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Two more inspiring women become 'voices' for the Maiden Factor

by Libby Mudditt 4 Jul 17:26 BST
Maiden departs Auckland escorted by the legendary Steinlager 2 © Amalia Infante

A professional photographer from the UK and a professional football player from Jordan join Whoopi Goldberg and Jamie Lee Curtis as Maiden Factor 'Voices'.

Supporting The Maiden Factor project the Voices are a group of influential and inspiring women and men from around the world; coming together with the common goal of generating awareness of the importance of girls' education and championing solutions to enable access to education for girls currently denied this human right.

Karmen Royal is a 30 year old professional photographer from London. She was homeless and suffering ill-health when at a youth work level II course at the Arsenal and community hub she met Jack Ironside who changed her life. Jack found about her passion for photography (and Arsenal!) and suggested she participate in a photography course with the Wembley to Soweto Foundation, which she did. Wembley to Soweto supported Karmen to continue her journey with opportunities and further training. This helped her not only in her photography, but enabled her to regain her confidence, able to get off the streets and in turn now mentors and trains other young people.

Commenting on becoming a Maiden 'Voice', Karmen said "Everyone has their own journey and I believe with faith and hope that the right people are placed along the way to help complete the missing pieces of the puzzle to enable you to reach your potential. I was blown away when Tracy asked me to become a 'Voice' for The Maiden Factor and girls' education. I know what it is like to be given a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am now able to use my experiences to help other achieve their dreams."

Yasmeen Shabsough is a 24 year old professional football player from Jordan. She grew up as the only girl in a loving family and from a very early age loved playing football and she was determined to prove that she was as equally talented as the boys and to take her spot on the pitch. She broke down barriers and social norms in a male dominant region and joined Jordan's National Team at the age of 13 and through hard work and determination progressed to the senior team.

Yasmeen has now been playing football for thirteen years and her mission is still the same, to challenge the gender inequalities and use the power of sports in educating and developing the young and disadvantaged. Growing up she saw the lack of female leaders and role models and has now become one herself, empowering women and girls around the world and breaking four Guinness World Records promoting gender equality in sports.

"I am very proud and honoured to become a Maiden 'Voice', I believe in the power that radiates from a group of people sharing the same passion for the same aim; together with The Maiden Factor Foundation and other 'Voices' we will be able inspire and empower women and girls around the world." said Yasmeen.

Tracy Edwards MBE, founder of The Maiden Factor and Foundation said "It is such a pleasure to welcome Karmen and Yasmeen to Maiden Voices. I met Karmen when she was our photographer at BAFTA and was so impressed with her taking photos and mentoring someone else at the same time! Yasmeen has been an absolute heroine of mine ever since I read about her playing football at the highest and lowest points on earth. Both women are such an inspiration to all of us at Maiden and I know they will inspire our young people."

Education is proven to be a way of equipping girls and women with the necessary knowledge and understanding to empower them to determine the shape of their futures and the futures of their children and communities. More important than ever before as studies show that after Covid-19 the group of children most at risk of not starting or returning to school are vulnerable girls and those in poverty.

"Maiden changed my life and now she can help change the lives of girls who are not in education." Tracy Edwards MBE

For further information, please visit www.themaidenfactor.org

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