Peace Rocks in SE London

workshop 2T
Photo by Artmongers

First Artmongers made them in the Syrian refugee camp and now we are making them here as part of the Bold Vision Refugee Twinning project. These are free events. 

Show your support for the refugees and make a little peace right here. Maybe you will give your Peace Rock to a friend you fell out with. Maybe a neighbour you haven’t said hello to yet. Or someone who is new to your street.

Artmongers are running workshops all over the place for the next week with the help of Bold Vision. Come along and share the joy. It only takes a few minutes. We want to see Peace Rocks strewn all over the Hill and New Cross.

Wear old clothes. Bring along a small rock from your garden or your bathroom shelf. Rocks also provided for the hard up.

Maybe you have a few old pots of half used paint (preferably gloss paint) that you know you will probably never use. Why not bring those along too and share your colours.

Workshops will take place at the following Bold Vision venues:

  • Common Growth Garden: Sun Feb 28, 1-3pm
  • Hill Station Cafe:  Tue Mar 1, 3-5pm
  • New Cross Learning: Thu Mar 3, 4-5pm
  • John Stainer School (tbc)

Let us know if you would like to run a workshop at your place of worship, club or neighbourhood.

Peace ROCKS 3
Photo by Artmongers

Dick Whittington Dec 4-6

Dick Whittington – A gloriously fun fundraising Panto, back for it’s 6th year! This year funds raised will go to Telegraph Hill Centre, an independent community organisation: Carers Lewisham and Bold Vision.

Join Dick Whittington and his cat in this tale of derring do and (mis)adventure. Meet a host of ripe and rambunctious characters, friends and foes as Dick and his Pussy fall into all sorts of tricky traps on their journey from rags to riches.

Venue:Telegraph Hill Centre, London

2015 Performances:

  • 8pm Fri Dec 4
  • 3.30pm Sat Dec 5
  • 7.30pm Sat Dec 5
  • 3.30pm Sun Dec 6

Doors Open at 30 minutes prior

Ticket Price: £6.00 – £12.00. Buy here

Refugee twinning action meeting

workshop 2TWe had a very productive meeting last night and identified several great potential twinning projects. We showed the film again for those who had not been at the first meeting, and heard some great stories from people at the meeting with experience in Palestinian refugee camps in the 80s (Kitty) and Indian/Pakistan partition refugee camps in 1945 (Durgesh). A lot of the human issues are the same and there are inspiring examples from both these situations to inform our own project development.

The projects we are developing are described in a bit more detail below. We need somebody to lead each one with the aim of spending the next month exploring the idea, potential contacts etc. This leader does not have to make a commitment to deliver the project, it is more like being its first guide to see if it looks like something we could explore further.

Next time we meet we will together choose the two projects that seem most possible and of value to both our community and the people in the camp. Once they are underway we will move on to starting up the next two. We hope to involve more of you in these individual projects so if something appeals to you and your interests or you have a good contact who might be able to help, please get in touch with boldvisionmail@gmail.com.

All projects should be in tune with Bold Vision values:

Openness: for all, not elitist

Mutuality: benefits to both communities, not patronising, not a handout

Potentialising: raising skills and awareness for all involved

Courage: may mean thinking in new ways, going beyond our comfort zones

Ideas that have already progressed a little

Bilingual Youth

Idea: Bring together young people in London learning Arabic and young people in the camp who want to learn English. Involve library donations and understanding of Arabic literature. Possible support from SOAS and British Lbrary. We also have a refugee volunteer in the camp who speaks and teaches English informally and is willing to coordinate.

Intention: Cultural exchange, improved understanding of Arab culture in London,

Leader: Soile

Knitting / Craft circles

Idea: create easy entry, safe neighbourhood eg per block where women can gather in each others houses on a rotation basis to spend an hour doing craftwork together. We could gather donated materials and teach a few leaders who could then teach each other. Could be communal knitting projects eg knitting blanket squares for the newest arrival / baby, knitting an art collage for the ‘street’. Search skills data base / advertise for those who already know how.

Intention: Encourage connections between women in the camp to improve well being and mental health.

Leader: Kitty

Music with children

Idea: create a combined choir sharing songs between Edmund Waller and school in the camp. To sing together via live streaming and to send recordings of each other singing each other’s songs.

Intention: Cultural exchange as well as interesting activity and human connection for both groups of children

Leader: ?

‘Barn-raising’

Idea: create action focus for men to come together and redress their sense of powerlessness to protect and provide for their families. Eg build a children’s playground together, build a shaded seating area by water tap

Intention: build connections, improve well being, benefit of new facilities and sense of pride / ownership

Leader: tbc but Anshu will kick off

Peace Rocks

Idea: have a peace rock dipping event during Jan / Feb and create a version of the house diamonds in the Hill Station. Partner with Ministry of Peace campaign?

Intention: sense of connection, raise awareness

Leader: Catherine

Other possibilities in early stages of development

Thrivers or survivors: use of simple, first aid type psychological support (eg Talk for Health course that we ran – via RSA – at New Cross Learning or the Dementia training that Judy Harrington has offered to do at Hill Station or New Cross Learning)

Forum Theatre / drama as suggested by Sylvestre Le Touzel Teale at last meeting. ? Using Cardboard Citizens style techniques. John will discuss with Bold Backer Adrian Jackson

Cooking Circles: cooking on a gas ring and with limited ingredients is a challenge, especially for those who are used to a full kitchen in their former life. Bold Vision project Grow Wild face similar challenges with their field kitchen. Possibility of recipe sharing, technique sharing, competitions (like Ready, Steady Cook where the limited ingredients are part of the concept)

Mobile library: create a small library that can be wheeled around the camp (eg using this kind of robust wagon). Train teenagers to be library drivers and manage the process. Develop a sense of community (like all running out for the ice cream van or – in my day J – the pop man, the egg man ad the knife sharpening man), increase access to books for those not allowed to live home.

School link: explored idea of cultural interaction through play between children at John Stainer school and those in the camp. Playground games exchange? Stories? Drawings?workshop 2T

 

Twinning: growing girl power

Our original idea with the ChangeMakers was to have young adults 18-25 years old. What we quickly discovered though was that would mean girls and boys could not work together. So instead we decided to work with 13-16 year olds.  Some of the people we talked to were still sceptical about whether that could work but we decided to give it a go anyway.

Peace ROCKS 1a

In the first session I ran, we had about twice as many boys as girls. They were bigger, more physically noticeable and more demanding of attention. The girls would have been easily overlooked. So although letting each one of the 25 of them have their say and explain what JOY means to them, and let the interpreter explain it to me took a lot of time, it was an important shift. It meant the girls did speak. And they expressed themselves capably and beautifully which gave them more confidence. By the end of our 2 hour session they were sitting a little taller and more assuredly.

The next day as I arrived I started to see people I recognised from that session. And they recognised me. Already things felt a little different to the day before. I had asked the staff to gather 2 smaller groups, still with a 50/50 gender balance of young people, to get started on the baseline research. I explained the idea to them, they practiced on each other and then we set out to interview residents and gather data.

At first my young researchers were very hesitant. It is not easy to knock on doors in any context and this was no exception. The boys were more prepared to just get on with it but I could see how the girls really wanted to run away, how they were wishing they hadn’t signed up for this. I also know from my own experience that this awkwardness is part of the process that has to be gone through to get to the other side. I couldn’t speak directly to them because of the language barrier but could be there for them in the background and loved seeing them grow in stature and confidence as they progressed. By the time they came back the next day to do more they all looked a foot taller and three years older. They were proud of their new skill and I was proud of them.

File Jul 20, 23 19 27

Interesting to how despite all the terrible reasons why they are there, these girls and other women in the camp may have experiences and develop skills and confidence there that they would never have been able to do in the villages. I’m no expert on the local culture, but that was the sense I got from the experience. Maybe in the long run some good also comes out of the situation in terms of the isolation of the women in their homes.

(for security reasons and for their safety, we can’t post pictures of them here, hence more generic shots)

You can contribute here and help train a researcher or get involved.

Bold Vision twinning project update: Peace ROCKS

Peace ROCKS 1We have had two streams of working with young people in the refugee camp. Patricio has been running workshops with kids to transform a very common object in this bleak environment (rocks) into precious stones, things of beauty. An early breakthrough came with the thought of combining two undesirable aspects – fences and rocks – into a new way to view them.

Then, after a dash to the paint shop in the nearest town, the workshop got going. Originally intended to be for children, the staff couldn’t resist getting involved to. From the security guards to the boss man, everybody was keen to have a go and create their own precious stone.

Peace ROCKS 1b

Peace ROCKS 4By the end of the day the fence was transformed into a glittering, vertical Aladdin’s cave. When we left for the night people were approaching the fence with a look of wonder. Beauty is hard to come by in this environment and the combination of colour and sparkle made each stone an individual work of art.

No great surprise then that by morning all of the stones had disappeared, been untied and taken away to be part of individual refugees’ temporary homes.

At first it was a shock, but we quickly came to realise that this degree of engagement, of hunger for beautiful objects was a strong endorsement of the idea. More paint was procured and more workshops organised.

The bigger plan is that next Tuesday – when it is Eid, normally a time of great festivities in Muslim communities but with little to look forward to for residents here – Patricio will run a giant rock dipping event. Our crazy ambitious target is that every child (over 4000 of them) gets the chance to make a rock. They will then be displayed on the tall, barbed wire topped fence around the school.

Contribute here and be part of peace rocks
Peace ROCKS 3 Peace ROCKS 10

 

Community courses and groups at Besson St Community Garden

buttercup

  • Gardening Club – Every Weds 1.30-5pm
  • Bee Keeping Course: 6.30 – 8.30pm Mondays Jun 29 to Jul 6
  • Sew You Need to Get Out More! : Every Weds: 9.30 – 11.30am and 1.30 – 3.30pm Sewing class
  • Emergency First Aid: 9am – 5pm Fri Jun 12
  • Paediatric First Aid: 9am – 5pm Fri Jun 5
  • First Aid at Work: 9.15am – 3.15pm on Fridays Jun 26 – Jul 17
  • Food Health and Hygiene: 9.15am – 4pm. Mon Jun 15

ESOL Classes:
Tuesdays
Esol – Beginners Literacy 12 noon – 1pm
Esol – Beginners 1.45pm – 3.00pm
Assessment class 3.30pm – 4.30pm
Esol – Intermediate 6.30 pm – 8.00pm
Wednesdays
Reading Group – Beginners and Intermediate 2pm – 3pm
Assessment class 5.00pm – 6pm
Esol Intermediate 6.30pm – 8.00pm
Fridays
Esol – Advanced Literacy 12 noon – 1pm
Esol Beginners 1.45pm – 3.00pm
Contact our ESOL teacher for further details: Rosa.tomkinson@nxgtrust.org.uk

If you are interested in booking into these courses, you can contact Jill Mountford at jill.mountford@nxgtrust.org.uk, or telephone 0207 639 7605. Or book online.

More info: NXGT facebook page and website