Tag Archive: Hamara

Regal recipients: Two of Yorkshire’s finest receive OBEs

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PROMOTING THE ARTS: Geetha Upadhyaya, of Kala Sangam, is another recipient of an OBE

PROMOTING THE ARTS: Geetha Upadhyaya, of Kala Sangam, is another recipient of an OBE

When Hanif Malik began fundraising to establish the Hamara Healthy Living Centre in 1998, there was neither an office nor a building to operate out of as the charity was in its infancy.

Fast forward almost two decades, and Hamara has grown into the largest ethnic minority organisation in the voluntary and community sector in Leeds, employing over 20 staff members and helping hundreds of local residents every year.

In recognition of his work as founder and chief executive of the charity, Hanif has this week been named on the Queen’s Birthday Honour’s List and will receive a prestigious OBE for his services.

For many, the extra three letters at the end of their title would be something to brag about, but Hanif recognises that it’s a team effort which eventually led to his name being stamped on the Royal list.

“It’s right up there with some of my proudest moments,” he said. “But it’s not an egotistical pride.

“I’m proud, not just for myself, but for the whole community and Leeds and everyone I’m associated with.

“I am as proud of everyone else as I am of myself. You can see the real genuineness and warmth from people when things like this happen. It’s the highest accolade I’ve ever received.”

Although Hanif is seen by many as a role model in the local community, his life could have played out differently had he followed his original career path.

Jumping betweens jobs in the private sector, with BT and HSBC, it wasn’t until a death in the family that he began working in the community sector.

COMMUNITY STALWART: Hanif Malik has been awarded an Order of the British Empire for his services to sports and the community

COMMUNITY STALWART: Hanif Malik has been awarded an Order of the British Empire for his services to sports and the community

Almost 20 years on, Hanif hopes his latest accolade will inspire others to build a legacy of their own.

“I hope it encourages other people,” he said, “especially youngsters.

“The OBE shows that it is possible - regardless of your background, how well you do at school, your race or your ethnicity – that if you continue striving to do good, you will achieve something.

“Regardless of any barriers and labels, if you apply yourself and if you’re sincere with what you do, you will get somewhere in life.”

Elsewhere in West Yorkshire, arts visionary, Dr Geetha Upadhyaya, who co-founded Bradford’s Kala Sangam arts centre in Little Germany 20 years ago, has also been awarded with an OBE.

She and her husband, Dr Shripati Upadhyaya, a consultant psychologist at Bradford District Care Trust, began the charity in her home in 1996 and it soon expanded to its current base in St Peter’s House. Her vision was to create a pioneering centre, bringing all cultures together through the world of art.

“It is so nice to be recognised in this way. I feel Kala Sangam - which means ‘art’ and ‘bringing together’ - has created something wonderful and feel that art is the best way to to this,” said Dr Geetha Upadhyaya, a consultant in metabolic medicine.

“I really wanted to make this a beacon centre and the response it has received from Bradford is wonderful.”

The centre has been a labour of love for Mrs Upadhyaya and has grown from a few dance classes to the only South Asian arts centre in the UK with its own dedicated performance space.

Over the years the 200 artists working with the company have appeared on Songs of Praise and at the Houses of Parliament and the Royal Albert Hall.

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Supplementary School recognised at Child Friendly Leeds award

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INSPIRATIONAL: Team work makes the dream work

INSPIRATIONAL: Team work makes the dream work

Stars gather to celebrate Hamara’s success

Leeds City Varieties was packed to the rafters last week as the Child Friendly Leeds (CFL) Awards made a triumphant return to the city.

Organised by young people, the awards celebrate some of the people, places and organisations helping to make Leeds a child-friendly city.

Amongst this year’s winners was the Hamara Centre.

Based in south Leeds, the group has been celebrating the fantastic success of their Supplementary School project after the school was bestowed with the CLF Supporting Schools Award.

Hamara’s youth team project was established in 1997, setting up as a response to the demands and concerns from parents, academics and community leaders within the South Leeds community.

Designed to address the problem of children underachieving in the British state schools by identifying barriers that prevent young people from engaging in and enjoying learning, the project’s primary aim is to raise the standard of education in the community.

They do this by creating a progressive, caring and high quality-learning environment for all their students.

Hamara Supplementary School takes place on a Saturday and supports children and young people to achieve good grades in maths, English and science, as well as running a homework club. They work very closely with and make a difference in the local community.

SUCCESS: The Child Friendly Leeds awards were organised by young people across the city

SUCCESS: The Child Friendly Leeds awards were organised by young people across the city

One of the many supporting statements for Hamara said: “[Hamara is] not only a school but a fabulous organisation for children.

“They have several youth clubs such as football with Leeds United, Karate, Roller Skating sessions, evening football, cricket tournaments and much more.

“Their holiday play scheme attracts children of all ages and backgrounds organising trips, fun days out and brings arts and culture to the community.

“I think it really is a great place for children and young people and with the community café, its doors are always open to young people and new ideas.

“Many children living in the local area are from BME and therefore some have complex issues and Hamara works with them to provide a safe environment with a range of staff supporting their every need. Children also have access to jobs and support with education, work and training.”

The prestigious awards ceremony was organised by a group of eight young people who made up ‘The CFL Crew’.

The ‘crew’ – some as young as twelve, decided on a colourful carnival theme for the ceremony which was watched by an audience of nearly 400 people including city leaders and VIP guests.

Cllr Lucinda Yeadon, executive member responsible for children and families said: “I would like to congratulate all the winners, those shortlisted and all the nominees - they are shining examples of what it really means to be child friendly.”

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Inspirational father seeks closure over son’s murder

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WINNER: Tariq receives his ‘Celebrating Success’ Award from Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council

WINNER: Tariq receives his ‘Celebrating Success’ Award from Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council

‘Celebrating Success’ Awards recognise charity work of the Haroon Jehan Foundation

A man whose son was killed in the Winson Green riots in Birmingham was honoured with the ‘Special Initiative Award’ at the 6th Annual Hamara Awards, hosted at the Aagrah Midpoint in Bradford.

Tariq Jehan, aged 50, has an online petition that has gathered nearly 18,000 signatures, and demands that the Home Secretary set up a public inquiry to re-examine the police investigation into the murders of his son, Haroon Jehan - and  two other men called Shazad Ali and Abdul Musavir - in the riots of August 2011.

Mr Jehan wants a public enquiry so that answers can be provided to the families and to ensure that those responsible for the unlawful killings are brought to justice, as no-one has yet been convicted for the crimes as the trial collapsed.

The inquiry has since been backed by Prince William and Prime Minister David Cameron has previously invited him to Downing Street for talks about the situation.

Since the tragic event happened, Mr Jehan has become an inspiration to the community after taking part in charity work in Syria and the Greek island of Lesbos. He has also set up a charity in his son’s name: the Haroon Jehan Foundation.

During his award speech, Mr Jehan said: “Four years on, who am I but a father, who was a simple lorry driver. Then we had the riots, I lost my son and now I go around the world helping people.”

HAPPINESS: Tariq celebrating with Hanif Malik, CEO of the Hamara Centre

HAPPINESS: Tariq celebrating with Hanif Malik, CEO of the Hamara Centre

He continued: “I thought there couldn’t be anything more painful than losing a child. But a charity organization brought me to Syria in 2012 and I saw it with my own eyes.

“I picked up children whose limbs had been blown off and took them to hospital. One little girl who had lost her arm thought I was an angel.”

Mr Jehan went on to say that the media only tells part of the story and that the public sees just half of the suffering that takes place.

He finished off his speech by emphasising: “We are one big family.”

Hamara Community Awards branded this year's event as ‘Celebrating Success’. The awards aim to recognise the contribution of individuals or groups who continue to have a positive influence on the region.

Joined on the night were representatives of high profile sports teams, such as the Leeds Rhinos and Yorkshire County Cricket Club. The winning individuals received their accolades in front of a packed audience.

 

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‘Celebrating Success’: Sixth annual Hamara Awards recognise Yorkshire’s finest

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WINNERS: The Celebrating Success award recipients

WINNERS: The Celebrating Success award recipients

Yorkshire’s unsung heroes were propelled into the spotlight last week as the Hamara Awards returned for a sixth year to commend the county’s community stalwarts.

Hamara Community Awards branded this year's event as  – ‘Celebrating Success’, and once again aimed to recognise the contribution of individuals or groups who continue to have a positive influence on the region.

SPORTS: Yorkshire CCC and Leeds Rhinos were presented with special awards for their sporting success over the previous season

SPORTS: Yorkshire CCC and Leeds Rhinos were presented with special awards for their sporting success over the previous season

Joined by representatives of high profile sports teams, such as Yorkshire County Cricket Club and Leeds Rhinos, individuals received their accolades in front of a packed audience at Aagrah Midpoint.

Habib Khan, speaking on behalf of the event organisers, said he wanted to make the night the ‘biggest yet’.

“When we were organising this year’s awards, we knew we had to make it bigger than any of its predecessors,” he said.

“With so much happening in Yorkshire right now, from the sport teams’ successes in cricket and rugby, to the opening of The Broadway Shopping Centre, the opening of the New John Lewis Centre in Leeds, White Rose Shopping Centre opening a new Cinema Complex in 2016  and the Capital of Culture Bid for Leeds, we decided to theme the event as the ‘Celebrating Success’.

“Every winner thoroughly deserved their award on the night.”

Amongst the entertainment on show were Bollywood dancers, previous Hamara Award winner Bethany Hare, and a young 10-year-old performer.

Guests also witnessed a specially organised boxing match between guests, Ikram Butt and Starr Zaman, who were themselves surprised on the night with the activity.

SPORTS: Yorkshire CCC and Leeds Rhinos were presented with special awards for their sporting success over the previous season

SPORTS: Yorkshire CCC and Leeds Rhinos were presented with special awards for their sporting success over the previous season

“The awards were our most successful yet and guests certainly enjoyed themselves as well as the award winners,” Habib added.

“A big thank you must go out to all those who helped make the night possible this year.”

Six main awards were handed out including the: Women’s Achievement Award (Halima Khan), Community Organisation of the Year (LASSN), Young Person (Maryam Ali), Service to the Community (Caroline Whitehead), Lifetime Achievement (Gurdev Dahele) MBE, and Special Initiative (Haroon Jehan Foundation).

Sponsors of this year’s event included: Asian Express newspaper, ITC, White Rose Shopping Centre, South Leeds Academy, Yorkshire CCC and Islamic Relief. We Look forward to Hamara Community Awards 2016.

TALENTED: Mohammed Sabir, from Aagrah, receives a Celebrating Success award for 30-years of business from Hamara’s Mohammed Farouk

TALENTED: Mohammed Sabir, from Aagrah, receives a Celebrating Success award for 30-years of business from Hamara’s Mohammed Farouk

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Community spirit: Local champions blossom at White Rose awards

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COMMENDED: Hamara Healthy Living Centre CEO, Hanif Malik, and Business Development Manager, Habib Khan, receive their ‘Extra Mile’ award from White Rose Shopping Centre Manager, Dean Stratton

COMMENDED: Hamara Healthy Living Centre CEO, Hanif Malik, and Business Development Manager, Habib Khan, receive their ‘Extra Mile’ award from White Rose Shopping Centre Manager, Dean Stratton

A community organisation in Beeston, which raised two truck-loads of aid for Syrian refugees earlier this year, has been commended at a prestigious awards ceremony.

The fourth annual White Rose Shopping Centre Community Awards paid tribute to the Hamara Healthy Living Centre last month in the newest category - the Extra Mile award.

Set up to commend organisations which go out of their way to help others, the Leeds team were selected for their work with the Syrian refugee crisis.

Attendees at the awards last month heard how Hamara, acting as a collection point for food, clothing, toiletries and bedding, received enough donations within a matter of weeks to fill two large garages.

Many of the goods have already been distributed to refugees abroad whilst the remaining collection will be handed out to refugees arriving in Leeds.

SMILES: Brother and sisters, Arooje and Adie Khan, were awarded for their committed volunteering work with the Give a Gift initiative

SMILES: Brother and sisters, Arooje and Adie Khan, were awarded for their committed volunteering work with the Give a Gift initiative

Hamara CEO, Hanif Malik, was presented with the ‘Extra Mile’ award alongside colleague Habib Khan, and the pair paid tribute to the generosity of the local public.

“We made the appeal for donations after seeing these shocking images of refugees struggling around the world,” Hanif said.

“For the past two years we have worked alongside organisations such as PAFRAS (Positive Action For Refugees and Asylum Seekers) and have heard of the struggles individuals and families can face.”

He continued: “The appeal was a huge success thanks to the generous actions of the local community and we have to thank everyone who has helped, with a special mention for the White Rose Shopping Centre.

“We are now working with organisations to get the aid sent over to those who need it most and hope it can help make a difference to just some refugees.”

As well as being recognised for its collective work, two young Hamara members received a joint award for the tireless work they have done raising money for the Leeds Children’s Heart Surgery Fund and Martin House Children’s Hospice.

CHAMPIONS: 20 community champions were awarded at the fourth annual White Rose Shopping Centre Community Awards last month

CHAMPIONS: 20 community champions were awarded at the fourth annual White Rose Shopping Centre Community Awards last month

11-year-old, Arooje Khan, and her 10-year-old brother, Adie, volunteer with the Give a Gift team, of which both Habib and Hanif are also ambassadors. Their tireless fundraising efforts earned them ‘Achievement Awards’ last month.

Hanif added: “Arooje and Adie have worked really hard with the Give a Gift team for a long time so it is nice to see them recognised in these awards.

“We have a fantastic team of volunteers who help the project grow every year and we are always on the lookout for new ways to support these two fantastic charities.”

Other commendations at this year’s Community Awards included Chrissy Silvey, from Kippax, who not only gives up her spare time to work as a Dementia Awareness Champion, but also volunteers as a Community First Responder as well as holding down a full-time job.

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‘Wake-up call’ art display highlights online issues

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ART: Maryam Ali adds to the wall display highlighting online risks to Muslim children

ART: Maryam Ali adds to the wall display highlighting online risks to Muslim children

Examining the real risk to Muslim children on the internet

An internet safety project, involving mothers and daughters from Leeds, has revealed a ‘worrying lack of awareness of online risks’ such as bullying and grooming.

Parents of children as young as nine-years-old admitted to not knowing about possible dangers when online, allowing their youngsters to browse freely on tablets and smart phone devices.

However, the case of three British schoolgirls who travelled to Syria last month to join with IS militants was a ‘wake-up call’ for the parents according to the project leaders.

Funded by an ‘Awards for All’ National Lottery grant, the scheme involved around 20 mothers and daughters from the local Muslim community, concluding with the unveiling of a three-dimensional art piece last week.

It began with discussions and debate around how children today are introduced to such advanced technology by parents, who have little knowledge or awareness about the dangers.

The views and concerns expressed were then translated into the final piece of art in the form of a large wall hanging made from wire, nuts, bolts and other materials found around the home.

The intricate installation depicts a series of issues such as online bullying, sexual grooming and addiction to gadgets and was unveiled at the Hamara Healthy Living Centre on Monday 9th March.

EXPLORE: Nasreen shares her views on the display, developed over a six week project

EXPLORE: Nasreen shares her views on the display, developed over a six week project

Delivered by leadership and arts development consultants, Zareen Ahmed and Saiqa Ehsan, from 21st Century Citizen (21CC) and Silverleaf Arts, the prior said she was ‘at times’ surprised during the project.

“Surprisingly, some participants told us that they had never even heard of internet grooming, and they had given their sons and daughters as young as nine, smart phones and tablets without any consideration of the possible dangers,” Zareen said.

CEO of the Hamara Centre, Hanif Malik added: “The recent shock of the teenage girls who have run away to Syria is a wake-up call for parents to become more aware of these issues.

“We want to warn them that when your child is at home texting on the phone, he or she could in fact be talking to someone on the other side of the world.”

Mr Malik continued by describing how the creative art approach had enabled participants who, for whatever reason found it difficult to express themselves, to communicate their feelings through art.

He explained that the wall hanging was fun and interactive, giving people the opportunity to add their own opinions to one of the sections. “It’s a great catalyst for getting young people and their parents talking more openly about these critical issues”, he said.

FINISHED: Participants stand with the final project as it is unveiled at the Hamara Healthy Living Centre

FINISHED: Participants stand with the final project as it is unveiled at the Hamara Healthy Living Centre

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KHUSHI- Dil Ki Baatein

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A brand new project has been launched in Leeds to help people with mental health problems overcome their condition.

Set up by Hamara, and funded by ‘Time to Change’, the ‘Khushi project’ works with volunteers who have lived experience of mental health issues be it individually or as a carer for a loved one.

Whether it is experience with stress, depression, post-natal depression, bi-polar, or anything to do with mental health; the project allows people affected by these often debilitating conditions to make ‘social contact’ through ‘meaningful conversations’.
Khushi
The phrase ‘Social Contact’ refers to a conversation between someone with experience of mental health problems and with someone without, discussing the challenges faced by the prior.

Meeting someone who is open about their experiences and having the chance to ask questions,  is something the Khushi project utilises to make people think twice about commonly held stereotypes.

Hamara will be working closely with partner agencies in order to engage with individuals from the public who have little or no experience of mental health in an attempt to change attitudes towards the issue and to challenge stigma and discrimination.

By providing a service that will help improve public attitudes and behaviour towards mental health issues, the Khushi project aims to reduce the number of people facing stigma and discrimination in relation to their mental health.

Everyone has mental health -  A ‘good mental health day’ may be a day whereby you are feeling happy, positive and energetic, whilst  a ‘bad mental health day’ may be  someone feeling upset, not wanting to socialise. The term ‘mental health’ itself, is seen as negative.

Other kinds of mental health illnesses are OCD (obseessive compulsive disorder), self harm and eating disorders. Having any kind of mental illness is not something to be embarrassed about or feel ashamed about.

It is a serious topic to be discussed because some people often lose their lives due to lack of support from family or because they are seen to be possessed by an evil spirit and are taken to a ‘priest/molvi’ to have the spirit/jinn exorcised.

Khushi will stimulate open debate and discussion about mental health problems for the first time in the south Asian community in Yorkshire.

The project is working in partnership with South Asian Arts (SAA-uk), an organisation that uses and performs traditional and contemporary Indian Music and Dance.

‘Time to Change’ is England's biggest programme to end the stigma and discrimination faced by people with mental health problems. The programme is run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness, and funded by the Department of Health and Comic Relief.

Anyone who has experienced anything like stress, depression, or grievance of a loved one, and would like to make a difference and challenge negative preceptions are encouraged to get in touch with the project.

If anyone is interested in becoming a volunteer they should contact
Tayba on 0113 249 7762
or tayba@hamara.co.uk

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