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Support network for older Scottish Asian women wins Age Scotland national award


17 October 2023

The Scottish Asian Ekta Group, which offers support and information to older Asian women, has won this year’s Age Scotland Inspiration Award.

Founded in 2000 by Adarsh Khullar, who is currently chairwoman, the Glasgow-based group is valuable network for older, single Asian women, including those who have been widowed or divorced. It offers a safe and nurturing environment where the women can gain knowledge, find solace and openly share their experiences.

In the early days, the group faced opposition from some within the Asian community but worked to overcome that and gone from strength to strength over the past 23 years. Women have now embraced the ethos of the group to live free from judgement and stigma in their communities.

Activities undertaken by the group revolve around physical and mental wellbeing and equipping members with information and support most relevant to them in their later life. There are ongoing activities and information sessions are organised by the committee, as well as outdoor walking, regular yoga sessions, singing and dancing.

A daughter of one of the members explained how the group had helped her mother. She said: “My mother has been a widow for more than 20 years and suffers from depression among other illnesses. It has been quite a few difficult years and when she heard about this group of ladies, she began to attend the group meetings.

“She feels so loved by all the ladies in the group and has found immense support. I have seen a great change in my mother’s health as well as her emotional state. My mother has become happier, and she looks forward to going to the group. I, as a daughter, was worried for my mother’s health and state of mind and to see my mother so happy makes me relieved.”

Adarsh Khullar, chairwoman of the Scottish Asian Ekta group, said:

“Creating this group was such a challenge due to the stigma associated with single women in the Asian community. In the face of adversity, I am so proud of the group that I created (the first of its kind in Scotland) and our members are overwhelmed by recognition and award from Age Scotland. This is my biggest achievement in life."

Katherine Crawford, chief executive officer of Age Scotland, said:

“It gives me great pleasure to present the Scottish Asian Ekta group with this year’s Age Scotland Inspiration Award.

“The group provides an extremely important service to older Asian women in Glasgow, offering support, information and friendship. For single, ethnic minority older people, the empowering sessions organised by Ekta help build up self-confidence and strengthen social connections.

“The Scottish Asian Ekta group certainly are very worthy winners of our Inspiration Award.”