I passionately believe that everyone should get a fair chance of success in life, regardless of where you live and whether your parents are rich or poor. Sadly, this is not the case everywhere in the country, particularly in the North of England.
SHINE’s Chair Raksha Pattni has been named one of the UK’s Women of the Year at a prestigious awards ceremony.
Raksha, who officially became our new Chair earlier this year, was handed the BP Community Champion Award at the 69th Women of the Year luncheon.
The annual event, hosted this year by Mel Giedroyc, recognises and celebrates inspirational women from across the UK. Each year, 400 women, from all walks of life, are invited to attend the event. Five of these outstanding women are honoured with Women of the Year Awards for their selfless dedication to their fields of work.
Raksha received her honour for her work with SHINE. She is also National Partnerships Director at the Ambition Institute, a national education charity.
After she was presented with her trophy by TV presenter and mathematician Rachel Riley, Raksha said: “I feel incredibly honoured to receive the BP Community Champion Award.
“Through my work with SHINE and the Ambition Institute, I work with teachers every day and teachers are at the heart of the communities they serve. They make the biggest difference when they work hand-in-hand with those communities to drive change.
“I passionately believe that everyone should get a fair chance of success in life, regardless of where you live and whether your parents are rich or poor. Sadly, this is not the case everywhere in the country, particularly in the North of England.
“Children from disadvantaged backgrounds don’t do as well as their more affluent peers and by the time they leave school at 16, they are already behind by nearly 18 months. This has an inevitable impact on their future success and potential. That is why I dedicate my time and energy to championing education as one of the key drivers of social mobility.
“Education is sometimes the only chance available for children to break the vicious cycle of poverty and disadvantage.
“I’m grateful to the Women of the Year awards for highlighting the issues that I am passionate about. I hope this honour inspires others to become change-makers and champions of social mobility and make sure no child or young person is left behind because of their background.”
Speaking at the event, Countdown host Rachel said: “We know that women are underrepresented in almost all walks of life and we need role models that we can relate to. Today celebrates women from everywhere, and the great things that they’re doing. I think it’s just so important that we have a special place to highlight that for all the young girls watching, who don’t know where their lives are going to take them.”
An awards spokesperson said: “Raksha is passionate about education as a tool for social mobility, as a way to draw upon the untapped talent, diversity and life experiences that young people represent. Growing up in Tanzania, she experienced issues around poverty, attainment and social mobility, and since working in the UK, has focussed on helping teachers tackle north-south disadvantage gaps in education.”
Lady Louise Vaughan, Chair, Women of the Year said, “I’m once again full of admiration to be in a room among these extraordinary women, and to celebrate their varied and many awe-inspiring achievements. The innovation, tenacity and courage exemplified by these women, and their incredible work which has changed the lives of those it touches for the better, is something that is deeply important to recognise and honour.”
Also in attendance at the awards luncheon was SHINE Interim CEO Helen Rafferty.
Helen said: “We are overjoyed that Raksha has won the Community Champion Award. Raksha has a tireless commitment to children and communities in the North of England, and we are immensely proud that her work and influence have been recognised in this way.
“We are privileged to have Raksha as our Chair and look forward to working with her to build our impact in the coming years. Congratulations Raksha!”