By Ieesha Barnett
Collective Roots is a platform showcasing Bangladeshi talent in all its glory. The
Instagram handle can be found at @collectiveroots_1971, this being the year that
Bangladesh gained independence from Pakistan. The page showcases Bangladeshi talent in a way that is both inspirational and extremely educational. It hosts a variety of journeys, yet one common denominator binds the community, the pride of being of Bangladeshi descent.
The creator of Collective Roots, Farhanah is a breath of fresh air, her outlook and perspective have stemmed from her own personal experiences. Like many, she has encountered bumps along her journey, yet her perseverance
and motivation have allowed her to create this platform. She formerly studied as an International Politics student at the University of Brunel in Uxbridge, going on to work within the educational charity sector. Over time Farhanah’s passion for education and making a difference began to grow. Ultimately leading to her developing job campaigns for East London youths in order to create
an opportunity space.
Farhanah’s vision set out to showcase Bangladeshi talent. Highlighting a community that was not being championed enough or downplaying their own successes. Farhanah felt she needed to create a platform that bought all these successes together. A platform that could “share someone’s story and create pockets of inspiration”. A visionary with big ideas, Farhanah decided to start small and create a simple Instagram page to be creative with her own culture and meet new talent. Farhanah’s road to creating the platform elicits a key message for aspiring Bangladeshi creatives. “Don’t waste your talent, push yourself, find your purpose”.
Above all, the Collective Roots page aims to highlight the highs and lows of
Bangladeshi creatives journeys through life. The platform highlights stories of
Bangladeshi people within the UK in a variety of occupations. The key question
arising time and time again, “what does it look like to be successful as a Bangladeshi person?”. The answer being, there is no set way that a success journey must go. A key element which is presented through the Collective Roots platform. Traditional ideals of conventional career journeys are being squashed. The platform allows Bangladeshi talent to be represented and most of all celebrated across a diverse field of careers. Perpetuating the idea that success is what you make it to be, so long as you push yourself.
A collaboration that Farhanah was proud of was with a school friend named Farzana Islam. Her Collective Roots post really “took off” as her story resonated with so many young girls, showing that women can be educated, hardworking, entrepreneurs as well as a mum. The TFL train driver/ girl boss has recently created a thriving chutney business. Her love for experimenting with different fruits and flavours ultimately fuelled her desire to start a business of her own. Her Instagram page (handle @chutneyhut_) has accumulated over 1300 followers and is currently doing “better than ever”. Collaborations such as these mean a great deal to Farhanah. Each collaboration is another connection in this beautiful community.
Not only does Farhanah work for an education charity in Tower Hamlets (alongside the daily running of Collective Roots) but recently hosted a pilot webinar sharing lived experiences of local BAME talent during International Women's Day. The talk took place on the 12th of March, titled ‘13 going on 30’. The 3 female speakers all detailed their career journeys through a patriarchal society. The talks were inspirational and fuelled conversation around lived experiences that women have faced from East London.
Farhanah detailed the importance of “planting a seed” with the younger generation. Hence why representation is a prevalent factor within the Collective Roots platform. The younger generation can see themselves in a variety of different occupations, whether that be: an architect, a lawyer, a police officer or a graphic designer. The possibilities are endless. Most importantly platforms such as Collective Roots enable young people “to be what they can see”. Farhanah hopes that in the not-too-distant future she can increase her interaction with young people, in hopes that they can become inspired and ask those important questions.
For the Collective Roots creator this is just the beginning. Farhanah’s long term
vision is to build a social enterprise targeting the BAME community, drawing off of her personal experiences alongside others. Her vision sees her reinventing careers, education and incorporating technology, social media, webinars and podcasts. Farhanah has a genuine passion and flare for what she does, and it goes without saying that we should all watch this space.