Sikh Nari Manch
BIBI GURDEV KAUR OBE
M.A., B.ED., SANGEET PARVEEN, SANGEET BHASKAR
Bibi Gurdev Kaur OBE is an inspirational woman and has a multifarious career. She has been very successful in her various professions as teacher, business woman, bilingual children’s writer, musician, choir convener and community worker.
A great devotional singer, an accomplished speaker, a prolific multilingual writer, she has thirty five bilingual books in Punjabi/English and Urdu/English to her credit and has recorded over three dozen devotional and cultural cassettes. She is a pioneer with her new methodology for the teaching of Punjabi language, Gurbani recitation and Shabd Keertan. She is the first devotional singer who explains the meanings of the Shabds she sings in English and Punjabi both thus younger generation and the host community can understand the universal teachings of Sikhism. She has been awarded the prestigious “Pioneering Award” by Eastern Media Ltd, Birmingham.
She has made a significant contribution in the field of Education, children’s literature, inter-faith, charity and community work, especially with Asian women and children and community at large. Since 1990 she has devoted her life in supporting the Sikh youth, women and raising awareness of Sikhism amongst the host community.
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Bibi Gurdev Kaur OBE founded a Sikh women’s group, named – Sikh Nari Manch in 1998. There main aims were to empower women of all ages and backgrounds, particularly of Sikh faith and Asian background. Also to raise their self esteem and enhance their basic skills and their knowledge of services that are available, through conferences, seminars, workshops, artistic events and residential camps etc.
SNM became a Registered Charity in 2002 and has received Queen’s Jubilee Award for Voluntary Service for the community at large in 2006.
In 1998 she opened the doors of her own house to enable women to come together and sing Gurbani, when they might otherwise find it difficult to get out of their own homes regularly. Women of all ages from 10 to 60+ from all backgrounds, who have never sung a note before, are trained to sing in a choir and no knowledge of Punjabi is required to sing the songs as she transliterates and translates every thing in English. Her pioneering bilingual music is in much demand as it breaks the barriers and builds bridges in our multi-faith community. The choir has performed at many prestigious events all over the country such as Royal Albert Hall, London in the presence of His Highness Prince Charles and Symphony Hall, Birmingham in the presence of the Prime Minister of the time, Tony Blair in 1999. BBC World Service produced a special programme on its unique style of devotional music in 2000. The choir was invited to India to receive Bhai Mardana Award for its bilingual music in 2002 by Bhai Mardana International Society. It performed at many prestigious Keertan Darbars (devotional music events) all over India where its music was much appreciated. The choir performs regularly and raises funds for the community activities.
Bibi Gurdev Kaur OBE realised that there were no culturally sensitive facilities available to the Asian community in the North Birmingham area and the nearest such services for them were at least 8-10 miles away. In 2004 she organised a Feasibility Study of Erdington area that proved the need for these services. She started looking for premises to open a centre that will provide these services to the community and also create a friendly space for the isolated older women of the area.
Finally in 2006, SNM were succesful in opening a centre at 176 Streetly Road in Erdington. In the spirit of Sikhi “Surbutt Da Bhulla” the centre was named “Northside Welcome Centre” to be inclusive.
What we currently do
NWC currently provide support, advice, guidance and information to all individuals. As well a providing educational and social activities such as computer classes, English, councelling, Maths classes, Yoga/meditation, self esteem workshops and NHS expert patients programmes. We offer FREE and confidential advice on training and employment.
To cater for the spiritual needs of the Sikh and wider community, Mata Tripta Darbar House organises Punjabi Tots, workshops on the Sikh faith and bilingual Diwans at Mata Tripta Darbar.
The services are being increased as the demand comes from the community and since its opening, has become a hub for community cohesion at grass root level. Northside Welcome Centre is open to all and serves the whole community.
For Sikh Nari Manch to be an inspirational organization striving for excellence in all that we do. SNM will lead in the teaching of the Sikh faith and the practical application of it’s principles trough graceful and conscious living and self-less service to humanity through our centre and our projects.