Simi Chowdhry

Date of birth

1st May 1948

Place of birth

Pune, India

Education

Primary Education

Presentation Convent School, Delhi

Junior School

St Teresas convent School, Bombay

Senior School

Airforce Central School, Delhi
Completed Higher Secondary in (1st Divison) Premedical Hindu College, Delhi University

Lady Irwin College, Delhi University

Bsc degree course in home science

Other Information

Got married in 1968 to Mohindra Chowdhry a Structural engineer and settled in bristol, England.

Other Education in Bristol

Teachers Training
Youth Worker training
Community worker training

Achievements

Won Bristol City Council's Lord Mayors Medal for community work.

Won the woman of substance award in the black history month in the House of Commons.

Won Bristol City Council Achievement Awards for community work.

Won Best National Dancing Award. 1968 India.

Won the gold medal for being the Best Cadet in the National Cadet Corps. 1968 India.

Led the Delhi Cadet contigent in the 1968 Republic Day Parade.

Simi Chowdhry was born in Poona, India and came to this country in 1968. She has dedicated over twenty five years of her life to the empowerment and benefit of the South Asian community, particularly women.

First coming to Bristol, Simi saw the lack of services for Asian youth at that time and she developed the first mixed, multi-faith Asian youth Service.

"I was a young woman myself and I saw that there were no facilities in Bristol for young people at all. I don't think the authorities knew that young Asians needed any. They thought that we all lived in extended families; we didn't need to come out of the families. So, no facilities were there, especially in Bristol. Absolutely nothing.

I think we managed to create one of the most successful youth clubs at Sefton Park. That started the ball rolling and today we have quite a few Asian youth clubs".

Mrs Chowdhry went on to set up the first Asian youth festival on the Downs, a lasting achievement and great celebration of Asian film, music and food.

"Bollywood had become quite popular. So I thought why not bring Bollywood to Bristol? Who would believe fifteen years ago that you would hear Bollywood music being played on the Downs, samosa's and curries being served, and the Asian community having a great time along with many other Bristol communities. But, we did it. And we had the first festival with over 30,000 people. What was so good, that more than 20,000 were white. I remember this five foot something woman, that's me! Fighting with six footers from the Downs committee and you know, I won. Today the Downs committee come to us to say 'when are you having your next festival?"

To ensure that music and entertainment was available throughout the year Simi went on to lay the foundations of the popular Asian radio show 'Sangam' at BBC Radio Bristol. Another achievement was the establishment of the Elderly Asian Day Centre that continues to flourish to this day in Easton Community Centre. Today her focus is on helping the disadvantaged women of her community. Through Awaz Utaoh, Simi Chowdhry deals with sensitive and taboo subjects such as domestic violence, drug abuse and forced marriage. Awaz Utaoh means to 'Raise your Voice', and in her ceaseless work for the community Simi Chowdhry has done precisely that, the benefits of which are far reaching.

"I think now we've got a lot of women here who, twenty years ago would have found themselves in very different situations because of the way they were perceived, because if they are perceived differently they'll be treated differently and I think we've succeeded in changing perception to a large extent".





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