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Sunday, 4 February 2018

The West Midlands Conservative MEP Conference “Brexit and Beyond” attracted wide audiences, with over 250 delegates from across the region. The event was held in February 2018. Volunteers and party members had the opportunity to meet and greet speakers and participate in a number of interactive panel sessions. 
West Midlands Metro Mayor Andy Street spoke on the region’s prospects and industrial future post 2019. 

The audience had the opportunity to ask further questions and learn more on the challenges and opportunities of Brexit.

Rt Hon Saijd Javid MP Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government presented information on meeting the housing need and how to retain a building industry workforce post 2019. 

“Europe where next?was a panel and Q & A discussion led by Lord Callanan, Minister of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union and Dan Dalton MEP. Both shared updates on the current Brexit negotiations and outlined the challenges ahead. 
Conservative Party Chairman, Rt Hon Brandon Lewis MP highlighted discussions on “Britain Today and Tomorrow” followed by an interactive session from members and volunteers. 

Monday, 2 October 2017

Delighted to learn more about the Send My Friend to School campaign by King Edward VII Girls, Sheffield at the Conservative Party conference. Young female ambassadors shared information on their campaign for global education. 

They highlighted, the campaign aims to raise awareness that world leaders have promised every child in the world a quality education and 263 million children were missing out on school, and many of those in school are not learning. 

World leaders have made a clear promise to ensure every child in the world gets a quality education by 2030. 

The young champion’s enthusiasm  and commitment were first class, collectively Send My Friend to School brings together thousands of children across the UK to speak up for the right to education. Details were shared from the website; https://www.sendmyfriend.org/

To learn more on the campaign, check the teachers resources pack. 

Well done to the champions on the day. 

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Balukhali, Cox's Bazar 
Recently, I visited Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh to see first-hand the experience of the Rohingya refugee crisis as part of Project Shapla 2017, the Conservative Friends of Bangladesh social action project alongside a group of volunteers and three British MP’s. 

I saw alarming and distressing images, of the Rohingya survivors, both Muslim and Hindu’s with families of many young women and children. When you read on the recent atrocities, you cannot imagine the trauma, the horrific situation victims have faced until you experience the devastation and impact on their long journeys to settle in Bangladesh in one of the refugee camps. United Nations estimate the number of Rohingya's has topped over 500,000 since August 2017. According to one UN Chief’s, Myanmar treatment of Rohingya looks like 'textbook ethnic cleansing', a senior United Nations human rights official said. 

Balukhali, Cox's Bazar 
The river which separates Myanmar and Bangladesh is now a route for the Rohingya’s survival, and a gateway to life away from the Rakhine state as many Rohingya victims board small boats along the river. Some of the refugees also walk for days on foot to get to Bangladesh. During the trip to Kutupalong refugee camp, volunteers heard from charities, informing us on the current, harrowing situation. UNICEF estimated 60% of the refugees are children, and many victims arrive with nothing but the clothing they wear. They suffer from starvation, and require basic health needs, nutrition and medical care. Bangladesh and aid agencies are providing shelter and basic facilities. 

The Bangladeshi media have extensively covered the heroic intentions, pledges and support provided by the Bangladeshi Government to the current Rohingya crisis and the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in particular. The condemnation to the attacks taking place in Myanmar, and the plea for safe zones to be set up for the return of Rohingya’s back to Burma safely. 

Balukhali, Cox's Bazar 
Bangladesh announced it will work with the UN to build 14,000 new shelters, each housing six families. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) estimated about 313,000 Rohingya had crossed into Bangladesh. Many new arrivals were on the move inside Bangladesh and could not be accounted for. I wanted to learn more on: the work of counter-trafficking and protection of vulnerable migrants, the work carried out to support women and young children, the undocumented Myanmar nationals living in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh and the developments to ensure provision of safe spaces for women and children, with disappointment I returned. I now learn there are services provided, I did not have the opportunity to hear of these shared stories and actions.  

Recently, the UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq, said that the total number of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh was believed to be well over 700,000 people. President Hamid has also made a plea on global support for repatriating Rohingya refugees. 

I hope the global responses to the humane injustices are persistently raised by the NGO’s, charities and the people of Bangladesh for the Rohingya survivors. If you wish to donate, please visit the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency main website and its aims, "is the global organisation dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people," full details noted below.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

On Wednesday 20th September 2017, I was taken to the outskirts of Cox's Bazar organised by BRAC, with a very small group of volunteers to understand how microfinance programme works for Bangladeshi women. 

During our journey, I met women who were delighted to share their stories. Jahanara was very proud to share her story on her achievements utilising one of the small micro finance loans provided by BRAC. The dhabi loan provided Jahanara the investment to build her home and she was keen to show her asset, the cow she bought too. 

The skills Jahanara developed were shared by Tanzina from BRAC. Jahanara explained what steps she had taken to secure her asset and improvements to her home.  
The improvements to Jahanara’s home alongside her asset was an outcome pleased to see. Jahanara developed business skills and self-confidence, it was rewarding to see her smile continuously.

I had the opportunity to talk to the other women on the benefits of having micro finance loans and the segments they had selected for themselves. 

Some of the Bangladeshi women in the group talked about their dry fish business expanding, and their vegetable stock. Tanzina, from BRAC outlined the Dabi products delivered via the ‘village organisations’ (VOs); a community lending and savings groups of 15-25 women, the financial training and women’s empowerment in the household. 

Jahanara and the rest of the Bangladeshi women made me feel very welcome. My only regret was not being able to spend more time with them. It was fantastic to see such engaged Bangladeshi women with independence. 

For further information on the work and developments of BRAC project, visit the link: http://www.brac.net/microfinance 

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Parveen Hassan & Dr Dipu Moni 
It was a pleasure to meet Dr. Dipu Moni former Secretary for Women's Affairs and a former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh. A long serving politician from the Bangladesh Awami League, was in Westminister recently with colleagues, part of a parliamentary delegation from Bangladesh. 

On Tuesday 18th July 2017, I was invited to a private lunching with members of Bangladesh Awami League and the official opposition to the ruling party; Bangladesh Nationalist Party . The lunch was hosted by the Conservative Friends of Bangladesh. Anne Main MP, President of CFoB was present alongside Paul Scully MP and Bob Blackman MP. 

Anne Main MP, Rumeen Farhana, 
Parveen Hassan  
I also met Rumeen Farhana, Assistant International Secretary of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party. The delegation was also attended by UK Foreign Minister of State, Rt Hon Mark Field MP. Both parties discussed the enduring partnership with Bangladesh. 

I had the opportunity to learn about the role of women in politics in Bangladesh. Dr Moni shared her experiences on women's rights and entitlements, health legislation, health policy and management, and human rights under the Constitution and law in Bangladesh's economic and social development programmes. 

Rt Hon Mark Field MP, CFoB Anne Main MP, 
Chairman Mehfuz, Parveen Hassan,
Dr Mashiur Rahman, Economic Affairs Advisor to BD PM & Dr Dipu Moni
Rumeen Farahana a frequent vsitor to the UK, shared her experiences on the political free elections in Bangladesh and the vision of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party. The network reception consisted of members of Bangladesh high ranking service personnel. 

Bangladeshi women political figures are very well respected in Bangladesh and it was once again, an experience to share expertise on matters affecting Bangladeshi women in the UK with public figures in Bangladesh. 

Monday, 3 July 2017

Lord Ahmad, PM Theresa May & Parveen Hassan 
Parveen, Downing Street 
The UK Prime Minister, Theresa May invited British Muslims and members of the community at a private Eid reception, in Downing Street on Monday 3rd July 2017.

The PM sent her warmest and good wishes to Muslims in the UK and around the world, who were celebrating the festival of Eid al-Fitr.

CFoB Team: Mehfuz, Parveen & Abdus 
It was an opportunity for British Muslims across the UK, in business, politics, academia and the community and voluntary sector to get together to enjoy the celebrations. During the reception, politicians supported stakeholders and took the opportunity to thank the community for their successful achievements. 

Nus Ghani MP & Parveen Hassan 
Nus Ghani MP was present alongside Michael Ellis MP. The event was opened by Lord Tariq Ahmad, Minister of State Foreign Office and PM special representative on PSVI who introduced the PM to guests. 

Over 100 guests attended. The PM, Theresa May gave an outstanding speech on the successes of British Muslims in public life, business and the valuable contributions British Muslims make to the economy.

British Armed Forces & Parveen Hassan 
UK PM praised British Muslims and how Muslims proudly connect with each other and enrich the British values and way of life.

Senior Executive Team  
Conservative Friends Of Bangladesh 
I was delighted to listen to the speech highlighting the positive impact British Muslims have made in the community and for our country. 

British Muslims make a huge difference, creating small businesses and enterprises, and running social action projects. The UK PM also praised service personnel, those whom courageously dedicate their lives to keep us all safe, serving in our Armed Forces. 

The diverse background and members in attendance, during the reception, also included members of the British Armed Forces. 

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

I was delighted to organise a selection of West Midlands CWO campaign action days for the West Midlands female parliamentary candidates. The action days focussed mainly in the Birmingham target seats, as part of the 2017 general election.  

It was an opportunity to lead campaigning to get more women interested in politics during the 2017 campaign. Many volunteers new to politics gained experience and participated on the short campaign. West Midlands Conservative Women’s Organisation aims to encourage women to participate in politics locally and nationally within the party; also to raise awareness of and invite debate on issues that affect women.

As part of West Midlands CWO, we encourage women to take an active part in volunteering for the ladies that leaflet campaign for the party.

Women gained skills on: how to engage with the electorate on the doorstep, ground work experiences on political campaigning: tele canvassing on vote source, organising pledges, deliveries of campaign literature, posting election pledges and gathering crucial data for knock ups for future campaigns.
We also encourage individuals with their personal and political development and to actively encourage more women to stand for public office as local Councillors and public appointments. 

If you wish to learn more about volunteering, contact West Midlands CWO.