I’m Aruna Bansal,
I’ve had two arranged marriages and both ended. I could have easily hidden away, but I didn’t and I went on to become the founder of Asian Single Parents Network, a Community Interest Company (CIC)
At university, I dated a Patel, but we weren’t allowed to get married, so I came back home heartbroken. Shortly thereafter I was introduced to my first husband, but was thrown out after 2 months by the in-laws because the dowry wasn’t enough. On honeymoon, my husband said your parents didn’t buy a house or a car. I was only 21. It took me 2 years to get my clothing, personal toiletries etc back because they wouldn’t return them without going through court. My second marriage ended after 8 years as my then husband insisted on still seeing his ex, and even on honeymoon wanted to wear gifts from her.
I’m happy to share my experiences. Let’s not shy away from our past as we are stronger as a result of it! The stigma of being a single parent, was for the older generation with the dowry demands. Let’s be the change. I hope my story shows that there is light at the end of the tunnel, and no matter how hard things get, it’s only temporary.
Please never be ashamed of who you are or what you’ve been through, and don’t ever hesitate to reach out.Aruna x
This network was started on the social networking site meetup in 2011. It was intended to get Asian single parents and their kids out interacting with each other for fun, support and friendship, and to enhance lives in the process.
Separated, widowed, divorced, single by choice, living apart can all fit into the category of a single parent family. No matter how you arrived in your current situation, it’s important for families and children to know they are not alone.
We are in the process of moving members from meetup to our new website, www.aspnetwork.org.uk
The Asian Single Parents Network is a registered Community Interest Company (CIC) which offers social, emotional and practical support in order to build confidence, prevent isolation and combat the stigma attached to being a single parent in South Asian families. It operates as a ‘not for profit,’ and acts in the best interests of its members.
How to join
The small membership fee of £15 for the whole year (£1.25 a month), goes into the running costs of the company and is reinvested back so other projects can be worked on, and more people reached in order to help them. The information you share on the membership form is completely private and not shared with anybody else.
We are active hosting a mixture of fun activities for both parents and kids and experiences that are priceless.
Daytime events for both Parents and their children
These have included activities such as a trip to London Zoo, picnic and play in various parks, bowling, ice skating, trips to the seaside, attending festivals such as the Tall Ships Festival in Greenwich, cultural events such as Holi, Diwali in Trafalgar Square, Vaisaki at Gravesend Gurudwara and Eid related events. These are just some of the many events we have held and are suitable for all ages.
Evening events for parents
These are for the adults only to have a night off! Including things such as a nice meal; drinks or a Bollywood event.
We have been away on weekend breaks and holidays, and hope to do a lot more of these in the near future especially overseas! 🙂
So, what are the benefits of joining?
The majority are currently being held virtually at the moment, such as a weekly catchup Thursday evenings for parents, exercise classes, movie nights, quizzes and a variety of other sessions. We’ve also had a number of Q & As with experts who’ve answered our member queries e.g. family lawyer, mortgage strategist etc.
We’ve held face-to-face events too since lockdown easing with and without children, for example, meet in the park with kids, hiking on child free weekends for the parents.
It’s a very active network and there’s always something being planned!
WhatsApp groups by area.
Meet other single parents in your area for support, advice and get togethers. We have groups, for example, for NW London, East London, Kent, Sussex, Surrey, the Midlands etc., all over the UK. These are just a few of them!
Our partners have offered our members a number of discounts and offers.
An additional benefit is that member information is not shown on the new platform at all in the way that it is shown on meetup. It is a private space for members to receive support.
Meeting like minded adults who are going through the same experiences. It can be invaluable to speak with others who have been where you are and are willing to share their own tips for getting through.
Although your best friends may be able to lend a listening ear and sympathise with you, true empathy will come from others who are going through a similar life experience. It is also sometimes difficult to talk to family and friends because of the stigma attached within our culture.
Having company when doing activities rather than on your own.
Friendship opportunities for children which exist outside of their everyday sphere. This also helps with kids who feel different to their peers who may live in two parent households.
There are many more reasons to join, than not!!