women launch new group to help Oxfam and women in South Asia
Asia Season 2013: British Council – Connect, Create, Collaborate
BritBangla Artist Amina Khayyam
presents Yerma, a kathak dance show
Yunus Awarded Congressional Gold Medal
'Oitij-jo' the celebration
of Bangla culture
and culture gains a South Bank showcase
at the O2 London MELA 2012
Gogoi's Bihu dance troupe at
Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan
years after Cyclone Aila many
Bangladeshis are still struggling
Silks Yard’ from Dhaka to Spitalfields
of SAVortex 550 hand dryer
“far superior on all counts,” says Energy expert at EMCOR
Promotes The Art of Networking
of Zee Cafe: Putting Bengali community at the heart
of its programming
from Bangladesh can make a world of difference
Asian Community Cup 2010: London
Tigers and Chelsea Football Club
Begum - New works: No.207
Wahid's New Exhibition: Woven Air
Sayeed Launches new Single: Black IS
production at London Film Festival
The Last Thakur
Zoe and Idris Rahman's new album
Where River Meets
Badar's long awaited album 'LAILA'
are the key to Bangladesh’s Opportunity of a Lifetime
Mass e Bhat: 70 minute documentary
Battle of Plassey Young People’s Project
Visit in February by Dr Wali Tasar
Flood Fundraiser Event Raises £5000
Badar 'Glory of India Award
Orphanage BritBangla Fundraiser
BRAC: brings third
world development successes to UK
Women Who Left the Village Inspirations
Beauty of Bangladesh by Ishrat-Jahan Chowdhury
Badar Tours Lebanon and Germany
Opens its doors to UK Investors
Asian women launch new group to help Oxfam and women in South Asia
The Asian Circle whose aim is to help Oxfam and women in South
Asia launched at the Houses of Parliament on the 7th November. BritBangla
is supporting this network.
More than 1 billion people in the world today, the great majority
of whom are women, live in unacceptable conditions of poverty, mostly
in the developing countries. Oxfam is working with women in South
Asia to help them with agriculture, education, cope with disasters
and pull them out of poverty. Oxfam also works to reduce all forms
of violence towards women, by helping to change attitudes.
The event ‘Promoting Violence Free Lives For Women’ was chaired
by BBC reporter Ayshea Buksh and featured Alok Sharma MP for Reading
West and Inspiring Storyteller Seema Anand.
The Asian Circle is a new creative initiative with a high profile
association of influential women working in partnership with Oxfam.
The aim is for the members to use their specialist skills, experience
and resources to make a difference to the lives of women living
Santosh Bhanot (Founder and Chair of the Asian Circle) said: "We
were delighted with the launch of the Asian Circle and it is really
important for us to be able to play a vital role in helping to eradicate
poverty and reduce all forms of violence towards women in South
Asia. Seeing such a great number of people coming together to help
bring change was so inspirational. Our focus now is to work towards
that change with the skills and talents of such amazing women who
are part of the Asian Circle."
Members of the Asian Circle are a group of passionate and highly
influential women from all walks of life which include writer, journalist
and activist Rahila Gupta and award winning author and columnist
Lady Kishwar Desai.
Mark Goldring, Oxfam’s Chief Executive said: “It is very inspiring
to see these individuals coming together to use their knowledge
and wealth of experience to help people living in poverty in South
Asia. Having such a talented and influential group of women helping
Oxfam’s work is very exciting and will pave a new ground in the
fight against poverty.”
South Asia Season 2013: British Council – Connect, Create, Collaborate
BritBangla was invited by Sir Vernon Ellis, Chair of British Council,
to attend the UK-South
Asia 2013 season reception with a performance by Suhail
Yusuf Khan and Dan
Walsh from Folk Nations Project. The season focuses on the importance
of cultural relations between the UK and South Asia.
At the reception guests included British Council team members, Regional
Directors and its key stakeholders and partners from government,
civil society, the creative industries, media and the private sector.
One of the guests most proud to meet was the famous fashion designer
Russell who believes fashion can be used for social good and
who's reputable brand has provided work for thousands of weavers
The British Council aims to highlight and promote the connections
between the UK and South Asia. BritBangla met with members of their
senior leadership team, Shreela
Ghosh, Director South Asia Arts, Rob Lynes, Director of the
British Council India and Rosemary Arnott, Bangladesh Country Director
who works with a vibrant team in Dhaka, Sylhet and Chittagong. BritBangla
looked to explore opportunities for collaboration and partnership
working on education and arts to build cultural relations.
BritBangla hope to work on future projects and supporting the V&A
Museum on South Asian arts and British Library Bengali literature
Those who are unfamiliar with its work, BritishCouncil
are a UK charity for education, culture and development services.
The British Council’s UK – South
Asia Season 2013 promotes opportunities to connect, create and
collaborate in the fields of education and culture between the UK
and countries across the region, namely India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan,
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Iran. With the rapid progress
and growing challenges, there is an increasing need for British
Council to come together to foster an exchange of knowledge and
ideas and develop opportunities for future collaboration.
South Asia’s has a 1.6 billion population of which 20% are aged
15-24, there is a next generation emerging. UK has over 2 million
people of South Asian heritage and powerful diaspora connections
to their region. South Asia has rapidly-growing economies, rising
middle class, as well as conflict, extremes of poverty and low literacy
Bangladesh: Did you know…?
· 50% of Bangladesh population are under 30 and university
enrolment has tripled over 5 years to 2.2 million
· rise in the sea level in coastal Bangladesh over the next
40 years could create up to 20 million climate change migrants.
Read more in the South
Asian Season Brochure
Artist Amina Khayyam presents Yerma, a kathak dance show
Amina Khayyam Dance Company presents, Lorca’s classic tragedy transposed
from rural Spain to inner city Britain. The company uses the Indian
classical dance form of Kathak to tell the anguishing story of Yerma
who suffers heart breaking social torment of a childless marriage
that forces her to commit a horrific and an irrevocable act.
The show is choreographed and performed by Amina Khayyam along
with three principal dancers, who are all her students; Iris Chan;
Lucy Teed and Seetal Gahir, and features original music by Tarun
Jasani that will be performed live by musicians: Debasish Mukherjee
(tabla), Lucy Rahman (vocals)
James Barralet (cello) Ryan Madhok (cello)
“I grew up with stories around me from my own community where if
a woman was unable to bear a child, she would automatically be at
fault, she would be discarded away! The family would then force
the husband to re marry so he may get a second chance to have a
child. Although this is not the case with Yerma, everything else
in the story resonates.” Amina Khayyam
YERMA(‘barren’ in Spanish) was written in 1934 by Federico Garcia
Lorca, and performed that same year as a play, which the writer
described as a ‘tragic poem’. The play often performed as a dance-theatre
tells the story of a childless married woman living in rural Spain.
Because of the time she is living in, she is expected to bear children.
When she cannot, she is forced to measures of rebellion that those
in her society would view as extreme, but which ultimately sets
her free from the cultural expectations.
Amina Khayyam Dance Company re-imagines the story from the religiously
influenced patriarchal society of Spain to inner-city culturally
diverse Britain where in many cases women are found facing similarly
challenging and difficult cultural norms that subject them to peer
humiliation in their communities.
“I approach the re-telling of Yerma with the passion of Kathak
using Abhinaya - the gestural facial expressions - as the central
movement within it, but I subvert it so that my Yerma wears a face
of death – there is no prettiness, no jewels, glitz, or glamour.
Rural Spain of Yerma transposes to inner city Britain: some values
remain the same.” Amina Khayyam
choreography and principal performer: Amina Khayyam
original music: Tarun Jasani
dancers: Iris Chan, Lucy Teed, Seetal Gahir
musicians: Debasish Mukherjee (tabla), Lucy Rahman (vocals)
James Barralet (cello) Ryan Madhok (cello)
costume and design: Keith Khan
lighting and production : Stuart Walton
produced as a co-production with zeroculture, and in association
with Collage Arts, The Artta, supported by Arts Council of England
from Lottery Funds
video clip: http://vimeo.com/21406925
Muhammad Yunus Awarded Congressional Gold Medal
The Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus was presented with
a Congressional Gold Medal in the Capitol Rotunda on 17 April 2013
at the U.S. Capitol ceremony.
Ceremony weblink: www.muhammadyunus.org/
It was to recognize his contributions to the fight against global
poverty and his effort to promote economic and social change. He
is credited with developing the concepts of microcredit and microfinance,through
which very small loans were extended to entrepreneurs too poor to
qualify for traditional bank loans. He received the Nobel Peace
Price in 2006.
The Gold Medal represents Congress’s highest expression of national
appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions.
US Congress awarded the medal to Professor Yunus in 2010 in recognition
of his efforts to combat global poverty. Professor Yunus has won
international acclaim for developing the concept of microcredit
and using that model of lending to promote economic and social opportunity.
Professor Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank, is one of only seven
people in history to have won the Nobel Peace Prize, the Presidential
Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. The previous
individuals who have done so are Martin Luther King Jr., Mother
Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, Elie Wiesel and Norman
Professor Yunus is a revolutionary, the founder of microcredit,
the founder of social business, the founder of Grameen Bank. An
advocate for empowering the poor people. His ideas couple capitalism
with social responsibility and have changed the face of rural economic
and social development.
As with his Nobel prize he has dedicated the present award to the
people of Bangladesh.
the celebration of Bangla culture
London's South Bank offers the exciting opportunity to explore
and discover amazing Bangladeshi creativity and culture, from the
UK and beyond!
BritBangla is pleased to support 'Oitij-jo' the celebration of Bangla
culture, a special three-day event at the South Bank, London.
Oitijjo means ‘heritage and future', it's an opportunity for you
to explore the rich and diverse influences on Bangladeshi culture
and art from the Indo-Aryan, Mughul, Turkish, Arab, Persian, Afghan
and the British.
BritBangla, with the support of celebrities, Bangla communities
and professional/entrepreneurs, is promoting the best of UK Bangla
creatives drawing to the mainstream's attention and encourages the
creation of innovative businesses including ethical and fair trade.
Oitijjo will feature the following:
- Beautiful Benarasi and Jamdani silks + saris exhibition
- Rezia Wahid weaving workshop
- Ethical Fashion Show
Film screenings + live performances + talks + discussions + fashion
- Photography by Shahidul Alam and Enamul Hoque
- Pop-up bazaars - designer clothes, fashion accessories, crafts,
books + jewellery
- A series of 'Adda' - a form of debate hugely popular in the
Bay of Bengal area
- Oitijjo +BritBangla Special event:showcasing BritBangla creatives:
Giaroye, Sanchita Islam, DJ Kabir, Shahin Badar, Rukia Begum
Celebrities participating include Liza Aziz, dance star
Akram Khan, the MOBO award-winning jazz pianist Zoe Rahman,
internationally-respected photographer Shahidul Alam, highly-rated
world music band Lokkhi Terra, Shahin Badar, award winning
singer, Tahmina Anam, award winning novelist , and the acclaimed
textiles artist Rezia Wahid MBE.
Oitijjo representative, Maher Anjum says: "Bangladesh is often
seen only as a poor country, beset regularly by natural disasters
and this view is very incomplete. In fact, Bangladesh is enormously
rich - with a long history of producing beautiful artworks, crafts,
literature and fabrics, and with many artists and designers, both
in Bangladesh and in Britain, taking inspiration from Bangla culture
and materials. Oitij-jo will help to encourage UK individuals and
businesses to discover the creative wealth of Bangladesh, leading
cultural exchanges to new trading of benefit to both countries."
Runi Khan, of Culturepot Global adds: " What is truly exciting
now is how a new generation is exploring and experimenting with
their heritage and developing it in innovative ways which appeal
strongly to a very broad range of audiences - not just those with
connections to Bangladesh. So we see Akram Khan wowing a global
audience at the Olympics Opening Ceremony with dancing evolved from
the Kathak traditions and bands like Lokkhi Terra getting rave reviews
for their Bangla folk and Baul-influenced World Jazz. The same is
happening across many other art-forms, including art, fashion, film
and literature - as visitors to Oitij-jo will discover to their
11am till 7pm, Friday 22 - Sunday 24 February 2013
Bargehouse | Oxo Tower Wharf | London SE1 9PH
Free access to exhibitions and stalls
Tickets to Oiti-jo + BritBangla Special event + Networking:
Info + Tickets to special events with free day pass access:
Ethical Fashion: Pure Barasari Silk Fashion - upcoming designer
Copyright: Photo - Enamul Hoque
Creativity and Culture Gains a South Bank Showcase
11am till 7pm, Friday 22 - Sunday 24 February 2013
Shahidul Alam, Enamul Hoque, Akram Khan, Shahin Badar, Zoe Rahman
& Rezia Wahid join other artists, designers, makers, musicians,
speakers and writers for the UK's biggest ever celebration of creativity
and culture from Bangladesh and by UK Bangladeshis.
Bargehouse | Oxo Tower Wharf | London SE1 9PH
London's South Bank will play host to the UK's biggest and most
vibrant showcase of Bangladeshi creativity next month when a three-day
celebration of art, craft, design, fabrics, fashion, literature
and music takes place at the Bargehouse from Friday 22 to Sunday
Dance star Akram Khan, the MOBO award-winning jazz pianist Zoe
Rahman, internationally-respected photographer Shahidul Alam, highly-rated
world music band Lokkhi Terra, Shahin Badar, an award winning singer/songwriter,
and the acclaimed textiles artist Rezia Wahid MBE will be among
the celebrities appearing alongside a new generation of designers
and makers, cultural commentators and craft historians at Oitij-jo
- www.oitijjo.org - a title created from the Bengali words for heritage
The festival is being organised by a broad alliance of UK-Bangladesh
trade bodies, business people, community groups and cultural organisation
led by the Bangladesh Brand Forum UK (BBF-UK), Culturepot Global
BBF-UK spokeswoman Maher Anjum explains: "Bangladesh is often
seen only as a poor country, beset regularly by natural disasters.
But this view is very incomplete. When it comes to creativity and
culture, Bangladesh is enormously rich - with a long history of
producing beautiful artworks, crafts, literature and fabrics, and
with many artists and designers, both in Bangladesh and in Britain,
taking inspiration from Bangla culture and materials. Our hope with
Oitij-jo is that it will encourage more UK individuals and businesses
to discover the creative wealth of Bangladesh, leading to new trading
and cultural exchanges of benefit to both countries."
Oitij-jo will occupy all five floors of the Oxo Tower complex's
Bargehouse - offering exhibitions of silks and saris from Benarasi
and Jamdani; photography by Shahidul Alam and Enamul Hoque; live
performances, fashion shows, a Rezia Wahid weaving workshop, parties,
film screenings and activities celebrating the history of muslin,
the fabric first introduced to Europe in the 17th century.
There will also be a pop-up bazaar selling designer clothes, fashion
accessories, crafts, books and jewellery and a lively programme
of talks and discussions including a series of 'Adda' - a form of
debate hugely popular in the Bay of Bengal area.
Another of Oitij-jo's organisers is Londoner Ruhul Abdin, one of
the founders of Paraa, an architectural and design social enterprise,
working to improve the built environment of disadvantaged people
in Bangladesh, including a minority community of silk weavers .
He says: "One way to improve living standards in Bangladesh
is to create new income-generating opportunities for those families
which grow or make materials which can be put to creative use. Oitij-jo
is a chance, then, for many more people to discover the resources
Bangladesh has to offer, so opening up new, fair and culturally
and economically enriching, possibilities for all."
Runi Khan, of Culturepot Global adds: "In the past, the creative
traditions and artistic talents of Bangladesh have been largely
overlooked. What is truly exciting now is how a new generation is
exploring and experimenting with this heritage and developing it
in innovative ways which appeal strongly to a very broad range of
audiences - not just those with connections to Bangladesh. So, for
instance, we see Akram Khan wowing a global audience at the Olympics
Opening Ceremony with dancing evolved from the Kathak traditions
and bands like Lokkhi Terra getting rave reviews for their Bangla
folk and Baul-influenced World Jazz. The same is happening across
many other art-forms, including art, fashion, film and literature
- as visitors to Oitij-jo will discover to their delight."
For the general public, Oitij-jo will be open daily from 11am to
7pm, with free admission on all three days to the ground floor and
first floor exhibitions, fabric displays, merchandise area and film
£7.50p day pass (£5, concessions) grants access to the
wider programme, including the pop-up designer clothes and accessories
shop, more exhibitions, a weaving demonstration by Rezia Wahid,
talks, music recitals and the Adda series of debates, curated by
Leesa Gazi .
In addition, several separately ticketed evening and special events
are planned, including a launch party with performances by State
of Bengal and Shapla Salique; a cultural debate involving Akram
Khan; the Rezia Wahid weaving workshop; a discussion about the work
and legacy of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore featuring a performance
by Zoe Rahman, and Sunday's night's festival finale with Lokkhi
For more details and bookings, please see www.oitijjo.org. Further
information and updates are also available from the festival's Facebook
page - Oitijjo London - and via @oitijjo on Twitter.
Oitij-jo's chief organisers are the Bangladesh Brand Forum-UK,
Culturepot Global and Paraa. Additional sponsors/ supporters are
the Bangladesh High Commission, London; British Bangladesh Fashion
Institute, Gandhi Foundation, OpenVizor, the SME Foundation (Bangladesh),
Atique Choudhury of Yumyum Thai restaurant, Enamul Hoque of Underbelly
Films and Rushanara Ali MP
More information + Tickets W: www.oitijjo.org
at the O2 London MELA 2012
Oxfam is proud to have been an official partner of the O2 London
Mela on 19 August 2012. It was a magnificent day and 82,000 people
are estimated to have attended the event! Amidst the music, dance
and family picnics, Oxfam had a chance to showcase its long history
of working in South Asia.
"We have had an amazing time at the Mela and the spirit has
been that of fun and celebration. It's not just an Asian festival,
it's a cross cultural festival and it's been an amazingly vibrant
day! Oxfam has also had a great opportunity to raise awareness of
it's long history of work in South asia. To be chosen as a partner
in the O2 Mela's 10th year was a great acknowledgment of our dedication
to working in the region.",said Jane Cotton, Oxfam's head of
A special Oxfam film for the MELA was made see via the link below:
The timing of Oxfam’s involvement in the Mela was of great significance.
Oxfam is marking its 61st year in India this year, it marked its
40th year of working in Bangladesh last year and will be marking
its 40th year in Pakistan next year. Our recent work in the region
has included flood prevention in Bangladesh, supporting projects
in India and working alongside Amir Khan to raise funds for schools
Oxfam will also be taking part in next years Mela and are already
looking forward to it's involvement, it will be highlighting the
40th year of working in Pakistan.
Other performance highlights included:
- The Philharmonia Orchestra in collaboration with award-winning
vocalist Jaz Dhami, Bhavan Centre and Bollywood Brass Band gave
a spectacular performance, which included the London premiere of
- Stranger Family, a collective of the five foremost artistes in
the British Asian music industry today, sent the crowds wild.
- Ustad Ali Hafeez Khan headlined the Eid Stage, celebrating the
end of Ramadan and the holy month of fasting.
- The BBC Asian Network Mix Tent, hosted by Nihal, where resident
DJs kept the crowd dancing throughout the day – with a special guest
spot for Radio 1’s Tim “Big Dawg” Westwood.
- The Vibrant Mela Carnival, which featured dancers and drummers
from around London and the world
Gogoi's Bihu dance troupe to perform at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan on
Saturday, 18 August, 2012
Don't miss the colourful Bihu dance performance from ASSAM at Bharatiya
Vidya Bhavan performed by Ranjit Gogoi's 13 member dance group with
(dhol, pepa, gagana, buffalo horn). This event has been organised
by FASS (Friends of Assam and Seven Sisters) in collaboration with
Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan on Saturday, 18 August, 2012 at 6:00pm -
Bihu is the National festival of Assam. Irrespective of caste, creed
and religion the people of Assam celebrate Bihu with much pomp and
gaiety. It is the most popular folk dance of Assam.The mood of spring
is celebrated with bihu dance - one of the unique art forms of India
with the accompaniment of lust and beats of drum along with indigenous
instruments like buffalo-horn pipe young boys and girls clad in
golden Muga silk sing and dance to the tune of seductive bihu songs
oven around the themes of love and passion. It is an experience
out of this world. Assam's culture has a rich heritage of fairs
and festivals which are celebrated by her people in great merriment
including the tribes, other communities and people in general.
Choreographer - Ranjit Gogoi:
Ranjit Gogoi is a household name in Assam as a well-known Bihu dance
choreographer. He is the chief workshop director in Srimanta Sankaradeva
Kalashetra, Guwahati. The popular artist of North-East India - Ranjit
Gogoi and his troupe been have performed at various countries in
the world including Russia, South Africa, Seychelles, Re-union-Island,
Mauritius, Bhutan, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Indonesia
Bihu dance performance: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqdV2_oOMYE
Assam situated at the foothills of the Himalayas is a tiny state
(78,438 square kilometres) in the Northeast corner of India and
is linked to the rest of India by a narrow corridor between Bhutan
and Bangladesh. Assam is renowned for its flora and fauna and for
its natural resources and minerals. Assam is the richest state in
India. It provides 55% of the total tea produced in the country,
60% of crude oil and 100% plywood for India. Over and above this
a considerable amount of coal, jute, timber and 95% of the world's
syllemnite are produced in Assam.
Assam was an independent kingdom until 1826 when it came under
British rule and became part of India . In fact, the British entered
Assam in 1824, and introduced tea cultivation and now Assam is the
largest tea producing country in the world. The Kaziranga National
Park of Assam is famous for the world's wonderful and endangered
creature, the one horn Rhinoceros (Rhino).
Weaving is the traditional craft of the Assamese, the women of
almost every houshold take pride in their possession of a handloom.
They use their handlooms to produce silk and cotton clothes of exquisite
Mahatma Gandhi complimented the Assamese weavers as artists who
could weave dreams in their loom.
years after Cyclone Aila many Bangladeshis are still struggling
with food and water shortages
A massive cyclone which hit Bangladesh in May 2009 is still having
a devastating effect on the lives of many people in the country
three years after the event, international humanitarian agency Oxfam
To coincide with the three year mark, Oxfam is appealing for the
Government of Bangladesh and the international community to provide
additional funding to support an estimated 50,000 people still affected
in the Southwest of the country.
Many of those still affected haven’t enough food, safe drinking
water and a means to make a living. They also lack adequate shelter
and face a fresh risk of their homes being washed away by this month’s
monsoon rains, which are anticipated to threaten millions including
an estimated 200,000 people who were affected by cyclone Aila, mostly
in the Shatkhira and Khulna district.
“Every night we go to sleep in fear as our house is just on the
edge of the dam and that may disappear with a surge of water anytime,
especially in the monsoon,” said Saleha, 40, who lives with her
family on an embankment in Gabura, Shatkhira district.
Cyclone Aila, which swept across areas of southern Bangladesh and
eastern India on 25 May 2009, caused widespread damage and affected
around three million people. In southern Bangladesh, the cyclone
caused a tidal surge which broke through poorly maintained coastal
embankments. In south western districts, especially in Shatkhira
and Kulna, people living in the coastal villages were forced to
flee to raised embankments as houses and crops became submerged
The Government of Bangladesh requested around £700 million
from the international community at the time of the disaster to
enable full recovery, but received only around one per cent of the
required resources from outside sources.
Oxfam’s initial response to the cyclone reached up to 100,000 people
with clean water, sanitation and environment cleaning through a
cash for work programme. In 2011, the agency provided food support
for more than 200,000 people and this year is continuing to provide
25,000 people with safe drinking water, sanitation and food support.
"This was an awful disaster that persisted for more than a
year - people were unable to even begin the recovery process,” said
Gareth Price-Jones, Oxfam’s Country Director for Bangladesh. “As
with many disasters in Bangladesh that are ignored by the world,
the survivors are left more vulnerable to future disasters that
we know are on the way. Without greater support the situation can
only worsen, at a huge cost in human suffering."
Photographs can be found at this link:-
Silks Yard’ from Dhaka to Spitalfields
A dazzling showcase of the brilliant Benarasi and Mirpur Silk fabrics
took place in the heart of Spitalfields on Thursday, 24 November
2011. A perfect setting with its deep connection with the silk-weaving
community that migrated from India and Bangladesh, and with other
artisans of silk, the French Huguenots.
The catwalk event focused on the vibrant hand woven silk produced
by the Urdu speaking minority community in Bangladesh. International
fashion designers from the UK, India, Germany and Bangladesh created
a platform to highlight the striking versatility of the fabric and
the future of the people who produce them.
Bangladesh is famous for its beautiful Benarasi silk - which was
the centrepiece of the show - produced by the Urdu-speaking minority
community in Bangladesh. This charity event was Paara’s first project
that will help create a library for this community, who until recently
held refugee status and continue to live in sub-standard conditions.
The aim was to highlight the fabric to a new audience ensuring long
term sustainability. The vision is to create a centre of learning
which will become a repository of cultural heritage.
The international designers used the stunning silk of the Benaroshi
Polli Market of the Mirpur district in Dhaka as their inspiration
– brought artistry and integrity to their collections, challenging
The fashion designers that showcased were Tootli Rahman (Bangladesh),
Caroline Drewes (Germany), A.B. Walliuddin Ahmed Chowdhury (Bangladesh),
Kuhu Plamondon (Bangladesh), Karishma Shahini (India), Rahemur Rahman
(UK), Maryam Bilal (Pakistan), Rukia Begum (UK) and Fatima Guenzaouz
(Morocco). Each designer was tasked with reinterpreting the exquisite
silk material, producing a distinctive collection that was presented
at the show.
Paraa worked with Dr Lynne Hammond of London College of Fashion
and internationally renowned catwalk producer Deborah Britz and
a professional design team to prepare a visual feast. The show was
hosted by a special guest, with music, entertainment, light refreshments
and intimate after party, providing all the ingredients for an extraordinary
The event was attended by Bangladesh High Commissioner Dr M. Sayeedur
Rahman Khan. Ruhul Abdin and Abdul Hannan the founders of Paraa
thanked all the guests and its team for delivering its first project.
Ruhul Abdin said "Paraa is about collaborations between people
and working together towards a socially just world. The team is
slowly being put together and over the next year we will look to
strengthen the team and look forward to some very exciting projects
Samiul Kamal-Uddin, BritBangla Executive, said "BritBangla
congratulates Paraa on this excellent project and is pleased to
support its first project to help the communities in Bangladesh."
BritBangla members supported this event: Music by State
of Bengal and photography by Enamul
Full information about Paara: www.paraa.org.uk
of SAVortex 550 hand dryer “far superior on all counts,” says Energy
expert at EMCOR
London November 29th 2010. “Innovation for Success” recently took
place to celebrate Sustainability, British Innovation, British Design
and British Manufacturing and where Syed Ahmed, CEO of SAVortex
Ltd, launched their latest eco-smart hand dryer; the first 10 second
dryer using 550 watts that recovers energy and cuts cost whilst
Syed Ahmed said : “We find ourselves in tough economic times and
in a race against climate change, business leaders must take a lead
and look at ways of implementing sustainable practices that reduce
energy use through the businesses which ultimately cut costs, this
is absolutely is critical to success”.
Innovation for Success was hosted by ITV's Daybreak Newsreader
Tasmin Lucian Khan with expert speakers throughout the evening on
energy saving and sustainability including David Penfold, Sustainability
and Innovation Manager Sainsbury’s and Hassan Atiq, Energy expert
at EMCOR for British Airways. Tasmin opened the forum by asking
“Is a low carbon economy compatible with economic growth? Later
she discussed how low carbon businesses would be driving the economy
of the future.
The smart regenerative Vortex 550 dryer excited the audience. The
unique patented vortex technology and regenerative heating technique
replaces the conventional heating elements found in the majority
of today’s hand dryers. The Vortex smart digital technology recovers
energy and saves money whilst being used and has been life tested
to one million hand dries and comes with an industry leading 5 year
warranty ensuring a sound energy saving investment.
Vortex pioneering patented technology breaks up water droplets on
the skin accelerating drying times and no other dryer comes close
to an average 10 second dry for only 550 watts making it the most
energy efficient in its class
Hassan Atiq from EMCOR who have provided facilities management services
to British Airways since 1992 tested and evaluated the dryer went
on to add "The Vortex performed well above others and was far
more superior on all counts. In my opinion it wins hands down”.
He went on to talk about the importance of energy efficiency and
urged everyone to look at where they can lead by example, “Be lean,
be green and be clean.”
David Penfold, explained that Sainsbury’s lead the way in energy
efficiency and are currently running one of the largest energy reset
programmes in the UK on their existing stores. David went on to
say "Energy efficiency was without doubt the way to go, the
hieracy of reducing energy use first before trying to generate it
is not only true but common sense”. He stressed that “behavioural
training is key to success."
Steve van Dulken Information Expert at the British Library went
on to congratulate Syed and his SAVortex team on their diligence
and success so far. The British Library was instrumental in providing
SAVortex with research and guidance in the early days with their
Patents. He added “with less than 3% of filed patents getting through,
SAVortex have done very well in such a short period of time with
three filings to date".
SAVortex delivers low cost, fast, quieter drying in a longer life
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Promotes The Art of Networking
BritBangla’s upcoming networking event to be held in Birmingham
on 31st July, will provide an important platform for young professionals
to increase their networks and opportunities to further advance
themselves in the job market.
Organised by BritBangla in partnership with Russell Jones &
Walker solicitors, the event will provide an arena for developing
networking skills and gain valuable professional contacts.
BritBangla, a national association that brings together South-Asian
professionals, is encouraging those new or returning to the job
market to master the art of networking especially if they are to
survive the current economic climate.
BritBangla’s aim is to support the young professionals to further
their career and recognises that it is vital for young graduates
to sharpen their networking skills to put themselves at a better
advantage as their academic knowledge itself is sometimes not enough
to secure that dream job. There is a need for professionals to pick
up networking skills during difficult or early stages of their career
to help them in their future advancement.
“Young Asian professionals who have just started their career may
not see the benefit in networking but it is an important skill which
can open doors in the future” said Diana Khanom, BritBangla Midlands
“You need confidence to network, more so if you are a minority.
Many young professionals are unaware that despite Birmingham city’s
rapidly growing ethnic population, only 20% of those working in
the professional, financial and business services sector in Birmingham
and Solihull are from black and ethnic minority groups.”
To encourage members to build their networking skills, BritBangla
hold regular events where members can network informally to build
self-confidence and links with more experienced professionals. The
organisation is run by dynamic individuals who volunteer their time
to actively promote the talents of British Bengalis, one of the
youngest and fastest-growing south-asian communities.
“There is an ever increasing number of South-Asian professionals
and entrepreneurs in the UK so it is vital to support each other
in these difficult pressing times” said Diana Khanom.
BritBangla Midlands is holding a Quiz Night on Saturday 31st
July at Spice Buffet restaurant in Yardley. Details at www.britbangla.net
or for information email email@example.com.
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NETWORK PUT THE UK'S BENGALI COMMUNITY AT THE HEART OF ITS PROGRAMMING
WITH THE LAUNCH OF ZEE CAFE
Zee Network, the leading South Asian TV Network in the world, is
to launch a fifth channel in the UK with over 24 hours a week dedicated
to Bangla shows.
Zee Cafe will start broadcasting today on Sky. For the first four
days after launch, 15th -18th July, the channel will be free to
air to showcase its content.
Zee Café will feature the most popular shows from Zee Bangla,
which is the No 1 Bangla channel in Bangladesh. In the UK, Zee Café
will give the Bangladeshi and Bengali speaking audience access to
the best in genre shows like Agni Pariksha, Devdas, Kohna and Dance
Zee Café will also offer exclusive international cricket
tournaments, news, current affairs and business shows.
All Bengali fiction shows will be sub-titled in English to extend
the appeal to all viewers. With such variety, Zee Café guarantees
a stimulating mix of programmes which will appeal to the entire
South Asian diaspora - a mix that cannot be found elsewhere.
In the current economic climate, where consumers want value for
money, Zee Café will be added to the Zee Pack*, which includes
Zee TV - the leading South Asian entertainment channel as well as
Zee Cinema - the 24 hour Bollywood movie channel, at no additional
cost to new or existing subscribers giving even more quality content
at the same great price.
Zee Café will start broadcasting on Thursday 15th July 2010
For the first four days after launch, 15th -18th July, the channel
will be free to air to showcase its content.
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from Bangladesh can make a world of difference
Rob Jenkinson of Sreepur Cards has been working with the Sreepur
Village project in Bangladesh for more than 20 years. He has been
helping them develop an income generating business to support the
Villlage that is home to over 500 abandoned children and more than
100 destitute women.
Sreepur Cards, www.sreepurcards.org,
was set up to sell high quality handmade cards from the project.
Rob has pursuaded British Airways to ship the cards at no cost and
they run the web sales with a team of volunteers. This way they
are able to return all proceeds to Sreepur Village.
The team are very keen to promote www.sreepurcards.org
in the British Bangla community
Earlier this month in June 2010, there was a terrible fire in Dhaka
that killed 150 people. The children at Sreepur decided to do some
fundraising for the victims and their families. They agreed to give
up a tiffin [ morning snack] + one meat meal for a week and donate
the money saved.
The Prime Minister of Bangladesh heard about their generous efforts
to help and invited them to meet her and present the money. When
they met her they gave her a Sreepur Card and she loved it.
The paper for the cards is made at Sreepur Village and women from
the local community have been trained to decorate the cards with
locally sourced natural products. They have gained fair-trade recognition
of their work which provides a vital income for those in an area
of extreme poverty.
The cards are shipped to the UK at no cost by British Airways World
Cargo and sales are handled online by a team of volunteers so all
proceeds can be returned to the UK charity that runs Sreepur Village.
A range of beautiful handmade greeting cards are now available
online at www.sreepurcards.org.
All proceeds from the sale of these cards are returned to Sreepur
Village, a home for abandoned children in rural Bangladesh. The
Village gives hope and opportunity to over 100 destitute women and
more than 500 children.A range of beautiful handmade greeting cards
are now available online at www.sreepurcards.org.
All proceeds from the sale of these cards are returned to Sreepur
Village, a home for abandoned children in rural Bangladesh. The
Village gives hope and opportunity to over 100 destitute women and
more than 500 children.
Your birthday greetings can make a real difference to those in need.
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Tigers and Chelsea Football Club UK Asian Community Cup 2010
The final of the 8th Annual UK Asian Community Cup was held on
10th May 2010 at Stamford Bridge, home of Premiership Champions
Chelsea FC. The two finalists were 2 time winners London Tigers
and last year’s runners up Punjab United Sports from Wolverhampton.
This is a very prestigious football tournament for the Asian community
in UK, the participating teams are amongst the best of the best
Asian football Clubs up and down the country including from Glasgow,
Birmingham and Wolverhampton.
London Tigers started well, winning a free kick 30 yards from the
goal early in the game (25th minute). Adil Salih took the free kick
and delivered a fine ball which floated inside the penalty area
to find Edson Cata at the back post who volleyed the ball into the
roof of the net (1-0). Punjab United almost scored an equalizer
immediately, however, the ball was cleared of the line by Tazmul
Ahmed after great work by the keeper Kieron Jimmy. The rest of the
half was pretty much end to end play with no other clear chances.
Half time (1-0) to London Tigers.
In the second half Punjab United were fortunate to be awarded a
free kick from 28 yards. Manraj Dhillon scored a superb free kick
which went over the wall and into the net to score an equalizer
(1-1). Nearing the end it looked as if the game would go into penalty
shoot out, with neither teams having clear advantage over their
opponent. However in the last 5 minutes Terence Cariba went inside
the penalty box with one defender opposing him. However he overcame
the obstacle to drill the ball in the right hand side of the goal
in the 88th minute 2-1). Punjab United fought hard to put some pressure
on London Tigers in the final few minutes but to no avail. The game
ended with London Tigers becoming champions for the 3rd time with
a 2-1 victory.
“It is a great feeling to be 3rd times champions again and total
of four times in final in 8 years.” says Mesba Ahmed, CEO of London
Tigers. “The celebrations were overwhelming as we picked the winning
trophy on the same stadium as Chelsea FC lifted the Premiership
silverware the day before”.
The UK Asian Community Cup is an annual football festival organised
in partnership with Chelsea FC and held every year since 2003. This
festival creates a pathway for Asian players towards mainstream
football and provides a platform for amateur Asian teams to display
local talented players.
London Tigers is an innovative community led sports and youth organisation
working across London Boroughs of Westminster, Brent, Camden, Ealing,
Newham, Redbridge and Tower Hamlets. London Tigers provides sporting
and lifetime learning educational opportunities for Black Asian
Minority Ethnic (BAME) and wider multi cultural community of London
to actively become the new young leaders of modern Britain and dynamic
British citizens. As a Bangladeshi led organisation working with
multicultural Londoners, their work has been recognised nationally
and internationally with support from institutions.
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THE JAPANESE WIFE by Aparna
Sen's artful rendition of Kunal Basu's novel, The Japanese Wife.
People who’ve seen and really loved the film include Shabana
Azmi, Raju Hirani, Ayan Mukherji, Zoya Akhtar and Nandita Das.
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Begum - New works: No.207
Rana Begum will be showcasing her work from 5 February - 02 March
2010 at 29 Catherine Place, Westminster, London SW1E.
Initiated during her residency in Beirut, No.207 (2010) vigorously
pursues the artistic potency of line and colour; whilst exploring
the possibility of reducing complex elements to their vital parts.
Extracting banal hardware from its utilitarian context, Begum limited
her materials to commercially available drinking straws, in five
standard colours (fluorescent green, yellow, pink, orange and black).
Composed entirely of glowing lines, the resulting modular superstructure
demonstrates the generative potential of Begum’s systematic application
of the limited vocabulary of commercially available fluorescent
No.207 is rooted in Rana’s observation of the urban milieu, the
aesthetic possibilities of the city and the implications of architectural
modernism. Renewing her commitment to serial and rational forms
and their subsequent emphasis of phenomenological strategies, Rana’s
work sets out to transform the overpowering associations of urban
debasement into poetic entities: No.207’s fluorescent colours evoke
Beirut’s buzzing night scene, and the convoluted modular shapes
recall the chaotic maze of a metropolis.
Dealing with architectural propositions as much as with the formal
possibilities of Minimalism, No.207 is an attempt to condense the
urban experience to its most significant elements, to abstract analogous
visual stimuli and subsequently articulate them into concrete forms
and lights. Feeding on the architecture of a space, cutting lines
across and reorganising it according to abstract cartographies,
No.207 draws powerful associations between culture, architecture
and design, and reinvents our relationship to artificial spaces.
Rana Begum (b. 1977) graduated from the Slade with a MFA in Painting.
She has exhibited her work internationally including Jerwood Space
(London), The City Gallery (Leicester), BU Gallery (Bangkok) &
The Third Line (Dubai), and has a forthcoming solo show at Bischoff/Weiss
(London). Rana has recently completed a Delfina Foundation residency
in Beirut, Lebanon.
Artist Talk: Rana Begum in conversation with Charles Danby 17 February
2010, 19:00 - 20:00
Charles Danby is a writer and curator based in London. He is a co-founder
of PROJECKT, a curatorial research partnership that considers new
media technologies through broadcast and live event. He is a guest
curator at the Siobhan Davies Studios, London, and is the 2010 curator
at Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium in Norway. Charles has written for
international arts publications including Flash Art, Frieze, Art
Issue and Art Review.
Limited seats available, early rsvp essential: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Winning British Bangladeshi Textile Maker Rezia Wahid MBE Offers
a Unique Insight into Islamic Spirituality in New Exhibition Woven
Award winning British Bangladeshi Textile Maker Rezia Wahid MBE
showcases her exhibition of silk hangings WOVEN AIR from 19th September-31st
October at The City Gallery, Leicester in collaboration with the
national crafts project The Shape of Things (TSOT) and the Crafts
Study Centre. TSOT focuses on issues of cultural identity in contemporary
crafts practice and aims to encourage a more diverse market and
audience that is representative of the society we live in today.
The phrase 'Woven Air' is derived from the word 'Baf-Thana' in Bengali
and Wahid uses it to describe her work, with an emphasis on air,
reflective calm, peace and tranquillity. Drawing on a wide range
of influences from the spirituality of Islam and associated art
and architecture; history; an English upbringing and worldwide travels;
Wahid is able to communicate cultural, religious, social and political
history through her craft.
In her weaving, Wahid draws on the rich historic 'jamdhani' technique
from Bangladesh, which produces the finest muslin in the world.
Using the technique, Wahid dyes her own colours using both natural
and chemical dyes and is able to inlay motifs such as leaf patterns
into the main cloth. Her emphasis on light and transparency can
be interpreted both as an attempt to express, and as a yearning
for 'divine light and wisdom' - a crucial theme in all disciplines
of traditional and modern Islamic Art. Her other sources of inspiration
come from Nature, Japanese Kasuri , Egyptian cottons, Chinese silk,
English merino wool and Japanese yarns.
"When I am weaving and at work I feel very spiritual and close
to God. I purposely leave unfinished edges in order to keep the
cloths free and 'dancing' in the air. Thus, traditional cloths juxtapose
their original meaning and become a contemporary artform. People
can feel peace and tranquillity as well as feel inspired to wear,
feel, touch and dance with the cloths! In this way I hope that my
work can help build a bridge between crafts and contemporary art."
Wahid attended the Chelsea College of Art and Design from 1994-1995
and was awarded a first class degree from Surrey Institute of Art
and Design in 1998. She went onto teach Art, Design and Textiles
at Warwick School for Boys from 2001-2008 encouraging boys to break
the gender stereotypes connected with females and their long associated
link with textiles. She took up post at the new co-educational school
Fredrick Bremer School in Sep 2008 and was awarded an MBE in 2005
for her services to the textiles industry.
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launched her new Single Black IS
Singer, MC and lyricist Sarah Sayeed has launched her new single,
Black IS… from her forthcoming debut album. Emerging talent Sarah
Sayeed was first recognised by the music industry when her music
was featured on the Homegrown podcast presented by Ras Kwame on
BBC 1Xtra. BBC Radio 1 DJ, Bobby Friction (Future Friction) also
described her "as a 360° conscious artist".
Having toured the UK, Europe and the US over the last five years,
Sarah Sayeed has developed her skills as a live performer. She has
also spent quality time in the studio working with unique producers
from London, Manchester, San Francisco and Toronto. Sarah Sayeed
continues to develop as an international artist as she is currently
working on the Sydney Hip Hop Theatre Festival in Australia.
Sarah Sayeed was born in East London with some of her childhood
years in Bangladesh and spending most of her 20's in Manchester.
She came back to her London roots a few years ago to launch her
music. Over the years, Sarah Sayeeds' ears have tuned into many
artists that have influenced her, including Roxanne Shante, Tribe
Called Quest, Blondie, Marvin Gaye and Madonna.
The wealth of Sarah Sayeeds' experiences have been beautifully
captured in her thought provoking lyrics, smooth singing vocals
and articulately fired MC skills.
When Sarah Sayeed performs live, her music combines beats and samples,
strings and brass instruments, culminating into a sound that has
a universal appeal. This press launch is an opportunity to see and
hear Sarah Sayeed perform live as well as learn more about the artist
and her work.
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Eye Secure World Premiere at The Times 52nd BFI London Film Festival
with First Production - The Last Thakur
The much awaited The Last Thakur is set to have its world premiere
at the London Film Festival on 25 October 2008 at the National Film
Theatre (NFT1). This first HD feature shot wholly in Bangladesh
and featuring Tariq Anam (Thakur), Ahmed Rubel (Chairman), Tanveer
Hassan (Kala), Anisur Rahman Milon (Tanju), Jayanto Chattopadyahay
(Mustafa) the biggest names in Bangladeshi film, and television.
The film is also the first ever British-Bangladeshi production
selected to the London Film Festival.
A modern-day Western set in a Bengali village; a story of revenge
and the search for personal identity. The village Chairman has his
election victory tainted by the arrival of a stranger with a gun.
When the stranger sides with the Chairman's arch nemesis: Thakur,
bullets fly in the sleepy backwater village. It soon becomes apparent
that the stranger has his own motives for revenge.
Sadik Ahmed directs (making his feature debut) and Atif Ghani from
Aimimage and Tamsin Lyons from BreakThru Films Produce, music composed
by Kishon Khan and Birgir Clausen. Philip Knatchbull from Artificial
Eye and Nik Powell from the NFTS are Executives on the productions.
The film draws on a solid British-Asian talent pool, drawing on
strong UK and Bangladesh production resources. The film could not
have come together without the key facilitation of Bangladesh Production
Consultant Ms. Runi Khan. Bangladesh advertising agency Adcomm through
Screaming Girl Productions enabled the UK-base production to draw
on the untapped talent pool in Bangladesh.
Writer/Director Sadik Ahmed is a British Filmmaker of Bangladeshi
origin based in the UK. Sadik's film Tanju Miah, a short film about
a young tea boy living on the Sarail Road, was an international
success with awards from the Royal Television Society, the Grierson
Foundation for British Film (Finalist), Turner Classic Shorts (Finalist),
MySpace-Mymovie Mash-Up (Finalist). Tanju Miah was specifically
selected for screening at the Toronto International Film Festival
2006. The film was also the first ever Bangladeshi film in competition
at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2007. Tanju Miah was screened
in the Curzon Cinemas UK, March to April 2007.
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Zoe and Idris Rahman Discover their Heritage Through Bengali Music
and New Album - Where Rivers Meet
Drawn to the Bengali heritage of their father, Mercury Music Prize
Nominee Zoe Rahman (jazz pianist) and Idris Rahman (clarinet) began
listening to Bengali folk, film and popular music from the 1950s
which opened up an undiscovered world of beautiful melodies, poetic
vocals and gentle rhythms. Mesmorised by the sounds, the brother
and sister duo created the album WHERE RIVERS MEET and combined
their talents in a unique way to create jazz-inspired interpretations
of Bengali music including songs inspired by Nobel Laureate Rabindrath
Tagore; Abbasudddin and Hementa Kumar Mukerjee amongst others. Featuring
the exciting vocal star Arnob from Bangladesh concerts will take
place on Saturday 1st November at the CBSO, Birmingham and Tuesday
4th November at the Purcell Room, Queen Elizabeth Hall, South Bank,
London followed by a UK-wide tour.
Born in Chichester, UK, Zoe studied music at Oxford University
and jazz performance at Berklee College of Music, Boston. Zoe and
Idris were inspired by the idea for the album when their father
Mizan Rahman was ill in hospital. Transferring some old music from
cassettes onto a CD, Zoe became intrigued by the sounds and subsequent
trips to Bangladesh allowed Zoe to learn about her background through
music. She says of the experience:
“We wanted to learn about our family heritage by delving into this
rich musical source and hope that in the process the songs will
be seen in a new light by those who already know them. Perhaps they
will take others on a journey of discovery similar to the one we
have experienced through making this album”
Father Mizan Rahman says "I have been inspired and amazed at
the music Zoe and Idris have created. The reaction from Bengali
audiences on a recent British Council-sponsored tour to the subcontinent
was ecstatic. The tracks are well-known tunes and well-loved lyrics
and the audiences reacted to the jazz-inspired music with enthusiasm.
The album is also very accessible to non-Bengali British audiences
Brother Idris Rahman says “This album represents a very personal
journey that Zoe and I have taken into our own culture through music
directly taught or recommended by our father, cousins and other
close friends and musicians. In doing this we have learnt more about
our father's background and our Bengali roots and feel a little
closer to a culture that we weren't surrounded by when we were growing
up… we hope to continue to explore the wealth of artistic achievement
that is waiting to be discovered in our father's country.”
Guest singer, Bengali star Arnob adds breath-taking resonance to
songs ‘Amar har kala korlam’ (Betrayed) and ‘Anondo dhara’ (Stream
Of Joy)and other musicians include Kuljit Bhamra (Percussion); Oli
Hayhurst (Double Bass); Gene Calderazzo (Drums) and Samy Bishai
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Awaited Album 'Laial' by the Chant Legend Shahin Badar!
Award winning and leading British Asian vocalist
Shahin Badar releases her debut solo album Laila and returns to
the music scene for the first time in nearly two years.
Laila features a blend of Arabic, English and Indian influences
that showcases a talent that lead to collaborations with the likes
of AR Rahman, Jah Wobble, Twista and Juliet Lewis. It is a strong
offering of 18 solid cuts, which are edgy, tripping and hypnotic
beats and chants. No dance floor is likely to be empty when tracks
like Doleh Reh from Mercury nominated Choque Hosein, Jhoom Jhoom,
Laila, and Andheri Raai hit the decks.
Shahin is best known for the Prodigy’s Smack My Bitch Up which
featured her spine tingling chant on their multi million selling
Fat Of The Land album giving them and Shahin Billboard and UK No.
1 chart positions and entry into the Guinness Book of Records as
the fastest selling album at the time. For this she received a double
platinum disc and a place in music history. Shahin featured on two
further Prodigy albums that enjoyed UK number 1 chart positions.
She has worked with dance maestro Tim Deluxe on the single Mundaya,
which was chosen as an ‘Essential tune of the week’ by BBC Radio
1 DJ Pete Tong.
Shahin’s distinctive vocals have also featured in over 30 Hollywood
and Bollywood films including Academy nominated Closer and Charlie’s
Angels, US sitcoms North Shore and Kevin Hill and Shyam Bengal’s
Zubeidaa. Shahin supported leading US rapper 50 Cent when his tour
took in Lebanon with award winning producer Guy Manoukian at The
Biel, in front of a 20 thousand strong audience followed by an invitation
to perform with chart topping Turkish artist Mercan Dede in Germany.
Shahin has already won Best Female Vocalist at the Asian Pop Awards;
nominations for Ethnic Multicultural Media Award - Best New Comer;
Asian Women of Achievement Awards - Arts & Culture; Muslim News
Alhamra Award for Excellence and Channel 5’s prestigious Community
Award – Glory of India thereby establishing Shahin as one of the
most outstanding female Asian vocalists in the UK dance and British
Asian music scene.
Release Date: 13th October
Label: ShahinBadar Records through Imprint Records
Available in all good stores! you can purchase your own personal
copy from www.play.com for £8.99
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are the key to Bangladesh’s Opportunity of a Lifetime
In 2002 the acronym BRIC entered into financial and corporate language.
Reputed investment bank Goldman Sachs had analyzed developing economies
and identified Brazil (B), Russia (R), India (I) and China (C) as
4 countries that should receive focused investment as they were
on the verge of explosive growth. At the time I was living and working
as an expatriate in Mumbai for my then employer Unilever. Being
British born and thus growing up in a very developed consumer economy,
I was used to a very different way of life. Mumbai still had one
foot in the past although the many signs of India’s dynamic growth
story were very much in evidence.
The most vivid example of explosive growth I remember came from
my daily listening of the car radio on the way to work. In 2002,
India’s radio service was state owned, in Mumbai there were only
2 radio stations which broadcasted through medium wave and with
a very limited menu of news and debates. Radio played a miniscule
role in society and those who even owned one had very old machines
capable only of broadcasting medium and long wave. Music was not
played nor was their any radio advertising. And this in the city
that hosts Bollywood with all its music and artists!
In 2002 the government privatized the radio industry. Six new FM
radio stations were launched with great brand names like Radio Mirchi.
Each of these stations was targeted at particular demographic and
filled with music, phone-ins, radio drama and sports coverage. Suddenly
everybody wanted to listen to the radio. Some very smart entrepreneurs
imported laks of those slim credit card like radio receivers each
with a small ear piece. In the space of a few days these small devices
costing 100 rupee’s each were being used by everybody in the city:
be they students, corporate execs, auto rickshaw drivers or fresh
fruit market wallahs.
And so life as it had once been lived changed in a small but significant
way. Today the industry is thriving employing many trained people
who produce radio channels of high quality and which is part funded
by radio advertising; a profitable industry built from scratch in
less than 5 years.
The India growth story has of hundreds of examples similar to my
radio example. Two factors keep its economy growing. The first is
the mass migration of rural people into urban environments at a
rate never experienced before in the history of the planet. As tens
of millions of new people arrive with the ambition of a better life,
working people already in the cities upgrade to the middle classes
with more income than ever before to spend on consumer goods that
better their lives in some way.
This ancient and historic nation is being utterly transformed by
the proven model of capitalism. As new sectors emerge, many new
brands are launched. Consumers in India have never had so much choice.
And no matter whether it is from a multinational or a local company,
it is through brands that consumers are making their choices.
With the BRIC economies fully set on the road for transformation,
Goldman Sachs sought to identify the next developing markets ripe
for growth. After applying rigorous criteria, 11 nations were identified,
the so called ‘next 11’ or N11 nations. These include countries
such as Iran, Mexico, Vietnam, Indonesia … and Bangladesh.
Bangladesh was identified as an N11 for many attractive reasons
including its young, dynamic entrepreneurial and cost competitive
labour force, opportunities to replicate its successful garments/textiles
business model to other industries such as outsourcing and pharmaceuticals,
having an investor friendly regulatory environment as well as the
large natural resources in natural gas and coal. Last but not least,
it occupies a strategic location between India and China in the
heart of Asia. And so a golden opportunity awaits.
The transformational stories emerging from China & India indicate
that if replicated, Bangladesh has as much economic potential. With
Goldman Sachs ‘N11’ recommendations ringing in their ears, multinational
corporations, investment speculators and public sector NGOs are
analyzing the opportunities Bangladesh presents. It is literally
a once in a lifetime opportunity; possibly the historic catalyst
Bangladesh has been waiting for since its birth. And it’s finding
plenty to get excited about. So all the possibility of a future
full of promise.
However, there is a big danger that unless Bangladeshi entrepreneurs
recognise this opportunity quickly, foreign outfits will steal the
market place … and those profits forever! The key question for Bangladeshi’s
is to ensure they benefit from the potential economic boom that
‘N11’ nation status investment will provide.
The Bangladesh Brand Forum was created in 2006 with a belief that
the principles of marketing & branding should be a critical
tool for societal upgradation. The legacy of our barter economy
is that in pursuit of the lowest possible price, quality was always
sacrificed and so across society, we are left with sub standard
choices. At their most basic level, brands are shorthand for a promised
level of quality, a ‘seal of authenticity’ for the particular range
of benefits that a company will offer. If applied across the entirety
of the economy and civic infrastructure it will, in one stroke raise
our standards forever.
Our next step must involve the creation and maintenance of Bangladeshi
inspired brands. Aside from telco, banking and basic household consumer
goods, almost every sector has huge potential to create brands which
offer consumer targeted benefits. These new brands must delight
Bangladeshi’s who will treasure them as unique and wonderful manifestations
of their national culture, feel a genuine emotional connection whenever
they use or interact with these brands.
There are already some promising candidates: the likes of Grameen,
Aarong and Praan have great potential. But there are also many other
opportunities: I think Halim is a wonderful snack that people around
the world are waiting to discover, I think its greedy that only
Bengali’s know about the amazing flavor of Hilsha fish, the jute
industry could be reinvented with innovative inventions given the
global issue with plastic bags, the Sundabans & the world longest
sea beach starting at Cox’s Baazar are destinations tourists are
just waiting to discover … and there are so many more examples.
If any or many of these opportunities were realized and the brands
became international, the reputation and branding of Bangladesh
would also dramatically change for the better.
Powerful brands are very good for the economy because of their
wealth spreading ability. Research reveals that companies with big
brands tend to generate anywhere between 2 ½ and 3 times
as many jobs as actually appear on their payroll. As they expand,
they hire more people and that increases the service businesses
around them. They need more suppliers, they sell more precuts, the
retail businesses do better, everybody pays more taxes, they hire
more people, and so it goes on. When countries have less strong
brands like Bangladesh, it does not get that effect.
It is these issues that we will be debating at length at the Bangladesh
Brand Forum 2008. We believe that despite the temporary period of
political uncertainty that we find ourselves, we are at a historic
juncture in time. And those brave enough to grasp the opportunity
through the principles of brand building will take first mover advantage.
The train is about to set off …. Do you have the foresight and bravery
to get on board?
The BANGLADESH BRAND FORUM 2008 took place at the Radisson Hotel
on 26/27 April 2008. Website: www.BangladeshBrandForum.com
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e Bhat: 70 minute documentary treatment
Since 2005, Hannan Majid and Richard York, working as The Rainbow
Collective have been producing socially conscious documentaries,
in the UK, South Africa, Iraq and Bangladesh, training young aspiring
film-makers and distributing films through conventional means as
well as through alternative platforms, such as in schools, teachers
conferences and charity events with groups including Amnesty International
and The Railway Children. Formed as a Social Enterprise and a Community
Interest Company (C.I.C.), The Rainbow Collective has made it a
priority to ensure that all its documentaries should be seen and
distributed not only as traditional films, but as tools to be used
in education, campaigning and the furthering of community cohesion.
Likewise, Its privately commissioned pieces for charities, NGOs
and educational/governmental organisations should be made as personal,
creative and cinematic films, in addition to serving their original,
Due to its subject matter and vignette-based, modular structure,
Mass e Bhat is ideally suited to be distributed not only through
conventional channels, but as an educational tool, a series of fund/awareness
raising films and in the production itself, a way of building partnerships
and identifying work still needing to be done in the areas of children's
rights, child labour and the alleviation of poverty in the sub-continent.
Bangladesh, 2008. From textile factories populated with child workers
to the high-rise apartments of the noveau riche, from the idyllic
rural heartlands to the rickshaw drivers of Dhaka city centre and
their children, from the displaced and stigmatised Bihari people
to the mystery of a disappearing mountain, "Masse Batte"
paints a portrait of a country coming to terms with its status as
a "developing nation". Through a series of interconnecting
vignettes portraying real people and their everyday lives, the audience
is introduced to the challenges, the dreams and the realities of
a country forced to question the true meaning of development and
its place in the wider world.
The true focus of Mass e Bhat is on the youth of Bangladesh and
their potential for the future. Despite showing many of the positive
aspects of Bangladeshi society, for example, the highest number
of natural gas powered vehicles in any country in the world, the
retaining of much traditional, sustainable culture in the villages,
the most tolerant and forward thinking form of Islam to be found
anywhere in the east, and so on, the film also presents some stark
and harrowing stories of a neglected generation of children who
hold the keys to Bangladesh's future but are unable to realise their
potential due to poverty and inequality. Why do multitudinous schools
stand empty while the children of the displaced Bihari people play
in the polluted waters and rubbish strewn streets in the slums of
chittagong? How can the country truly develop when the average child
foregoes education, being expected and required to work for 2 pounds
per week in order to support their parents and siblings?
What of the communities of children, building independent communities
in the vast landfill rubbish tips, with no hope or achieving the
prizes offered by Bangladesh's new economic development? We meet
a rickshaw driver who's son is severely mentally handicapped but
has been told that the government can only help and provide a wheelchair
once the child is "A bit older".
Each of these aspects of Bangladeshi society are portrayed through
a series of about 12 personal, intimate stories, avoiding third-person
narration and allowing the people to speak for themselves and to
tell their own stories in their own words. A combination of beautiful
imagery and hard-hitting reality will accurately portray the contradictions
and confusions of a country striving for change and improvement.
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Battle of Plassey Young People’s Project
Brick Lane Circle has received a grant of £46,000 from the
Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to engage a group of young people (18-25)
to explore East London’s historical links with Bengal through researching
and writing about the area’s East India Company sites.
The project idea emerged out of the series of events that Brick
Lane Circle organized in June 2007 to commemorate the 250 Years
Anniversary of the Battle of Plassey (23 June 1757), when the British
achieved victory in Bengal under Robert Clive. It was also the beginning
of the British Indian Empire, under the banner of the English East
India Company. The research findings will be put together in a publication,
which will be launched during October 2008 Black History Month at
a specially organized event at the Museum in Docklands. An exhibition
illustrating the work of the young people, historical paintings
and photographs and important documents will accompany the publication.
The work of the young people will be made electronically available
and an education pack will be developed.
The young people will undertake research on a number of East India
Company sites in East London, an area dotted with important locations
and buildings that have historical links with Bengal. It is also
the home of the largest concentration of Bangladeshi people in the
UK. The 250 Years anniversary events of the British conquest of
Bengal (organized by Brick Lane Circle during June 2007) provided
a focus for generating interest in learning about the shared heritage
of East London. The young researchers will be primarily recruited
from the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and given workshops, guided
tours, mentoring support and assistance in writing their chapters.
These activities will help familiarise participants about important
East India Company sites and their historical links with Bengal
and provide guidance on the sources of information.
The East India Company first traded with the East and then conquered
vast areas and ancient civilizations for Britain. It played a very
important role in the British economic and imperial history for
250 years, starting from 1600 when the company was first chartered
by Queen Elizabeth I. The successes and benefits that the Company
achieved for Britain also had devastating consequences for India
and Bengal in particular. This project will bring this shared history
to light and generate interest widely through exploring and sharing
knowledge about East India Company sites in East London .
It is envisaged that by becoming familiar with East India company
locations and sites and their historical roles, the diverse communities
in East London will develop a greater sense of connectivity and
linked roots. This will increase the levels of interest on local
heritage; enable more people to develop deeper intellectual, creative
and leisure interactions with the area's past and help improve community
The information generated and disseminated will result in a renewed
level of interest on the heritage of East London, especially among
the local Bangladeshi population, which means that there will be
an increase in the level of desire to discover, preserve and publicise
the importance of local heritage. More local people will understand
and appreciate the value of many buildings and sites that they see
every day around them - which previously had very little relevance
to their life - and develop a deeper historical and worldwide perspective
of their neighbourhoods.
The project will help diverse groups who live in the area to develop
a greater level of understanding about how their neighbourhoods
and surrounding areas are connected and the historical and local
heritage sites will provide the anchor for such connections. This
will enable people to develop a deeper appreciation of their shared
and historically linked roots and thereby enhance the scope of celebrating
both local heritage and the valuing of diversity.
Open Day, Sunday 1 June '08, 2 - 5pm, Whitechapel Idea Store
The event will look at the scope of The Battle of Plassey Young
People’s Project; local East India company sites and researching
about the area’s past links with Bengal. It will include presentations
by Nick Robbins (author of The Corporation that Changed the World:
How the East India Company Shaped the Modern Multinational) and
Dr Georgie Wemyss, who teaches Social Anthropology and South Asian
Studies at Tower Hamlets College and is a visiting research fellow
at Goldsmiths College
The Battle of Plassey Conference, Sunday 22 June '08, Whitechapel
Idea Store. Further details will be provided in due course.
The Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Cllr Ann Jackson, said that she is delighted
to hear the news and will personally support the project.
Nick Robins (author of The Corporation that Changed the World:
How the East India Company Shaped the Modern Multinational) said
"“This is an excellent project which will bring to life the
East India Company’s legacy in London”.
Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund, London, Sue Bowers said: “This
project will bring to light a history shared by Britain and India
over hundreds of years by relating it directly to sites associated
with the East India company in London. While researching, the young
people will also gain skills in writing, photography, planning and
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Visit in February by Dr Wali Tasar Uddin MBE, DLitt, JP, Hon Consul
General of Bangladesh in Scotland (19 February - 4 March)
Dr Wali, BritBangla Honorary Member visits Bangladesh this month.
"When I came to the UK I had nothing. I started at the bottom
and worked my way up through commitment, dedication, hard work and
practical study. I know about all the aspects of my business from
the kitchens to the accounts to marketing. I believe that it's vital
to give something back
to support the community and encourage the next generation of entrepreneurs."
states Dr Wali.
Dr Wali Tasar Uddin MBE, DLitt, JP, Hon Consul General of Bangladesh
in Scotland will be spending the last 2 weeks of February in Bangladesh,
on governmental, cultural and charitable business. His packed itinerary
includes meetings in Dhaka, Sylhet, Moulvibazr and Barguna District.
He will be visiting areas affected by the devastating Cyclone Sidr
(with Farah Kabir of Action Aid Group) to gather information about
relief work and interviewing victims in advance of a major fundraising
event in Scotland on 4th April.
The aims of the visit also include developing a proposed twinning
arrangement between the City of Edinburgh and Sylhet and investigating
possible partnership links with Edinburgh's Napier University and
Heriot Watt University (both of which recently awarded Dr Uddin
Honorary degrees) and the Universities and Colleges of Bangladesh,
particularly to investigate the potential for training and educational
initiatives for individuals specially from ICT, Business Managements,
Textiles & Apparels, Hospitality And Nursing Training.
Dr Uddin's flagship business is the award winning Britannia Spice
Restaurant (recent recipient of a special presentation by the British
Curry Awards to mark the restaurant's unique achievement in winning
the Best in Scotland Award for an unprecedented 3 years in a row;
an occasion which was marked by an official motion of congratulations
by the Scottish Parliament) and he is involved in the campaign to
challenge the British government on recent changes in immigration
laws which make it harder for UK restaurants to bring in experienced
Bangladeshi chefs. On Sat 1st March he will be Chief Guest at the
University Campus Social Development Centre (CSDC) of Dhaka inaugural
Certificate Giving Ceremony for the Apprenticeship Programme for
students and youths.
Dr Uddin will also meet with representatives from Bangladesh's
garment and textile industry and the British High Commissioner to
discuss development of training and trade opportunities between
Bangladesh and UK, as well as representatives from the Bangla Scot
Foundation, set up to develop cultural links between Bangladesh
He will be accompanied by a UK Cyclone Sidr Fact Finding team:
Mr Enam Ali ACHIMA, FRSA (Editor, Spice Business Magazine), Mr Arjun
Miah MBE (member of the BBCC), Mr Athair Khan (Managing Director
of the Last Day RAJ Group), Mr Shamsuddin Ahmed MBE (Regional Board
Member of Manchester and North West Region), Prof Abdul Hannan (Board
member of BBCC Manchester and
North West Region), Mr Abdul Ghani (Mabrook Perfume Co, Dubai) and
Mr Koysor Ahmed (MD Sylhet Welding UK Ltd, corporate member of BBCC
UK) & Md Rezwan Hussain, Channel S TV UK.
Dr Uddin arrives in Bangladesh on Wed 20th Feb and will depart
on 2nd March to return to UK, stopping off in Dubai where he will
meet with Consul-General A Hye and Bangladeshi Dubai Business representatives.
A fundraising dinner in aid of the Cyclone Sidr appeal will be
held in Edinburgh, Scotland on Fri 4th April at the prestigious
Ingliston Centre, aiming to raise Â£100,000 (stg), with
the aim of rebuilding a whole village (70 houses). Dr Uddin aims
to find that village on his visit to the Barguna District, which
will become the centre of the campaign in Scotland.
Dr Uddin is respected throughout Europe and Bangladesh as a successful
businessman, a community leader and an outstanding humanitarian.
He has been awarded many honours, including Young Scot of the Year,
since he moved to the UK in the 1970s, starting out in a relatives
years of hard work and study, combined with exceptional drive and
business acumen have resulted in a portfolio of successful restaurants
and business interests. This success in the business world has brought
recognition from many sides. In 1984 Dr Uddin was the first Bangladeshi
in Scotland to be
made a Justice of the Peace. In 1993 he was appointed as the first
Honorary Consul-General of Bangladesh in Scotland and in 1995 he
was made a Member of the British Empire for his services to race
relations. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and, in 2003,
was included in Debretts People of Today.
Respected as a community leader in Scotland, Dr Uddin chairs the
Council for Bangladeshis in Scotland, was a founder of Edinburgh's
Central Mosque and is a director of the Shahjalal Mosque and Islamic
Centre. Dr Uddin is also Chairman of the Commonwealth Society of
Edinburgh and the Bangla Scot Foundation. He is a founding Director
of the Edinburgh Mela (the vibrant festival founded by Edinburgh's
South Asian communities) and the Edinburgh Bangladesh Samity and
was recently appointed Official Advisor to the Sylhet Foundation.
Dr Uddin's efforts have touched thousands of people over the years.
Following the disastrous cyclone in 1991, he was instrumental in
raising over £140,000 which was used to build a concrete cyclone
shelter and Baharchara-Ratnapur High School. In 1998 he was involved
in raising over
£220,000 to enable Onneyshan to oversee the construction of
a model village and training centre. Dr Uddin is Director and Chief
Co-ordinator of the Sylhet Women's Medical College and Hospital,
a Trustee of the Bangladesh Female Academy and an advisor to the
Atish Dipankar University
of Science & Technologies in Dhaka.
Web sites: www.drwaliuddin.co.uk
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fundraising iftar event in aid of the flood victims in Bangladesh
On Thursday 20th September, three organisations The BobNetwork,
BBPA and BritBangla held a joint fundraising iftar event in aid
of the flood victims in Bangladesh. The lively fundraiser was held
in Cafe Naz @ Corvina in London and was attended by 150 enthusiastic
young British Bangladeshis. The evening proved to be a great success
with dinner, an auction, raffle tickets and many generous donations.
Among the auctioned items were a copy of 'A-Z of Arranged Marriage'
autographed by the author Rekha Waheed, a collection of framed fabric
art by Shozna, and a collection of Arabic Calligraphy by Shumi Islam.
The hosts created a great buzz and with Café Naz's attentive
service and good food the spirits were high and the donations flowed
in. The chairman of The bobNetwork, Misbah Mosobbir was the auctioneer
and proved himself a dab hand on the night. His enthusiastic sales
in healthy bidding from the audience.
By the end of the evening, young British-Bangladeshis proved themselves
to be generous and resourceful yet again with £5000 raised
for the British Red Cross. They continue to make a difference with
their contributions and exemplary efforts to support worthy causes.
Jasmine Choudhury, Solicitor said 'I enjoyed the iftar party as
it was good to see all three groups work together and work towards
the same goal' and Saiful Khan went further to say 'I thought the
auction was a great idea. Met lots of new people and it a very friendly
& generous crowd. A big well done to the team.'
Rebecca Payne of the British Red Cross commented 'On behalf of
the British Red Cross I'd like to thank The bobNetwork for organising
this fundraiser and raising the fantastic amount of £5000
for the Asia Floods Appeal, which will cover past, present and near
future flooding events in numerous countries throughout the continent,
including those currentlyaffected in Bangladesh. As we speak, the
International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement are providing
emergency relief to all the affected
areas. Volunteers are delivering food, water, basic healthcare and
sanitation to millions of people who have lost everything in the
Big thanks to Saquat Ali, for making sure the groups came together
and the event went smoothly, 'Unique events' for the sponsorship
and of course the artists for their donations
For photos of the night, for information on BritBangla website
and forthcoming community events, please visit www.britbangla.net.
If you would like to donate to the British Red Cross for the flood
appeal, please visit http://www.redcross.org.uk
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'Glory of Indai Award Winner'
21 July 2007
Shahin Badar,whose enchanting indian vocals featured on the prodigy's
controversial single "smack my bitch up" had a lot to
be happy about as on Saturday 21st of july, singer songwriter composer,
Shahin, was awarded the prestigious Glory of India award by the
India International Friendship Society (IIFS)at the noted Crowne
She spent her youth growing up in Colchester, Kuwait and India
learning to sing in several languages.
Shahin has a profile of international work that continues to grow.
This work includes vocal inclusions in over 40 soundtracks which
include strong female TV, film and advert characters such as Nikita,
Lara Croft, Scottish Widows and Charlie's Angels.
She has appeared on 3 UK No.1 albums, two of which were grammy
nominated, collaborated with top composers such as A.R Rahman and
many upcoming acts.
She endorsed many charitable causes such as the NSPCC, RNID (UK's
biggest charity), flood appeals, headlined the UK's biggest one
day carnival, Redbridge's first Asian music festival, launched London's
first Children's Hospice's Children's week for the Richard House
trust, worked on the UK's first
electronica album to hit the No.1 spot on the Billboard charts and
many more impressive profile pointers.
Although not able to pick up the award herself, Shahin was delighted
to hold the award in her hand and beam 'Women in the music industry,
in fact, in most industries do not always receive the recognition
that they should for their work and even when they have, they often
have to do that much more to be accepted and recognised.This award
is an honour for me because it serves as
recognition of my music and that of other women and this will go
with my Channel S TV award for contribution to the community which
I picked up last year'
Signed to Times Music in India, Shahin's current album is due for
full release in uk soon and is entitled " Laila".
Among the previous recipients of the coveted award include Bollywood
actor and film producer Dev Anand.
India international Friendship Society is a voluntary organization
established to forge greater unity and integrity among the people
of Indian origin living anywhere in the world and presents the awards
to individuals who have attained excellence in their respective
field of work.
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Girls Orphanage in Bangladesh - BritBangla
17th January 2007
Here's an update and feedback to those who kindly supported the
BritBangla fundraiser way back in May 2004.
I recently returned from Bangladesh and visited the Rainagor Girls
Orphanage in Sylhet, and share wiht you some photos and an account
of my visit:
When I walked into the orphanage the little girls immediately stopped
playing, seeing me as a stranger they started to hide away with
some running inside for cover. I could hear the girls whispering
and huddling up in a group, obviously not used to outsiders. It
took a few moments to
gain their trust and to engage them in small conversation. They
looked on me with curiosity and I stupidly asked it they remembered
me from my last visit (2 years ago), as if they would! The youngest
is 'Nishi', a 5 year old, who cried for months when she first arrived
there and still looked sad. Seeing the girls, I felt upset and especially
guilty, as I was lucky to have my mum who was also with me at the
time of the visit. I noticed that the kids obviously look after
each other, and there is an amazing
spirit of sisterhood amongst them, which I was happy to see.
Charity project: December 2004 - March 2007
Funds: £2000 spent on computer, 50 mattresses, books/pens,
3 teachers - Maths, English and sewing
The project was successful and this year five girls received all
Grade As and Bs, due to the support provided for extra weekly tuition
classes for Maths and English. The sewing classes provide the kids
with a fallback plan when they leave the orphanage (at the age of
16) to support
The lesson learned is that from a £2000 donation, which is
not very much at all, has made a difference as in a country such
as Bangladesh which proves that even us from here in UK can help
to improve lives of little people to give them a chance for a better
future to support themselves.
You may wish to see for yourself the orphanage if you are visiting
Bangladesh, please contact me.
Any donations would be very gratefully accepted or charity raffle
prizes from businesses or potential sponsors of a charity event
to continue fundraising for this good cause and make a difference
to these girls lives.
If anyone wants to know more please do contact me at email@example.com
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Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC)
Millions in Bangladesh have benefited from projects funded by BRAC.
Now, the BRAC brings it third world development success to UK.
BRAC is a well known NGO founded off the back of the liberation
war in 1972. It helped deal with the devastating effects of the
armed struggle and post independence era, with a particular commitment
to the rural poor who made up most of Bangladesh.
Throughout the years BRAC has run many programmes across Bangladesh.
Some of their most successful work has been in targeting mortality
reduction, microfinance enterprises, and various health programmes,
in reaching out to mothers, children, and slum communities. All
by applying a specifically gendered approach to their work.
BRAC implements a comprehensive development approach, with a number
of programmes for economic and social development of the people.
BRAC core programmes include four main ones: BRAC Economic Development
Programme, BRAC Social Development, Human Rights and Legal Education
Services Programme, BRAC Education Programme and BRAC Health Programme.
In the last 34 years, BRAC have achieved an enormous amount in
terms of development. Their programmes contribute a significant
amount towards achieving the target millennium development goals,
and they have even used their own post-war / disaster experiences
to extend their work into Afghanistan from 1992, and more recently
with the Tsunami relief programs. An impressive 80% of costs are
also covered by their own initiatives
BRAC-UK: bringing third world development
success to UK
BRAC-UK is a new extension of their development work, while the
NGO are hoping to soon expand into Africa; they are also to pilot
a number of proposed projects in British communities, replicating
the model of social change in terms of reaching, empowering, and
educating women of underprivileged communities.
This innovative form of NGO work brings in third world development
successes to the ‘developed world’ as poverty alleviation work is
also much needed in the UK. Programmes are to initially begin in
East and North-West London. They will be drawing on the experiences
of Bangladeshi women of Tower Hamlets to work with women from the
BRAC-UK will also engage in advocacy work and provide a southern
voice to policy dialogue. Currently in its exciting new stages,
BRAC-UK is a small team filled with vision and equipped with years
of experience, who are looking to work at grassroots level here
within the UK.
If you may be able to help further the cause of BRAC-UK they are
currently looking for support in a number of areas. If you feel
you would like to contribute in any way, or to learn more, please
BRAC website for further information: http://www.brac.net/
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Woman Who Left the Village: The Inspirations Exhibtion
27 September 2006
Monsoon Press has combined writers and artists to come together
to inspire each other under its Inspirations Project so that pictures
and words can be inspired and created from each other. The main
aspect of the project has been to work with women and their feelings
towards the family. However during the course of various grassroots
workshops the discussion around family also interlinked with birth,
self-awareness, marriage, children and the emotions and politics
of the “FAMILY” This particular work with a poet, artist and women
of various backgrounds has been titled “THE WOMAN WHO LEFT THE VILLAGE”
One such example are the workshops Monsoon completed with Doorstep
Homeless Families Project with women to celebrate Family week in
creating pictures with an artist and writer of an event in their
family life that had left a mark in their lives. The writings include
poetry and have been linked with up and coming artist Aleya Khan’s
paintings and the emerging poet and writer Dina Begum.
“The Woman Who left the villages” also explores how women from
South East Asia leave their families to marry and come and live
in the Britain. Another element of the art, work and writing has
been to show how women have been the breadwinners of families in
the developing world through the art of embroidery and crafts. The
women portrayed in the paintings are similar to brides, which again
linked to the South Asian culture of the bride viewed as part of
the cycle of the family.
Through the work with women both at the homeless project and Monsoon’s
writers group the view emerged that the family was the core unit
that held society together. However the family was not just made
up of the immediate family of parents and children but of the extended
family, which also included friends and neighbours. Even the immediate
family was not made up of a father and mother but of various structures
such as the older sibling looking after a whole family. Many Bangladeshi
women felt that the west had only just discovered that family was
not made up of the nuclear family and that the primary care givers
could begin from the grandparents, aunts, uncles and to the nursing
maid. It was agreed that family was global and it was this that
brought the world together.
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raw picturesque beauty of Bangladesh
10 September 2006
So I returned to Bangladesh in the summer to find it as colourful
as ever, and during the month that passed, I managed to see a few
more of the sights I missed on the last trip. There really is so
much culture and history; it’s just a shame that although tourism
is clearly on the government’s agenda, the full potential for investment
and development of such amazing sites has yet to be fully explored.
Visually, the country is very similar to Sri Lanka, I found myself
comparing the lakes, hills, general scenic beauty as I did over
Passing through the streets in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh;
there are so many reminders of the independence struggle, not just
the official memorials but stunning pictures, murals, statues, and
sculptures splattered everywhere. Though the ideologies behind the
birth of this nation seem (to some extent) be fading with its city
people, at least its alive in an artistic sense and on a street-level
I have always enjoyed travelling between the two largest cities
in Bangladesh. The breathtakingly beautiful route from Dhaka to
Chittagong is around a five-hour drive down this one straight road.
At parts there are huge trees that reach out from the sides and
meet over you and every so often, there are small paths that lead
off into separate villages, you see kids running back and forth
bathing in lakes, laughing as they play. Once you leave Dhaka, on
either side there are fields of jute and dhan (paddy fields) that
stretch out as far as you can see with different shades of green
so rich and vibrant, the whole path is just so unbelievably soul-settling.
Rangamati is also beautiful, it is part of the Chittagon Hill tracks
area (CHT) where a number of tribal (minority) groups have managed
to preserve their ways of living. The views are stunning and the
entire area just seemed so untouched and far away.
Breathtaking views of Rangamati
I also managed to return to the coastal area of Pathenga, that I
fell in love with last time I went, it is actually just a port area
where the locals might fish, and ships come in or parts are broken,
but there is a long area where these huge blocks have been placed
for the tide, and behind these there are small markets and food
stalls. Around sunset, from these stalls you hear the harmonious
sounds of traditional Bengali folk music in the distance, in with
that of the sea and groups of people laughing and enjoying themselves.
It was here I also managed to look up at the sky to see the sun
going down, and then turn around to see the moon, glowing in another
area of the sky at the same time! Absolutely amazing!
On another day, we took a boat out across the Jamuna (Bhramaputra)
river which also reaches parts of India, China and Tibet. The Jamuna
bridge goes on for miles out from the district of Sirajganj to that
of Tangail and can also boast some great views.
Jamuna Bridge over Bramaputra River
I really do find Bangladesh as one of the most prettiest countries
I have ever visited, and for anyone considering a trip, though the
temperatures can be madness, especially during the summer, and the
roads utter chaos, the hectic pace of the cities is easily balanced
out by the friendly nature of the people, the many fascinating tales
of how this culture has developed and fought for its recognition,
not to mention the raw picturesque beauty. An adventure most truly
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Badar - Tours Lebanon and Germany
06 August 2006
After successfully working with The prodigy on their three number
one selling albums, including the album ‘Alw