She Settles in the Shields: Intergenerational Story 3 – Suraya Sharif, Tabassum Niamat, Zineerah Ali

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 3rd story – A family of strong independent women doing ground-breaking work for the Pollokshields community:   Suraya Sharif, Tabassum Niamat, Zineerah Ali

After Marriage, Suraya Sharif arrived in Glasgow in 1975.  She didn’t know anyone prior to arriving and tried her best to fit in, there were other Pakistani families who had been here for a number of years who then became her friends and confidants.  She raised 7 children on her own while her husband worked long gruelling hours and would often travel to Pakistan to visit his parents for weeks at a time.

Her first born, Tabassum, is now a well-known face in Pollokshields.  Over the past few years Tabassum Niamat has worked extremely hard to provide a safe and integrated space at the Bowling Green in Pollokshields welcoming the local community and beyond. 

In her role as a Community Engagement/Development Manager, she’s broken many barriers, and not just feeling empowered within herself, but paving the way for others to feel the same. She’s also taken a lead on a number of local campaigns including We all Belong, She fundraised and helped the families who were displaced in recent fires. She was instrumental in bringing Amal to Pollokshields, She worked Closely with Minga Indigena in order for them to participate in COP 26. She was featured as a recipient of the accolade Scotland’s People 2021 on the BBC, She is Currently working with Govanhill Baths in order to deliver The Kenmure St- Festival of Resistance as well as keeping The Bowling Green very much on the map.Some of her work has also reached global news, when she started a campaign to safely repatriate Brits who were stranded in Pakistan at the beginning of the Pandemic, she too was stranded but found a way to overcome hurdles in order to get back and highlight Britain’s mishandling of the whole episode. Her passion and drive is commendable!

Her daughter Zineerah is following her mother’s footsteps!  Just as articulate and driven like her mum, Zineerah is currently studying law and is a staunch activist who wants to make a difference to the world around her.

True community champions!

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