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Honour-based violence campaigner honoured by Blackburn College

LEADING campaigner against honour based violence has been recognised by Blackburn College.

Saima Afzal MBE was given an Honorary Fellowship by the college which she hopes will help to inspire other women to follow in her footsteps. The 42-year-old Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Lancashire has come a long way since she escaped a violent forced marriage in her twenties.

She was awarded an MBE in 2010 for her Services to Policing and Community Relations. At the formal event at Blackburn College to receive her honour she said the building brought back positive memories for her. A former student, she studied both a Diploma in Public Administration and then a BA (Hons) degree in Criminology. Growing up, she said having local access to higher education was a ‘lifeline’ for her.

She said: “I am so proud as this recognition shows I am actually making a difference and people are noticing me. “This will present me with more opportunities to help those woman who need it and give them a hand which I never had. “Growing up, it was a struggle. I had a forced marriage and I had a child,” said Saima, who still lives in Blackburn. “I couldn’t travel too far afield to study culturally, and I also couldn’t afford to, and was lucky that Blackburn College helped me. I could work before and after college but I was always late for classes due to child minding. The tutors knew my circumstances though and they worked around me.”

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