Hackney-born charity worker wins Social Enterprise of the Year Award 2017

The workshops have enabled participants to build their confidence as well as learn new skills Pic: You Make It

A Hackney project aimed at helping unemployed women from ethnic minorities in east London find work and build their skills has won a business award.  

‘You Make It’ won the Social Enterprise of the Year Award at the 2017 Precious Awards for its work in aiding women in East London to be more independent and in control of their occupational aspect of the lives.  

Asma Shah, the Hackney-born ‘You Make It’ founder, said she was immensely proud to win the award, which is one of the most important prizes among 13 awards for business contributions to society. 

Shah told EastLondonLines: “I am immensely proud to be awarded The Social Enterprise of the Year Award. I set up ‘You Make It’ in frustration and anger that young women of colour in London, a first-world city, were wrongly falling through the cracks.  

“It feels great that with my agenda to celebrate and nurture BAME women in particular through ‘You Make It’, that it is the Precious Award I’ve won – an organisation whose values and ethos entirely align with my charity.”  

The Precious Awards recognise organisations for their business excellence and contribution to society. There are a total of 13 awards, and the UK Social Enterprise of the Year is the overall award for a social enterprise that has excellence in impact, which demonstrated and promoted social enterprise beyond the sector. 

Shah founded the charity project ‘You Make It’ in 2011. She had lived in east London for more than 17 years and after witnessing the impact of gentrification and austerity on local communities felt she had to do something.

The program hopes to support unemployed young ethnic minority women between 18-30 years old in east London with confidence, skills and help them with mental health issues.

Asma Shah, the founding CEO, says the programme also offer a support network Pic: You Make It

“‘You Make It’ is a creative empowerment and personal development program for young working class women in East London,” Shah said. “Through a tailored series of workshops, mentoring, hands on work experience and most importantly, women-centered holistic care, YMI empowers women to pursue their passions and realise their goals, and since its inception, 82 per cent of graduates have gone onto paid employment, returned to higher education, or are working on their own start ups.” 

Shah likes to think ‘You Make It’ as a kind of counselling, not just an attemp to improve the young women’s employability. When speaking of the core of the program, Shah said: “’You Make it’ is not just an employability scheme – that is just one of the outcomes.”  

Eva, who graduated from the program years ago, says: “I’ve felt like I’ve been struggling to prove myself my whole life”. For her, the most important benefit she gains from program has been “just having people believe in me”. 

Eva arrived in London when she was two years old as refugee, and attended a Special Educational Needs School until she was 16. Eva was a victim of racial abuse and bullying. When she started the programme, she said she was suffering from depression, but that ‘You Make It’ helped her recover.  

To find out more about ‘You Make it’, visit http://www.you-make-it.org 

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