News just in that Uuganaa Ramsay last night won the Scottish Asian Women’s Award for Achievement Against All Odds. Her book Mongol weaves together her life as a child in Soviet Mongolia, her journey to Scotland and the short life of her son who had Down’s Syndrome.
The award is backed by the Scottish Asian Women’s Association. Deputy First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon presented Uuganaa with the award. The other categories were:
- Excellence in arts and media
- Mother of the year
- Professional of the year
- Lifetime achievement
- Outstanding contribution to the Scottish Asian community
- Excellence in sport
- Woman of the future
- Special award (for outstanding contribution to international business)
- Emerging entrepreneur
- Award for business
- The RBS Scottish Asian woman of the year 2014
The timing of the award is significant, as next week (17th-23rd March) is Down’s Syndrome Awareness Week. the 21st is World Down Syndrome Day, when everyone is encouraged to wear “Lots of Socks“, which is a reference to the fact that Down’s is caused in most cases by having three copies of a certain chromosome rather than two.
Uuganaa will be at our friends Looking Glass Books in Edinburgh at 6.30pm on the day before, Thursday 20 March.
“When Uuganaa’s newborn son Billy is diagnosed with Down’s Syndrome, she finds herself facing bigotry and taboo as well as heartbreak. In this powerful memoir, she skilfully interweaves the extraordinary story of her own childhood in Mongolia with the sadly short life of Billy, who becomes a symbol of union and disunion, cultures and complexity, stigma and superstition – and inspires Uuganaa to challenge prejudice. Mongol is the touching story of one woman’s transformation from outsider to fearless champion of love, respect and tolerance. It’s a moving tribute by a remarkable woman to her beloved baby son, testifying to his lasting impact on a sometimes imperfect world.”
And here’s a clip of Uuganaa talking about why she wrote the book: