On 20th January 2014 Jasvinder Sanghera CBE organised a reception sponsored by the All Party Parliamentary Group ‘Honour’ Based Abuse at the House of Commons to celebrate 21 years since the founding of the Charity Karma Nirvana. Bilston club members were honoured to be invited to attend along with a number of survivors of forced marriage and many friends and supporters of the charity. Baroness Cox opened the proceedings referring to the excellent work of Karma Nirvana and emphasising her support for the Charity and the need for the work to continue and extend. In the presence of Baroness Afshar, Baroness Cox and several parliamentarians Jasvinder and the Chairman of Karma Nirvana spoke passionately about the need to gain access into schools to help teachers identify and act upon signs of pupils who are at risk. They also underlined the need to ensure all police forces are fully aware of the incoming legislation when Forced Marriage is criminalised later this year.
Seven Bilston club members along with the audience listened to two survivors tell their horrific stories publicly with great courage and there was opportunity to meet other victims as well as other supporters. During the event we were delighted to spend time with Jackie Paling Soroptimist International Great Britain & Ireland, Assistant Programme Director for Violence and Conflict Resolution.
Although we have been involved with the work of Karma Nirvana and the issue of Forced Marriage in the UK for some time the day was incredible. We came away even more determined to make a difference to vulnerable girls, to continue our work with Jasvinder and to encourage other Soroptimists to be involved.