“This is a place that provides a platform where we can express our true selves”

After arriving in the UK from Bangladesh 25 years ago with her husband, Rebeka found soon found herself with a six-month old baby. As a degree-educated woman she felt at a disadvantage without local friends and not having strong English skills.

After recommendation, she contacted the Centre and started English classes, she used on-site childcare and later qualified for a free nursery place.

Subsequently, Rebeka felt more able to express her creativity and through Centre art classes started developing new skills, becoming proficient at silk painting.

She sold many of her paintings and one of them was presented as a gift to Tessa Jowell MP who opened the Bromley by Bow health practice on site. Ms Jowell wrote later to Rebeka to say it had pride of place on her office wall.

The English class teacher encouraged Rebeka to become a volunteer support worker and this led to employment at the Centre as an outreach worker and learning ambassador, encouraging others from her own experiences.

“I’m proud to have been involved with the Centre for 24 years.  It has changed my life and helped develop my skills.  It’s a place that provides a platform where we can express our true selves”