Luton fundraiser humbled and honoured to be shortlisted for National Diversity Awards

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The ceremony will take place in Liverpool

A woman from Luton says she is ‘humbled and honoured’ after being nominated for the UK’s largest diversity award.

Naomie Praise, who is shortlisted for the Positive Role Model for Race, Faith or Religion award, came to the UK from the DRC Congo when she was under the age of seven. Since arriving in the UK, Naomie says she has faced hardships including domestic abuse, assault, homelessness, infertility, and the deportation of her twin sister.

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She said: “I felt like I was living in prison. My reputation was destroyed in the community and I was referred to as a witch. When my twin sister got deported back to Congo, I felt like my heart was ripped in two pieces. She was the only person I could trust and talk to. I developed low self-esteem, isolation, and mental health issues.

Naomie Praise has been nominated for the National Diversity Awards that will take place in Liverpool on FridayNaomie Praise has been nominated for the National Diversity Awards that will take place in Liverpool on Friday
Naomie Praise has been nominated for the National Diversity Awards that will take place in Liverpool on Friday

"I was diagnosed with fibroids and was told by the doctor that it was incurable and I could never conceive again. I had no support system, but I managed to go to university and study health and social care. I founded Glu1 Foundation in 2016 after I got married to my husband Dr. Leon Kabasele, who introduced me to his ministry in Pakistan."

Since then, Naomie has worked to empower Pakistani women and support widows, abused women, and orphans globally. Naomie added: “I worked with NOAH and a street fundraiser for PlanUK, raising awareness about Female Genital Mutilation. I’m married and have conceived after seven years, even when I was told that I couldn't.”

She said: "This nomination was a very beautiful surprise, I literally felt like I was accomplishing what I've always wanted, which is to be the voice for the voiceless. I have Jesus Christ, my husband, my kids, family, friends, and the church to thank for this.”

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Naomie added: “My advice for women who may be stuck in bad situations and need support is to always remember that everything is temporary and every situation in our lives comes to serve a purpose, but the way you react to the situation will determine how you come out of it.

"Understand that you're still breathing because you need to exist to impact through your story. You can live your God-given purpose and destiny, knowing that you didn't give up. I encourage you to always speak up to professionals or someone to get the help you need and so that your voice is heard and considered, as I believe you're also important and loved.”

She concluded: “Remember that the next generation needs your boldness and story to survive their own, so never let anyone silence you. Just stick to the truth, look after your mental health, and believe in yourself.

“I was a mess but now I’m a message. I’ve gone from trauma to triumph, from useless to being useful to my family and community, and from rejection to being requested in honourable places.”

The National Diversity Awards ceremony will take place on Friday (September 15) at Liverpool’s Cathedral.

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