In July, as Ramadan (the time when the majority of Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset) approached, the Health Information Project (me!) and Bengali Outreach workers Sultana and Yeasmin were discussing the health implications of going over twelve hours without a crumb of food and more importantly, a drop of water.
We decided to get together with Meena Malek, who runs the wonderful Bengali ladies social club on a Wednesday afternoon at Church Street Library, and put on a Pre-Ramadan Health Information event.
The ladies from the social club and many others from the local Bengali community took the opportunity to hear basic fasting facts and to ask important questions regarding the health implications, which were answered with no-nonsense advice by five NHS dieticians from the Kickstart teams (early years nutrition programmes for under fives and under fourteens, working with families).
We were also lucky enough to have the Black and Ethnic Minorities Juvenile Diabetes Champion, Aderonke Jomo Coco, who campaigns tirelessly for more education around preventing Type 2 diabetes in young people.
There was a good turnout and a family atmosphere and everyone enjoyed the tasty samosa snacks as well as the opportunity to ask the experts lots of questions. Sheila from the Munro Alternative Therapists’ Co-operative gave wonderful hand massages which were a real treat.
The end of Ramadan is celebrated with a party, an Eid party; so Yeasmin and Sultana got together with Tareq from the Bengali Carers’ Network to organise a brilliant party which took place at the Beethoven Centre in Queen’s Park last week.
After another health event elsewhere, I raced over to the Centre where more than 60 adults and around 40 children were having a great time. There were book and bric a brac stalls, wonderful food, children’s activities directed by librarian Lucy from Queen’s Park Library, dancing, a raffle that flowed on and on with a stream of prizes. Wearing my healthy hat, I tried not to wince at the amount of chocolate vanishing into eager hands then mouths, washed down with dayglo fizzy drinks – well, it was a special occasion!
All in all everyone enjoyed themselves and I am really pleased that Westminster Libraries played its part in bringing about these community events.