“We can transform the world by transforming ourselves and being there as an example to other people so they can see that everything is possible.” Zerbanoo Gifford
EPISODE SIX – ZERBANOO GIFFORD – POLITICS, BEAUTY AND KARMA
RIDING CHARIOTS INTO BATTLE AND BUILDING PARADISE GARDENS
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About this interview:
How to engage moral courage to carry torches of justice, beauty and possibility where shadows loom.
In this episode Amisha is in conversation with author and humanitarian Zerbanoo Gifford – founder of the Asha centre for young people, former politician, award-winning activist for social justice, cosmic networker and total badass force for change.
Zerbanoo – whose name means “Lady of Gold” and originates in an ancient tradition from her Zoroastrian roots – has a deep understanding of Karma and that we can gauge the qualities of a human being by their actions. By this measure, she herself is surely one of the finest. Her great legacy in a material sense is the Asha centre in the Forest of Dean. It is a sacred place without agenda where children and young people from across the globe gather to connect with themselves, with each other and with nature in a place of beauty and freedom, and to discover what it is they wish to do in the world.
Zerbanoo shares some of the most shocking and inspiring moments from her decades of pioneering work as an Asian woman in British politics – opening doors for others in the political arena and going into battle spurred on by the moral courage to stand up to hatred and prejudice. She speaks of the absolute importance of beauty and how we all deserve to experience a paradise garden on earth, as well as the importance of keeping a little madness in the mix and the near death experience that changed the course of her life completely.
Together the two women discuss the way in which we prepare our children and young people for the world and what is missing from our educational systems, how we might turn our selection of political candidates on its head for a better future, and what needs to change for us to invest more in projects where the outcomes are unknown – and therefore might just be magical.
“You don’t have to prove yourself to anybody. You do what you instinctively know is good and you bring joy to yourself and others.” Zerbanoo Gifford
Zerbanoo Gifford is a human rights campaigner, author and founder of the ASHA Centre. She holds the International Woman of the Year Award 2006 for her humanitarian work, which spans over forty years of grassroots and global activism. A pioneer for Asian’s in British public life, Zerbanoo made history in 1982 by being elected as a Liberal councillor in Harrow. She was also the first BAME woman to stand for parliament in 1983 receiving the highest vote of any ethnic minority in Britain. She came second to the then chairman of the Conservative Party Cecil Parkinson. Zerbanoo spoke at Trafalgar square with leading ANC members and the then leader of the Labour party Neil Kinnock calling for full mandatory sanctions against South Africa and the release of Nelson Mandela. She was chosen to present the Peoples Petition to 10 Downing Street with Bishop Trevor Huddleston.
Among her many awards for her tireless work on equality and social justice Zerbanoo received the International Splendour Award in Hollywood in 2007, for her lifetime achievements. In 2010 to celebrate the 90th Anniversary of American Suffrage she was honoured by the Sewall-Belmont Museum in Washington DC in an exhibition commemorating key women who advanced women’s rights. In 2014 she was recognised in Albania for her inspirational leadership for the young. In 2016, the Asian media also recognised her outstanding leadership. Zerbanoo was chosen as one of the 200 global visionaries and in 2010 and one of the 100 Women of Spirit.
Zerbanoo’s greatest achievement is founding the ASHA Centre in the Forest of Dean which is now recognised globally as a centre that creates opportunities for young people to experience inspiration, connection and purpose. ASHA’s richly varied programme of activities are designed to meet the challenges of the times, through combining community arts, sustainable living, transformational leadership, intercultural/interfaith dialogue and active volunteering.
To find out more about the Asha Centre, visit their website.
To connect or work with Amisha Ghadiali, visit www.amisha.co.uk
Resources from this episode:
Zerbanoo’s book: An Uncensored Life
Books and articles by Zerbanoo
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