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Harrow’s Heroes: Outstanding Young Person of the Year dedicates award to the inspiring young people of Afghanistan

Outstanding Young Person of the Year award winner at Harrow’s Heroes 2022, Ariana ‘The Journalist’, speaks to Harrow Online about her mission, and how it feels to win such a prestigious award at this year’s ceremony.

Harrow’s Heroes was held this past Thursday night at the Kadwa Patidar Centre in Harrow awarding local champions in the community who go that extra mile to help people and make our borough a better place to live. Ten categories were awarded in total, one of which was the prestigious ‘Outstanding Young Person of the Year’.

This year, the winner of the award was Ariana Abawe, 23, from Harrow. Ariana ‘The Journalist’, founder of Ariana Magazine – a multi-media platform connecting Afghan people and helping thousands of people both in the UK and Afghanistan. Ariana was born in Afghanistan, but grew up in Harrow and was thrilled to find out she’d been nominated for the award. Harrow Online had the opportunity to speak with Ariana and find out more about the magazine and what her future plans are.

Harrow’s Heroes: Outstanding Young Person of the Year dedicates award to the inspiring young people of Afghanistan Harrow Online
Ariana with fellow nominees for the Harrow’s Heroes Outstanding Young Person of the Year award.

Can you tell us about Ariana Magazine, when it started and for people who don’t know, what its mission is?

“Ariana Magazine started on the 28th August 2020 just one month after graduating from Brunel University of London with a Journalism degree (during the covid pandemic). ‘Ariana’ is my name but it was also the name of Afghanistan around 5,000 years ago. I started Ariana Magazine to showcase the beautiful side of the country, the culture, the arts, the history and its people. In contrast to the negative portrayal of the country in the mass media. Ariana Magazine is the first of its kind, being a magazine about the positive side of Afghanistan written in English and available both in print and digitally. I interview Afghans from around the world from different fields such as artists, athletes, singers, actors and much more. I also have interviewed non-Afghans who have visited Afghanistan such as the famous American vlogger- Drew Binksy.”

You have recently won the Outstanding Young Person of the Year award at Harrow’s Heroes 2022, what does this mean to you?

“I am very grateful to have won the Outstanding Young Person of the Year at Harrow’s Heroes 2022, it means a lot to me, to be recognised in the borough of Harrow where I have grown up all my life and I can’t thank everyone who has supported me along this way with Ariana Magazine. For me this award is not just for me it is for the inspiring young people of Afghanistan who are unable to reach their goals because of the restrictions back home in terms of education/jobs, I hope everyone is able to reach their dreams and bring positivity to the world.”

Harrow’s Heroes: Outstanding Young Person of the Year dedicates award to the inspiring young people of Afghanistan Harrow Online
Ariana the Journalist, Outstanding Young Person of the Year Award winner at Harrow’s Heroes with a gifted cake from category sponsor, Heriots Patisserie. Credit: Harrow Council.

What are your objectives moving forward now and what can we expect next from Ariana The Journalist?

“Ariana Magazine’s aim has always been and will always be to showcase the beauty of Afghanistan. ‘Ariana Magazine,’ is not just a magazine, it is much more than that, it is where people can come together and form a discussion. ‘Ariana Magazine,’ is a multi-media platform whereby I have also introduced video work which aligns with its aims, for example, I recently created a video of non-Afghans learning about Afghanistan, having them try Afghan food and clothes for the first time and getting their reactions: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaWqOsemtGFay5bplBJBzyQ

“I also have held a variety of different events such as the Afghan Cultural Charity Event, the British-Afghan Business Awards to celebrate Afghan businesses, the Eid festival for Afghan refugees in Harrow and much more. I hope to continue to shed a positive light on Afghanistan in any way I can whether that be directly through the magazine, video work or events.”

Finally, what would your advice be to young people who aspire to get into journalism or launch their own magazine? 

“My advice to young people who want to get into journalism or launch their own magazine is to have a great drive for what they want to be, if you have a passion for something you can get anywhere. Moreover, for Journalism, it’s always great to have any related experience in the field as that really helps. I also gained a gold standard diploma in NCTJ during my course of Journalism at Brunel University of London and would recommend it as it equips you with the essentials for being a Journalist.”