Our Stories

Histories of Sunderland's Bangladeshi Community

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Tafazzal Hussain


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Tafazzal Hussain speaks about when he first came to Sunderland, and the challenges he's faced since settling here. 

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Faruq Ahmed

Faruk Ahmed tells of his journey from Syedpur to Sunderland, and the beginnings of the restaurant and takeaway business in Sunderland.

Click here for an interview in Sylheti.  

Syed Abdus

When Syed Abdus Salam arrived in the UK he began working in industries in the midlands.  As these industries began to close in the 1970s, he was invited by relatives to come and work in Sunderland.  Realising the better quality of life there, he contacted his friends and family elsewhere in the UK and told them to come and work in Sunderland.  

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Women of
the World

Women of the World are a community group in Sunderland, working to empower women, particularly in the BME community.  Here they speak about some of their memories of Bangladesh, their experiences of life in Sunderland, and the reasons for the formation of the group.

Syed Khalid

Syed Khalid Miah Olid is a leading figure in the Bangladeshi community, acting as chairman for Sunderland Bangladesh International Centre.  Here he talks about life growing up in Bangladesh, he recounts memories of the Liberation War, and talks about the community in Sunderland.

Sheikh Siddiq

Sheikh Siddiq Miah tells of his childhood in Yorkshire, calling these times his "golden years".  He moved to Sunderland when he was young and talks about his experiences living there.

Click here for an interview in Sylheti.  

Uttara Ghosh

Uttara Ghosh is a community worker.  Though she is not Bangladeshi herself, the same language - Sylheti - is spoken where she was born, in the West Bengal region of India.  Due to her knowledge of the language and culture, she was asked by the Community Relations Council to work with the Bangladeshi community in Sunderland.

Aklu Miah

Aklu Miah remembers helping his father run a business when he was a child.  He recalls how friendly people were when he arrived in Sunderland, with people offering Bangladeshis free coffee in cafes.  In the present day, he worries about the way in which Muslims are viewed.

Rick Bowler and Abdul Amin

Dr Rick Bowler and Abdul Amin work with the community in Sunderland.  Amin, who was born in Bangladesh, speaks about his early life, and remembers his move to the UK.  He then explains his work with the Bangladeshi community in Sunderland, and the challenges the community has faced.  Rick began working with the Bangladeshi community through his work with Amin, and here he speaks about the fight for social justice in Sunderland.

Abdul Rofil

Abdul Rofil moved to the UK as a teenager.  Looking back on his childhood, he remembers his upbringing in an agricultural environment, going fishing by himself, and eating fresh home grown food.  He also remembers a terrifying experience during the Liberation War.  

   Syed Shohirul

Syed Shohirul Bari remembers the challenges he faced, coming from Bangladesh to Sunderland.  He also remembers the Liberation War.


Margaret Meling worked with the Bangladeshi community in a specialist language unit.  Although her work was challenging, she has many happy memories of working with Bangladeshi children.

Syed Moklis

Syed Mokils Miah first moved to Brigthon when he arrived in the UK.  He was trusted to take over his relative's business, and had many fond memories of his time there.  He later to moved to Sunderland, which he also discusses here.  

Click here for an interview in English.  

Abdul Rofiq
(Ashiq Miah)

Ashiq Miah speaks about his childhood experiences during the Liberation War.

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Joyce Worley

Joyce Worley worked as a teacher with Bangladeshi children in Sunderland.  She remembers many of the challenges due to the culture clashes, but also remembers some of the children's successes.

Syeda Mohibun Nessa

Syeda Mohibun Nessa remembers the challenges she faced when she arrived in Sunderland, and how she managed to adjust from the lifestyle she was accustomed to in Bangladesh.  

Abdul Rakib

Mohammed Abdul Rokib Sikdel speaks about his experiences as a child in Bangladesh.  He remembers his father owned a clothes shop, his journey to the nearest bus stop being a several mile walk, and the traditional food he used to eat.  His move to the UK as a teenager was difficult, as he missed Bangladesh.  

Syed Tussadik Ahmed

Syed Tussadik Ahmed remembers his childhood in Bangladesh, walking for miles to the nearest bus stop and crossing rivers on bamboo bridges, a stark contrast to his busy life working in Sunderland.


Steve Woodward worked with the Bangladeshi community as a teacher.  He remembers the challenges the younger members of the community faced as they grew up in Sunderland.


Rohimunessa Khatun remembers the challenges she faced when she first moved to Sunderland.  There were very few provisions to meet the needs of the Bangladeshi community then, and she would sometimes have to travel to Birmingham to get shopping!  

Solman Syed

Solman Syed came to the UK from Bangladesh when he was a child.  He has fond memories of his childhood in Sunderland, and the strong sense of community that existed.  He travelled back to Bangladesh in his twenties, witnessing how the country had changed.  Looking at present day life in Sunderland, he worries that  a sense of community and common respect are being lost.

Abdul Latif

Abdul Latif speaks about his life in Sunderland, and some of his memories of the Liberation War.  

  Syed Afruz

Syed Afruz Hussain is an important figure in Syedpur.  Here he speaks about how he was elected the chairman of Syedpur, along with how he came to live in the UK. 

Carole Elliot

Carole Elliot worked as a health worker with the Bangladeshi community.  Local health services realised the need for a worker who could dedicate their time to the community, due to the differences in their needs to other communities in Sunderland.  Later on, Carole opened a health clinic in Bangladesh.  Through her work, she has developed a close affinity with Bangladesh, its culture and people.

Abdur Rouf

Abdur Rouf talks about the history of Syedpur, the culture shocks that came with his journey to the UK, and his experiences of life in Sunderland.

Carole Cotton

Carole Cotton worked at a specialist language unit that was established to help children learn to speak English.  Many children who attended this unit were from the Bangladeshi community, and Carole remembers some of the cultural differences that they had to overcome together.

Rehena Sultana
Syeda Khalid

Syeda Khalid and Rehena Sultana are both part of the second generation of Bangladeshis living in Sunderland.  They remember growing up in Sunderland and the way it has changed over the years.

Grant Shearer

Grant Shearer was the head teacher at a primary school when Bangladeshi children first started attending school in Sunderland.  He remembers the challenges these children faced, though he also recalls some of the children's excellent academic achievements.

Abu Shama

Syed Abu Shama speaks about coming to the UK from Bangladesh at a young age, and the social tensions that existed during his childhood.  He also explains his views on life in contemporary Sunderland, and his hopes for the future.

  Syed Jamal

Syed Jamal arrived in Sunderland when the Bangladeshi community was still very small.  Here he speaks about his pride in the community, how Sunderland was very welcoming towards the Bangladeshi community, and his hopes for the future.  He also speaks about his cousin's experience working on British ships during World War Two.

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  Syed Monir

Syed Monir Ahmed is part of Sunderland's second generation of Bangladeshis.  Here he speaks about the challenges facing younger members of the community.


Habiba has a wealth of knowledge on the history and culture of Syedpur.  She talks about her life in Bangladesh, her move to Sunderland, and her present thoughts looking back on Bangladesh.  She also speaks about Mohammed Abdul Motin, one of the first Bangladeshis to arrive in Sunderland, and the important role he plays in the history of the community. 

Click here for an interview in Sylheti.  


Mark Leadbeater is a teacher at Thornhill School in Sunderland, and has also worked as a community cohesion officer.  His work led him into contact with the Bangladeshi community, and here he speaks about younger Bangladeshis' school life in contemporary Sunderland.  Being closely associated with the Bangladeshi community led him and others to participate in two trips to Bangladesh, where he further developed his knowledge of Bangladesh and its culture.  

Sadik Miah

Although Sadik Miah has been involved with Sunderland's Bangladeshi community, he lives in Washington where he runs a restaurant and takeaway.  In certain respects, his life has been very different from other members of Sunderland's Bangladeshi community.