Parents Nisha and Hamel Soni said there was still a long way to go to ‘accepting disability and differences’ at the 10th Asian Media Awards.
The podcast Coffee & Chromosomes, aims to dispel some of the negative perceptions and beliefs around Down syndrome and was produced by the parents to support the Wouldn’t Change a Thing charity.
The 2022 awards celebrated the achievements of journalists, broadcasters and leading creative industry professionals.
The ceremony hosted by Sky Sports News presenter Bela Shah saw special awards for LBC News host Lisa Aziz, BBC 5Live broadcaster Nihal Arthanayake and acclaimed TV and stage actor Kulvinder Ghir of Goodness Gracious Me fame.
The awards honoured journalism, online, radio, TV, creative media, stage, theatre and live events in 23 categories and was back at the Hilton Manchester Deansgate where the first awards took place in 2013.
The University of Salford are the Premier Partners for the awards which aim to shine a light on the accomplishments of media professionals from across the UK.
Nisha and Hamel were presented the award by journalists Shelina Begum and Ruby Zaman.
The parents had set the podcast up in lockdown.
Nisha said on stage: “It was then when we realised through our reactions with our family that whilst we have come so far in accepting difference we have still got a long way to go.
“Our community is deep-rooted in a culture of exceptionalism and pride and whilst that is such a positive force, it can also intentionally leave people feeling that they don’t fit in, who might struggle with difference and disability.
“I just want to leave the audience with one request and that is…if you are out and the next time you see a family and they have someone with them who has additional needs.
“Please don’t be nervous and don’t look away, don’t look down and don’t be worried.
“No matter how hard it is for you in that moment – that person is having a much harder day. If you were to smile and nod, that person will remember that moment and you act of trying to be inclusive.”
In 2013 Nisha and Hamel had their first child called Kush. When he was born, he was unexpectedly diagnosed with Down syndrome. In 2021 the pair decided to create Coffee & Chromosomes from concept to completion, the brand, the theme and the content.
Put together in their home office the podcast has inspired and supported parents on a number of different journeys. The podcast is backed by the charity Wouldn’t Change a Thing and shares stories of hope and inspiration, practical and helpful material, whilst also raising awareness amongst the wider community.
The 2022 Asian Media Awards winners of all categories and special awards were revealed at the Hilton Manchester Deansgate on Friday October 28.
Previous recipients of an Asian Media Award include Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Waris Hussein, Art Malik, Mehdi Hasan, Nina Wadia, Anita Rani, Shobna Gulati, Faisal Islam & Adil Ray.
The University of Salford are Premier Partners to the Asian Media Awards.
Partners to the awards include ITV, MediaCom, Reach PLC, Manchester Evening News & TheBusinessDesk.com.
The awards are also supported by Manchester Metropolitan University, AMT Lawyers, DKR Accountants, 6G Internet, Hilton Manchester Deansgate, Fritz AV, Payal Events & Cleartwo.