Feb. 27, 2019 By Meghan Sackman
A non-profit focusing on New York’s Bangladeshi community has recently found a new home in Jackson Heights
Shetu, founded in 2011, is now located on the fourth floor of 72-24 Broadway, and marks the first permanent location for the group. The space, while shared with other area organizations, officially “opened” last weekend, with Shetu solely occupying the office on Saturdays.
Shetu, which means “bridge” in English, aims to provide services to members that will assist “the low-income, Bangladeshi immigrant populations to facilitate an easier acculturation into mainstream society in America,” according to the non-profit’s website.
The non-profit, founded by a group of Bangladeshi peers, offers services that “help Bangladeshi immigrants understand how the system works,” according to Rasel Rahman, board chair of Shetu Inc.
Basic computer skill classes, non-partisan classes on political processes, English classes, and job readiness classes that include information on writing resumes, interview skills, and networking are all included in Shetu’s services.
Fundraisers are also held by the non-profit to raise money for the Bangladesh Relief Fund, which goes towards natural disaster aid in Bangladesh.
“The whole idea is bridging the gap between generations, between communities, between cultures,” said Rahman, who immigrated from Bangladesh himself in 2006 and became a U.S. citizen in 2012.
Rahman told the Jackson Heights Post that these services are more useful now than ever with the growing Bangladeshi population in New York, specifically in Jackson Heights, which he says contains the largest Bangladeshi community in the city.
“A lot of people come from all over the city for these goods and services, so it’s important they have a physical location to visit now,” Rahman said. The non-profit had previously operated out homes and spaces offered by its own staff members.
The new office space was also celebrated by Council Member Daniel Dromm, who Rahman says has supported the group since day one and allocates funding for their services.
“Congratulations to Shetu on the opening of your new space in the heart of Jackson Heights,” the council member tweeted after the space’s grand opening. “Your services will be an invaluable resource for the Bangladeshi community in Queens. Looking forward to seeing the organization grow in the years to come.”
The space, which Shetu shares with other Jackson Heights organizations including the Jackson Heights Beautification Group, is open to the public on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on weekdays by appointment only.