Posted by: the3rdi | March 31, 2010

The Indian Ladies Club

A WOMEN’S group in Birmingham has been offering a lifeline to new arrivals for nearly 50 years.

The Indian Ladies Club was founded in 1964 by a group of young brides newly arrived in Birmingham and the members have stuck together through thick and thin.

Now they are in their 60s – wives, mothers, grandmothers, businesswomen, doctors, teachers and homemakers, all women who know what it takes to survive in a strange land.

They are still each other’s tower of strength.

Swaran Talwar, now aged 60, recalls: “When I came to England, I had nobody to help me. The club has been my extended family for 30 years.”

The Indian Ladies Club has no fixed address and usually hires a venue for meetings. I met them at the Walker Hall in Edgbaston where they were discussing burning issues such as ‘Do Bollywood actresses have a positive impact on young women?’ and sharing a buffet supper.

There are regular socials, some for members only and others for family and friends. They have raised tens of thousands of pounds for good causes over the years, dividing the money between UK and overseas charities and appeals. And they are supporters of the Lord Mayor’s Relief Fund and the Indian High Commission’s designated charities.

The Indian Ladies Club has worked hard at positive cultural promotion, ensuring that festivals such as Diwali and Vaisakhi are celebrated and that the local community is aware of their meaning and importance.

The children of members are encouraged to take part and to celebrate their cultural heritage while song and dance are often involved in the club’s colourful events.

Despite its long heritage, the Indian Ladies Club is keen to move with the times, says 60-year-old president Rama Joshi,

“We have survived for a long time,” she says, “but we want to grow more and more in the future. We want to expand our activities programme and attract as many younger people as we can.”

* For more information contact the Indian Ladies Club via burjan@blueyonder and 07832 234600.

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