From Sylhet To Cambridge: Reflecting On 60 Years Of Family History And Heritage

During my school days, history was something that hardly filled me with excitement. Even watching Doctor Who episodes set in the past required serious effort to motivate and inspire me, but credit where it’s due, on most occasions they succeeded.

Perhaps as a child, intrigued and fascinated by science fiction and technology (my uncles hold responsibility for that), my interests were focused on the present and the future. The past just seemed dull; a visualisation of the 1960s where everything was in black and white, and out of focus. This childish, indifferent and immature perception of history has since undergone a mature transformation to one of understanding, appreciation and pride.

I am a third-generation British Bangladeshi, born and raised in Cambridge, a city that is renowned for education, diversity and tolerance. I have lived here all my life and am proud to call it my home.

On 26th March 1971, Bangladesh declared its independence from Pakistan. 46 years have passed, but 1971 remains a very important year for me – even more so for my family. Let me explain why this is the case, but first, let’s wind the clock back further to 1957.

1957 was where it all started – the year my late maternal grandfather arrived in Britain. He experienced a difficult childhood after losing both his parents at a young age. He was given the opportunity to work in the UK as he sought a better quality of life, before eventually settling in Cambridge permanently. He arrived at a time when the country was recovering after the Second World War – the period of post-war immigration.

The British economy was undergoing a process of reconstruction and it was soon identified that large numbers of immigrants were needed to support the pressing demands of the UK labour market. This also attracted many workers and their families from the Commonwealth and beyond Europe – mainly from the Caribbean and the Indian subcontinent. My grandfather entered the business trade, opening and running two Indian restaurants called The New Bengal and The Bengal Tandoor Mahal within the Cambridge city centre. Sadly, these restaurants have since closed down, but photographs of them can be found in the Cambridgeshire archives.

A photograph of the New Bengal Restaurant on Regent Street, Cambridge, published in the city’s local newspaper in May 1973 (Photo Credit: Cambridge Evening News)
2017-04-03-1491252681-317561-bengal_tandoor_mahal_restaurant.jpg
The Bengal Tandoor Mahal Restaurant (right) on Fitzroy Street, Cambridge, circa 1976 (Photo Credit: Cambridge Evening News)

In 1963, my grandmother followed, also settling in the city and has been living here ever since. She gave birth to three sons and two daughters in Cambridge. The daughters were twins; one was my aunt who sadly died in 1997 and the other is my mother – an author, writer and publisher. There are many people in our family and across the local community who particularly remember the birth of my mother and aunt, not simply because they happened to be twins but because of the timing. Two days after they were born, Bangladesh celebrated Victory Day – a significant and momentous occasion in the nation’s history, when the Allied Forces High Command triumphed over the Pakistani Forces during the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971.

My family history in Cambridge goes back exactly 60 years. My family was one of the first from the Sylhet region of Bangladesh to settle in the city, and has seen the Bangladeshi community expand over time. I believe it is important for me to reflect upon such a milestone and understand why I am here today. My late grandfather, who came from a rural village in Sylhet, travelled to Britain because he was given an opportunity – a chance for a better life. Looking back, it helps me to learn about my roots and understand them, and to appreciate my heritage. I wonder how life could have been so different for me if my grandfather remained in Bangladesh.

The lesson I learn from reflecting upon 60 years of my family history and heritage is that I should never forget where I am from. Unfortunately, I never had the chance to meet my grandfather, as he passed away in 1985. However, he left behind a legacy and made his mark in Cambridge through his work in the restaurant trade. When I first visited Bangladesh in 2002 as an eleven-year-old, I recall a couple of local villagers asking me the names of my grandfathers:

“What is the name of your Dada (paternal grandfather)?”

“What is the name of your Nana (maternal grandfather)?”

I told them their names, and I noticed their faces light up when I mentioned my maternal grandfather’s name. At that moment, I was rather surprised at their reaction and struggled to recognise what was so special about him. Fifteen years on from that encounter, I have a clearer understanding. I feel inspired.

I am proud of my history and heritage. I am proud to be British and to have lived in Cambridge all my life, and I am also proud that my country of origin is Bangladesh.


Source: Huffington Post UK
Date of Publication: 4th April 2017
Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/ibrahim-rahman/from-sylhet-to-cambridge-_b_15684898.html

Inventors Club Whitechapel: Driving Social Change Through Technology Within London’s East End

Although I’m Cambridge born and raised and the library was where I spent most of my days (well not really, but I hope one can recognise my poor and laughable effort of referring to the Fresh Prince), my fascination of the richly-diverse region of Tower Hamlets in East London has grown exponentially in recent years.

I’ve been here so many times that I’ve lost count, but fortunately I don’t even need to use the GPS on my smartphone anymore. Seriously, you cannot begin to underestimate the value of battery life. Or maybe you do, so that’s surely a good thing. I think it’s fair to say that I know where most of the fried chicken shops are too; those succulent, tender, fried chicken wings… and let’s not forget the spicy lamb doner kebabs. An abundance of delicacies to get you salivating; just can’t seem to get enough (excuse the Depeche Mode reference, but let’s face it, I’m on a roll today!).

Commuting by train from Cambridge to London Liverpool Street before sauntering past the curry houses of Brick Lane, it was in this area of the East End that I was offered the opportunity to present a web series chat show for an online British Bangladeshi TV network. I learned from my presenting experiences that this was just one example of how Internet technologies can be utilised to make a positive difference and inspire young people, particularly those from deprived backgrounds. But inspiration is an entity that functions in multiple ways, and it is my encounter with Mohima Ahmed that encouraged me to highlight how technology is being utilised for a great cause – right at the heart of East London.

Mohima Ahmed is an Apps For Good trustee and a volunteer for Inventors Club Whitechapel (Photo Credit: Apps For Good)
Mohima Ahmed is an Apps For Good trustee and a volunteer for Inventors Club Whitechapel (Photo Credit: Apps For Good)

In August 2016, I had the privilege of meeting Mohima, a bright and talented biomedical engineering student from Imperial College London, who lives in Tower Hamlets. She is a trustee/fellow for Apps For Good, an open-source technology education movement that partners with educators in schools and learning centres to deliver their course content to young people. Mohima developed an English-to-Bengali translation app in 2011 for parent-teacher conferences. She revealed that she is a volunteer for Inventors Club Whitechapel – a small and ambitious group of young parents, local residents and enthusiasts aiming to bring the world of technology to children in Whitechapel.

Akik Miah is the founder of the club (Photo Credit: Inventors Club Whitechapel)
Akik Miah is the founder of the club (Photo Credit: Inventors Club Whitechapel)

The club was founded in February 2016 by Akik Miah, a systems designer, with the intention of introducing young people to coding, data networking, hardware and applications design. “Our aim is to provide kids with the best of opportunities that technology has to offer and help bring out the inventors in them,” he said. “Local youngsters are not aware of the opportunities on their doorstep so we are hoping to deliver something exciting to Tower Hamlets, and create opportunities for the next generation who want to pursue a career in the field of technology.”

Akik and his team of volunteers aim to work with local youngsters and bring out the inventors in them (Photo Credit: Inventors Club Whitechapel)
Akik and his team of volunteers aim to work with local youngsters and bring out the inventors in them (Photo Credit: Inventors Club Whitechapel)

Akik formed a multi-skilled team of local volunteers from various sectors, including law, finance, and academia to help with the running of the club. Mohima is very much a key figure of the group, a regular helper who interacts with the club’s younger members and explains to them what they can do with code. “My experiences of working with kids is more to do with building their confidence than anything else,” Mohima said. “Speaking to them, understanding their thoughts and ideas, and then supporting them is important, which is what I try to do in my role.”

Mohima is of Bangladeshi descent and feels that the Bangladeshi community has never been short of talent or ambition, but she believes a lot of bright young people are hindered by a lack of guidance and role models in the technology field. “The club aims to break down these barriers and show local kids that they really can do anything, or even invent the kit to do so! There’s no reason the next Mark Zuckerberg can’t come from Tower Hamlets and when they do, the natural altruism and charitable teachings embedded in our culture will see that this is a force for positive, world-changing good.”

The children are focused on their assignment (Photo Credit: Inventors Club Whitechapel)
The children are focused on their assignment (Photo Credit: Inventors Club Whitechapel)

Although the majority of the club’s members come from a Bangladeshi background, Mohima stated that it was set up to support all children living in Tower Hamlets and that there is a greater focus to encourage more female students to become involved. “We’re definitely trying to recruit more students from all backgrounds. We are also thinking about how to involve more girls in the club and provide a platform for their work,” she said. “I hope that the girls who have attended our sessions so far have learned that there’s definitely a place for them in the tech world too. There’s no specific “type” of girl either, nor is there a dress code. We’ve got women wearing Converses and women wearing Louboutins – all that matters is that we love what we do!”

Faizah (centre) is studying Education at university and is one of the volunteers at the club (Photo Credit: Inventors Club Whitechapel)
Faizah (centre) is studying Education at university and is one of the volunteers at the club (Photo Credit: Inventors Club Whitechapel)

My recent adventures in Tower Hamlets have filled me with inspiration. Inventors Club Whitechapel looks forward to 2017 with ambitious projects to continue their mission of highlighting and nurturing young and local talent. Although it is often described as one of London’s most deprived boroughs, I believe Tower Hamlets is a place where the next generation can look to create their own opportunities and make their dreams become a reality.

Time for me to munch on some chicken wings…


Source: Huffington Post UK
Date of Publication: 11th January 2017
Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/ibrahim-rahman/inventors-club-whitechape_b_14049740.html

Why Am I Using Digital Media To Engage And Empower The Youth Within The British Bangladeshi Community?

Technology. It’s a wonderful thing. A source of fascination to me since childhood. Well, since my nursery school days to be precise. Two decades later, I’m using digital media to engage and interact with emerging young talent.

So, how did it all start?

As an energetic and inquisitive three-year-old, I was totally in awe of my uncle’s computer system. The thunderous tapping of the keyboard and incessant clicking of the mouse were as amazing to listen to as they were to watch. MS-DOS was mind-blowing. You could press a few buttons and make things happen. It looked like so much fun that I wanted to have a go too! Before I knew it, I had successfully repaired my nursery school’s computer. Shutdown and reboot; sorted. Back to joining the class and learning more nursery rhymes, but this was only the beginning of my journey into the world of digital technology and it went on to affect me in ways I never dreamed of.

My burgeoning interests in this domain diverted me towards media, after somehow navigating a path into my family’s video equipment and editing software. I have retained a strong interest in video production ever since I was at primary school. Since then, I have created a short film series with one episode that was shortlisted for a national film award, and I have reported and presented for radio and online TV, catering to varied audiences and working with diverse content.

This takes me to social media, a powerful and dynamic tool that has rapidly evolved over the last decade and continues to influence the lives of many. Over the last five years, it has enabled me to utilise various digital platforms to connect and positively engage with the youth through my own networks. Every day during Ramadan this year, I used Facebook’s livestream feature to share my experiences and initiate discussions over a range of topics such as food, Euro 2016 and the result of the EU Referendum. I received positive reactions and comments from my viewers. I did not know anyone else from my hometown, Cambridge, who was doing this during the month – it was about offering a different alternative that people within my locality could interact with and look forward to.

In contrast, social media has also been a region of personal disappointment and frustration, knowing there are young and talented individuals who do exist and are not receiving the credit they deserve – particularly within the Asian communities. I wanted to address this and numerous issues involving the youth throughout the British Bangladeshi community.

Presenting the chat show web series Youth Corner (Photo credit: LB24tv)
Presenting the chat show web series Youth Corner (Photo credit: LB24tv)

A British Bangladeshi online TV network offered me the opportunity to present a chat show web series called Youth Corner. The aims of the series were to highlight the achievements of young and emerging talent in various fields, providing a platform for guests to share their experiences and inspiring stories, and discuss topics relevant to them such as education, career development and much more. It has so far reached tens of thousands of users via Facebook, numbers that are increasing on a daily basis.

Abu Ali, a Clinical Data Manager from North London, was my first-ever guest of the series. “I was delighted to be the first guest,” he said. “It was a great opportunity to explain to the younger community what opportunities you have, how you can achieve them and make a difference. It also led to presenting a new show myself, so I can be grateful to Youth Corner for that!”

Abu Ali, a Clinical Data Manager, was the first guest to appear on Youth Corner (Photo credit: LB24tv)
Abu Ali, a Clinical Data Manager, was the first guest to appear on Youth Corner (Photo credit: LB24tv)

Amira Haque, a midwifery student from the University of the West of Scotland was a guest on Youth Corner. “The series is a fantastic initiative that exhibits the work and skills of lesser-known people,” she explained. “It inspires young people to do good and succeed in their respective fields, showing that success isn’t all about becoming a doctor, lawyer or engineer.”

Amira Haque, a midwifery student, was crowned Young Person of the Year for Cambridgeshire in 2015 (Photo credit: LB24tv)
Amira Haque, a midwifery student, was crowned Young Person of the Year for Cambridgeshire in 2015 (Photo credit: LB24tv)

Shuhel Ahmed, an East London-based filmmaker, was another to make an appearance on my show and explained the challenges he has faced with his work. “When this opportunity arose, I felt this was my best chance to express and discuss why I love what I do,” he said. “It gave me conviction and belief that my work is getting noticed, and that all those hard long hours working away does really pay off. Appearing on Youth Corner allowed me to demonstrate to my family and friends that it is possible to achieve success in this industry.”

Shuhel Ahmed, a filmmaker from East London, talked about his upcoming short film series for the first time on Youth Corner (Photo credit: LB24tv)
Shuhel Ahmed, a filmmaker from East London, talked about his upcoming short film series for the first time on Youth Corner (Photo credit: LB24tv)

From my own personal experiences and what I have seen within my own community, it is clear to me that young talent is in abundance, but what concerns me is the lack of media platforms out there supporting them. Many Bangladeshi media outlets I have come across seem to promote the same faces time and again and I feel it is dispiriting for those hard-working individuals who are desperate to make a breakthrough, but get overlooked.

Youth Corner enabled guests to feel empowered, instilling them with confidence and the belief that their work and achievements are being recognised and appreciated. Through Youth Corner, I have been able to network with young people from different walks of life and it has been a great learning experience for me.

I am especially grateful that I was given an opportunity to present my own show, but also to focus on issues that I am passionate about. The youth is the next generation and will ultimately be the ones who lead us into the future. There is still so much work to be done, but my recent encounters have filled me with optimism and belief that digital media can make a significant contribution, particularly for the youth. Attitudes within the British Bangladeshi community are changing steadily and this is encouraging.

It’s all work in progress.


Source: Huffington Post UK
Date of Publication: 17th October 2016
Link: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/ibrahim-rahman/why-am-i-using-digital-me_b_12457820.html

British Bangladeshi Who’s Who 2015

Thursday 5th November 2015. The Meridian Grand, London – the luxurious setting for this year’s British Bangladeshi Who’s Who event.

After attending the previous two events in 2013 and 2014, I was keen to get involved this time round and see what I could do to assist with from behind the scenes, particularly with the publication. I was tasked with editing the profiles of some new and existing entries that were to be included in this year’s publication. I also managed the social media sites for the British Bangladeshi Who’s Who this year, setting up profiles on Twitter and Instagram to promote the showpiece as well as helping to run the already existing Facebook page. I was keen for there to be a stronger social media presence, especially during the event. I thought this would be a great opportunity to promote the hashtag #bbwhoswho, knowing that there are many within the Bangladeshi community who are frequent users of social media and love to share photos.

On the night of the showpiece hosted by news presenter Lisa Aziz and barrister Anawar Miah, I tweeted throughout using the British Bangladeshi Who’s Who Twitter account – @bbwhoswho. The overall response to the Twitter coverage was positive, with guests engaging with the tweets and following the trend of using #bbwhoswhoRupa Huq MP, an award-winner on the night, and Zac Goldsmith MP, a London Mayoral candidate, both tweeted about the event.

Regarding the publication, I was listed as one of the contributors on the first page. Second from bottom.

Ibrahim was a contributor in this year's British Bangladeshi Who's Who publication
Ibrahim was listed a contributor in this year’s British Bangladeshi Who’s Who publication

In other news, before the awards ceremony kicked off, I was interviewed by Zakir Khan (see picture below). Somehow I made him laugh. Or maybe he was laughing at one of his own jokes. Or maybe he wanted to challenge me to a lightsaber duel. Look at him aiming his lightsaber-style microphone at me AND laughing… before the event started, they played out a segment from the Star Wars soundtrack. Funny, right? Fortunately, he wasn’t actually as menacing as his facial expressions showed. Phew! We had a brief chat about my contribution to this year’s British Bangladeshi Who’s Who publication and how I was helping out at the event. I wonder where this interview will be shown… Channel S possibly?

Ibrahim is interviewed by Zakir Khan
Ibrahim was interviewed by Zakir Khan before the event

While we are on the subject of audio equipment, Rez Kabir added a lively touch with his rich and distinctive voice-overs throughout the show. He just sat in a dark corner of the hall, bellowing into a microphone for a couple of hours. Well played. He’s also a very talented actor!

It was also a nice occasion to meet familiar and new faces…

Award-winning accountant Mahbub Murshed with Ibrahim
Award-winning accountant Mahbub Murshed with Ibrahim
Ibrahim with award-winner Kamru Ali
Ibrahim with award-winner Kamru Ali

To conclude, I enjoyed being part of the project. I would like to thank Abdul Karim Goni and Shahadoth Karim for giving me the opportunity to help out with the publication and at the event itself. The Meridian Grand was an excellent choice for this year’s venue and I think it would be good to see the next event hosted there again. Well done to everyone involved.

British Bangladeshi Business Awards 2015

Yes, this event was ages ago. But since many of you have been engrossed by the “election fever”, I don’t think it’s too late to share my latest blog post with you all. Anyway, let’s wind the clock back…

Wednesday 11th March 2015. I attended the inaugural British Bangladeshi Business Awards at the New Bingley Hall in Birmingham. My mother, Shahida Rahman, was a shortlisted nominee in the “Media and the Arts” category. Here is a quick summary of my experience at this event.

We arrived at the venue a few minutes before 7:00pm and I was pleasantly surprised to find that the event would be starting strictly on time. By Bangladeshi standards, this was MIGHTILY impressive. I’m still in shock! Okay, perhaps I’m taking it a bit too far, but it was impressive nonetheless. This is the equivalent of Bangladesh achieving an Olympic gold medal. Or knocking England out of the World Cup… hold on, that DID actually happen right?

The Prime Minister was there too! Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to speak to him, but he was clearly the main attraction of the event. There was also a moment of comedy when one of the speakers on stage inadvertently mispronounced the PM’s surname. Here’s a hint. It’s a country in Central Africa. Bonus points if you can get it right. Send me your answers on a postcard… never mind. Tweet them if you want.

David Cameron at the British Bangladeshi Business Awards
David Cameron at the British Bangladeshi Business Awards 2015

Apart from that, I thought the event was poorly organised. I felt there was a real lack of engagement with the audience. Too many people in the audience were busy talking amongst themselves and did not pay attention or show respect to those who were on stage.

The food was nice though.

Anyway, my mother was shortlisted but there was to be no silverware on this occasion. However, she didn’t go away empty-handed. Check out the certificate below. Another great achievement – well done!

Ibrahim's mother, Shahida Rahman, was a shortlisted nominee  in the "Media and the Arts" category
Ibrahim’s mother, Shahida Rahman, was a shortlisted nominee in the “Media and the Arts” category

All in all, it was an interesting and lively evening but regarding the execution of the event, it was far from satisfactory… even if David Cameron did show up.

Speaking of David Cameron, does anyone remember this? Go ahead. Watch it.

Ibrahim’s Review of 2014

It’s that time of year again. The time when I turn around 180 degrees clockwise or anti-clockwise and immerse myself with flashbacks. Whoa, that was bright! Oh, that was just me being dazzled by a car’s headlights. How can I be looking at a car’s headlights when I am supposed to be looking at my computer and focusing on this annual review? We’ll never know. Or maybe you will. It could just be one of life’s mysteries. Anyway, I digress.

Welcome to my sixth annual review. As always, another eventful year has found itself arrive and depart through the revolving doors of time. Is it me or am I starting to become poetic? No, I’m serious. Tweet me about it. Use an appropriate hashtag if you like. Be nice though. Let’s rewind the last twelve months…

Ibrahim visits Anfield for the first time
Ibrahim visits Anfield for the first time

I have travelled to quite a few places this year, and January witnessed my first trip to Anfield. After winning free tickets in a competition, I went to visit the home of my favourite football team – Liverpool FC. The result was a disappointing 2-2 draw with Aston Villa but watching from the stands was a memorable experience! I visited Anfield again three months later to watch the “Celebration of the 96” charity match. Another 2-2 draw!

Ibrahim visits the Emirates Stadium
Ibrahim visits the Emirates Stadium

In February, lightning struck twice. My brother Imran ALSO won free tickets to watch Arsenal play Crystal Palace at the Emirates Stadium. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored twice as the Gunners sealed a comfortable 2-0 victory over their London rivals. It was a different kind of experience to the one I had at Anfield, but enjoyable nonetheless. The inside of the stadium was visually impressive and we had a nice view from the stands. Overall, it was an enjoyable visit and the match was decent. Let’s hope Imran wins tickets again!

Ibrahim speaks on-stage at the Maa Amar Maa Awards
Ibrahim speaks on-stage at this year’s Maa Amar Maa Awards

In March, I attended the Maa Amar Maa Awards in London – an awards ceremony hosted by Pillar Productions to honour British Bangladeshi mothers in the UK. My mother won the Mother of the Year award! I was also invited on stage to say a few words which was quite nerve-wracking, but good practice for my public speaking skills. I met old and new faces but at the end of the day, it was a wonderful and joyous occasion. Definitely one of the highlights of the year!

Ibrahim in the BBC Asian Network studio with Shahida Rahman and Dilara Khan
Ibrahim in the BBC Asian Network studio with Shahida Rahman and Dilara Khan

Some days after the event, we were both invited for a live interview on BBC Asian Network. In an exciting and lively exchange of words with presenter Nadia Ali, I was asked about why I nominated my mother for an award. We also participated in a fun “Mother v Son” quiz! We were interviewed alongside Dilara Khan, the CEO of Pillar Productions and producer of Maa Amar Maa. Once again, another memorable day!

The Second Yellow
The Second Yellow

Welcome to May. I teamed up with Abu Ali to form The Second Yellow, a joint venture with the aim of delivering and discussing some of the biggest stories in football through writing articles and producing a podcast series. We have produced two episodes so far but are hoping for greater things in the new year. Watch this space!

Ramadan Roundup 4
Ramadan Roundup 4

I spent the next couple of months preparing for Ramadan Roundup 4. Raza Amode and Ubaid Sajid returned for this year’s instalment, after previously appearing in Ramadan Roundup 2. We also welcomed many new faces including Nadia Ali from BBC Asian Network! Cambridge locals Moghees Darr, Amira Haque and Ayat Rasool also made their first on-screen appearances in the series, and Uzma Chaudhry silenced the doubters by providing her voice all the way from Manchester for the opening scene. I should visit Manchester one day, it sounds like a nice place! It was a big cast this year and I am really grateful to everyone for being part of it! THANK YOU!

Ibrahim at Inspire FM
Ibrahim talked about the Ramadan Roundup series at Inspire FM

Throughout July, Ramadan Roundup gained a fair amount of media exposure through Inspire FM, a community radio station in Luton. I talked about the series as a live guest and “co-host” on the Urban Kube Show, presented by Shemiza Rashid. The series also got a mention in Weekly Desh, a bilingual British Bangladeshi weekly newspaper distributed around the UK. A North American-based online magazine called The Aerogram also published their series review. Thank you to all for your coverage!

In August, I reported for BBC Radio Cambridgeshire to cover the Eid-ul-Fitr celebrations in Cambridge. My Ramadan reports from last year were also repeated again on the Sunday Breakfast show.

September came along and I joined local community radio station Cambridge 105 as a reporter. My first report appeared on 105 Drive with Julian Clover, after attending the “Question Cambridge” event and I interviewed Julian Huppert, MP for Cambridge, about his thoughts on the city’s transportation infrastructure and encouraging more people to get into entrepreneurship. Listen to the report here.

Ibrahim and Nadia Ali on BBC Asian Network
Ibrahim and Nadia Ali on BBC Asian Network

I also worked for a month as a trainee assistant producer at BBC Asian Network on Nadia Ali‘s show. I had an amazing time! I recorded, edited and uploaded short video clips onto the BBC Asian Network Facebook page and had some fun posting and reading tweets! I also had the privilege of meeting Nurun Ahmed, a contestant from the tenth series of The Apprentice.

Ibrahim with Nurun Ahmed, contestant on the tenth series of "The Apprentice"
Ibrahim with Nurun Ahmed, contestant on the tenth series of “The Apprentice”

I recorded an awesome Apprentice-style video with Nadia performing as Sir Alan Sugar, who was analysing a comical pitch from Nurun. The video reached out to over 25,000 people within 7 days! I really enjoyed the experience and definitely would love to return again!

And then it was November. I attended the British Bangladeshi Who’s Who 2014 publication launch and awards ceremony at Alexandra Palace, London. I was listed in this year’s publication, recognising my work as a reporter, filmmaker, web designer and developer. I was also told that I am the youngest ever entrant to be listed in the book!

Finally, we reach December. I returned to Cambridge 105 to report from this year’s Mill Road Winter Fair. As the Fair returned for its tenth year, the Cambridge Mosque on Mawson Road also held its annual open day. I went to find out what was happening and then I went off to interview local stallholders. My two reports also featured in their podcast. All in all, another enjoyable day!

2014 has been an amazing year for me. There have been some challenging and difficult moments at times, but the tremendous support I have received from so many of you really helped me to keep going. Here is a quote I found a couple of days ago from Mufti Ismail Menk:

“Don’t forget those who have helped you along the way. Meet them; give them a call. We can never show too much appreciation to those who matter.”

I cannot thank you all enough, I am so grateful for all your support and generosity. May you all be immensely rewarded for your efforts. I had the pleasure of meeting so many wonderful people this year and I hope 2015 will be a great year for everyone. I hope you have enjoyed following my adventures this year – let’s create some new ones together.

I wish you all the best for the year ahead. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

P.S. There’s a new web series on the horizon…

British Bangladeshi Who’s Who 2014

Salutations, my dear readers. It has been a long time since I wrote something. Particularly something that is not related to football. Hmm. Well, let’s get this show on the road…

On Thursday 13th November 2014, I attended the British Bangladeshi Who’s Who 2014 publication launch and awards ceremony at Alexandra Palace, London. I was present at last year’s event as well, particularly because my mother’s profile was listed in the 6th edition of the publication. Anyhow, I am delighted to announce that I am a new entry in this year’s publication! I was also told that I am the youngest ever entrant to be listed in the book.

A massive thank you to all who have supported me, it really means so much. I am humbled and privileged to be included in this publication, especially at such an early stage of my career. I graduated in 2012, but the last two years have been pretty eventful! Challenging too, but eventful nonetheless.

You can read this year’s publication online via the following link:
http://www.bbwhoswho.co.uk/images/Publication.pdf

So what else is new? Well, I was work shadowing at BBC Asian Network not too long ago…

We’ll come back to that another time.

BB Who's Who Profile

Ramadan Roundup with Ibrahim Rahman

I talked about Ramadan Roundup in page 52 of this week’s edition of Weekly Desh, a bilingual British Bangladeshi weekly newspaper distributed around the UK.

Ramadan Roundup with Ibrahim Rahman

Maa Amar Maa Awards 2014

Thursday 27th March 2014. A memorable evening in London.

I nominated my mother, Shahida Rahman, for an award at the Maa Amar Maa Awards – an awards ceremony created by Pillar Productions to honour British Bangladeshi mothers in the UK across a range of categories.

I attended the event with my mother (obviously!), father and sister. We arrived at the Decorium quite early, so I used this time to explore the venue. Actually that’s wrong, I didn’t really explore much at all as we were expected to loiter about in the foyer before the event began. However, I met familiar faces and made some new connections! Hosted by the vibrant and elegant BBC Asian Network presenter Nadia Ali, the event featured live entertainment and a wonderful three-course meal catered by Pride of Asia.

As the night progressed, all the awards had been announced except for one – Mother of the Year. Suddenly, my mother’s name was announced. It took us all by surprise – my mother was shocked! She briskly walked up towards the stage and was presented with her trophy, posing with the accolade alongside Dilara Khan and Shahagir Bakth Faruk (the CEO’s of Pillar Productions). I was still trying to come to terms with this wonderful achievement, and then Nadia requested for me to come up on stage as well and say a few words… WHAT?!

I didn’t have anything planned! What was I going to say? Somehow I managed to conjure up a short speech, acknowledging the efforts of Pillar Productions and the Maa Amar Maa team for all their hard work, and paying respect to all mothers for everything that they do.

Congratulations to all the mothers who won awards and to those who were nominated this year!

Finally, I want to use this opportunity to thank my mother for everything she has done for me. I know words will never be enough. You are the queen of my heart and you have always been the driving force in my life. You gave me the encouragement and strength to take on so many challenges in life – may Allah elevate you to the highest level of paradise.

Thank you.

Mother and me - December 1992
Mother and me – December 1992

The Power of Networking

Thursday 7th November 2013. A day to remember.

“Erm… why?”

Well, well, well. Look who it is. It’s the invisible voice! Go and crawl back into your hole.

“Oh wow. Ibrahim’s finally showing some backbone! I have taught you well. You do realise that if I didn’t make these amazing appearances in your blog posts… I provide the comical moments which you simply could not deliver without my assistance.”

I am not a comedian. Besides, everyone knows my jokes are bad. Nothing new. You’re just here to scare off my readers! Off you go, the door’s just over there. Second turn on the right.

“I provide the colour. The vibrance. The beauty.  I once found the bottom of a rainbow you know.”

I have two words for you. GO AWAY.

“I’ll be back. This is not over, Mr Rahman…”

Goodness me… so what is the “Brightest 100”? Let’s get down to business and go back in time… LIVERPOOL WON THE LEAGUE TITLE! I think we travelled too far. 23 years. We are way off…

Here we are then, Saturday 11th May 2013. It was the FA Cup Final. Manchester City lost 1-0 to Wigan Athletic… sorry, am I rambling too much about football? Some of you don’t like football? Oh. Never mind then. Apart from the big match, this was the day of the “Brightest 50” event, organised by a not-for-profit organisation called PRiDEA. My profile was listed in the “Brightest 50” publication, a book that highlighted and celebrated the achievements of 50 British Bangladeshis from across the UK. I was recognised for my academic achievements and work in web design and development.

Fast forward… STOP. Six months later, I found myself at the House of Commons and listed once again in PRiDEA’s latest publication for the “Brightest 100”. This time, I was acknowledged for my work as a reporter for BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.

Both events were really good and inspiring. I met some wonderful people and I am still in contact with them today. It’s a great feeling. I am honoured and privileged to have been listed in both publications and I would like to congratulate everyone else who also featured as well.