Q&A: My Barking and Dagenham: Barking market stallholder Thaya Kumari

PUBLISHED: 17:00 29 March 2019


Barking stallholder Thaya Kumari sells Chinese food to hungry shoppers and workers. She speaks about life on the market and working in the borough

What’s your connection with the borough?

I’ve lived in Barking for about seven years.

First I learnt English and got my diploma as a professional chef at Barking and Dagenham College. After that, about three years ago, I set up this stall and now I work here most days. My teacher from college came to the stall and said it was lovely food. They were proud of me and made me feel I can do it.

What’s the best thing about living or working in the borough?

It’s so multicultural. There are people like me living and working in Barking, from all over the world.

What one thing would you change?

Sometimes people can be difficult. Everyone needs to talk more to each other to figure out how to work together. That’s what happens when there are so many people, they can be distant.

Use three words to describe the area.

Encouraging. Valuable. Good.

Who is the most inspiring person you have ever met?

All people! They encourage me, they’re amazing. All kinds of people – managers, everybody.

They try my food and tell me my food is really well done.

First I just thought I would run a stall here at the market but everybody was so nice about my cooking I think I’ll open a restaurant next.

If you were the prime minister, what law would you introduce?

I liked David Cameron because he encouraged people to do things. You couldn’t be lazy around him!

Before I didn’t feel I could do anything but now I feel I can do a lot of things. Not just cook but start a business.

If you were editor of the Barking and Dagenham Post, what issues would you focus on?

Sometimes people forget how hard it is working in the market. When winter comes and we can’t work but we need to pay rent.

None of us are rich people. I wake up at three in the morning to cook everything. It’s not easy.

It’s not fair and people don’t think about us.

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