A STUNNED Mariya Javed was named Young Scotswoman of the Year 2021 at last night’s awards presentation – and she said she hopes it will allow her to continue helping others.
“I like doing charity work because I’m helping to keep my brother’s memory alive by helping others,” she said. “I want to find a cure for the condition that took my brother, so that no-one else has to go through what I did.”
Mariya has helped raise more than £16,500 for Another Star in the Sky, set up by her parents in association with Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity, following the death of her brother Ahmar.
The 12-year-old from Elderslie is also a young ambassador for the Miracle Foundation, a Motherwell-based charity which supports young people who have suffered bereavement and trauma.
“I want to make my big brother proud of me,” she said. “I hope being Young SWOTY 2021 will help to raise awareness of Another Star in the Sky and the need for more research into rare conditions, and the need for child bereavement services.”
Mariya’s mum Sameena said: “I’m so proud of Mariya – I just wish it could have been in different circumstances.
“She had to grow up very fast when her brother died but she has handled it so well. I can’t believe she has won Young Scotswoman of the Year – it’s a real honour.”
While Covid restrictions prevented SWOTY from going ahead in its usual format, the presentation was still an enjoyable affair, with finalists getting the chance to meet each other for the first time to share stories and support.
Mariya, from Elderslie, was nominated alongside Abby Lang, Meghan Porterfield and Tess Corcoran. Unfortunately, heart screening campaigner Abby, who is a medical student in Dundee, was unable to attend.
Meghan, 17, a multi-awardwinning field athlete who already has a clutch of medals and records under her belt, said: “I’m really excited to be here – it’s a real honour to be invited. I couldn’t believe it when my headteacher told me I had been shortlisted.”