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17th June 2024

Jasvinder Sanghera Awarded Damehood for Services to Victims of Forced Marriages and Honour Based Abuse

Karma Nirvana is proud to announce that our founder, Jasvinder Sanghera, has been awarded a Damehood in recognition of her tireless efforts and significant contributions to supporting victims of forced marriages and Honour Based Abuse.

UK, 15th June 2024 – Karma Nirvana is proud to announce that our founder, Jasvinder Sanghera, has been awarded a Damehood in recognition of her tireless efforts and significant contributions to supporting victims of forced marriages and Honour Based Abuse.

Jasvinder Sanghera, a passionate advocate for human rights and social justice, has dedicated her life to raising awareness about the often-hidden issues of forced marriages and Honour Based Abuse. Her personal experiences and resilience have driven her to create profound change, offering support and refuge to countless individuals through Karma Nirvana.

Jasvinder founded Karma Nirvana in 1993 after escaping from a forced marriage, and after her sister’s death. The organisation has since become a beacon of hope and a critical resource for victims, providing a safe haven and advocating for legislative changes to protect those at risk. Under her leadership, Karma Nirvana has grown into a nationally recognised charity, instrumental in shaping policies and transforming lives.

Upon receiving the honour, Jasvinder expressed her gratitude:

“The overwhelming emotions I am currently experiencing upon receiving one of the highest honours possible in the United Kingdom cannot be adequately expressed. Being awarded a Damehood fills me with immense pride and gratitude. I extend my heartfelt thanks to my parents, who left India with the hope of creating a better life for our family in Britain. Unfortunately, our paths diverged when I found myself in an arranged marriage that turned into a forced marriage. The injustice of losing my dear sister Robina to suicide and being disowned by my family, who deemed me dishonourable, compelled me to establish the charity, Karma Nirvana.

My determination has always been to make a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable in our society, and I will continue to do so with unwavering conviction. My Damehood offers me a higher platform to achieve this. My journey did not begin with privilege, as I left school without qualifications and did not read a book until I turned 28. I have been disowned by my family for most of my life. I have always felt like I have been fighting for justice throughout my life, and I do not take my independence for granted.

As I receive my Damehood, the legacy of Karma Nirvana lives on, and I will persist in speaking out on issues that silence many individuals within our communities. Currently, I am working on various campaigns, and I will utilise this honour for the greater good, as there is still much work to be done.

Over the past three decades, I have dedicated myself to campaigning for change, and I have no regrets. Sometimes, this meant giving my children less of my presence, but their understanding has sustained me, and I am genuinely grateful to them. They, nor my grandchildren will ever have to endure a legacy of abuse, and today, I can proudly say that thousands more will also have the freedom to choose independence, and I am proud of this. I especially want to honour the courageous men and women who bravely fight against abuse, often at great personal cost.

Lastly, but certainly not least, I would like to express my gratitude to all those who have collaborated with me over the years. I thank you for providing platforms and believing in the causes I have campaigned for.

I reflect on the fact that many have perceived me as being without honour. I believe that my honour is their shame.”

Receiving the Damehood is a testament to Jasvinder’s unwavering commitment to justice and her exceptional contributions to society. Her work has not only supported victims but has also paved the way for long-term societal change, challenging cultural norms and promoting human rights.

The award highlights the critical need for continued efforts to address and eradicate forced marriages and Honour Based Abuse. Karma Nirvana remains committed to supporting victims, raising awareness, and advocating for change to ensure a future where everyone can live free from fear and coercion.

Contact Information:

For media inquiries or further information, please contact:

Karma Nirvana: [email protected]

About Karma Nirvana:

Karma Nirvana is the longest-established charity specialising in providing support for people impacted by Honour Based Abuse and Forced Marriage. We were established in 1993 as the first specialist charity for victims and survivors and are committed to ending Honour Based Abuse in the UK. We deliver the national Honour Based Abuse Helpline which supports victims of Honour Based Abuse through practical support and advice.