Meet Rabia

Meet Rabia  


“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.

We’ll be sharing more from the Our Stories series over the coming months, keep up to date by signing up to our e-news, or browsing Our News page.