Good Morning Bangladesh: How Ruby is continuing her dad’s Biggest Morning Tea legacy

Cancer Council NSW
Pictured in the photo (left to right): Callum Hann, Dr Abdul Haq (Ruby’s dad), Laila Haq (Ruby’s mum), Zara Shaheed (Ruby’s daughter) and Janella Purcell

Many of Ruby’s loved ones have been impacted by cancer, from a close friend who was diagnosed with uterine cancer, her mother-in-law who was diagnosed with breast cancer nine years ago, and people within her local community.

Rewinding back to 2001, Ruby’s dad, Dr Abdul Haq recognised a lack of awareness about cancer in his Bangladeshi community. He wanted to do something about this, so he held an Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea.

From humble beginnings, it grew into a large-scale yearly event called ‘Good Morning Bangladesh’ that brings the Bangladeshi community together in multiple locations across Sydney. Although Dr Haq sadly died in 2016, his daughter Ruby and son Ash now continues the event in his honour along with their mother Laila Haq, their respective families with the support and encouragement from Dr Ayaz Chowdhury, three co-hosts Farook Hannan and Azadul Alam and Rehela Arefin and the dedicated families of the Bangladeshi community.

Bringing the community together through food

Food and community have always been the beating heart of Good Morning Bangladesh. In their first year, Dr Haq and 10 to 15 relatives and friends made and sold traditional Bangladeshi food across the Blacktown area. Together, they raised around $900 – an impressive amount and perhaps a sign of things to come.

Since then, Good Morning Bangladesh has grown so much that over 700 community members supporting the annual event, and they’ve expanded to Mascot, Lakemba and Minto.

Over the years, they’ve welcomed special guests like MPs Michelle Rowland, Ed Husic, Warren Kirby, Matt Thistlethwaite, Ron Hoenig, Sophie Cotsis and councillors Sabrin Farooqui and Moninder Singh. And in 2011, they even got on television, where they showcased how to make parathas and Bangladeshi omelettes with Callum Hann from MasterChef, chef Ed Halmagyi and naturopath, Janella Purcell.

Despite all the growth, one thing has remained constant at Good Morning Bangladesh: Ruby’s mum Laila’s parathas, which are a crowd favourite. In 2023, Laila made over 1000 parathas on her own!

Carrying her father’s legacy forward

When Dr Haq sadly died in 2016, Ruby and her husband Tanveer decided to continue her father’s legacy and take the lead organising the event.

“It didn’t strike me to say no we are not going to continue it. It is going to be passed on to generations after us,” Ruby says.

Since then, Ruby and Tanveer have started involving the next generation, including their own children. This has made the event even more vibrant and diverse, with community members showcasing their immense talents like baking, painting and calligraphy.

Ruby’s message to others about fundraising

In 2023, Good Morning Bangladesh became the top Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea fundraiser in the country, raising over $55,000 – an astounding result.

“We never thought it would reach this big amount in such a short period of time. We always say that this year it’s going to be bigger and that’s how we look forward to having the event,” Ruby says.

Besides raising funds for a cause close to her heart, Ruby derives a lot of pleasure from fundraising and thinks it sets a good example for the younger generations to be involved for a noble and rewarding cause.

“Fundraising is something that gives you the satisfaction of doing something for the community. Once you host one fundraising event, it opens the door for better things to do in the future. I can proudly say that we have gathered three generations of the Australian Bangladeshi community whose contributions over the years have made us the top fundraising cultural community in the Greater Western Sydney region,” Ruby concludes.

To host your own Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea, please visit Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea | Cancer Council

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