Message from the coordinators of the Holiday Activity Programme:
First of all, we are very honoured and proud to have worked with such a wonderful group of young people. We are very satisfied with the final result of the festival and with the whole project. These are the main outcomes that we are glad to have achieved.
Fighting isolation and alienation
One of our main hopes was to create a community hub where our young people could interact with each other within a safe environment. For a young recent migrant coming to such a big city as London the first dangers are isolation and alienation. For this reason it was fundamental to provide a place where young people could develop their social skills with trusted adults as positive role models. Our young people have interacted with peers with similar difficulties and life situation in an environment where they felt safe and loved. We are very satisfied of the group dynamics and of the mutual collaboration that has been created for a common final aim (organizing the final event).
Improving self esteem
Another objective was to improve the self esteem of the participants of the projects. Experiences of low skills and low paid job, frustration because of poor language skills and other dynamics represented a threat for the self confidence of our participants. Participating to diversionary activities has built trust in others and in themselves. This has been particularly true for those that have developed an already existing talent in some of the workshop (see below, artistic skills). After the final event, we have received many informal oral feedback about how they were proud of themselves and their work.
The month of workshop had the objective of organising a small event and so to provide the participants with the relevant organisational skills. This can be considered another achievement for our programme, as the participants have collaborated and cooperated for the preparation of the event. Every participant had own task and role according to the talents or preferences within the group. As a collective, they all learnt how challenging but satisfying is to organise an event. As individuals, they all took responsibility for their own task and they perform it well. In particular, the ones responsible for the photography of the event, the music equipment and the presentation have developed impressive organisational skills, which they were simply waiting for an opportunity.
Artistic activities had the objective to engage young people and provide opportunity to channel energy and enthusiasm in a positive way. The photography and the rap workshops have been the most successful activities, both for the collective enthusiasm and the individual talent that have been discovered and developed. One participant of the photography workshop has shown real talent in creativity and compositional skills. This “artistic eye” has been noticed by the professional photographer and in the near future we would like to be able to help him to develop this talent. For the moment, he was rewarded with many of his pictures shown in the photography of the festival and with the chance to use a professional camera to take picture of the event. The photography exhibition was so appreciated by the location management (Six Brixton) that we have been asked to leave it in place for two more weeks. The rap workshop has been another reason of satisfaction. All the participants have contributed with their lyrics that have been recorded in a collective song. This song will be given by each participants as a tangible memory of this amazing experience. The professional rapper (MC Solomon from Assembly of Creative Arts) has been an amazing facilitator and was very satisfied of the final result. In particular, two individuals have finally found an opportunity to show and improve their natural talent for hip hop. One participant was given the chance to perform his own rap song during the festival and another one performed a break dancing during the exhibition of the festival head-liner (MC Solomon). Both were very much appreciated by the audience with a obvious boost for their self esteem.
After a very intense month we can say that we are proud of our work and proud of our young people. We wish to our young participants a future full of all the opportunities they wish and they deserve but this is not the end of it. Our intention is to continue to collaborate with this group and with new participants in the future to keep all the positive energies we have seen and to develop towards new directions.
A special thanks to Lambeth Council that has funded this wonderful project and to all the staff and volunteers of IRMO that have helped us organising the final event.