Continuing our series of pen portraits of the 2022 finalists, this week we introduce you to:

Sahira Irshad

The strength of a mother is second to none.

In 2018, Sahira founded the organisation Mums United, in response to rising gang violence in her community in Sheffield. Sahira is a strong and inspiring woman who, in the face of adversity, has remained focused on achieving community cohesion and breaking down the stigma relating to youth crime, domestic violence and misogyny.

Mums United is entirely led by mothers and young people, with Sahira delivering knife and gun prevention training alongside advocacy services for young people who have experienced gang violence.

She has also empowered other local mothers to facilitate and deliver workshops around Adverse Childhood Experiences. The workshops focus on stripping back the layers and looking at root causes with the aim to build resilience, develop coping mechanisms and strategies so that an informed decision can be made.

Despite being targeted and abused by gangs in the local area and criticised by certain sectors in her community, Sahira’s determination and resolve have remained undeterred.  Sahira wants to engage, educate and empower young people and mums to grow and develop new skills and understanding.

She has encouraged local mothers to hold patrols in the area, talking and engaging with young people, leading to a greater understanding of their frustrations of being labelled and marginalised.

Sahira, together with fellow trustee, Dr Shahd created and runs the ‘Mums Charitable Bank’ which provides food, toys and clothing to vulnerable families, which has recently included refugees from Afghanistan.

Mums United became a charity in December 2020