Local hospitals celebrate South Asian Heritage Month

Activities hosted throughout the month included colleagues sharing stories of their South Asian heritage, a performance of the classical Indian dance, Bharatanatyam, and traditional South Asian dishes served after the event.

South Asian Heritage Month (SAHM) raises the profile of British South Asian heritage and history in the UK through education, arts, culture and commemoration, with the goal of helping people to better understand the diversity of present-day Britain.

Nagmol Karrikadan, Staff Nurse at Bassetlaw Hospital, performs the classical Indian dance, Bharatanatyam

Guest speakers at the event, which hosted approximately 40 people, included members of the Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion team, such as Kirby Hussain, Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Lead for the Trust.

Kirby spoke about his upbringing and reminisced fondly of trips to Pakistan. Particularly of the large, rickety, bridge, which was the only link to his village, that he was too scared to cross as a child.

Other speakers included fellow EDI team members Aziz Rehman and Safeena Ali as well as Ruby Faruqi, Stay and Thrive Matron and Chair of the Race Equality Network at DBTH.

The event boasted diversity within the Asian community too, hearing the story of Airish Saluta, who came from the UK to the Philippines in 2017 to pursue a career in nursing.

Having initially trained as a Nutritionist Dietitian in the Philippines, Airish was loving the life she had made in Dubai. It was her mother who recommended returning to the Philippines to train as a nurse, with the added appeal of living and working abroad.

She said: “Lots of my friends began asking me ‘are you going to work abroad?’. Then one day, I got the itch to enquire. After interviewing with Richard Parker [Trust Chief Executive] I found out I was successful.”

Airish went on to explain her determination to create a better future for her 8-year-old daughter, but also the heartache she experienced when having to leave her behind.

She said: “I thought, I have to stay strong. This is for my family.”

After four years, Airish’s family were able to join her in the UK.

Despite the many challenges she faced, she is certain that her decision was the right one.

She said: “I believe that coming to the UK is my fate. Being a nurse was not a choice, it is my calling.”

One of the final speakers was Mr Muhammed Shahed Quraishi OBE, a Consultant Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Surgeon at the Trust.

Mr Quraishi gave an emotional recount of his humble beginnings living through the war in Bangladesh as a child, to his present-day position as a Consultant Surgeon, hosting ENT Masterclasses to healthcare professionals across the globe.

Mr Muhammed Shahed Quraishi OBE, a Consultant Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Surgeon at the Trust

He credits his success to a combination of destiny, taking every opportunity he could and perseverance.

To close the event, Nagmol Karrikadan, a staff nurse at Bassetlaw Hospital, performed the classical Indian dance, Bharatanatyam, originating from the South Indian state, Tamil Nadu.

The dance is thought to be the oldest in Indian history, regarded as the origin of other classical Indian dance forms.

The name, ‘Bharatanatyam’, translates from the ancient Sanskrit to roughly mean an emotional dance which encompasses rhythm and is full of expression.

A selection of traditional South Asian refreshments was served at the end of the event. These included Idli, Vada, Sambhar, coconut chutney and Gulabjamun.

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