Founder, matriarch, trailblazer, advocate.
We are devastated to announce that Rafaat Mughal OBE, JAN Trust’s founder and a woman who educated, empowered, and encouraged women in her own right, passed away on Saturday 10th April 2021.
During the course of her life, she was a matriarch, politician, teacher, and researcher, but we remember her most as an empowered woman who was dedicated to empowering other women to shattering some of the ceilings that left them excluded and vulnerable in society, and advocated for those who did not have a powerful voice.
Over thirty years ago, when the definition of feminism was still evolving and the concept of intersectionality had not yet entered popular discourse, Rafaat Mughal OBE recognised that marginalised women and their families were facing a serious cycle of disadvantage from a lack of access to services, resources, and opportunities to gain more skills. Not content to simply continue to offer assistance from her own home, she founded JAN Trust, an organisation to formally empower minority women through educational opportunities and specialised advice.
As society and the needs of our beneficiaries have evolved, so too has JAN Trust. Under the leadership of Rafaat Mughal OBE, countless women’s lives have been changed for the better, the British system has been demystified for generations, and whole families have been reintegrated into a society that often disregards their concerns. It is thanks to her hard work and determination that we now also campaign for change and deliver projects on a national level, including Against FGM, Against Forced Marriages, Web Guardians™, and Another Way Forward™.
Rafaat Mughal OBE typified the tireless advocate for the downtrodden who does it out of the goodness of their hearts and not out of any need for praise or plaudits. Later in life, however, it was fulfilling for her work to be publicly recognised through numerous awards including:
- New Year’s Day Parade Honours 2006: The Award for the London Borough of Haringey
- The South Asian Community Project UK 2009: Special Community Award
- The South Asian Community Project UK 2010: Lifetime Achievement Award
- DSC Social Change Awards 2012: The Lifetime Achievement Award runner-up
- Universal Peace Federation and the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace 2009: Ambassador for Peace
- Excellence in Diversity Awards 2017: Lifetime Achiever Award shortlist
- The National Lottery Awards 2019: Local Legends Award (London)
In 2014, Rafaat Mughal was officially recognised with an OBE for services to disadvantaged women and the community in Haringey in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours, which she received from His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge. At the time, she commented that she “told Prince William that we have helped more than 50,000 women in the past 25 years by helping them learn English, understand the British system so they take part in society and not feel isolated.”
As driven but as modest as ever, in an interview regarding her OBE, Rafaat Mughal OBE stated: “I do this work because it is in me and a part of who I am.” Her spirit may have left this earth, but she has most certainly left her mark and her legacy will live on. We at JAN Trust are more determined than ever to continue the path she laid out for us, and empower marginalised minority ethnic women and young people. If you would like to support us, please consider donating to fund our work.
Our thoughts are with all those who knew and loved Rafaat Mughal OBE at this time. May she rest in peace.