Stitching together for a fairer future
So far in 2023, Naseem Khan has opened a new not-for-profit cafe to benefit the Milton Keynes community, and launched a YouTube channel to teach lovers of fine Punjabi fare how to spice up their lives.
Of course she also runs two branches of her Namji restaurant and works as a ward Councillor.
Plenty to be getting on with you might think, but not so – Naseem has been busy cooking up a new plan to benefit the community in Milton Keynes; the Stitch Together Project.
“The sewing classes will help women, in particular those from the BAME community, to achieve their potential and build cohesive communities by creating a society in which people from different ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds can come together in a central venue to safely learn new skills, have food and fun, and build mutual respect and understanding,” Naseem said.
“My mum always sewed all of our clothes and it made her very happy! This project is in her memory. My mum was such an inspiration to me and I want to carry that forward.
“It will empower women who want to learn a new skill,” Naseem added, explaining this new sewing machine scheme, “Long term, the aim will be to raise enough funds to enable the ladies to purchase their own machines, which in turn can provide them with an income of their own, or give them the skills to save money during a time of financial crisis.”
The venture has won support from The National Lottery’s Community Fund, which has awarded it almost £10,000.
“I am pleased to see the Stitch Together Project has been awarded the funding it deserves and Naseem can start working with women from all over MK who can come together to learn how to sew and discuss any issues or concerns they may have in a friendly, relaxed social environment,” said Zulf Awan, Community Engagement Manager with Milton Keynes City Council, “I am sure it will be a great success.”
The project will run from the newly opened Desi Community Cafe in the heart of Milton Keynes, with morning lessons being given. Classes will be limited to 15 people at a time, and Naseem is already sewing new ideas together: “Looking ahead, I see this expanding further, so that we can increase other life and work skills; things like accountancy and English language, and how to improve confidence.
“If we all work together, we’ll improve lives and bring about a better sense of togetherness in our community.”
To apply for one of the courses, or if you would like to give your time to share your knowledge, please email [email protected]