Acceptance speech from daughter Shamshad Hussain

Thank you, My name is Shamshad Hussain, I am here with my mum brothers and sister and sister in law and a few members of the staff, volunteers and management committee of the Pakistani Multicultural Advice and Community Association.

I speak on behalf of our mum and my brothers and sisters in accepting this award on behalf of our dear father who is not here to accept this for himself. I’m sure you will understand that this is an incredibly emotional time for us. Our dad died in November having been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukaemia, in September. He did not survive the intense Chemotherapy he had to undergo to overcome the disease. Every day without him is a struggle not only for us but for other members of the community many of whom saw him as part of their family too.

We have considered what our dad would say if he were here to accept this award on his own behalf. This is difficult because he was a hugely humble man full of humility. He would probably have little to say, other than thank you so much in his Pakistani Yorkshire accent. He would have probably been slightly embarrassed as he had never received any public acknowledgement of his work and tireless efforts, but that was not what he was about. The only thing that satisfied him, was knowing the project he set up in 1990 was thriving and achieving what it’s objectives were, for those in dire need AND that others saw his work as important.

Indeed the organisation’s survival, every year against all the pressures placed on this very important service that he, a founder member, had helped to develop, was acknowledgment enough. He was never hungry for big public displays of recognition. He was a true activist who kept the needs of the most disadvantaged and powerless, as his central focus.

We know he would have liked to say thank you to those in the community who nominated him and that it was not necessary for them to have done this. Thank you to the Area Panel Ward Councillors and the staff team, the Area Co-ordinator Andy Shallice and Marilyn King whom he would contact with issues to do with public services. He would have said a great BIG HEART FELT THANK YOU to Councillor Steve Jones who he saw not only as a local ward councillor but a good and dear friend, who understood him, his concerns and the aspirations he had for the project he was the Chair of. This was to mainly to get the organisation on a stable financial footing in terms of it long-term sustainability.

To use the words of others, – is the best way we can commemorate our Father in receiving this award on his behalf:

He had great wisdom and experience and was unselfish in how he helped others:

He was a great man with honesty and integrity

He was extremely principled and fought for the needs of others unconditionally

He stood up and challenged the system and took the blows but protected those in need from the blows that were thrown at him

He was a simple man, but as a role model a great example of human decency led by his faith, to do good.

He was a brilliant example of a volunteer worker, who worked in his own unique way and achieved so much.

He had a great sense of humour,you could have a real good laugh with him

From us his children, we would just like to say; we learned that charity truly begins at home. As we grew up our dad, an economic migrant, with a limited Pakistani education; to have our front door bell ring with members of the community seeking his advice and help, day in day out, we knew people thought a lot about him and trusted and respected him. He became well known for his hospitality and generosity too. He treated everyone who came to our home, as valued guests and not just ordinary people needing help.

We saw him continue to support his brothers and sisters and their families back home in Azad Kashmir financially, as we grew up and throughout his life right up until he died. Here, at times of crisis when the floods happened in Sheffield, the organisation got stuck in to assist those affected. Abroad, with Bosnia and The Pakistan Earthquake, he was very quick in getting the centre organised to fundraise. He was planning to do additional charitable work with his own life’s savings. He hoped to return to Pakistan in November, the month he died, to set up a clean water project and a children’s educational project, for those in need in his home country.

He taught us that giving with good grace and not seeking out notoriety is the right path to becoming good and decent adults. We were acutely aware that our dad was very different; he would not accept all that society and state would throw at him. He would not have a passive existence. He would challenge and educate others about his community and needs. He had true colours of courage running through him and we learned values, principles and how to stand on our own feet learning through his strong-minded approach in dealing with what life had to throw at us. He encouraged his daughters in particular to be independent and to be brave in what we went on and did with our lives. Many of us share his heightened sense of justice and have gone on to work within community projects or in jobs that are about equality and justice. He was an inspirational and unique individual who loved his family, and we are extremely proud of him as our father and all he had achieved in his lifetime.

We will continue his legacy and develop those charitable projects abroad and here that our dad talked to us about earlier in the year and whilst he was in hospital. We, together with our mum are committed to doing this.

We his family, would just like to say a huge thank you to all those involved in the nomination of him for this award, the members of staff, volunteers and volunteer MC members for dedicating themselves with such devotion to the work of the centre. He would say it was a joint effort and the award is for you too, in supporting him with his work.

He also would have acknowledged the hard work of our sister Gulnaz, his daughter, who gave up her full-time paid work to assist the centre, on a mainly voluntary basis. He knew that she recognised, that as some of the founder members were getting older, it was time to give them some support with the centre’s development and the year on year justifications they had to make for funds. He was very proud of the work she did, in the same spirit he did it. He also valued very much the loyal staff who took pay cuts and worked voluntarily when funding was tight.

We know our dad, the chair, was as proud of you all as he was of us. We understand how hard it is to continue without him but we know that he would not expect any of you, neither us his children, to stop focussing on those who suffer disadvantage and hardship and it is this that unites us in taking the work of our father forward without him.

Finally, We would just like say our mum supported our dad, all his life and through his charitable work and as his health deteriorated she was there 100% and that should not go without recognition today.

From all of us, It is a true privilege to be here on our dad’s behalf to receive this award. We only wish he could have been here himself. Thank you to you all and to the Area Panel for this award to our dad.

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The content on this page was added to the website by Lisa Swift on 2008-10-29 12:30:12.
The content of the page was last modified by Lisa Swift on 2008-10-29 12:32:25.
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