Ameen Hussain, Manager for Coalition for Equality and Human Rights, Greenwich.
Interview by Gordon Parker
Production by Mike Johnston
Transcript by Jane Ford
Photos provided by Ameen Hussain
Run time: 2:21
My name is Ameen Hussain. I am the manager of Greenwich Coalition for Equality and Human Rights.
I came to this country in 1967. I moved into teaching. I enjoyed my teaching for 32 years. I moved into Greenwich to do some ICT or Computer Training. Culturally, the chair of the centre where I used to work, his name was Sadhu Singh Biring he was running the Asian Mela which started in 1990 and it ran ‘til 2010.
One year preparation, one day Mela, 30,000 people. The reason behind that Mela was the first Asian was elected as Mayor of Greenwich.
The Asian community started in Woolwich in the ‘50’s, not in the ‘60’s in the ‘50’s. Again, some of them who worked in the Indian army, they came here, they set it up, they were all hardworking, they really created ghost towns into lively towns. From more-or-less dead towns, they came in, they took the run-down shops and they really put business back into those shops.
Now the Asian community is thriving because of their hard work. We don’t pay council tax once, we pay council tax twice, one for our house and one for the business we run. We create jobs, we create jobs for the family, we create jobs for the community, we create jobs for practically anybody.
We opened a supplementary school in the 70’s and that has about 300 – 350 students coming on Saturdays. We used to start at 10 o’clock and we used to finish at half 3 – 4 o’clock.
We used to teach community languages, 8 – 9 community languages. We used to teach national curriculum subjects, English, Maths, ICT and some of the students have gone into
Medicine and they are doctors now. Some of the students have gone into Engineering, some of the students have gone into Accounting. One of the students has gone into Aeronautical Engineering. So because of my work with community Education I was given an MBE on the New Year’s Honours list of 2014.
Thank you to Ameen Hussain for taking the time to speak to us.
Special thanks go to the Royal Borough of Greenwich and Woolwich, their staff and partners for the planning and facilitation of the Greenwich and Woolwich walk.
- The Woolwich Singers
- Greenwich Coalition for Equality and Human Rights (GCEHR)
- Emergency Exit Arts
- The Cutty Sark, Royal Museums Greenwich
With landmarks such as the Royal Naval College, Royal Arsenal, Artillery Barracks and the Cutty Sark, Greenwich and Woolwich is known for its maritime and military histories. With such close proximity to the Thames, it is a prime location for the training of soldiers, marines and sailors. Greenwich Mean Time is marked from the observatory here. The Culture, Tourism and Heritage service at Royal Greenwich develops, supports, and strives to provide all sections of our community with access to great arts and cultural activity.
Silk River is an exciting project that allows our community to come together through different activities and events to explore creativity, skills, trade, history and community.