A Diabetes UK volunteer and Community Champion has been awarded the Mayor of London's 'Team London' Award.
Yasroon Elmi, 26, won the award in the Sports & Healthy Living category for her work on a 'Staying Healthy throughout Ramadan' project for Diabetes UK.
The project, which piloted in June, was spearheaded by Yasroon and provided resources for people planning to fast throughout Ramadan. It is estimated to have reached over 2,000 people.
Ramadan can pose problems for people with diabetes. The Koran requires fasting throughout the month, and although Muslims with diabetes are exempt, many choose to take part. If someone with diabetes chooses to fast throughout Ramadan then they risk experiencing unstable blood glucose levels which could fall too low or rise too high.
Reaching out to Muslim communities
The project led by Yasroon reached out to local Muslims communities by going into mosques and provided information and resources. The project also encouraged anyone with diabetes to talk to their Imam and healthcare professional about their personal situation before making the decision to fast.
A downloadable presentation was created, as well as two videos which showed people talking about their decision and preparation to fast throughout the festival. Ten volunteers were also trained to give the Ramadan presentation and gave talks at five London mosques and one college in the lead up to Ramadan. The culturally tailored resources and flexibility of bilingual volunteers helped maximise the reach of these important health messages.
The talks reached over 500 people and over 40 Imams in London. The screencast presentation was watched over 1,200 times and the volunteer videos reached almost 700 views on YouTube. Due to the success of the project, it will be rolled out nationally in 2014.
"Over the moon"
Yasroon said, "I am over the moon to have won this award for the work I have been doing over the past year with Diabetes UK. I never thought that coordinating useful resources for people with diabetes to stay healthy over Ramadan would result in the rolling out of a national initiative, let alone been recognised with an award.
"The Ramadan project is an incredibly important piece of work for the Islam community. By giving volunteers the tools they need to go out into the local community to help educate people about how to stay safe in one of the most important religious festivals of the year, we were able to help people stay healthy. I can't wait for the project to grow bigger and better next year, and I really look forward to being involved again."
The award was presented by Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, and Martine Wright, Team London Champion, Paralympian and member of the British Sitting Volleyball team (pictured above, with Yasroon).
Casey Collyer, Diabetes UK Diverse Communities Officer, said, "We are absolutely thrilled that Yasroon's achievements have been recognised by the Mayor of London. The Ramadan project wouldn't have existed without her efforts, and she's been an integral cog in the machine in pushing the project forward and making sure we managed to reach those communities we need to."