Amar Bari Amar Jibon – A Collaborative, Coproduced research project

Bangla Housing Association (BHA) is one of the three key partners working on the Amar Bari Amar Jibon (my home my life)- developing living environments for Bangladeshi Probins (elders). It is a collaborative and coproduced research project with The Open University and the Housing LIN. The project is funded by the Dunhill Medical Trust.  

Who are we?

Bangla Housing Association (BHA) was established over 32 years ago to support Hackney Bangladeshi residents to meet their housing and welfare support needs. Over the years we have broadened our work to helping the people from the wider communities in Hackney, Islington, and Waltham Forest.

We are dedicated to community development and engagement. Prior to the pandemic we hosted workshops, raising awareness about public health issues like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, smoking, and immunisation. We hosted annual day trips and Fun Days for our residents and their families. We facilitated annual 5-A-Side football tournaments for local youths. Our welfare benefits advice and translation service for our residents and the community is very popular. 

During the pandemic we set up our Bangla Covid-19 Advice Project (BCAP to support the community through this unprecedented national health crisis. This project was funded by the National Lottery. Through our networks of contacts in the community and using varied resources we reached out to the community with health messages and vaccine take up programmes. our BCAP work was appreciated by the community. For this lifesaving work we received Hackney Mayor’s Civic Award and a letter of acknowledgment from the Queen.  

BHA ‘s role within the ABAJ partnership

The Amar Bari Amar Jibon (ABAJ) research is the most ambitious of all our projects. This research on the Bangladeshi communities, particularly on the issues facing older Bangladeshi people (Probins) aged 50 years and over and about their housing and neighbourhood needs and experiences.

We felt it was an amazing opportunity to get involved in this unique collaborative research which will produce qualitative data on the current health and housing environment and the need and aspirations of the Bangladeshi elders (Probins). These qualified data and the research analysis will help to inform local and national housing and health service providers and policy makers.

The core ABAJ research team comprising of The Open University accademics,CEO and Operations Manager of BHA, CEO of Housing LIN, and the Post Doctoral Researcher.                

Our role in the partnership is central to the progress of the project. While the core partnership is involved in all aspects of decision-making, BHA has led on identifying potential Bangla Research Advisory Group (BRAG) members from the wider Bangladeshi community. Comprising of 4 men and 4 women of mixed ages they  advise on and engage with the progress of the research and assist with analysis of the findings.

We also have 8 bi-lingual community co-researchers (men and women) recruited from within the community who have been trained to interview the Probins. They have already successfully completed over 60 interviews out of 80. As most of these interviews are conducted in the Probins’ choice language in either Sylheti or Bengali, we recruited 4 qualified translators from the community for transcribing these interviews into English.  

Furthermore, we are currently in the process of setting up the Professional Advisory Group (PAG) comprising of local service providers, practitioners, policy makers and academics to advise on local and national issues relevant to the research and to comment on findings. We are also recruiting a Professional Stakeholder Engagement and Impact Lead who will maintain and develop our PAG to support the research team.

Our experience so far

We have excellent communication and understanding between all groups working on this project as everyone is clear about their roles. We are working as a collective recognising that we are all different but are bring in most valuable knowledge and skills to the project from different perspectives.                    

I know everyone on the core research project team are spending much more time than they envisaged. This is due to more time being spent on networking, liaising with different people, and attending meetings and seminars. This is of course important and is adding value to the project.

My colleague Leena and I sometimes feel inundated due to the pressure of extra work spent on various activities for example in recruiting Probins for the interviews, liaising with BRAG members and attending project meetings. But both of us are enjoying working on this amazing project as we are learning every day. We are pleased to be working with some wonderful academics from the university and respected professionals from different background as well as some very active community members.

We are delighted to have been asked to share our knowledge and experiences of working for the community with professional audiences and research communities at Housing LIN and DMT summits and conferences.

When the research findings are completed in one year’s time, it will help to raise the profile of the housing needs and aspirations of the Bangladeshi Probins as well as the needs of the wider Probin community in the country. We feel proud to be involved in this pioneering project knowing that our input will have some positive impact on the overall outcome.

For more about Amar Bari, Amar Jibon, visit the project’s website at:

And to hear Bashir and other members of the project team present at this month’s Housing LIN virtual Annual Summit – A Festival of Ideas - on the morning of Wednesday, 28 February 2024, book your free place at:


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