Norwood women create non-profit dedicated to helping Bengali women

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NORWOOD -

Three women in Norwood reunited after 20 years only to realize they had the same calling.

Ayesha Akhtar, Sanjara Khan and Shumona Shimi teamed up to create LAAL NYC, a non-profit looking to provide resources to Bengali women living in Norwood.

The non-profit helps Bengali women in the neighborhood with the basics, such as learning English, nutrition, going to the doctor, paying bills and getting an apartment.

"If we don't, who will?" says co-founder Khan.

Currently, the trio is interviewing 200 Bengali women to assess what their needs are.

The women say the goal of LAAL NYC is to create a support system for the women in Norwood and to break the isolation many of them felt when they moved to the Bronx.

"A lot of their time is spent by themselves at home alone, they don't go out and meeting people in the neighborhood. That isolation leads to depression and that trickles down to children," says Akhtar.

They say Bengali culture is rooted in music, arts and language and with the help of LAAL NYC, they are hoping to empower Bengali women with their voices as Bronx residents.

"I hope that we can give them the opportunity to see that they can have that joy for themselves," says Akhtar.

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