Believe in Me CIC
1786. Kiran Sahota
Kiran Sahota, from Birmingham, is a history researcher who runs education projects through her social enterprise ‘Believe in Me’ to engage young people in South Asian history, working in particular with young people from BAME and lower socio-economic backgrounds to connect them with histories that are often not taught in mainstream education.
Kiran in particular specialises in Indian military history, and is curating an “Indian Women and War” project working with young people in Birmingham and the wider community to visit archives and museums to select and present stories of Indian women through film. During lockdown and while libraries and community centres have been closed, Kiran’s heritage projects have helped communities learn about the Commonwealth, with Kiran further producing a Commonwealth Resource pack for schools, families and wider education, to bring histories together as a free downloadable resource, including colouring pages and facts. She is currently working on a further “Forgotten Indian Women” project with the National Archives for 2022.
In a personal letter to Kiran, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“I was fascinated to learn of your fantastic initiative ‘Believe in Me CIC’ through which you give the gift of education to young people.
“You have used your personal passion for history to tell the stories of those whose enormous contribution to our nation must never be forgotten. I was particularly inspired to learn about your ‘Indian Women and War’ project, which is a wonderful way of preserving important history for future generations.”
“I am greatly honoured to receive this award and thankful my work in education and Indian women’s history is being recognised. I created ‘Believe in Me CIC’ as I know the struggles I faced when trying to access education. Young people and women from marginalised communities have long been overlooked and I am proud that I have been able to educate and unite them together. I feel like I have taken great strides to get to this stage and will continue to shaping and changing lives of others. I am proud to be a British-Indian woman researching and sharing stories of Indian women that did not have a voice.”