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Serving Food


  • To promote access to services, health, social services, education, and employment. 

  • To promote and improve the health and wellbeing of women, their families, and communities in surrounding areas in Essex. The association will provide culturally sensitive activities to promote health and well-being amongst the members.

  • To empower women and their families to develop their capacity, skills, and confidence to contribute to their communities.

  •  The association will work closely with statutory bodies and network with voluntary organisations with a similar aim.

  •  To help improve the information provided by statutory agencies by encouraging them to provide advocacy, interpreting and translation services in English/Sylheti.

  • To deliver excellent services through a well-governed, well-managed, efficient, and highly effective organisation.

  • On 26th February 2019, the organisation was re-named ‘Bangladeshi Women’s Association Essex (BWAE) CIC’ and registered as CIC.

Who We Are: Quote
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Mrs Jahanara Loqueman 
Director & Chairperson

How It Started

Just a little background as to how the group was formed ………. Jahanara Loqueman visited the Colchester town library after a tragic event. A particular leaflet caught Jahanara’s attention “Colchester's Own Health Service – What do you think?”

Who We Are: Mission

Our Board and Team

One Vision

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Tahera Khan

Co-Founder & Director

Tahera found life difficult when she first moved to Colchester in 1974. She didn’t speak English and was fully reliant on her husband. She didn’t know how to use local services like public transport, healthcare and schools. There were very few Bangladeshi families but she didn't have much social life or support network. 

By 2001, more Bangladeshi families started settling in Colchester but they faced the same challenges. She had known Mrs Loqueman for years and met up with her with another lady - Mrs Bushra Haque. It was proposed at the meeting that a women’s group for the community is set up. Tahera was asked to participate and she replied “I’m with you all the way”. 

Rujina Quddus

Director and Secretary

Rujina came to the UK aged 1 and lived in Manchester and later moved to Colchester in 1986.  She grew up always having to translate and acting as an interpreter for her parents especially for her mother who spoke very little English.  Her mother was diagnosed with a rare neurological disease (Cortical Basal Degeneration) in 2013. Her mother particularly suffered a lot due to becoming ill suddenly and ending with disability due to neurological disease about six years ago.  This is when she realised there was nothing to support her or her family.

She has been an active member of BWAE since 2006.  She is passionate about supporting our community and always tried to utilise her skills to help the organisation grow.  Like many, she came to this country with her parents as a young girl.  She grew up knowing the hardship of not being able to access services. 

She has been actively involved in several local initiatives including  setting up and coordinating the whole Bangladeshi catering service that empowers, build the capacity and confidence of women to earn some income. 

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Salma Ahmed

Project Officer, Director

Like many other British Bangladeshis, Salma's origin in England starts with her father and uncle who migrated to England in 1970’s. Her mother joined her father in England in 1980’s. She finally move to England at 9 years old along with her eldest sister and two younger brothers.
From her early 20’s, her work and involvement in local community work was inspired by Jahanara Loqueman to improve the quality of life for ethic minority communities. Growing up, she began to see communities growing and how many were socially isolated for severral reasons left feeling alone and vulnerable. Individuals were experiencing difficulties and facing barriers in particularly accessing services and language which was a huge barrier for many.  Black, Asian and minority ethnic population were disadvantaged across many areas and required support. There were no services tailored to meet the needs of the community.  
In 2001, the local Bangladeshi community members came together to identify community needs and she has contributed to growing the organisation today known as “Bangladeshi Women’s association Essex”. She was actively involved in setting up the organisation and have been in the Management Committee from day one to date. She implemented ideas for community projects and development and delivered new projects. Over the years, she gained lots of voluntary experience and with her personal experiences and community issues, this has driven my passion for working with and advocating for the Bangladeshi community.
She is in Early Years education, and currently as a Project officer for BWAE Community Ambition Programme passionate and motivated in being a voice and representation of the Bangladeshi Community addressing issues that affect the community.
She would like to acknowledge the help and support of many members who have helped to support the organisation grow.

Solma Ahmed

Project Co-ordinator

Solma Ahmed has been a key member of BWAE since her return to Colchester in 2015.  She bags a proven track record in housing and the voluntary sector; former Chief Executive of a Housing Association based in Tower Hamlets and Advisor in the Central Government.  She successfully created many voluntary organisations in Tower Hamlets starting with homeless projects for women organisations that dealt with health, education and employment.  She then established the first counselling service and two women’s refuges in the Borough. Her passion is to support community development and in particular, focusing on women’s empowerment. 
She feels working-class women generally face multiple barriers but people of colour particularly are disadvantaged by their situation due to race, religion and gender. She aims to establish BWAE as an organisation, most importantly grows women who contribute to BWAE, to realise their full potential, to contribute to the wider society.  She wants to see BWAE grow from strength to strength and to be recognised as an organisation that has the capability and reputation to work with statutory and non-statutory bodies.

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Who We Are: Meet the Team
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