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Charity calls for schools to join its network and help communities accept different cultures

A new charity has been launched in Wales to encourage the integration and acceptance of people from diverse cultures, religious and ethnic backgrounds in local communities. 

KIRAN – the Knowledge based Intercommunity Relationship and Awareness Network – was officially launched at an event on Wednesday 2 May 2018 at the Pierhead Building, Cardiff Bay hosted by Mark Isherwood AM.

Speaking at the event were the charities founder Tamasree Mukhopadhyay, Mark Isherwood AM, Jenny Rathbone AM, and the Honorary Consulate of India in Cardiff, Shri Raj Kumar Aggarwal, as well as Paul Norton, Principal at Kings Monkton School.

The charities mission is to encourage community engagement, integration and acceptance between people of different cultures, religious and ethnic backgrounds.  The charity will run workshops in schools and community groups, and aims to help advance people’s understanding of diverse cultures and traditions that differ to their own. Kings Monkton School in Cardiff is one of the charities main supporters and they will work as a conduit to introduce KIRAN to other schools in the area and beyond to help encourage more schools to join the network and get talking about culture and traditions with their students.

Ms Mukhopadhyay, 47, whose son studies at Kings Monkton, has been involved in charitable work since the age of 14 where she volunteered with the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata, India, originally established in 1950 by Mother Teresa. She moved to Cardiff in 2001, and won an award for self-development at the Welsh Asian Women Achievement awards in 2015.  For the past five years, Ms Mukhopadhyay has been working to support a charitable project in Kolkata, created to help destitute women in the community learn trade skills, such as making paper bags by hand, sewing and stitching.  When the project finished last year, Ms Mukhopadhyay felt moved to apply her skills in south Wales and influence positive change in her community.

Ms Mukhopadhyay said:

“Wales has been my home now for almost 20 years, and while it has progressed in terms of integration and the acceptance of other cultures in communities, it is clear that prejudice is still an issue.  Through education – helping the different cultures in our communities learn about each other – KIRAN can help influence positive change that will spread far and wide.”

Paul Norton said:

“Kings Monkton School has a long history of welcoming pupils from all races and religions, and we pride ourselves in putting pastoral care high up on our agenda. Within this remit, we make sure that all our students are understanding and accepting of all creeds and cultures.  We therefore jumped at the opportunity to help KIRAN spread the word of acceptance and integration.”

Karen Norton, Vice Principal at Kings Monkton will sit on an advisory panel for the charity for two years following its inception. Any schools wishing to become part of the network and participate in workshops should contact the charity on [email protected].