MSc in Medical Parasitology alumna (1997), Sadi Khan has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours list for her contribution to Cultural/ Religious Awareness Training and Services to Vulnerable Women.
Sadi currently works as the Lead Trainer of Noble Khan Ltd a company that empowers brands to be more engaged, inclusive and culturally intelligent. She is also the Director of Inclusion & Diversity at Nottinghamshire Cricket Board, a Women’s Aid Survivor Ambassador, a Binti and is about to become a Lepra Ambassador.
Sadi chose to study an MSc in Medical Parasitology at LSHTM after hearing about how our School was the best on an international scale from one of her family members. This family advised her that LSHTM was recognised worldwide especially for tropical diseases and public health; Sadi said “I just knew I belonged there. I had decided there and then that if I was going to carry on with science I was going to be in the best place with the best reputation.”
Being awarded a master’s from LSHTM hugely influenced Sadi’s career and she described it as the grounding for most of her work. “LSHTM brings together people from all over the world; people from different countries, speaking different languages, and with different cultural backgrounds and beliefs. I had friends from all walks of life, individuals whose first language was not English, who faced culture shock, who were away from their loved ones. I was sensitive to that and understood their heartache as my mother and father were immigrants. I would bring them together, take them out to central London and ease them in to life in London, we would have get togethers, I became for some the point of call for help, to explain how to use computers, fill forms etc. My time at LSHTM was actually the foundation for my British Culture Course for Noble Khan.” During her time at LSHTM Sadi formed lasting friendships with people who she is still in touch with to this day, 20 years on. “I have amazing friends scattered all over the world from different religions, cultures and are a source of knowledge and testing.”
Sadi told us that she was immensely honoured and grateful to whoever put her forward for an MBE and to those that felt her work over the years deserved such an honour.
“I feel so emotional, as it brings my past to the forefront and makes me think, wow I was a young girl who had an arranged marriage at 19, and faced domestic violence through my first degree, I then accidentally burnt my flat in a chip pan fire from round the corner in Astor College; I lost everything. I had just scraped through my degree and was literally homeless, and then I was called in at the last moment and given a chance to prove myself from LSHTM. Professor Martin Taylor and Professor Quinton Bickle gave me a lifeline, they insisted I seek counselling as part of my admission when I was interviewed; they looked at my references and believed I was good enough. They changed my life. I have been beaten, battered, called thick, stupid, not just in my early days but after setting up my company years later, I was told there was something wrong with me, what I was doing was not needed, nothing would work, I kept on, I gave up a good salary to set up Noble Khan and my second husband walked out on me. I set up Noble Khan as a single parent. I was consider an outcast by family and people around me, but I carried on because my customers loved the courses I did, they felt it should be mandatory. I won Trainer of the year, women’s leadership awards and then to get the MBE, it was emotional. This MBE is that recognition, of that journey. It is like a burden lifted from my shoulders saying that what I do, who I am what I stand for is of the most excellent order of the British Empire; that stamina, that perseverance, that patience. It was also very emotional as my father was not around to see it, so I feel proud for the first time in my life that I am a single parent woman who suffered domestic violence and set up a company that has been recognised as being of the highest excellent order.”
Sadi hopes to continue educating and bringing understanding, inclusion and engagement to organisations as well as standing and speaking out on domestic abuse. She wants to continue to inspire the next generation to raise their standards, to change perceptions and prevent violence and abuse of women and children.
Sadi’s advice for current students is to be aware that you are in a place that can change your life. “You are surrounded by the best people in the world in their field; enjoy it. Mix with as many people as possible who are totally different from you, get to understand them, appreciate them and respect them. Do more than tolerate, only then will you understand how magical LSHTM is. Not just anyone walks into that place, you are there for a reason and they have selected you for a reason. Make it count.”
In Sadi’s final comments, she told us that she is indebted to Professor Martin Taylor and Professor Quinten Bickle for giving her a chance to see beyond grades and giving her a lifeline, “without them I may never have made it”.
Congratulations Sadi on your award, we are proud to have you as part of our alumni community!
Images courtesy of Sadi Khan.
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