Thursday, 11 March 2010

A burka ‘dance-off’!

After my lively debate yesterday morning with UKIP’s Nigel Farage, who was portraying burka wearing women as sinister and threatening, I headed off to Joseph Chamberlain College where they had their International Women’s Day celebration.

It was great to see so many women from different ages and backgrounds enjoying themselves. The highlight for me was a ‘dance-off’ between burka wearing Somalian women, which was a fun sight!

Hundreds of women attended a fun packed afternoon. Stalls with food, clothes, heath and education advice and lots more had been set up in the sports hall.

There was all kinds of music being played including hip hop and everybody, young and older, joined together for the aerobics. It reminded me of that mobile phone advert with  hundreds of people dancing together in public spaces. Except this one was genuinely spontaneous!
The vast majority of the women were constituents of mine and I was touched by their warmth. Many were mums who expressed concerns about the lack of school places for their kids. I was struck by their commitment to their children’s education – many were keen to set up home work clubs and were asking for my support as regards funding.

But it was not just their children’s education they were interested in. Many of the Mums had been denied education when younger but now were keen to make up for lost time and were enthusiastic students at the college themselves.

Well done to JCC for organising the event. Not only is it an important hub for young people, they are also doing invaluable work in Adult Education.