Paulsgrove man feels honoured to be nominated for National Diversity Award for his hard work promoting all faiths and beliefs
A MISSION to encourage respect towards all faiths and beliefs has led to a national award nomination for a Paulsgrove man.
Thanks to his dedication to promoting acceptance of all cultures, Jagdish Jethwa has been put forward for a National Diversity Award.
Jagdish has been nominated in the Positive Role Model (Race, Faith and Religion) category for his hard work in promoting all beliefs and faiths at his job working for OVO Energy.
The 58-year-old business analyst is a practising Hindu, but is passionate about encouraging people to embrace all beliefs and get involved in religious and spiritual celebrations of all kinds.
Jagdish, who was born in Kenya before moving to the UK when he was five, said: ‘I grew up in Birmingham. It was a multi-faith community. Everybody looked after each other and everybody shared each other’s celebrations and it was a very good community.
‘It was nice to be part of everybody together and learning from each other. When I moved to Portsmouth in 1995 it was the opposite. Diversity of faith and beliefs was basically non-existent.’
Jagdish is now network lead for OVO Belief, an organisation at his work which encourages acceptance and understanding of all faiths.
The company recently expanded its diversity networks and these include a range of topics including education on LGBTQ issues, race equality and neurodiversity.
Jagdish hopes to help implement change within his company and others across the UK to help workers swap traditional Christian bank holidays for days relevant to their own festivals.
He said: ‘I selected to champion the faith and belief network because I’m passionate about that.
‘OVO has given me a platform and the support to push this further. We want to bring out the best in everybody and that includes all faiths, all beliefs.
‘When my parents moved to the UK, their philosophy was you practise your religion at home but when you step out the door you celebrate every faith and belief. That’s what I have always lived by.
‘Faith and belief is part of the policies in every company but nobody actually puts any impetus on it. That’s what I’m trying to change. The idea is not to convert anybody, it’s to make them more aware.’
Each month the networks are producing an article about a different belief or faith, ranging from Diwali to Hanukkah to veganism to the Spring Equinox.
Jagdish said his colleagues have been very supportive of his mission, and he was over the moon when his manager put him forward for the National Diversity Awards.
He added: ‘I felt really proud that she’s supporting me. It was an honour to feel that they’re accepting and supporting what I’m doing.
‘When we have a team meeting I will always bring forward some element of faith and belief into the mix. They’re very supportive of it.
‘It’s good for people to be able to celebrate and share their beliefs, it makes them a lot happier.’
Visit nationaldiversityawards.co.uk/nominate/35190 for more information before nominations close on Friday.