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Oxshott CEO to become 'one of the first ever British Asian women' to swim across the English

An Oxshott entrepreneur is set to become “one of the first ever British Asian women" to swim across the English Channel in a bid to help end child trafficking.

Leah Chowdhry was only nine years old when she first travelled to India with her parents, a trip where the things she saw left her "disturbed, moved and with a changed mind-set."

She explained: "It was the first time I saw another human without any limbs shuffling around the streets begging.

"And a six-year-old girl left with a baby cradled in her arms, protecting another life when someone should have been nurturing her."

After her experience in India, where her mum was born, Ms Chowdhry decided to dedicate her life to helping vulnerable children, both in the UK and abroad.

"At nine, I gave up sweets and fizzy drinks for an entire year and raised £500," Mr Chowdhry said. "More recently, I ran the London Marathon and raised £11,000 for UNICEF."

Now a 25-year-old CEO of a Surrey-based child care business, Ms Chowdhry will take on the gruelling challenge of swimming 22 miles across the English Channel for a cause close to her heart.

She is working with The British Asian Trust to support children at risk of sexual exploitation and human trafficking in Mumbai.

Government figures revealed that nearly 20,000 women and children were victims of human trafficking in India in 2016 alone.

Through the swim, which is set to take place in the first week of July, Ms Chowdhry hopes to raise £50,000 to fund an online resource centre on prevention of sexual offences against children.

Ms Chowdhry, who has raised close to £13,000 so far, added: "I am honoured to be one of the first ever British Asian women to take on this challenge."

According to Ms Chowdhry, from the thousands of people who completed the Channel swim only around 40 were from India.

She concluded: "I will be battling with jelly fish, ship tankers and sea sickness but I am prepared to train hard to support an incredible cause that I am so passionate about."

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