue her goals, including an accident, she was inspired by her late grandfather, Hajee Ebrahim Ahmed Shah.
“At my lowest, and while searching for me, I was led back to my childhood and those moments of latching on to my beloved grandfather, going everywhere he went, watching him when he went to visit sick people, making them laugh and giving them renewed hope and faith to survive. I also went back to that teenager in me who spoke to those women and children in Cape Town ”
Mia-Cassimjee, who is a mother and married to Ismail Cassimjee, said she was honoured and grateful to have had a strong support structure.
“Gratitude goes to my parents and to my husband. His never-ending respect, faith, love, and his support of me developing and growing has pushed me to achieve even more.”
She said her goal was to ensure women and children had their voices heard.
“I intend to be the voice for the voiceless, to empower and grow women and children from within themselves through various programmes so that they, in turn, can do the same and reach out to others. We need global unity in the fight against GBV, child abuse and the like. We need to also assist and help the abusers, and grow and aid them too.
“Our goal must not be to marginal and segmentise humanity. There’s enough of that. Our global race needs unity in peace, in harmony, and development strategies to better lives for all.”