Mohila Ogrojatra: A Community Story by Saleha

By 2nd February 2022 February 10th, 2022 Community Stories, News

Corra believes that diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is fundamental to its ten-year strategy, which centres on three themes: voice, power and change.  At the heart of the strategy is the belief that when people are heard, power shifts towards them and they can help create the change that matters to them.

It has been an honour and privilege to work alongside a group of women who aptly chose the name of their group as ‘Mohila Ograjatra’ which translates to ‘women moving forward’ in Bengali.

Sitting woman in a pink head scarf hijab - Saleha

A huge thank you to Saleha for writing this blog sharing her experience of being a member of Mohila Ogrojatra, an Edinburgh based Bengali Women’s Group.

I joined this group organised by Corra Foundation, in February 2021 during the first lockdown.  When I heard about this group, I was very happy and excited to meet other ladies online from the comfort of my own home, as during the lockdown I was feeling very low in mood.  I was missing all my family immensely as I could not see them physically and because of my fear of dogs, I did not go out for walks.

The initial meeting was very friendly and welcoming, colleagues from Corra Foundation made us feel very comfortable and we soon got to meet many other ladies.  As we progressed meeting every week, we were asked what we would like to do as Corra had got some funding for us.

I was given a laptop to access the zoom meetings which meant my children could carry on with their online classes, with their tablets as schools were off.  We all got to decide on a name and a logo for our group so that it wasn’t just called a ‘ladies group.’

We called our group ‘Mohila Ogrojatra’ which means ‘women moving forward.’ Shasta worked with a graphic designer to design some draft logos and we chose the one that we liked and changed colours as a group, so that we were happy with it.

Pink logo of Mohila Ogrojatra, underneath reads women moving forward
Several pink notebooks, cups and pen with Mohila Ogrojatra logo on them

We were very kindly gifted with a mug, notebook and pen with our group name and logo on them.

A programme decided by us
I looked forward to the sessions every week as it was a platform to chat and listen to others as well as put our ideas forward as to what we all would like to do.  One of my suggestions amongst others was to have an online exercise class as we couldn’t do it in person due to Covid and the gyms were closed too.  We did a chair based exercise class with Louise from Corra Foundation.  We all really enjoyed the class and were surprised that you could actually work up a slight sweat just by doing sitting on a chair and exercising using our arms and legs.  We also did a chair based yoga class from Projekt 42, as some of the ladies wanted to try yoga.

My highlight of the group
Another activity we did as a group which I really, really enjoyed and took further was the planting session.  The women in the group all received a parcel from Corra Foundation with:

  • three pots
  • three bags of soil
  • three different packets of seeds. One was sunflower seeds, second one was coriander and the last pack of was mint seeds.
Three colourful pots with plants sitting on the kitchen counter
Standing woman in blue flowery head scarf hijab holding a box with pots and seeds - Saleha

We all joined the zoom session and planted the seeds together.  It was so much fun and we had a laugh too as Shasta was getting herself all messy and didn’t know if she was planting the seeds the right way!

 

Here is proof that she did, as Shasta’s plants grew!

Three colourful pots with herbs sitting on the window sill

Unfortunately, none of my plants survived, but that didn’t stop me from planting capsicum seeds and I was very lucky to get two green capsicums.

I decided that I would dig a patch in my back garden to grow corriander and tomatoes and for my first time in gardening, I think I did very well.  I managed to grow corriander, fenugreek, mustard, peppers and tomato.

Green outdoor plant
Herbs growing outdoors
Green, leafy plant in a pot on the grass

Learning Sessions
I really enjoyed and found interesting the talk Dr Lubna Kerr did on healthy eating.  We learned about what kinds of foods to eat and when. It was very useful for me to know that rice bran oil was a healthy fat than vegetable or sunflower oil, and that you should always drink at least two litres or eight glasses of water a day and try not to eat a heavy meal after 7pm.

Edinburgh Bus Tour

Several women wearing head scarf hijabs with children standing in front of Edinburgh Sightseeing bus

Myself and many of the other ladies from the group have been living in Edinburgh for a long time but we are unfamiliar with a lot of places to visit and see.  It was my first time on a tour bus, but thanks to this opportunity, I sat on the open top bus, put on my headphones and just enjoyed the talk as we went past each historic place.  We started our journey from St Andrew Square and went past many places including Grassmarket, the National Museum of Scotland on the famous Chamber Street, Dynamic Earth and Palace of Holyrood House to name a few.

Several women wearing head scarf hijabs with children sitting on the open deck of a Edinburgh Tour Bus

Since joining the group we have found that we have gained more confidence in talking and listening.  We can interact and speak with confidence and some ladies have even managed to get themselves a part time job.

I feel very happy that I have been a part of this group Mohila Ogrojatra and I have made lots of new friends.  Many of the ladies in the group do not speak fluent English and I was able to help with translating and helping the ladies understand.

Moving forward I would like to see more training courses set up like sewing classes in person teaching cutting, dress making and how to use a sewing machine.

Thank you Corra Foundation.

Saleha

 

You can also read a story from another member of Mohila Ogrojatra.

Mohila Ogrojatra is a community led grantmaking project funded through The Equity Programme.

We, at Corra learned so much from Ishrat (Co-ordinator) and the women of Mohila Ogrojatra, from what mattered to them, to the activities they chose collectively that would benefit them as a group of Minority Ethnic women. It certainly got us thinking and reflecting on what we can and should do more as an anti-racist funder.

Share this...