In recognition of women and their contribution to their communities, Penache, an events company, hosted the Women Of Wonder Awards ceremony on Monday 23 September in Rylands. The inaugural award ceremony sought to allow women to shine and to feel appreciated for their contributions. The company hosts a variety of events and the awards, which debuted in South Africa on 23 September, have recently also been hosted in Dubai and Mauritius. To be eligible to win, women had to be nominated by fellow community members. Criteria included progressive thinkers, dynamic leaders who lead by example and women who had a formidable impact on their communities. Those nominated, who included medical doctors, business owners and stay-at-home moms running community projects, were judged by a group of independent auditors.According to the company’s chief executive officer (CEO) and founder, Farzana Mayet, the awards sought to represent women from all walks of life.“These awards are not about discriminating against anyone but are about giving every woman recognition for who she is and what she does,” she explained. Mayet congratulated all the winners, whom she referred to as “shining stars”, and thanked them for uplifting themselves and their communities. According to Mayet, these women would be added to the company’s database and would be in line to win Women of Wonder Visionary Awards; the date of which is yet to be confirmed. Winners of the Women Of Wonder Awards will receive Penache’s support on their various projects. One of the winners was Athlone-born Ammaarah Petersen who runs a catering company called Hot Chefs based in Strand. Petersen thanked Penache and said the award was a way of saying she must continue what she is doing. “I am in awe. Now I need to push harder and keep going. I want to thank Penache and my parents for their support,” she said.She said she used her company to plough back in the community as she offered temporary jobs to more than 100 residents each year. Another elated recipient was Lho Noruwana from Parklands whose business is in Brackenfell. Noruwana is passionate about women’s personal development. She is the owner of the Focus on Women Institute, which is both a non-profit organisation (NPO) and a proprietary limited (Pty Ltd). She runs various personal development programmes for women. Noruwana wishes to nurture independent women who do things for themselves. “I believe in up-skilling women. Give them skills and knowledge to empower themselves – then they can go far,” she explained.She said she appreciated the award and added she would use it to inspire girls from her home town in the Eastern Cape. Her message to them was that they could make it in life no matter where they came from.