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Shama’s Story

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Tackling Type 2 diabetes through healthy lifestyle changes


  • Service Area: Community and Wellbeing
  • Project: Tandrusti
  • Values: We Care

Halifax Opportunities Trust (HOT) works with individuals to understand their life and overcome challenges. As part of our work, we deliver a number of programs that offer non-clinical advice and guidance for various aspects of wellbeing. And, because our charity has deep roots in Park ward, a vibrant and diverse area of Calderdale with a thriving South Asian community, a lot of our work is tailored to address some of the prevalent health concerns such individuals and families face. The Tandrusti team is part of our Community and Wellbeing work, and works with local people to reduce or reverse the risks of Type 2 diabetes through practical wellbeing advice and guidance.

Tandrusti (Urdu for ‘wellbeing’ and its link with health and happiness) is a practical and community driven approach that combines hands on learning with GP approved advice, so South Asian individuals are able to pass on knowledge and share methods that are proven to improve health and wellbeing, for a more fulfilled life throughout the family. This approach has proven beneficial for Shama*, who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes six months ago.

A tailored approach

Through word of mouth, Shama became aware of the Tandrusti diabetes structure, where educational workshops are delivered at HOT sites, Hanson Lane Enterprise Centre and the Outback Community Kitchen and Garden.

Shama had previously attended other diabetes coaching sessions, but struggled to understand because it wasn’t delivered in the language she speaks and some of the advice she was given didn’t reflect her culture. Due to language barriers Shama lost her confidence, which impacted her social skills.

When Shama attended the Tandrusti diabetes workshop she was initially shy and reserved. When ladies in the group started to engage and interact, Shama also started to engage within the group. She talked openly about her condition with like -minded people and explained to the group that before she was diagnosed with diabetes she had felt lethargic, thirsty, was frequently passing urine and had blurred vision. She became depressed with the condition because she did not know how to control her sugar levels and how to control her diet.

Breaking down barriers

As the Tandrusti workshops were delivered in a number of languages, Shama was able to express her concerns openly and because of this she began to feel comfortable, which meant she was more engaged with the content of the workshops.

Each workshop focusses on a number of lifestyle improvements from meals, to social interaction, weight management to being active, all culturally tailored for individuals from a South Asian background. They are practical, which means Shama was able to get involved and gain hands-on experience that she could also pass on to her family members, such as an ‘eat well plate’ that was introduced to offer visual guidance for the South Asian diet. 

Shama comments: “I am pleased I found HOT’s Tandrusti workshops. They are fun, interactive and reflect my culture. The workshops also take place in sites across Park ward, so I don’t have to travel too far and once I am there I feel comfortable in a friendly atmosphere.”

Risk awareness

Individuals from a South Asian background have a six times higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. This is due to a combination of genetic, weight and age factors. The Tandrusti program aims to educate local people from the South Asian community of their risks, how to better manage health and make small lifestyle changes that can lead to Type 2 diabetes being prevented, reversed or better managed.

Since participating in the Tandrusti program, Shama has become motivated to improve and manage her diabetes through diet and exercise. She has given up sugar in her drinks and has started going for regular walks to the school and supermarket. She has also made contacts with other participants from the workshop and they now go for regular walks to the local park, meaning that health, language and social barriers have now been removed. Shama can now enjoy better health through better lifestyle choices.

*name changed for anonymity


Know your risks

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