Skip to main content

Faith organiser motivates volunteers and misses going to mosque under Covid

Abdulla Almamun plays a huge part in the local faith community by carrying on motivating volunteers to develop their confidence and morale during COVID-19.


Abdulla was born in Sylhet, Bangladesh. He came to the UK in 1988 with  his family. Since then he was brought up in Whitechapel, Tower Hamlets, near East London Mosque.  He has three sisters and a brother. His father owned a factory and was involved in transfer of money business. His mother was a home-keeper. According to Abdulla  she made sure that:

‘we went to school, wake up, come back, go the local mosque, feed us, look after us.  We were fortunate, Alhamdulillah’. 

He lived in the same five bedroom house with his family  until he was married.   He stepped out of Tower Hamlets when he decided to study at Kingsway College, Holborn.


His dad was active in the community and part of the local Labour Party. Abdulla goes on to say that:

‘Initially, I hated politics.  I wanted nothing to do with my dad. I don't want to see 10-15 people queueing up in the house. But I ended up being like my dad. He supported communities back home (in Bangladesh), helped to build village schools.’

In the 1990s, he would get together with other Bangladeshi boys to play football.  To him there was a sense of community where everyone was looking after each other. As time went on he observed that  many local residents were doing really well professionally. They were moving out to other areas such as Dagenham, Barking and Surrey.

‘Our forefathers worked in factories with low income as manual labourers, we are, Alhamdulilla, now in a better place. We are working, have nice jobs, professionals with nice houses and with a  big fat mortgage. However, we must not forget the community who are left behind in the (council) estates in Tower Hamlets.  There were three, four, five children living in two bedroom flats. Some of these flats were in damp conditions. It was really sad. Those who are left behind they are the ones we really need to support.'


Going to university has helped Abdulla to  develop his life skills, gain confidence, and see things differently. He met many ddifferent types  students.

Currently, Abdulla looks after volunteers for Islamic Relief. He looks after over 1000 volunteers by providing them with training and development. As part of his role, he meets Bangladeshi families from Glasgow, Bradford, Manchester and Cardiff. 

'Majority of the Bengalis are doing well in East London. But those who are in Bradford or Sheffield, their fathers are still working in factories and catering trade and the children are in education and want to do well. Many of them are trying to get to where we are.’ 


He had prepared his annual training programme for his volunteers. He was getting ready to prepare for an award ceremony for his volunteers. He had to prepare 200 volunteers across the country which was meant to happen in July this year as well as taking many of the volunteers to a trip to Kosovo.

'I was working from home because I injured by back. Obviously the news came then I realised that things were very serious. My manager was sending me lots of stuff to think about social distancing and how to safeguard our volunteers and what can they and can't do. So I was really busy during the week before, during and after the lockdown. I was writing reports, talking to stakeholders. In my mind I was constantly thinking about how to safeguard our volunteers.’ 

Although he and his wife were working from home, his wife commented that he was married to his phone. He would phone, Whatspapp and email all the time.  He also volunteers for Faith Inspire  time to get Muslims to physically and mentally be active by taking them to summer camps and keep them closer to their faith. He had to learn many things:

'Oh my god, how do you use Zoom. We can't go on Live Facebook. How do you do that? We had to Google it, learn it! Oh my god, we have to purchase this and that.’


His sister was unwell for a few days. It was not clear whether she had Covid.  A few of his distant cousins had passed away. His friend's father passed away. His cousin's father passed away. It was hard for Abdulla because he was not able to see them nor say good bye to them. 

'Bangladeshis are generally communities of families getting together, eating together, sharing things together. This has been a weird Ramadan where you are not allowed to see anyone or eat Iftar together. Even EID has gone and we have not come together. It was hard not been together.'

His faith, belief and family support have helped him. To him talking  to his wife has helped a lot  to deal with the stress of the change of working life. He also spoke to his siblings.


To Abdulla, the Covid-19 has brought communities together whereby Bengali and non-Bengalis have come together to support each other. He has been part of Tower Hamlets Mutual Group. By taking part in the group he learnt a lot of about how fortunate he is  because there are so many individuals who are all alone. To him:

‘It's about supporting each other.  If they are smiling, it makes you smile. It keeps me going. That is why I am motivated to make others happy.’

He has learnt and still learning to  cook curing the Lockdown, how to use different technology to get his message across to volunteers and the community quickly.

‘I miss going to the mosque. I missed imams and reciters during Ramadan. Don't get me wrong, you can pray at home. But you’ve got a community there. The Bangladeshi community is very social people. The mosque is a hub for people. Sometimes I might see some people once a year during an Iftar gathering. We are not going to have it this year.’


Popular posts from this blog

Vaccines are free even without papers! A campaign (in Many Languages)

BritBanglaCovid has designed leaflets in a number of languages highlighting the following:  'If you have no paperwork to prove your immigration status, don't let that stop you from vaccinated. You do not need to show proof of your immigration status nor your ID nor your address. You can register with a local General Practitioner (GP) for free of  charge. COVID VACCINES ARE FREE OF CHARGE!' (ENGLISH EDITION) BANGLA EDITION FRENCH EDITION GREEK EDITION ITALIAN EDITION POLISH EDITION PORTUGUESE EDITION ROMANIAN EDITION RUSSIAN EDITION SPANISH EDITION TURKISH EDITION URDU EDITION YORUBA EDITION -----------------------------------------

Bangla Britain Covid Report Launched 2020

BritBanglaCovid has created this report to analyse the plight of  Bangladeshis living in Britain. This community has experienced tragedies and unique difficulties due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the likes of which are unprecedented within current living generations.   BritBanglCovid believes that this community needs protection by providing sufficient support and resources in its culture and language to prevent further isolation. Having explored the community through individual anecdotes via interviews and a survey, BritBanglaCovid was able to produce this report to protect the wellbeing of Bangladeshis in Britain. RECOMMENDATIONS: 1. Faster intervention by authorities in the language affected by minority communities to save lives.  2. Investment by authorities on specific language programmes to support vulnerable and excluded communities (beyond written word) such as use of spoken word voice recordings, telephone and face to face conversations because many Bangladeshis have no formal

Anti-racist fighter provided food packages to vulnerable residents during pandemic

  A COMMUNITY CAMPAIGNER WILL ALWAYS BE A CAMPAIGNER - THIS WAS THE CASE WITH MAIUM MIAH TALUKDAR ONCE FOUGHT AGAINST RACISM; DURING THE PANDEMIC HE CAMPAIGNED TO FEED LOCAL RESIDENTS MAIUM'S EARLY LIFE IN BRITAIN ‘My dad had a vision for us to do well: to get good education and a good job,' said Maium. Maium remembers Bangladesh being overcrowded as a child. His initial experience of the UK was completely the opposite.  ‘Everything was different. It was beautiful and nice. It was very different from the country I was born in. Obviously, I was very young at the time. In Bangladesh, I was use to being with Bangladeshi people. When I came here I see a different variety of people.’ Maium came to the UK in 1984. He was 5 years old. Having lived in various temporary accommodations  in many parts of London, his family then settled in the  Isle of Dogs. They were the first few Bengali families moved in to the area at the time. RACISM IN ISLE OF DOGS They lived near a park. They would