She Settles in the Shields : Intergenerational Story 2 – Shafqat and Saadya Sabir

For International Women’s Week 2022, Glasgow Women’s Library is pleased to celebrate five intergenerational stories as told by some of wonderful women from Pollokshields. We will be sharing one story each day this week.

She Settles in the Shields, an oral history book, was published by Glasgow Women’s Library ten years ago in order to acknowledge and celebrate the lives of migrant women who settled in the Pollokshields area of Glasgow.   

The sequel provides a unique opportunity to explore the intergenerational stories of women from the migrant families who settled in the area.

Here’s the highlights of our second story – Shafqat and Saadya Saabir.

Shafqat Sabir features in the iconic cover photo of She Settles in the Shields publication. She is stood next to her mother Hajira Bibi, on the right.

Shafqat migrated to Scotland with her family in 1966. They lived in Govan for a few years before settling in Pollokshields where Shafqat still lives today.

Her first born, Imran Sabir, developed a rare disability unknown to doctors around that time so her early motherhood was spent getting a grasp of her son’s needs.  While disability is stigmatised amongst the south Asian communities – especially in those days – it didn’t deter Shafqat from getting adequate support for her son to ensuring he was visible and heard.  She was often seen pushing Imran in a wheelchair on their long evening walks around Pollokshields, often joined by other family members along the way.

Shafqat dedicated her life to the care of her son, while also raising her other children and fulfilling family commitments.  With her encouragement, her son Imran developed a charity called Ethnic Enable which supported disabled people and their carers from BAME communities.  Together they were able to break down barriers and bring about positive change!

Saadya, like her mum and grandmother, is determined and strong-willed.  She has been a great support for her mum and they share a wonderful relationship built on love, empathy and understanding.  While doing exceptionally well in her career as a Senior Corporate Strategic Portfolio Manager for V Group,  Saadya keeps herself busy with outdoor ventures including hiking, camping, archery and she’s also a bronze medallist for the air rifle club!  She always makes time to support women’s projects and recently took part in a theatre play called ‘Her Spirit Soared’ (performed in the Tramway) and a short film ‘Shifting Sands’ (filmed in Pollokshields) that highlighted stories of domestic abuse in the community.

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