A schoolgirl from Elderslie has won Glasgow Times Young Scotswoman of the Year 2021 title due to her amazing fundraising efforts and awareness of rare conditions .

Mariya Javed, who is 12-years-old, has helped to raise more than £16,500 for research into rare conditions and to fund bereavement support services.

Mariya’s brother died five years ago from a rare brain condition. She has worked hard since his passing raising money for Another Star in the Sky, a fund set up by her parents, Sameena and Mohammad in association with Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity.

Photo: Mariya Javed with her award
Photo Credit: Javed family

Her brother Ahmar was born with the condition Arteriovenous Malformation, which meant that blood vessels and veins in his brains were tangled. Unfortunately the condition remained undiagnosed and he suffered a bleed on the brain at karate practice in April 2017.

He passed away ten days later, aged just 13.

Mariya, who is also a young ambassador for Motherwell-based charity The Miracle Foundation, told Renfrewshire News: “I am happy to have won, but I didn’t really expect to win. The other girls are all amazing  and I had even rehearsed a few lines that I would say to the winner.

“This win is for my big brother. I hope that he is looking down and is proud of me.”

Mum Sameena said: “Obviously we are very proud of her, but it’s also very bittersweet. We wish she had won under different circumstances. She has seen and done things in her 12 years that no child should have to see and do. She’s had to grow up quite fast and has missed out on a lot of her childhood.

“She has been busy with charity events and fundraising while she should have been enjoying life with her friends. But we are so proud of the way she has maturely dealt with what life has given her. She has never complained about why this has happened to her.

“She just wants to help others, keep her brother’s memory alive and make him proud of her.”

Mariya, who attends Castlehead High School in Paisley, added: “I was honoured to be named a Kiltwalk Hero last year. This year I will once again be taking part in the Glasgow Kiltwalk for Another Star in the Sky, in memory of Ahmar.

“Please join us if you can.”

“I just want to thank everyone who voted for me and has supported me throughout. We really appreciate it so much. ”

If you would like to donate to Mariya’s Just Giving page for her Glasgow Kiltwalk event, visit: https://justgiving.com/GlasgowKiltwalk2022-SameenaJaved.

The other candidates were activist Tess Corcoran, 18 from Perthshire who has been teaching young people about the climate crisis.

Another activist, Abby, who is 21 from Longforgan, has been campaigning for a national heart screening programme which could prevent young people dying from undiagnosed heart conditions. She has been campaigning since her school days and persuaded all 59 Scottish MPs to back the call for a service.

Finally, Meghan Porterfield, 16 from East Kilbride, is a Champion athlete and has gained significant milestones in her disciplines within field athletics.