Here we take a look at the 2017 Fusion Woman of the Year Finalists.

The Fusion Awards will take place on Saturday May 13 at King George's Hall Blackburn.

Aisha Mirza

Aisha Mirza is a writer and campaigner who works tirelessly with members of the community in various capacities. Her work includes building links between different faith groups, working with the elderly, the youth, with those who are sick as well as empowering women to excel.

Aisha is also a writer, photographer, poet and activist for freedom, justice and peace.
Aisha works with women fleeing domestic violence and currently has a role as a volunteer counsellor at the Rape Crisis Manchester.

This work has taken Aisha to the European Parliament in Brussels, as well as out to Bosnia with the charity Remembering Srebrenica where she is now board member.

In 2015 Aisha became a chaplaincy volunteer at Central Manchester Foundation Trust working across the Manchester Royal Infirmary, St Mary’s, and The Royal Children’s Hospital Manchester. She spends time visiting patients offering spiritual support.

And throughout her busy schedule Aisha has also published her first children’s book ‘Time for Bed Zayd.’


Elizabeth Haesel Abbott

Volunteer and community worker Haesel has been assisting women and those less fortunate for a number of years.

A self-employed construction project manager Haesel had a change of career and decided to take up sewing and quilt making after landing a part-time role with the Healthy Living Group.

She helped to host a number of classes within the Asian community which proved to be popular and more importantly a mindfulness practice.

In 2016 she established her own community group ‘Dosti.’ The aim is to allow women to take part in a range of activities which are based in their neighbourhoods but at the same time revolve around their own hobbies.

Haesel is also a volunteer and trustee with the Food Bank. Recently, she took on the role of Chairperson of the organisation. The Food Bank attracts over 80 volunteers a week who assist all members of the local community and provide a valuable service to those who may need it.

Marzia Babakarkhail

Before moving to Oldham, Marzia Babakarkhail was the target of an assassination attempt by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Marzia was a judge and social activist in Afghanistan and had established a shelter for vulnerable women, a foundation for educating girls and spoke up against the treatment of women in Afghanistan.

Although the Taliban failed, she had to spend six months recovering. Marzia was left with no choice but to flee to the UK in 2008.

Marzia, who now lives in Oldham, joined Oldham College to learn English.

Whilst being actively involved in campaigning, lobbying and mentoring, Marzia is also raising awareness to promote gender equality and is involved at grassroots level with organisations concerned with social cohesion and refugees.

She currently volunteers for Oldham Unity, an organisation working with destitute asylum seekers and advises and supports vulnerable individuals using her skills and experience gained as a former Afghani family court judge.