CHAPTER I – INTRODUCTION
1.1 Introduction about the Organisation:
Tigers International Association – TIA was formed by a group of British Bangladeshi professionals, inspired to work with and help Bangladeshi people residing in the UK and abroad. We are working with local government offices and other various voluntary organisations to provide support in the field of education, employment, health, leisure and recreation.
TIA based at 259 Featherstall Road North, Oldham, a terraced property, which has been adapted to provide office space together with a moderately sized meeting room. Its Management Committee is drawn from members of the local community, and the services that it provides benefit the local community as a whole.
It is a registered charity which has been in existence for over 12 years. Since it was founded, TIA and its team of volunteers have worked tirelessly to support the Bangladeshi community in the Greater Manchester area with advice, guidance and basic training to empower people to play their part in society.
Over the 10 years of its existence, the TIA has created and still enjoys many useful and strong partnerships which help it to deliver real benefits and services to the residents of the Greater Manchester community.
Our charity is simple, supportive and effective. Our objective is to increase confidence in education and better chances in life. TIA is based in Oldham to primarily work with the Local people and make a positive impact in the community
TIA’s vision for the organisation was sixth fold. Firstly, to promote the benefit of the public especially the Bengali community in the UK and abroad without distinction of sex, race, religion, political or other opinions by associating together with the public and voluntary organisations in a common effort to advance education, training, leisure and recreation.
Secondly, to work with the Bangladeshi community in the UK and abroad to create a social network in order to share the cultures of the various host communities to propagate understanding and tolerance by educating people in the cultural diversity of various communities and promoting understanding of the different cultures of the world (community cohesion).
Thirdly, The relief of persons who are in need by the provision of advice and information in such matters as immigration, money debts, welfare benefits, housing, health, education, training and employment.
Fourthly, TIA’s aim is to provide relief, whenever necessary to the victims of natural disasters of any communities in the world.
Fifthly, advance the education of the public in the arts and cultural activities in particular through exhibitions, workshops and performances so as to promote the development of public appreciation of music, drama and literature.
Sixthly, TIA’s aim is to advance education and provide relief of unemployment for the benefit of the public by the establishment of an institution to deliver vocational training courses, provide work experience, and develop relationships with job centres, employers and other agencies to provide assistance to find employment.
More specifically, TIA working with the local community and setting up various educational training and providing efficient help and support within Education, Training and advice projects based on local needs or community would benefit from.
TIA is focusing on developing activity in each of the areas; advice centre, training and community projects. We want to take advantage of our unique emphasis on educational and cultural learning and development opportunities.
This is truly being a community based charity organisation with membership open to individuals who will share our aims and objectives. General members are recruited to the TIA development committee, which have been formed. Through these local committees a professional network has already been created. This will help immensely in delivering TIA’s objectives.
TIA strengths are ongoing support from volunteers, effective financial management, effective communications between staff and community members, heart of the community, only organisation aiming primarily for Bangladeshi people although open to all, strong link with Local authority and other committee members, well known and respected organisation activities, and proven track record over 10 years of community and voluntary activities.
Over the years, the TIA has gained respect of local people who rely heavily on the services including advice and information. TIA successfully delivered numerous projects for the benefit of local people, working with the statutory and voluntary sectors and the business community. This partnership approach has enabled it go further and faster in helping people meet a variety of needs.
TIA aim is to promote volunteering and provide opportunities for individuals to become involved in volunteering activities. TIA aim is to provide a great standard of customer service to its communities and provide them with a simple effective service for all their personal and development needs. TIA has structured this very carefully so the support provided by TIA will be proficient.
Today’s Bangladeshi community in Greater Manchester is very different from those who arrived as the first wave of migrants. Our Project “the Oral History of Bangladeshis’ in Greater Manchester” highlights this progress four generations on. Today, the community is well integrated into mainstream society but inequality and disadvantage in accessing services still exist, that is why TIA exists.
However, over the years, we have had to adapt to the changing needs and expectations of the community. Whereas in the early days, it was about language, access to basic services and communication issues, today, the challenges are mirroring those experienced by the mainstream communities. Unemployment, drugs, crime etc are affecting the community. We are working with mainstream agencies in a partnership role to better inform them of the needs and expectations of our still hard to reach community. As ever, we work with very limited resources, supporting ever increasing numbers and higher demands for our services.
TIA’s is connected with the world wide community by Facebook and other social network. The community benefited in exchanging news and views through these online services. In the past the TIA has developed two projects in Bangladesh, one in Sylhet and another one in Barishall. We have also plan to do two projects, one is re-housing projects for poor people and another one is to develop a medical college and a hospital in Sylhet.
We are creating a growing number of role models representing diverse fields and are all proud to be British and Bangladeshi. Their success is down to the hard work and dedication of many of our volunteers. More importantly, their success, our success is down to many of the parents and grandparents, respected elders who took part in the Oral History project and who are now reaping the benefits of the hard work.
Our young people and community is progressing, moving forward, achieving success and creating role models for future generations. TIA is proud to lay its part in helping to bring about the small changes that will have a huge impact in the future.
TIA has and continues to work with volunteers to provide most of our services. Encouraging local people in the community to give something back has been our greatest success and this is the most powerful way to show the community that change and improvements are possible.
1.2 Introduction of the Oral History Project
The long-term migration has from Bangladesh is a well-known phenomenon. A good number of people who are of Bangladeshi origin now reside in different countries of the world as long-term migrants. Industrialised countries of Europe, North America and Australia are the most important destinations of these long-term emigrants.
The People of Bangladeshi have made their marks in many fields ranging from economic activities to the academic arena. They have developed successful enterprises. The restaurant industry is one such enterprise that brought the long-term emigrant Bangladeshis to the forefront. Due to the hard work done by the Bangladeshis, curry has become the second staple food of the UK.
Along with host countries, Bangladesh has also made significant gains from long term immigration of a section of its population. Long-term emigrants played a glorious role during the war of independence of Bangladesh. The continuous flow of remittance is another of their well-recognised contributions. New export markets have opened up for Bangladesh. Bengali ethnic goods, cultural and spiritual materials are being exported to different countries of the world to cater to the demand created by long-term emigrants.
The emigrant population is also showing an interest to invest. Regular visits to Bangladesh by the emigrant population play a positive role in developing the economy in general. The UK immigrants Bangladeshis are also getting involved in local and national politics.
This opens up new opportunities for influencing public policies in favour of Bangladeshi community. The emigrant population has certain emotional, social and cultural requirements for which they want to maintain a certain degree of relationship with Bangladesh. This in many cases results in economic, social and cultural interactions.
Different studies on migration have shown that the migrant community can work as a bridge between host (UK) and their home country, and migrants’ economic and social interaction can be beneficial for all three parties; the migrant, the host country and the home country.
The Governments of Bangladesh have gradually realised the importance of its emigrant communities. The seventh parliamentary Government took the most decisive step in this respect and created a separate ministry, the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment, in order to efficiently manage the migration sector. The Ministry has been entrusted with the duties of managing both long-term and short-term migration.
Since the mid-1970s, the Government of Bangladesh has been involved in regulating and controlling short-term labour migration, long-term migration. However, is a completely new area of Government’s intervention. The aims of the Ministry in this area is to ensure the well being of the long term emigrants, as well as to create space for them to participate in the development process of Bangladesh.
In order to do so, the Government needs to develop a concrete plan of action. Moreover, there hardly exists any systematic information base to plan the sector. There is no information about nature of emigrant Bangladeshi communities abroad, their professional expertise, and types of problems they face either in the country of immigration or the country of their origin. Besides, the Government also requires identifying the needs for capacity building of its functionaries for the efficient management of this sector.
Hence, it is important to undertake an in-depth study on the issue to ensure efficient use of the limited resources of the Government. This study is a modest attempt to provide the policy makers, civil society organisations, private sector and the emigrant community with necessary information to develop policies and strategies in this regard. The Long-term emigrant community of Bangladesh is much dispersed.
However, the overwhelming majority Bangladeshi immigrants reside in the UK. Due to time and resource constraints this study was based on the experiences of emigrant Bangladeshis in the UK.
The objectives of the study can be divided into two parts: policy objectives and, research objectives.
The research objectives of the studies are:
- Review existing literature and studies on long term emigrant Bangladeshis living particularly in Greater Manchester (UK).
- Trace the processes of their migration and settlement patterns.
- Sketch social, economic and cultural profiles of emigrant Bangladeshi communities.
- Gather data and analyze those for identifying their needs, concerns, and priorities.
- Gauge the level and nature of links of such emigrants with Bangladesh, particularly of the first generation Bangladeshi immigrants.
- Assess scope and the role of immigrant Bangladeshis on the political and economic machineries in formulating policies towards British Bangladeshis.
The policy objectives of the studies are:
- Suggest policy measures to the relevant authorities for addressing immediate and long-term issues of concerns of the emigrant communities of Bangladeshis living in Greater Manchester.
- Suggesting policies and recommendation for the relevant authorities to develop policies and projects for the benefit of the local community.
- Recording the history of first generation Bangladeshi immigrant who migrated to the UK, to share the experience with the wider community and to get benefit from our research.
1.4 Introduction of the Author
Mustak Ahmed Mustafa
Mr. Mustafa is a highly intelligent, educated and a perceptive person. His natural careness, knowledge and experiences have been of great influence and assistance to the Bangladeshi community which have been recognized and appreciated widely throughout the UK and Bangladesh.
Whilst he was in Bangladesh, he was successfully running 2 businesses with the full assistance of his father and was a news reporter and contributors for the “the Weekly Sylhet Songbad”, “Daily Sylheter Dak”, “Potrika” and monthly magazine “Tiloth-thoma”. In 1986 he successfully produced a film named “Shuk Duker Pritibi”; he also took an acting role in the film.
Mr. Mustafa came to the UK in 1989 and has made an impact within the various communities through volunteering and in the management of voluntary organizations. He first became involved with the “Tower Hamlets Homeless Families Campaign” in East London. He has contributed to the delivery of the key objectives such as timely re-housing, school admission and welfare benefits for homeless families. He eventually became one of the management committee members making direct contribution to the planning and development of the project.
He has also worked with the “Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council” as a housing development officer. Whilst he was working there he was also working as a tutor at “Mossley Hollins High School” for GCSE students. He worked with the “BACP” in Rochdale as a senior advice worker and also worked for the “Glodwick SRB project” in Oldham.
Mustafa was actively involved in developing a Credit Union in Hyde and he became the director for the “Hyde Credit Union”. He also played a key role as the trustee of “Croft Millennium Trust”, which negotiated with Tameside Council for a piece of land in Hyde to develop as a children play area. This space is being utilised by children and elderly for socialisation and recreation. He had taken initiative to set up a community learning centre in Hyde by securing funding from National Lottery.
He had done an action research project for Tameside MBC to look into the employment, business, education, housing and health for the Hyde and Bangladeshi community. He was also involved in doing the Bangla audio dubbing for a documentary video project called “Catering for whom?” and translated a part of a poetry book called “Untold words” which was published in 1996.
Mustafa was involved in interviewing participants of the oral history project and he had given support to the volunteers by doing the recordings, editing, transcriptions, translations and finally the publication of it all. He also using his previous experience in undertaking the research work for this history project had given this book an extra strength and added more valuable information for the researcher and the future generation to study this material.
In 2000, Mustafa has written & published a history book called “Bangladeshis in Great Britain” particularly for the Hyde Bangladeshi community. He also contributed as an editor of a Bangla literature magazine called “Setu Bandhan” published in March 2002 by the Tigers International Association -TIA. He had published a book called “Life in the UK Test Guide” in 2007; He also published his own poetry books “Spondon” & “Chetona” in 2013.
He has taken the leading role to set up several different groups in Hyde, Ashton-u-Lyne, Oldham, Rochdale and Manchester. These groups are as followed: Shapla Forum (Community consultation group) Surma Bangladeshi Group (Senior citizen group), Job Club (Bangladeshi unemployed group), Bangladesh Mela Steering Group (Arts & culture), Bangladesh Social Club, and Tigers International Association -TIA. Throughout the years he has organised a number of community events such as; seminars, workshops, festivals and children play schemes, which benefited the Asian communities. In doing so he has given the opportunities to volunteers to develop their various skills including being organised, having leadership and using teamwork.
In 2004 Mustafa successfully set up an Immigration Law Practice focusing on the UK immigration law in Manchester, Birmingham & London. The practice was well established and busy organisation with offices across the North West and London. He is also the executive director of “British Asian Media Group – BAMG” and the chief editor of “Asian Choice” community magazine.
The “Asian Choice” magazine is aiming to accommodate various topics including health, education, employment, training, finance and business for the benefit of the wider community. This publication is targeting the creation of a new audience. Mr. Mustafa is hosting a programme known as “Community Probin” at ATN Bangla and also contributing as a columnist with Bangla Newspaper “Jonosheba”.
Since 1991, Mustafa has been involved with various organisations such as; Manchester TEC, Oldham Business Enterprise, RMBC, Tameside Racial Equality Council (TREC), Oldham Development Agency for Community Action (ODACA) now known as Voluntary Action Oldham – VAO, Manchester Business Link, First Step Project, Stuart Ridgeway, Princes Youth Business Trust, Salford NHS Trust.
Furthermore he has successfully obtained funding from National Lottery Charities Board, BBC Children In Need, North West Arts Board, Princess Youth Business Trust, Tameside MBC, Oldham MBC, Glodwick SRB, Greater Manchester Community Trust, Commonwealth Youth Exchange Council, and BICA for various organisations he worked for.
He seeks truth in each and every area of his life, whether in learning, discussing values or relating to his fellow community members and others. He is seen as one of the most distinguished community and social workers in Greater Manchester.