Sikh Sanjog was set up in 1989, under the name ‘Leith Sikh Community Group.’ Its aim was to provide support for women in the Sikh community who had been settling in Edinburgh since the 1950’s.
Unlike the Sikh communities in many parts of Britain, the Sikh population in Edinburgh originates mainly from the Bhatra community whose origins in the sub-continent were rural. Traditionally having a nomadic lifestyle, earning their livelihood by trading and telling fortunes, formal education has not been a high priority. Through the strict continuation of the Sikh Batra culture, social values and family hierarchical ways of life, as they had been in India before migration to the UK, Sikh women settling in Edinburgh were finding themselves isolated and lonely, and unable to take advantage of opportunities, social inclusion and welfare support open to others in their new country.
To address this exclusion and isolation, Leith Sikh Community Group began on a very small scale, running occasional outings and activities for women and children. Gradually, both the activities offered and the number of beneficiaries expanded over time.
In 1999, the Group became Sikh Sanjog. ‘Sanjog’ means ‘linking’ in Punjabi and is an apt description for the way we work with our beneficiaries.