A Wolverhampton based law firm executive has been shortlisted for a major national award for her voluntary work in tackling the taboo surrounding female health issues in marginalised communities.
Neelam Heera, Business Development Executive in the personal injury department at law firm FBC Manby Bowdler, is in the running for a Pride of Britain award for her achievements in founding and running the women’s health charity ‘Cysters’
The Pride of Britain awards are the country’s biggest annual celebration of personal achievement and the final will take place later this year. Neelam’s nomination follows the Special Recognition award that she received at the Pride of Birmingham awards, one of its regional events, last month.
Neelam set up Cysters in 2015 to break down some of the cultural barriers in Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities that exist around women’s health issues, in particular gynaecological and mental health problems, following her own health experiences.
She has already received a Points of Light Award and a personal letter from Prime Minister Theresa May praising her work.
Neelam said: “I founded ‘Cysters’ in 2015 to combat some of the misconceptions around reproductive health following my own diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome and later suspected endometriosis following a collapse after a ‘chocolate cyst’ burst.
“I discovered that gynaecological health was a taboo subject within BAME communities due to cultural beliefs, which can have a detrimental impact on women’s health. To receive such a prestigious award is a real honour, especially to be recognised alongside so many other worthy winners.”
As the charity’s founder, Neelam maintains an active online group and has a personal following of more than 8,000 people on Twitter and has also been the victim of malicious online trolling due to social stigma around talking openly around women’s reproductive health.
Cysters delivers workshops with faith-based groups and medical professionals, alongside its Period Poverty campaign to support those without access to menstrual products in schools and other organisations. She recently spoke at the Parliamentary Launch of the British Sikh Report 2018 about the effects of reproductive illnesses on mental health. Neelam was also named in Birmingham’s 30 under 30 by Birmingham Live, due to her on-going community work.
Kim Carr, Managing partner for FBC Manby Bowdler, added: “Neelam is a very deserving winner and this recognition is testament to all her hard work and commitment. We wish her all the best in the awards.”
More information about Cysters can be found at www.cysters.org, through Facebook at Cysters – Womens Support and Awareness Group and Twitter @cystersgroup.