Having suffered from anxiety and depression, Faria has become an advocate to raise awareness about mental health conditions and the stigma attached to it.

A single mum of two from Sale has won a special award for inspiring others.

Faria Arsh scooped the SHEro Local category award at the She Inspires Awards celebrating the women of Bolton and the surrounding areas.

She was nominated by her friend, who was inspired by Faria’s hard work in running her business around her autistic daughter’s needs while supporting other women in business, mums and carers with additional needs and, at the same time, raising awareness about autism and other disabilities through her Facebook page Living With Autism.

aria said: “My daughter Afiyah is 14 and requires full time care and attention from me. As a single mum, this takes a toll and I had to give up my day job as a Specialist Teaching Assistant at an outstanding special school.

“During the midst of the pandemic in 2020, I was going through a divorce which led to the onset of severe depression, anxiety and frequent panic attacks. I wanted to concentrate on something positive and I decided to start my business from home ‘Azra Creations’.”

FAMILY PHOTO: Faria with her mum at the awards night

Faria makes soy candles, soy wax melts, soaps and other body care products, which are all cruelty-free, vegan, handmade, eco-friendly and biodegradable.

“I named my business after my mum because she gave me the courage and support to get out of depression, anxiety and to stand on my feet again,” she said. “I want people to start enjoying natural products whilst we look after our planet too.”

You can find Faria’s Facebook page here

“Although I run my business from home, it’s not entirely easy for me to meet my customers’ orders due to Afiyah’s needs,” she said. “Due to her severe Autism and ADHD, Afiyah hardly sleeps and often requests drives at odd times such as 2am or 3am.”

In order to run her business successfully, Faria can often be found completing orders at odd times such as 2am, 3am or even 4am after Afiyah has finally gone to sleep.

AWARD WINNER : Faria with her award

“This puts huge pressure on me, but I am determined to look after Afiyah and run my business at the same time,” she said. “I am extremely passionate not just to raise awareness about Autism and other disabilities but also to help other families. Through Afiyah I have found this amazing world of special needs and I want others to understand our children and the challenges they face on a daily basis.

“I manage to do this through my Facebook page Living_With_Autism. Whilst running this page, I come across several parents/carers in similar situations as myself and I offer them support in whatever capacity I can. I have helped parents with toilet training programmes, healthy eating habits for their children and overcoming behavioural challenges, to name a few.”

Having suffered from anxiety and depression, Faria has become an advocate to raise awareness about mental health conditions and the stigma attached to it.

CELEBRATIONS: Faria (L) with Gulnaz Brennan – Founder of She Inspires Awards

“Especially in the Asian community, there are a lot of stigmas attached to mental health conditions and I work hard to tackle that by sharing my personal experience openly with others,” she said. “I aim to support and empower other women going through difficult times, especially those who are vulnerable.”

The SHEro category at the She Inspires Awards aims to celebrate and shine a light on women who are an inspiration everyday.

The award celebrates someone whose kindness and dedication is inspiring by their positive contribution to the community, workplace, family or just her own life.