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.

Twinning project launched May 16

Transforming Public Space TOGETHER on a Syrian Refugee Camp from Artmongers on Vimeo.

DONATE HERE. Every little helps.

We had a fantastic evening of musical splendour and a chance to talk about the new Bold Vision / Artmongers Twinning Project. Many thanks to our brilliant musicians

Big Lunch and Community Weekend Jun 6/7

Telegraph Hill Community Weekend
6/7 Jun: events and activities taking place across Telegraph Hill Ward include:

  • Besson Street Community Garden – Sat Jun 6 from 1pm – 5pm
    Community Fete celebrating 150 Years of Alice In Wonderland! With a ‘Mad Hatters Tea Party’ starting at 2.30pm, Coconut Shy, Book Stall, Making Mad Hats, Storytelling, Book Making, Decorating Mad Cakes, Queen of Hearts Card Game, Competitions, Alice In Wonderland Film Show, Mad Hatters Tea Party, and lots more. Come in a fancy dress if you please!
    Plus Secondhand Saturday Market, so book your stall now! Call 020 7639 7605 or email jill.mountford@nxgtrust.org.uk
  • Open Gardens 2-5pm Jun 6 at:
    Frendsbury Gardens (1 Frendsbury Road)
    Common Growth, Sandbourne Road
    There will be lots going on at both of these venues, including arts and craft activities, games and refreshments, fun entertainment, seed swaps, planting and lots more.
  • The Big Lunch – 3-5pm on Sun Jun 7, on Kitto Road SE14 5TY. Bring your own food to share or throw on the BBQ. There will be live bands and DJs, Zumba dancing, vintage stalls and crafts, and children’s activities. There is a licensed bar and the road will be closed. Everyone welcome.

Wildly Fun Theatre School
If you love singing, dancing, drama or costume and set design and are 7 – 13 years old why not join this fantastic summer theatre project Mon Aug 10 – Fri Aug 21, at Besson Street Community Garden – crazy, wild stuff with Alice In Wonderland! Just £20 for two weeks and ends with an amazing show for family and friends. Contact Jill for more information, or you can book here

Summer Youth Actviity Grants – it’s not too late to think about applying for NXGT summer grants fund, to run other youth activities in the local area. The closing date for applications is Monday 1st June, so check our website for more information if you are interested in applying. http://www.nxgtrust.org.uk/summer-grants-fund-2015/

Hullabaloo recorder club’ – for 7-12 year olds, every Tues 3.45-5pm at Besson Street Community Garden. The recorder classes are for beginners or those with a little experience of playing – just £1 per week. Learn how to play, read music and perform with Keyla, our highly qualified and very experienced music teacher. To find out more or book call Jill on 0207 639 7605. jill.mountford@nxgtrust.org.uk.

NXGT are looking for Trustees!
Need local residents trustees (people living in New Cross, Telegraph Hill or Brockley); a ‘community representative’ (someone who is currently involved in local community work in New Cross); and a new chair of Board of Trustees.

Trustees serve on the governing body and are responsible for the general control and management of the organisation. Trustees come from all walks of life and being a trustee can help you meet new people, change your community for the better, learn new skills or use your exisiting skills in a new context. A trustee is a voluntary position. To find out more contact jenny.couper@nxgtrust.org.uk. Closing date for applications is Mon Jun 8.

Great Community Venue available for hire. 
The Field, a fantastic new venue at 385 Queens Road, is a co-operatively run community space in New Cross. It is available to use for free – and ‘The Field’ organisers are inviting activists, campaigners, educators, community organisers, youth workers and others to book the space for their events. To find out more, contact the wonderful people at the Field by email: info@thefieldnx.com or drop in to an open meeting every third Monday of the month 7pm – 9pm.

Community Matters
Community will certainly matter more than ever as more ‘austerity cuts’ are set to take place. Local Government faces further millions of pounds of cuts in addition to what’s it’s already made in the previous five years; conservative calculation already adds up to a staggering £85 million from local services that helps make life more civilised and bearable in Lewisham. We need to find ways of coming together in our community to defend what we have and regain what we have lost. Find out more info here.

Community Campaign to Save Adult Education
Lewisham and Southwark Colleges are threatened with a 24% cut to their budget. This will mean many courses closing and up to 200 jobs lost. Across the country 190,000 adult education places will be lost over the coming year. Since 2010 the adult skills budget has been cut by an alarming 40%. To find out more and to get involved, read on.

Can you help?
A local self-help depression support group are looking for an artist or art therapist and a yoga well-being exercise tutor to volunteer their services for a session on Saturdays (anytime between 2pm and 4pm). It doesn’t have to be every week. Can you help? If you are interested please call Mo 02077325274.

Health Matters
Cocaine Anonymous

A self-support group for drug users and addicts meets every Thurday, 7pm – 8pm at 170 Community Project, New Cross Road. All Welcome.
Depression Self-Support at the Today Group
Weds 6.30- 8.30pm at Besson Street Community Garden. Also Sat 2 – 4pm with a focus on art as therapy. Call 0207 7325274 for more information.
Mindfulness –  A workout for the Brain
Tues 6.30-7.30pm at Besson Street Community Garden. If you want to get more focused, be more creative, listen better, worry less and feel better, think about joining our non-religious self-supporting, It is a facilitated group with discussion. Phone or text Colin on 07574 185 624or email: facilitations3@gmail.com
Zumba Class @ All Saints
Every Tues 7.15-8pm. Dance your way to fitness. Visit imogenlees.Zumba.com or email: imolees@hotmail.co.uk or call:07986 885 064
Eat A Rainbow Food Co-Op
Every Fri 12– 3.30pm outside All Saints Church. Excellent quality fresh fruit and vegetables from our community stall on Mondays 10am – 2.30pm outside New Cross Post Office

Walk the Talk
Mon May 25 11.45am outside Deptford Lounge. Family Services UK run their next community walk for a great mental, physical and imaginative workout. Contact corinna@familyservicesuk.org for further information.

 

Smashfest Asteroid Alert!

An asteroid is heading for Lewisham… what will you do?!

SMASHfestUK, is a brand new science and arts festival for young people, piloting in Deptford, South East London during the February half term holidays (14th February – 22nd February 2015)

 

Part sci­fi, part horror and part post-apocalyptic-nightmare, the festival is themed around a gripping story in which an asteroid is on a collision course with Planet Earth and a zombie invasion ensues. You can follow the story online HERE or by navigating via the links at the bottom of each page. Join in by sending us your own Asteroid Survival Kit list, or sending photos with the #smashfestuk hashtag to @SMASHfestUK on Twitter or Instagram.

Real life visitors will have the chance to plan for Armageddon, whether it’s preparing to go underground at our Survival Supermarket Sweep, singing for your lives at Armageddon Open Mic, simply enjoying your last night on Earth with the End of the World Cabaret, creating a #FRIDGIE for our time capsule; The Peoples’ Ark or taking a trip to the Intergalactic Travel Bureau. For details of all these events, and more, navigate using the EVENTS tab at the bottom of the page or click HERE.