Start Date: 1986 – Initially as St Paul’s Women’s Group.

End Date: On going


The Community Flat
Halston Drive
St. Paul’s

Tel:  0117 9550895

Fax: 0117 9550895


Opening times: 10am – 3pm Monday – Thursday, closed Friday.

Key People:

Jamila Aftab – one of the founding members and Project Manager until June 2010 when she had to step down due to lack of funding for her post. She was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s birthday honour list in 2009 – for services to the community in St Paul’s and an honorary Bristol University centenary degree in the same year.

Humdard (Urdu for support and understanding) became a focal point in St Paul’s, providing an after-school learning club, holiday playscheme, creche, training and small business development, parenting courses, sewing and yoga classes.  Mrs Aftab came from Pakistan with her husband Aftab Ahmed in 1972 and having learned from the cultural and social challenges to adjusting to life in the UK, began working to give women support to settle into British life.

Nsearen Begum – Joined the Humdard management committee when her youngest son went to nursery school. She shadowed a councillor and then stood in the local elections in 2009 for the Conservative Party – in the Lawrence Hill ward. She is now the Development Manager for Humdard.

Mission Statement  (Taken from current website 2011)

Humdard is dedicated to giving opportunities to Asian families across the city of Bristol to improve their quality of life.  Our services are tailored and in response to meeting the cultural and Islamic needs of Asian Women.

Aims and Objectives (Taken from Archived website 2008)

Offer personal development opportunities.

Offer employment skills development.

Offer information, and advocacy services.

Develop positive parenting skills.

Provide an After School Club and Holiday Play Scheme that are culturally appropriate and sensitive for ages 4-11 – targeted at lower income/socially isolated families.

To create opportunities for young Asian women to learn and develop new skills and gain new experiences.

The History of Humdard

1986  Humdard began as St Pauls Women’s Group, known initially as a Pre-School Playgroup Association which was set up to cater for the needs of young children and their parents in the local community. In the absence of a service to cater for the needs of lonely and housebound women an Asian woman co-ordinator was appointed whose role was to attract Asian women and their young children to come out of their houses to fulfil their needs. As an Asian woman running the Drop in Centre the co-ordinator was able to help Asian women develop confidence in using the service and provide a means of breaking the language barrier for them.

1987 the first service was started for the Asian women funded by the Women’s Unit of Bristol City Council. It was a sewing class. As a Pre School Playgroup Association it became increasingly obvious that it was unable to fulfil their cultural needs so in 1990 a group of Asian women users formed their own committee with a constitution.

1992 a new project, funded by the Youth and Leisure Committee of Bristol City Council was started for young Asian girls. The initiative was led by the demand of the Asian women using the Asian women’s Group. They produced their first Annual Report for the services they provided in 1993/4. The young Asian Girls Group continues to run seminars and activities very successfully.

1996 St Pauls Asian Women’s Group became a registered charity.  They also managed to obtain funding for continuing their activities as a group and to start a new project for young Asian mothers aged 16-25.

1997 the St Pauls Asians Women’s Group decided to develop new activities focused around education with the aim of improving the life style of Asian families. These activities included a childcare course and a finding employment course.

1998 St Pauls Asians Women’s Group obtained funding from the NLCB for the running costs, administration and sessional staff to run sessions on Advice and Guidance.

1999 St Pauls Asians Women’s Group also began working with a local primary school and a local secondary school to raise awareness of education among Asian families.

2000 as a group they decided to change the name from St Pauls Asians Women’s Group to HUMDARD. The word Humdard is an Urdu word meaning “support and friendship”, which reflects the way they have expanded as an organisation. They also won an award from the Confederation of Indian organisations (UK) under the category -under £50,000 – for the Community Development.

 2000/2001 the management committee of Humdard decided to expand the services they provide to include an After School Club mainly for Muslim children with the object of building closer links with the Asian community and the schools. Funding for this project was obtained in partnership with Cabot Primary School.

2002 Humdard run their computer course for Women in partnership with BCC Women’s Forum and Bristol Youth association IT Bus. Women at Humdard produce a piece of art Celebrating Women from 1986 to 2002.   Princess Ann visited Humdard.  Renovation of new offices upstairs above the Community flat was completed with new office equipment.  Humdard started providing work experience to young Asian women through schools, colleges and individuals.

2003 the first colour Annual Report was produce in wall planner format. The young girl’s group visited an Youth Army training Centre in Wales.  National and international links were made with other Organisations working with the same goals as Humdard.

2005 although the project originally attracted a majority of Pakistani women the profile of their users has changed in recent years. As new immigrants and refugee populations have come into the area, so the project has diversified and become more multicultural. As well as Pakistani women they also have Bangladeshi, Afro Caribbean, Chinese, Somali and Indian women attending the project.

2006 Humdard becomes a Company Limited by Guarantee. Took an active part in raising funds for Pakistan earthquake.
Associate membership for women of other cultures was introduced. Received funds for first time residential activities.

2007 Young women took part in a drama workshop.

2009 shadow Minister for Women Theresa May visits Humdard to hear about women’s issues.

2011 Celebrated 100 Years of International Women’s Day on 8 March along with other Women’s Groups from across Bristol.


Summary of Activities and Aims

Humdard provides recreational and educational services that are tailored for, and in response to, the cultural needs of local Asian women and their children. This has expanded in recent years in response to the changing local population to include women from other backgrounds including Somali, Afghan and Afro-Caribbean. The services have included Arabic, sewing, computer, parenting and yoga classes. Also advocacy, information and support services including health advice and awareness sessions.  For example, they hosted a series of Diabetes and Lifestyle Awareness Sessions in 2006 with the South Asian Diabetes Project.

The provision of an on-site creche has been key to the accessibility for local women with children to access education and training.

They have also offered support for families with an After School Club and Holiday play-scheme – which was registered as Humdard Learning Zone with Ofsted. Unfortunately the After School Club has now closed due to falling numbers and a decline in funding.

The Asian Girls Group is still running on a Saturday afternoon and is posted on the ‘Go Places Do Things’ activities for young people website.

The main activities taking place now include:

The R&B Revision and Booster Club for Year 5 and 6 pupils living in St Pauls, Montpelier, St Agnes and St Werburghs which runs on Tuesdays after school.

Saturday Fun Activities for young Muslim girls (13-19 years)  – at Humdard on Saturday afternoons between 1pm and 4pm. (Contact group leader Yasmin Ali on 07563627608 or alternatively contact the office on 0117 9550895)

Humdard also hosts guest speakers and other events of interest to Muslim women such as the internationally renowned figure Mukhtar Mai who presented ‘My Life My Struggle’ at Humdard in June 2011 in partnership with Bristol Muslim Women’s Network.

Sources: (Archived Reports) (Archived Reports)


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