The Yorkshire Asian Young Achievers Awards – known as The YAYAs – are open to any young person of South Asian heritage (Pakistani, Indian, Bangladeshi etc) who was born in, or lives and works in, Yorkshire.
Aimed at socially-mobile young achievers who have overcome deprivation and disadvantage or have broken through traditional barriers to progress, the awards attracted scores of entries in its very first year, despite the difficulties created by the pandemic.
The YAYAS are organised by the Bradford-based QED Foundation, a registered charity which exists to improve the social and economic position of disadvantaged communities in partnership with public, private and civil society organisations, along with their headline partners, York St John University.
After restrictions led to a virtual event last year, a prestigious gala awards night is due to take place at the Cedar Court Hotel, with catering by My Lahore, on November 4 to celebrate the nominees and winners.
Dr Mohammed Ali OBE, Chief Executive of QED, said: “Yorkshire has more than 600,000 BME residents, the vast majority of whom are of South Asian origin. And they continue to struggle to overcome disadvantages in making their way in the world, whether that is in education, employment or social mobility generally.
“We know there are many dynamic, hard-working young people achieving great things across the whole county and these awards are intended to celebrate their achievements and efforts.
“The standard of entries last year was truly remarkable. We had humbling and life-affirming stories of people overcoming the odds to carve their way in life and we feel enormously proud of all those who entered. They were all truly inspirational.”
The awards look to recognise success and effort in overcoming challenges and barriers, be they social, economic, personal, or simply the result of traditional or historical attitudes or circumstances, he said.
“In each area, we’re looking for beacons of success and achievement who can inspire others and be the role models that the young people who follow them can aspire to become and even overshadow.”
The overall winner in the first YAYAs was Mohammed Ali Hussein, who overcame a very difficult childhood and chaotic home life to become a mentor, supporter and champion for young people in care.
The keynote speaker at this year’s event will be Professor Akbar Ahmed, a former Pakistani High Commissioner to the UK, and an author, poet, playwright, and filmmaker. He is Professor of International Relations and currently holds the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at the American University of Washington DC.
The award categories are Achievement in School or College; Health/Mental Health and Healthcare; The Arts and Creative Industries; the Private Sector; Media; Education; the Public Sector; the Not-for-Profit Sector; Achievement as a Young Entrepreneur; Sport; and Achievement in Overcoming Life Obstacles.
Details of how to enter the YAYAs can be found at: theyayas.org.uk or via: qed-uk.org. The closing date for nominations is Monday, July 19, 2021.