HOW BRITISH ASIAN WOMEN HAVE BROUGHT BRIGHT
RAYS OF LIGHT DURING THE DARK TIMES OF COVID-19
by MITA MISTRY
THE Covid-19 crisis has cast a giant shadow across the world and made life difficult for everyone, but there have been rays of light during these decidedly dark times.
Many have stepped up to make good things happen or have had something great gifted to them during lockdown.
Eastern Eye decided to inject some hope into self-isolation sadness by finding out good things that have happened to people during lockdown.
Minreet Kaur: My mum and I started a cake challenge on June 1 for 13 days to bake eggless cakes for the Covid heroes. We chose eggless, as we are Sikh, and 13 as a number, because it is special for us. We missed the Vaisakhi celebrations, so wanted to do something to give back, as selfless service is so important to my family and me. We started this challenge by visiting one person per day, but ended up surprising so many heroes doing amazing work during lockdown with cakes. These included a carer, homeless shelter, fire station, NHS, police, hospice, businesses and many more around West London. The smile on people’s faces was so lovely to see.
We have continued baking cakes once a week. The thing that has kept us going in lockdown is seeing others smile. Stay happy, strong and have faith we will be ok, and we will get through this.
Saima Duhare: During lockdown, we, at Halal Fresh, were fortunate to serve existing and new customers, including those with restrictions. We also, as a business, got actively involved with our local Mutual Aid Food Bank Willesden, based in North West London, which was set up as a cross community collaboration, supporting people with food and essentials, particularly those most vulnerable. We prepared food parcels consisting of fresh fruit, vegetables and essentials to ensure people were having a nutritional meal.
The fact that £30,000 was given by generous local residents, in record-breaking time, made a truly community spirit come together in tough times. We had a force of over 100 volunteers, who selflessly offered their time to deliver food parcels all over Brent, so that people didn’t have to leave their homes. We delivered over 10,000 meals in just a few months.
Bhavini Dhutia: I started Vaani – The Language School during lockdown to teach Hindi online. Having grown up in Mumbai, I speak several Indian languages fluently. With a desire to teach Indian languages to my own son, I wanted to start Hindi classes in Harrow last year, but life got in the way. Lockdown gave me the opportunity to launch teaching online with two fully booked batches at the outset itself. My beacon of hope during this difficult time when my job was at risk will now come in handy as I lose my day job. My biggest win is that children love my lessons, and I am keeping the next generation connected to our roots.
Bhavna Radia: With lockdown came a huge increase in relationship breakdowns. As a family solicitor and mediator, I am privileged I can help people going through such trauma. The long working hours to keep up as a single mum of three children was a tough balancing act. But knowing that I made a difference to so many lives during such unprecedented times made it worthwhile.
My biggest achievement during lockdown was helping couples to get divorced with kindness. They worked together, taking a step at a time, while truly focussing on their children and healing their emotions along the way. I know from my own life journey, the pain and devastation divorce brings. In these times of anguish and worsening mental health, I am proud and inspired by these amazing parents that took the decision to separate positively. They are the heroes of the story; I am merely their guide.
Natasha Gupta: As a restaurant designer, lockdown meant all existing work was stopped and new contracts pulled. I have a history of mental health issues, so knew immediately this would be a trigger for me and others in the industry. So I brought together a team of experts from the industry and set up a series of educational webinars.
Hundreds of people attended them with so many telling me it was their lifeline when they felt alone and helpless. The hospitality industry has been through a really tough time, but through the pandemic, they have shown so much resilience and willingness to adapt. It is so nice to know I have been able to help people at such a difficult time. I still have people telling me how much it helped save their business and gave them a new lifeline.
Savi Taylor: Lockdown brought us so much positive energy. As a family, we embraced it and felt stronger. Unfortunately, some others struggled and mental health was becoming an issue. My husband and I wanted to help and that is how ukfitclub.com was born. We created a platform offering pilates and fitness classes from London, and hatha yoga from India.
Members can now join live or watch back on replay with 40 new classes added a month. We are very excited for the future and the number of people we can help. Health is the ultimate wealth, and lockdown totally reinforced this for us and our family