The Asian Circle, a collective within The Circle, brings together UK-based Asian women from all walks of life who have a shared passion and commitment to addressing the issues facing disempowered women and girls in India and South Asia.
The network was founded by Santosh Bhanot and launched in November 2013 at the Houses of Parliament.
The Asian Circle Committee provides leadership and direction for the group, which aims to support projects that increase South Asian women’s ability to participate in their communities by strengthening their voices, gaining equality and improving their earning potential.
What they have achieved
In 2019, The Asian Circle hosted their Chai Day in Leicester at the Peepul Enterprise for a high tea. With the aim of informing and inspiring, the committee held a seminar on ending violence against women, followed by high chai. The seminar, kindly hosted by the Peepul Enterprise in Leicester, brought together activists and the local community to share statistics, data and knowledge on violence against women and raise funds. Key speakers included Santosh Bhanot, Founder and Chair of The Asian Circle, Panahghar and Quetzal.
They created the concept of Chai Day and launched it in 2016. The Asian Circle and their supporters organised several Chai Days in 2017, including one at the British High Commission in New Delhi and the official The Asian Circle Chai Day at Montys, in Ealing, which was attended by The Great British Bake Off star Rav Bansal. In 2018, they celebrated Chai Day and their fifth anniversary at The LaLit Hotel, in London.
Over the years, The Asian Circle has hosted a wide variety of fundraising and networking events in London. They have organised film screenings, including The True Cost at SOAS and of Chalk ‘n’ Duster and Ajji at Regent Street Cinema. On a number of occasions, they have held a popular Summer Party, which was attended by comedian Shazia Mirza in 2017.
Some images from fantastic events over the years:
This year, as COVID-19 hit the world, many women and girls were disproportionately impacted. The Asian Circle has supported communities in India with emergency food parcels, hygiene kits, additional support for migrant workers, and provided protective PPE equipment for frontline workers.
The Asian Circle also partnered with Oxfam India on an ambitious project in rural Adivasi communities in Chhattisgarh and Odisha to challenge the social acceptance of sexual and domestic violence against women. There’s a long road ahead but this project has already made a huge difference to women and girls’ lives. This project has helped the government, the police and judiciary to apply the laws that protect women, and has set support centres that offer medical care, legal advice, counselling and shelters for survivors of gender-based violence.