Work and Money
Misbah Mosobbir, founder of bobNetwork
Bridging the gap
By Angela Saini
There are economic and social reasons why young Bangladeshis aren’t reaching the same heights of success as other ethnic groups. A network of Bangladeshi professionals in Tower Hamlets is trying to redress the balance
Misbah Mosobbir has a high-flying city job. But he started his career as a waiter, going to evening classes until he earned his degree and eventually became a successful city banker.
His story is rare and illustrates the challenges that many Bangladeshis in Tower Hamlets face in overcoming the economic and social barriers to success. In 1999 he founded the bobNetwork, a group of Bangladeshi professionals from across the country, in an attempt to find people from the same background.
“I thought I was the only Bangladeshi in banking!” says Misbah.
Today, the bobNetwork holds events at which young people in East London can learn about different careers and gain inspiration from role-models like Misbah.
97 per cent of Bangladeshi students in Tower Hamlets speak English as a second language, after Sylheti, but even so they perform as well as or better than white pupils at GCSE.
Two-thirds of all pupils in Tower Hamlets in receipt of free school meals are Bangladeshi, and a third of Bangladeshi homes contain more than one family – 64% of all overcrowded households in Tower Hamlets are Bangladeshi.
Employment among white residents in Tower Hamlets is 72%, and non-white is only 33%.
Battling the disadvantages of poverty and poor housing, young Bangladeshis in Tower Hamlets have believed that pursuing the career of their choice is a difficult dream.
Misbah Mosobbir, Nusrat Chowdhry, an executive head hunter, and Rimel Rahman, a software programmer, have all had different upbringings. Newham and Tower Hamlets reporter, Angela Saini, filmed a debate between them in which they address issues about their lives and communities. Click on the right-hand link to watch the report.
last updated: 27/12/2007 at 12:49