Onjali is the founder and CEO of Making Herstory, an organisation mobilising men, women and children from all walks of life to tackle the abuse and trafficking of women and girls in the UK and beyond by supporting women’s shelters; lobbying for women’s rights and joining local anti-trafficking initiatives. For these works, she was shortlisted for numerous awards including the Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize and Care2Impact Award. Since 2015, she has delivered emergency aid convoys for refugee families surviving in Calais and Dunkirk in France. Her first novel, The Boy at the Back of the Class, is a child’s perspective on the refugee crisis, serving to highlight the importance of friendship, empathy, and kindness in a world that doesn’t always make sense. Since its publication, the best-selling novel has gone on to win the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2019 and the Blue Peter Book Award 2019, whilst being nominated for the Carnegie Medal and the Jhalak Prize for Fiction. Her second children’s book, The Star Outside My Window, focuses on the tragic impacts of domestic violence on the lives of children and was published in October 2019.
About her time as a Face Front Board Member, Onjali says: ‘I joined Face Front’s wonderful board group after seeing for myself the impact that their anti-Domestic Violence play Whisper Me Happily Ever After had upon the children and teachers it was being performed to. It was an honour to serve in my own small way and try to contribute to what I regard as an amazing group’s desire to establish not only a diverse and fully accessible arts platform in every way, but to tackle subject matters which few other arts initiatives dare to take on.’
In her new role as Patron, Onjali will be continuing her support of Face Front’s works and visions, albeit in a new way. ‘I am so honoured to now be a Patron of Face Front and its works, and am looking forward to championing its fantastic works in exciting – and for me, as yet unexplored ways.’