Skip to 0 minutes and 12 secondsFARZANA AMEEN: My name is Farzana Ameen. I manage the Dosti group, which is run locally in the community. It's basically to help community members come out of isolation. What we found was there were widows. They were maybe elderly families that didn't have support. And it was just an environment for them to come and enjoy a cup of tea, a cup of coffee, have a chat.

Skip to 0 minutes and 44 secondsTAHIRA PARVEEN: Hi. My name is Tahira Parveen. It's like-- I'm working with Farzana. We run Dosti group every Wednesday. And there's a lot of ladies. Before our group was quite like a-- small, but now it's increasing. Our job is like just encouraging to them, get out of the house. Sometimes they're-- a lot of ladies, they're depressed at home. So we just tell them to come here and have a-- enjoy, meet new friends, and enjoy a cup of tea. And we try to create new things. They learn new things and new skills. So it's-- so they really quite enjoy the group.

Skip to 1 minute and 19 secondsSAMINA KHATOON: My name is Samina Khatoon. I come to this group and Dosti group. I like this group.

Skip to 1 minute and 31 seconds[NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

Skip to 1 minute and 42 secondsFARZANA AMEEN: OK. So Samina-- she attended the exhibition with us. She's saying that her first impression when she actually set eyes on the exhibition was-- she said, I'd never seen anything like it before. So I was very overwhelmed by it. Emotionally, she was very overwhelmed by it. Tahira, you can mention what you--

Skip to 2 minutes and 7 secondsTAHIRA PARVEEN: Yeah. It's that I remember I went to Farzana's one day when she saw, the first time, Quran. She was so, like-- I think the tear came from her eyes. He saw it. She was like, look how the other people, they're respecting our Quran. And she goes, it's like they still like-- more respect, it's like. You know? And she was really excited. She goes, I've seen in my-- the first time I've seen in my life. I never saw it before.

Skip to 2 minutes and 35 secondsINTERVIEWER: Really?

Skip to 2 minutes and 36 secondsTAHIRA PARVEEN: She was. Yeah. And even I was like, yeah. When I saw it, I feel so proud. And I said, look on the-- I've seen, like, in my first time in my life.

Skip to 2 minutes and 47 secondsFARZANA AMEEN: I think, for me, I was actually taken aback by the history, the beautiful scripts, the history behind the writing, the different types of writing. For me, I was actually surprised at how many years ago ink was available, paper was available. How did it come about? For us, we always think, oh, no. Nothing was available until the modern societies developed. So yes, I was taken aback by mainly how it had all been put together.

Skip to 3 minutes and 26 secondsSAMINA KHATOON: [NON-ENGLISH SPEECH]

Skip to 3 minutes and 35 secondsFARZANA AMEEN: Proud about the fact that-- how well they had been looked after. And she had more respect for the people who had preserved them as well as they had and that they've been kept for so many years but kept well for so many years.

Skip to 3 minutes and 50 secondsINTERVIEWER: Yes, I see. What about yourself? Do you remember when you came down?

Skip to 3 minutes and 53 secondsFARZANA AMEEN: I didn't even know, you know, these things existed. So for me to be able to learn about it, I went home, I told everybody else about it. I encouraged family to go out, go back in to see the exhibition. My family did go and have a look at the manuscripts and things. And I think for children it's so important. And it's especially-- what we found, with our group, they hardly go out. You know, they're very-- they live in a very isolated community. So to actually expose them to an exhibition like this, it was a pleasure. It was a pleasure. And they were very pleased to have been able to be part of it.

Skip to 4 minutes and 46 secondsOne of the activities that were-- the ladies did in the workshop was marble--

Skip to 4 minutes and 54 secondsTAHIRA PARVEEN: Yeah, her name is--

Skip to 4 minutes and 55 secondsFARZANA AMEEN: --art. So we did some marble art. And that was something that obviously, the ladies had remembered. So when we introduced making birthday cards in our groups, that was one of the things that came back, and we wanted to implement that in our card-making activities. The calligraphy and the Arabic writing, the Persian writing, that was something that everybody was very impressed with. I think a lot of them would love to learn how to write in-- using calligraphy. It is an art. But it is something that I think everybody would love to learn about.

Skip to 5 minutes and 38 secondsTAHIRA PARVEEN: Yeah.

Skip to 5 minutes and 38 secondsFARZANA AMEEN: So I think that was another hit with the group, as well.

Skip to 5 minutes and 45 secondsObviously, it was something that we'd never, ever thought of before. But because we were exposed to it, it actually opened our minds up to new ideas. So I would recommend it to anybody who's thinking of starting groups and thinking of organising sessions. This would definitely be something I would implement in my session. I mean, what we actually found with our ladies was they actually forgot about their worries and their everyday-- you know, it's something that your mind just goes into. And you forget about your surroundings. You can just-- you know. And a lot of them, it brought back their creative skills, which they probably didn't think they had.

Skip to 6 minutes and 30 secondsAnd some of them, I think they'd actually enjoyed arts when they were young and had to just leave it, you know. It was in the back burner. And it was something that was brought forward thanks to the project.

Members of the Go Woman! Alliance group, Birmingham

We speak to Farzana Amin, Tahira Parveen and Samina Khatoon from the Go Woman! Alliance Dosti group in Birmingham about how working with the Cadbury Research Library has positively affected their lives.

The women were involved in a community outreach programme whereby they visited the CRL to view the Qur’an and other manuscripts in order to inspire their creativity. The women speak openly about how they felt when they saw the Birmingham Qur’an in person for the first time and how the influence of the project lives on.

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This video is from the free online course:

The Birmingham Qur'an: Its Journey from the Islamic Heartlands

University of Birmingham