“I was born and brought up in Leeds. My parents are from Bangladesh. I come from a big family. We grew up on the same street and my siblings all live in that same street; three brothers and three sisters. Before I got married, I had a variety of jobs; from childcare to admin and working in a chemist. But after having my children I decided to dedicate my time to my children. I have six children in total. They were the most important thing in my life. Sixteens years I spent at home, bringing them up.
I first came to Shantona when my youngest started nursery. I’d been isolated from the community for a long time. I didn’t have the confidence initially, but I enjoyed meeting and socialising with the women here. It suited my out-going personality. I started volunteering and doing training courses.
By coming to Shantona I’ve been able to start my own groups. Everything from confidence-building classes, to safeguarding children and classes in domestic violence. I’m passionate about helping the women in my community. Making them feel welcome, wherever they’re from and whatever their background. I want people to mix and enjoy the activities. The way they helped me; Shantona had a massive impact on my life. I’ve been able to apply and push myself. It’s like a second home for me.”
Shantona Women & Family Centre is a diverse, multi-cultural charity offering women and young children an open, transparent service that builds upon their skills and helps bridge the gap between societies. Having received a Building a Stronger Britain Together grant from the Foundation, they delivered a 20-week programme for 3 groups of mothers and daughters from diverse communities in Harehills to protect vulnerable women who, due to isolation and inequality, are at higher risk of developing extreme views.
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