“Since I started coming to Mehfil Care Group I have made so many friends, I am not lonely anymore” – A user of Ekta Project services.
Translated as “Unity” in English, Ekta Project – founded in 1986 – has been tirelessly campaigning for the rights of Asian elders in Newham and the surrounding areas for over three decades.
Providing equal opportunities and access to care for Asian elders is something that has a personal resonance for founder and C.E.O Ramesh Verma OBE. Born in Tanzania, she moved to the UK to become a teacher with her husband who sadly passed away shortly after the relocation. She then gave up teaching to care for her elderly parents, fighting for them to be given access to care services until their passing. While many would be crushed by the weight of such tragedy, Ramesh instead, continued to fight for access to care for Asian elders. This is a fight that she still continues to this day, with an unmatched spirit and desire to see meaningful change in her community.
Since its initial ambitions of providing equal access to care for Asian elders, the charity has gone from strength to strength, and has blossomed into a provider of many of these services in its own right. Ekta Project provides a number of services within the community, working alongside other organizations such as The British Heart Foundation, Mental Health Trust, and The Primary Care Trust. These include befriending services and health awareness programs. Not just a place for people to meet, the befriending service organises trips out, events, classes and much more. They have even organised holidays abroad, including trips to Kevala Dubai and most of European countries.
As well as providing services and campaigning for better access to care, Ekta Project also tackles taboo subjects that affect the lives of people in the community. Through the medium of drama, Ekta Project has tackled topics such as dementia, domestic abuse and breast cancer awareness. Indeed, their play “Dementia’s Journey” (“Dementia Ka Safa” in Hindi) has gone on tour around the country in conjunction with The Alzheimer’s Society and The East London NHS Foundation Trust.
Funded almost entirely by private donations, Ekta Project continues to work to improve the lives of Asian elders in Newham, driven by a desire for a fairer, more equal community. For their tireless and selfless work, Ekta Project has been recognised by a number of organisations and has won numerous awards, including the International Dementia Awards 2015 “Dementia & the Arts Award.”
It has also received a National Training Award for its one of a kind Elder Abuse Awareness training scheme. Despite all the success and recognition however, Ramesh’s passion for helping others and improving her community remains undiminished, and the charity continues to grow year on year. Ekta Project is a vital resource for the elderly Asian community, and will hopefully remain so for a long time to come.