Inaugural IMRA Awards Honor Outstanding Achievements of Muslim Women

The All Ceylon Muslim Women’s Association (ACMWA), a venerable organization with a 71-year legacy, proudly hosted the inaugural IMRA Awards to recognize the exceptional accomplishments of Muslim women in Sri Lanka. Held on March 3rd at the prestigious Shangri-La Colombo, this landmark event coincided with the upcoming International Women’s Day and showcased the remarkable achievements of strong, visionary women from the community.

The event honored outstanding women in various categories, including Media & Communications, Hospitality, Banking & Finance, Healthcare, Law & Advocacy, Arts & Culture, Business Entrepreneurship, Social Impact, and Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM). Additionally, four exceptional women received the IMRA Lifetime Achievement Award, two from the Muslim community and two from other communities.

“We are thrilled to have initiated the IMRA Awards to shine the spotlight on the remarkable achievements of Muslim women,” stated Fathima Aziz, Director, Denara Training Institute. “Our intention was to create a platform that recognizes the outstanding contributions of Muslim women from diverse backgrounds and professions.”

IMRA, derived from the Arabic word for ‘woman’ in Islam, embodies attributes such as power, strength, adventure, energy, curiosity, spirituality, and magnetism. These awards aim to celebrate and amplify the voices of Muslim women who embody these qualities and have excelled in their respective fields.

The inaugural IMRA Awards received an overwhelming response, with 84 applications pouring in from across Colombo and the provinces. The selection process was designed to be fair and transparent, with KPMG onboard as a knowledge partner. All applications were carefully reviewed and scored against predetermined criteria. Shortlisted candidates underwent interviews by an independent panel of distinguished judges.

Among the winners were Mrs. Rezani Aziz for Media, Mrs. Yasmin Cader for Hospitality and Tourism, Mrs. Feroza Ameen for Banking and Finance, Dr. Mrs. Shemoon Marleen for Healthcare, Mrs. Farzana Jameel PC for Law and Advocacy, Mrs. Haadiya Galely for Arts & Culture, Mrs. Shahnasz Hakeem for Business Entrepreneurship, Mrs. Nuha Ghouse and Mrs. Saarah Deen Ismail for the IMRA Young Biz Entrepreneur Achievement Award, and Mrs. Juwairiya Mohideen for the IMRA Award for Social Impact. Additionally, the Award for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) was presented to Dr. Rozana Himaz.

In addition to the above awards, four Lifetime Achievement Awards were given to Ms. Anushya Coomaraswamy for her dynamics in the Finance Sector, Mrs. Neetha Dhammachari Ariyaratne for her social work, Mrs. Ferial Ashroff for her contributions to Sri Lankan politics and social activism, and Deshabandu Jezima Ismail for her service as an educator, broadcaster, social activist, and human rights advocate.

“In all the categories chosen, Muslim women have had to overcome unique challenges to prove themselves,” remarked Aziz. “The IMRA Awards aim to highlight and celebrate these achievements, inspiring future generations of Muslim women to reach greater heights. We extend our heartfelt appreciation to all nominees for sharing their achievements with us. While it’s the inaugural awards event, we hope to continue this tradition bi-annually, inspiring and empowering future generations of Muslim women.”

Notably, all proceeds from the IMRA Awards will support the Denara Training Institute, benefiting the next generation of Muslim women. The institute, in collaboration with partners such as “Farhath’s Mehendi” and Cuty Rose, offers courses in mehendi art, dressmaking, and embroidery, nurturing the talents of young women and fostering empowerment within the community.

(Left to Right) Mrs. Saarah Deen Ismail, Mrs. Yasmin Cader, Mrs. Rezani Aziz, Deshamanya Radhika Coomaraswamy, Mrs. Shahnasz Hakeem, Mrs. Feroza Ameen, Dr. Mrs. Shemoon Marleen, Mrs. Farzana Jameel, Mrs. Ferial Ashroff, Mrs. Juwairiya Mohideen, Mrs. Neetha Dhammachari Ariyaratne, Ms. Anushya Coomaraswamy, and Mrs. Fathima Aziz

Mrs. Fathima Aziz, Director, Denara Training Institute

Deshamanya Radhika Coomaraswamy delivering the keynote speech

Mrs. Shahinsifa Zahir, President of The All Ceylon Muslim Women’s Association, delivering the vote of thanks for the evening

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *