A new Volunteering Network project was officially launched by Health Action Charity Organisation (HACO) in Gillingham on Saturday the 6th of February 2016. HACO an Organisation that work to improve the health and wellbeing of African communities to reduce health inequalities has received grant from money raised by HealthWhole through The Health Lottery. The Volunteering Network project will be targeting African people in the Medway area. HACO will be working with CTRIM to provide the programme which will include trainings on volunteering, talks on different subjects twice a month on Saturdays and an opportunity for a volunteer placement in order to make a difference in the community they live. Many people from the African communities have never been a volunteer, so this project will give them an outlet to make a difference in their community. With busy lives, it can be hard to find time to volunteer. However, the benefits of volunteering are enormous. The right match can help you find friends, reach out to the community, learn new skills, and even advance your career. Volunteering can also help protect your mental and physical health To raise awareness of Volunteering, the charity is hosting a community picnic and Away Day as part of the project in the summer. We will be sharing our experience as the project develops. News and resources will be posted on this website. If you would like to hear more about the project or want volunteers for your Organisation, please email Tina @ firstname.lastname@example.org
– HIV prevention talk in a Rural area in Edo State, Nigeria.
Noroware Osula Health Foundation was founded in 2005 by Tina Niye Murphy who is also the founder and Director of Health Action Charity Organisation (HACO) based in the United Kingdom. HIV and all aspect of health form the core of our services, we offer generic health services based on a holistic approach and our services are available to all communities. NOHF deliver high quality health promotion services, through the provision of information, preventative advice, support and advocacy on health issues. Visit NOHF
– Giving HIV prevention information to in school youths at Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area of Edo State, Nigeria.
THE CONCEPT AND OBJECTIVES:
To commemorate the Black History Month, HACO Trustees, staff and volunteers, the HACO Youth and other stakeholders held a series of meetings to deliberate on what contribution HACO could make to mark the occasion. It was during these interactions that the “African Life Project” was conceptualised.
The need to educate both Africans and non-Africans in Medway Kent about some aspects of the rich African culture was identified as an essential tool:
- to make African Children proud of their rich cultural heritage
- to boost the self-esteem and confidence of African children for a smoother integration in a multi-racial environment
- to create awareness and understanding of some African cultural practices to both Africans and non-Africans in the target are
- to encourage inter-ethnic tolerance both in schools and in the communities within the target area
- to share ideas and identify the best practice in teaching culture as part of the National Curriculum
- to acknowledge and celebrate the richness of the diverse cultures within schools and the local communities
Health Action Charity Organisation MBE (HACO) draws its membership mostly from Medway Unitary Authority in Kent. It was therefore decided to focus on schools and libraries in the area. Letters proposing the project and its potential benefits were sent to all schools by the Medway Council Library Inclusion Manager in the chosen areas and arrangements were made to organise workshops for kids in key stage three. But we only got responses for workshops with key stage two from all the schools. The reason given is that Key stage two seldom take part in community activities so they want them to benefit from this project.
Following the receipt of enthusiastic responses from schools requesting for two or three sessions (two or three days) in one school, twelve sessions of workshops were done in 6 schools that were involved in the project.
The project was made up of a series of workshops mainly held in schools, one in the library, another in the community (Sunlight Centre) and a conference held at Gillingham
Schools such as Riverside Primary School ,All Saints Church of England Primary School, St. Michael’s RCP ( see full list at Appendix A) benefited from workshops on the following subjects:
“Adinkra” Printing (Tie & Dye), Naming Ceremonies and Meanings of Names and Story Telling.
The workshops involved an explanation of the history and development of the “adinkra” symbols (in Ghana) and Tie & Dye (in Nigeria) and Adinkra’s use as a means of non-verbal communication. Participants were made to draw and produce some of the symbols on their own. Participants were asked to bring in old or new white T-Shirts which they changed into Adinkra by tying them with plastic bands and dipping them into different colours of dye to produce beautiful new shirts. Practical hands-on approach was adopted to engage participants in tying and producing some samples “adinkra” cloths. The use of the cloths for special occasions like funerals and festivals was also explained
The Story Telling workshops received a lot of interest from participants who were taken through African story telling sections loaded with symbolic animal characters used as satires on society. Participants’ attention was drawn to the moral lessons to be drawn from the stories as they are considered as the most important reasons for telling the stories
Another important peculiarity of the African story telling tradition that was highlighted was the use of songs to intersperse the story telling. It was explained that for such songs to be suitable and appropriate, they must have bearings on an event or a character in the story. Such songs bring variety to the story telling section and also enhance its entertainment value.
NAMING CEREMONY AND MEANINGS OF NAMES
This involved dramatic demonstrative performances of the naming ceremonies of new born babies. The resource person then explained the various ways of choosing appropriate names for babies.
Example: Names based on day of birth:-
Other special names include:
Names given according to the order of birth among siblings (eg. Mensah= third male, Mansah= third female) and
Names given to twins and those born after twins by the same parents (Ata=male twin, Ataa=female twin, Tawiah=one born after the birth of twins).
The essential lesson is that the naming of babies among most Africans are serious events, and the rituals involved together with the names chosen have significant meanings.
To end the activities of the project, a conference under the theme of “Diversity and Culture” was held on the 31st October 2014 at the Sunlight centre. The conference was broadly aimed at providing a platform for professionals working in the fields of Education, Health, Youth, Social Services, and members of the BME communities in the Medway area, to examine and share ideas on best practice in service delivery on culture and diversity issues.
Specific objectives of the Conference were:
- To identify and share effective ways of working to empower and build the confident of pupils from BME communities
- Sharing best practice in the teaching of culture as part of the National Curriculum
- Acknowledging and celebrating the richness of the diverse cultures within schools and within the local community
Thank you for doing something wonderful – choosing to support the work of HACO. Without your support, we would be unable to help our community. Whether you are an individual, trust or company , your thoughtful support is enabling our teams to make a lasting impact on the lives of African people affected or infected by HIV in Medway .
On behalf of them all, the following organisations should accept our sincerest thanks and gratitude.
Lloyds TSB Foundation
NAHIP ( Partnership)
AIDS Support Grant
Award for All
Kent Community Foundation
Lankeley Chase Foundation
Co-operative Group South East Region
Eastern & coastal Kent PCT
HACO Youth started in October 2008 with the hopes of educating African youth with the history and legacies of their cultures. The project leaders recognised that in uniting African youth it meant not just African immigrant youth but all African youth.
HACOY is passionate about uniting all youth in the struggle for equality and understanding. Its members strongly believe that no matter where you come from we are all members of the same family, the human family.