Taraki x Movember: Reflection 1

Taraki x Movember: Reflection 1
Taraki have been awarded a grant to co-develop the Chai in the City social space for Punjabi men which you can read about here. This blog is part of a series where our facilitator, Taimour Ahmed, reflects on the process of this project, key learnings, and important milestones. You can read about the project in more detail here.

August marks the first month of the Social Connections Challenge project for Taraki in partnership with Movember. As the project lead it has been quite a beautiful and nourishing first month, from the excitement of the launch to streamlining project progress — something I can get very 'geeky' about through Notion. With that being said, the first month also serves as a good point in time to reflect on what has led me to this position, especially in the context that I am someone who has been an attendee for 2 years of the Chai In The City spaces. I would have never imagined , especially when I first became aware of Taraki, that one day it become my employer — though I don't see it in such a binary capitalist view.

My involvement with Taraki and its founder, Shuranjeet, comes from a history of a deep and intimate friendship that started back in 2019. It was through this friendship and trust that I extrapolated a desire to attend Chai in the City spaces in London. I started attending in November 2019 and I have never looked back since. There is a widely used joke used by the facilitators during session introductions that I am 'part of the furniture'. This is something which gives me great joy knowing that a part of chosen-identity is rooted in something so healing and nourishing for myself and other Punjabi men. Retrospectively speaking,  Chai in the City as a space, came to me at a point where I deeply needed and wanted deeper friendships/connections with other men, let alone Punjabi men. Personally, at the time, I was in an awkward place where I was in my late 20's and I engaged with people (especially men) mainly through activities i.e. martial arts or work.

While this meant that I had a vast network, I didn't truly have many friends, let alone close friends.

What I needed/wanted at the time was the kind of friendships where you can discuss what's truly in your heart and on your mind. Looking back, it's safe to say that I had a deep sense of isolation and loneliness in my life. It's for this reason and more that I was/am so deeply appreciative of Chai in the City, as they have facilitated space for me to create deeper and sustained friendships with other Punjabi men - men who I now consider close friends.

As someone who has directly benefitted from the Chai in the City spaces for nearly 2 years, it simply is an honour and such an exciting prospect for me to recognise that we now have the funding, time and resources to be able to support partner organisations across the globe who would want to create such beautiful spaces and ultimate tackle isolation amongst Punjabi men. Something which is deeply needed amongst men, let alone Punjabi men - especially after the impact of COVID.

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