Temple in Leicester set to tackle organ donation shortages in ethnic minority groups

By Perry Johnson

The issue of organ donor shortages among ethnic minority groups across the UK is set to be tackled in Leicester later this month as medical professionals and treated patients come together to deliver a free and informative seminar.

The talk, which will take place from 10.30am until 3pm on 17 March, will be held at the Jain Centre on Oxford Street – Britain’s first consecrated temple for followers of the Jainism religion.


The Jain Centre in Leicester – Britain’s first consecrated temple for worshippers of Jainism

The event will feature presentations by surgeons and live donors on issues surrounding kidney disease, its prevention and how it is treated; before being followed up with a question and answer session.

Rhyiana Patel, a graphic design student from Leicester, said: “Events like this that aim to educate people on their health and any issues that they could have at some point are very important.”

“Temple is integral to a lot of people’s lives in communities like mine – so to have the talk in one means it can reach out more directly to the people who could be affected most.

“People from Black and Asian communities are more likely to develop issues such as diabetes and high blood pressure which can lead to kidney damage.”

Last year, research issued by NHS Blood and Transplant showed that 1 in 5 people who died on the Transplant Waiting List were from a Black, Asian or ethnic minority background.

This is due to a shortage of organ donations from these groups with figures showing there to have only been 114 donors from an ethnic minority background in the UK last year.

The seminar on the issue is being co-ordinated by Jain Samaj EUROPE and the Leicester division of Oshwal Association UK in co-operation with Vanik Coucil UK – who have organised matching events at other Hindu and Jain temples across the country.

For more information or to purchase tickets visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/kidney-disease-prevention-living-organ-donation-leicester-tickets-55184238543#tickets


VIDEO: Lithuanian student avoids conscription from country’s military

By Beth Surridge

A Lithuanian student in Leicester has received an unexpected letter demanding that he go back to Lithuania to do his military service.

Gvidas Lipinas is studying at De Montfort University (DMU) but was shocked by the surprising request asking him to go back to Lithuania to fight for his country.

Gvidas said: “I was completely unaware of this situation; my mother rang me one day and told me that I had been selected. I didn’t know what to do.”


Conscription in Lithuania originally ended in 2008, but was then reintroduced in 2015 due to the danger posed by Russia. This meant that men aged 19 to 26 are automatically on the conscription list.

Although Gvidas has lived in the United Kingdom all of his life, he is still classed as a Lithuanian citizen which has led to him being put on the conscription list as he has come of age.

Gvidas added: “Even though I’m literally a ghost in Lithuania as I left when I was so young, I was still put on the list when I reached the age of 19. My brother will also have the same problem.”

However, due to the fact that Gvidas is studying at DMU, it has meant that he does not have to go and take part in the nine-month military service.


Gvidas Lipinas, a De Montfort University student, has been conscripted by the Lithuanian military.

The university has stepped in to help him, and has sent a letter back to prove that he is a student at DMU.

Gvidas said: “When I received the news, I went to Gateway House, they were more than helpful and sent a letter which proved I was a DMU student. The letter has postponed my service.”

VIDEO: DMU student attends ‘Sister Programme’ talk at Leicester Mosque


By Alexandra Smith

A Somali Muslim student has praised a motivational talk for young women for helping her tackle the difficulties faced by people of her faith studying away from their homes.

The Jame’ Masjid Mosque held the event ‘Sisters Programme’, a motivational talk for young Muslim women, on Sunday.

Muslim student at De Montfort University (DMU) Hafsa Yassin, 20, attended the ‘Sister Programme’ and labelled it the catalyst for her educational and religious success.

Miss Yassin said: “I feel it is important to remember my culture and religion especially since moving to a different city.”

As a Somali Muslim woman Miss Yassin has received both positive and negative reactions to her faith.

She said: “Being faced with constant negative misrepresentation throughout the media can be draining so it is enlightening to attend positive initiatives set out to help young Muslim women move forward with their life and career.”

Although Miss Yassin has been surrounded by a diverse community since coming to DMU, including that of her own Somali Muslim community, she said that with her family at home she felt she was more committed to her religion.

She said: “I feel like I need to get closer to God, it is a requirement in my religion to pray at least five times a day which I have been falling behind with.”

For Miss Yassin, moving out of her family home was a big step as in her culture women tend to stay at home.

She said: “Family will always remind me of God but, I shouldn’t have to be reminded. My religion is who I am, it’s a part of me that should never fade and I won’t let it.”

Miss Yassin went on to praise the importance of community led programmes like the ‘Sisters Programme’ especially for students whose place of worship had changed and who were no longer surrounded by their family who share their faith.

For more information on local Muslim events taking place in Leicester, visit the Leicester Muslims Facebook page.


VIDEO: Pakistani cultural ball to be held in Leicester

By Emily Barker

A cultural ball is set to be held in Leicester at the end of March.

De Montfort University’s (DMU) Pakistani Society will be holding a ball called Zindagi, at The Platinum Suite in Cobden Street, just off Humberstone Road, on Thursday, March 28.

Zain Afzal, 22, is studying a Graduate Degree in Law, after graduating from a Politics degree at DMU. He is also the Health and Safety Officer for the Pakistani Society.

Zain said: “This event is open to anyone, society member or not. We are really keen to make this a public event.

“We are having live music and hosting a three-course meal, consisting of traditional Pakistani delicacy; tandoori chicken, samosas, biryani and also gulab jamun, which is a dessert. Tea will also be served.”

DMU’s Pakistani Society at their Qawwali Night in February (SOURCE: Zain Afzal)

The event will be ticketed at £35 for standard tickets and £45 for VIP, with the dress code being traditional Asian dress or formal clothing.

It will be promoted on the society’s social media pages and around campus, with people handing leaflets and posters out every day to students, staff and the public.

The society is also looking to advertise with and get sponsorship from Leicester businesses.

Zain continued: “We wanted to keep the now-annual tradition going, and this will be our third event.

“The past two years have been a major success and we want this event to be the same.

“In 2017, I think we had around 300 people attend, and then last year it was more like 500 or 600 people.

“We want to create a memorable night where people can socialise and make new friends.

“During Ramadan, the society are also helping out with the prayer room on campus, for Iftar (the evening meal after sunset), as 300 people are expected to attend.”

Hajra’s Kitchen looks to join increasingly competitive market

By Jacob Moseley

Leicester is already an extremely competitive market when it comes to Indian cuisine and with curry houses not far from most homes it can be hard to encourage the community towards a new addition.

Hajra Hafejee – a food blogger from Leicester who specialises in sweet treats and classic Indian cuisine – is just one person hoping to one day make her passion for food into a fully-fledged business.

The mum of two’s blog, Hajra’s Kitchen, has been gaining in popularity since it was first set up in 2012 and it now boasts more than 10,000 followers reading her recipes.

Last November she was involved in a charity event called The Great Highfields Bake Off.

She said: “The money made from selling the cakes after the competition was given to charity, we raised £145 for Alzheimer’s Society.”

The introduction of the Leicester Curry Awards in 2017 by Romail Gulzar has made the standard of curry houses around Leicester rise – with the final five in this year’s event being made up of the Mumbai Inn, Chutney Ivy, Empress of India, Indian Fusion, and Raj Mahal Restaurant.

With 30 new restaurants having entered the competition this year, Hajra has a lot to learn from already established businesses.

She said: “I hope to one day bring my recipes to more of Leicester whilst keeping the tradition of passing down classic Indian recipes. I just blog my own recipes, but I would love to make it into a business one day.”


Lamb chops with masala potatoes, spicy beans and tomato pasta

Hajra added: “For people who may bake as a hobby or cook at home, the main reason for the blog is for people to have a general fun time.”

Hajra’s recipes can be found on her blog Hajra’s Kitchen, as well as her Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages which she regularly posts on.