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Editor’s Welcome The COVID-19 pandemic has been around for over a year now since the first declaration of a national lockdown by the government. It is prudent to highlight some of the things COVID has brought about but also point out some of difficulties we have been living with since day one of lockdown. Among the key positive things to highlight include the development of COVID vaccines by our great scientists who have been working tirelessly to come up with a vaccine. Despite all criticisms and conspiracies, a way forward to finding solution to the most threating enemy to mankind of our generation has been crafted, opening doors to science and technology to come up with lasting solutions. IT solutions have never been so important in our lives since the advent of the digital age. Working and studying from home through virtual means have turned out to be the new norm now thereby challenging everyone to be IT savvy somehow. What is sad though is COVID has further exposed the margin between the haves and the have nots. Minority groups have been struggling to cope with threats and uncertainties in the areas of the economy, health sector, benefits and entitlements, education, and socio-cultural issues. The level of poverty and hardship in marginalised communities and have never reached the public sphere before than it has now and solution to such problems have not been forthcoming. The BAME community has been the hardest hit since the start of the pandemic be it in human loss, employment, or mental health. It is sad to recollect all that has happened in the past year, but there is the need to remember all those who have passed due to COVID and offer them a silent prayer. Hakuna Matata Pa Modou Faal Managing Editor: Pa@mojatu.com
Editorial Group Editor: Frank Kamau – email@example.com Managing Editor: Pa Modou Faal Graphic Design / Photos: Robert Borbely Contributors: Angela Wathoni | Anna Nagy | Shalom Adebanjo-Akers | Stella Muiruri | Pa Modou Faal | Lily Obiah | Sofia Bassani | Kitty | Maria Escarda Granados | Ophelie Lawson | Jacob Opoku | Hana Ziolek | Sarah Lee | Jaya Gordon-Moore | Marius Misin | Meghna Battacharya | Yusof Hassan | Iain Messore | Dylan Tejada Sales & Marketing / Community Engagement: Abdoulie Jah - firstname.lastname@example.org Kevin Price - email@example.com Edwin Ubah - firstname.lastname@example.org
Contents News & Sports FGM Zero Tolerance Day ............................................4 IWD Nottingham .................................................12-13 Detention Ctrs for Asylum Seeking Women .... 15 Interview With Dr Mustapha Bittaye .................6-7 Community Espresso Gallery Interview ..................................... 23 How And Where To Invest Your Talent ............... 24 Helmet, Hijabs & Hair ............................................... 28 Our Covid 19 work Hooks for Change ...................................................... 32 Ramadan Project ....................................................... 34 Nottingham Equal Project ...................................... 38 Safe project by Blue Mountain Women ............. 39 Sounds of Lockdown ............................................... 40 Arts & Culture Living Testimony of David A. Campbell ............. 48 Health & Food Remote monitoring .................................................. 50 Education & Career A healthy Ramadan .................................................. 52
Mojatu Media Disclaimer The views expressed in this magazine are not necessarily those of the publishers. Every effort has been made to ensure that the contents of this magazine are accurate but the publisher cannot take responsibility for errors, omissions, nor can we accept responsibility for the advertisements or editorial contributions.
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FGM ZERO TOLERANCE DAY: NO TIME FOR GLOBAL INACTION ON FGM By Shalom Adebanjo-Akers and Stella Muiruri February 6 is International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). The designation of such an important day aids in the promotion of the Sustainable Development Goal target which aims to eliminate the practice by 2030. In commemorating the International Day of Zero Tolerance, the Utulivu Women’s Group, ACRE and Partners held a conversation facilitated by an FGM trainer Cecily Mwaniki on February 11, which centred around the global campaign to end FGM. FGM is a topic that is often seen as taboo to talk about, and people often do not understand how vital a role they play in the fight to eliminate the practice, especially the importance of bringing in male voices to such conversations. Despite the limits of the current climate, large numbers signed up for the conversation, which provided attendees with the opportunity to be a part of the online conversation, with a view to unite, educate and act in order to remind one another of the issues affecting women who have been through FGM. During the conversation, participants were asked about their FGM awareness to which 54% responded with ‘very well’, 38% ‘fairly well’ and 8% ‘not well’. So, what is FGM? The World Health Organisation defines Female Genital Mutilation as, harming or removing all or part of the external female genitalia. There are 4 types: Type 1: Clitoridectomy - Involves the removal of the clitoris Type 2: Excision - Involves the remove of the clitoris and the labia Type 3: Infibulation - Involves Narrowing or stitching of the vaginal opening Type 4: Any other harmful procedures that are not included in the first three categories such as pricking, stretching, among others. FGM is child abuse, it is gender-based violence and is part of a continuum of female body and sexuality control, although often carried out by women, it is for the benefit of men. Some of the reasons often cited for its continuation include: • the preparation of a girl for marriage • the preservation of virginity
• the belief that it is a religious requirement, though no religious text requires this • cultural ideals of modesty, including cleanliness There are no health benefits of FGM, rather the physical and psychological effects are severe and can often lead to death. Why is it important to keep the conversation going? FGM affects at least 200 million women and girls in at least 90 countries globally, though the figures do not represent the true scale. It is estimated that 137,000 women and girls are living with the consequences of FGM in the UK, with a further 60,000 girls at risk. Due to the Covid pandemic it is estimated that an additional 2 million girls are thought to be at risk of undergoing female genital mutilation by 2030. It is vital for the global community as a whole, to reimagine a world that enables women and girls to be able to have a voice, choice and control over their lives. During the meeting, which became a space for learning, the participants shared and identified their experiences and feelings. • Victor, a participant, reflected on his experience in attempting to speak out against the practice stating that he was often told to be quiet at his abhorrence of the continuation of the practice. He stressed the importance of bringing men’s voices to the conversation stating, “if men were involved in these conversations, the practice could end sooner.” He said that oftentimes men are not aware of the circumstances surrounding FGM, adding that when they were made aware of the harm of the practice, they were often saddened by it and less likely to endorse it in the future. Furthermore, he noted that men are the ones who contribute to the stigma surrounding FGM, therefore, the inclusion of boys and men can play a vital role in the prevention and abandonment of the practice. • Another panellist, Hadiatu, who works to empower young girls and help them learn to advocate for their right to bodily integrity, spoke of the pressures young girls received from society, which dictated a status quo regardless of the viewpoint of those involved. Highlighting a particular region in Sierra Leone, Hadiatu said that girls would be taught how to perform certain acts, such as cooking and cleaning, only if they had undergone FGM, thus ensuring daughters were fully indoctrinated into the patriarchal society. She
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spoke of the need to find an alternative way to usher girls into womanhood without the pain of FGM. The conversation was well received by all who attended, with general awareness of the practice increasing by 20%, leaving a desire to continue the conversation. Key suggestions were made in order to help eliminate FGM which include: • the need to create safe spaces for all voices to share experiences and learn. • the importance of youth involvement in the fight against FGM
a generation, and most importantly to engage affected communities. How can you help end FGM? • Challenge Myths surrounding FGM • Speak Out about the risks of FGM • Educate girls on their rights to decide what happens to their bodies • Raise Awareness
• the need to support grassroots organisations. • the importance of using men as allies in the fight to end FGM.
• the promotion of actions that support the participation of migrant women and counter isolation of cultural actions.
Utulivu - https://www.utulivu.co.uk
It is only through an understanding of the complex cultural, social and economic factors involved in the continuation of the practice, that we can truly end it. It is also important to continue to speak out and educate one another so that we can end the practice in
Acre - http://www.acre-reading.org/ NSPCC - Offers 24hr service for information/advice 0800 028 3550 (FGM Helpline) – Email: fgmhelp@ nspcc.org.uk Call the police on 999 - If someone you know is at immediate risk of being cut or taken to overseas to be cut.
ACTS OF KINDNESS: By Mojatu Team Here at Mojatu, supporting women in our community is one of our top priorities. In celebration of international women’s day 2021, we decided to create a project that would celebrate women and help bring them together in this period of isolation that has made life harder for many of us. Although this year the theme for international women’s day was #choosetochallenge, in which women, girls and anyone who is living and breathing was encouraged to stand up to and call out gender inequality and bias, we wanted to offer some relief from the everyday struggles that women face. We set out to spread the word of our letter exchange, in which women and girls would write a letter containing something that they think another woman or girl may enjoy. This could be anything from a recipe to a poem, book recommendations or a drawing of their favourite place! These letters would then be sent to us via email, printed off, and we would then be in charge of sending out the letters to make sure that every person who sent one to us received one to their door.
As a result of the pandemic, many of us have experienced increased anxiety and isolation. We thought this would be a great way to offer women some distraction and the excitement of receiving something in the post. It was also an excellent opportunity to be able to share a passion with someone else at a time where meeting new people is almost impossible. Hopefully, people could pick up a new hobby or interest thanks to another woman or girl, therefore facilitating the support and celebration of another woman, whoever she may be. Despite our endless individualities and unique qualities as women, we must be united for us women to achieve full equality. Mojatu’s acts of kindness were our way of recognising all of our different interests and cultures and allowed for another woman to take part in or learn about someone else’s. We hope that everyone who took part enjoyed the experience and has learnt something new. Despite international women’s day only existing for one day a year, Mojatu chooses to support and celebrate women every day.
News & Sports INTERVIEW WITH DR MUSTAPHA BITTAYE By Pa Modou Faal that I was exposed to the area of medical research and I fell in love with it because it gives me the opportunity to be able to do what I love doing best which is giving back to my community through my work. By the time I moved into the UK, I already had experience working in the lab, but I did not know how to apply that experience into something beneficial to society.
One of the core scientists involved in the development of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine. Mojatu: Who is Dr Mustapha Bittaye? Dr Bittaye: I am from The Gambia which is arguably the smallest country in Africa. I moved to the UK in 2009 to study Biomedical Science at the University of Westminster and later proceeded to Aberdeen University for a PhD in Microbial Proteomics. After completion, I joined The Jenner Institute to support in the clinical development of vaccines against emerging and outbreak viral pathogens and so far I have been involved in the development of the current Oxford/AstraZeneca Vaccine. Mojatu: How did your journey in Medical Research start? Dr Bittaye: When I graduated from high school in The Gambia, I had the opportunity to work at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Unit, a British research institute based in The Gambia, as a Research Assistant and later rose through the ranks as Senior Research Assistant supporting some of the disease control programmes including malaria, nutrition, child health and immunity. It was at the MRC
So, part of my PhD at Aberdeen University was involved in discovering biomarkers and some of their applications were to see whether they could be turned into a therapeutic product which includes a vaccine. This is how and where my interest in vaccines developed which was reinforced by that project. Upon completion, I realised that I needed to go to an institution where vaccine research is at the top of their agenda and are the best in the field hence joining The Jenner Institute which is the best in the UK for vaccine development. After joining, I was involved in the development of a vaccine against a coronavirus called Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus where I spent just over a year working on the trial and the work our team has done in that trial lucky became the blueprint that was needed for us to deliver the currently licensed Oxford/ Astrazeneca COVID-19 vaccine. Mojatu: Being part of a winning team tasked with the development of the COVID-19 vaccine would have been a humbling experience, how do you feel? Dr Bittaye: Well it is a proud moment for me, and the entire team involved in this breakthrough but also a proud moment for the volunteers that participated in
the trial to make it possible and also a proud moment for British Science in general. As scientists, this is what we are all dreaming for that is being able to take our work from the benches in the lab into a product that could be beneficial to the world at large and what we have been developing is not a vaccine that can be used only in the UK but one that is currently being used worldwide including my own country, The Gambia. For me, what I always wanted was being able to do science anywhere in the world that can benefit the people back home in my country and the world at large and being able to achieve that is definitely a proud moment for me and the team because this do not come very often in this field. One of the motivating factors that kept me going was, in hindsight, I was very convinced that the vaccine was going to be the gamechanger in the fight against COVID-19 in the sense that it is not only for use in developed countries but also suitable for developing countries and my family will benefit from it as well. Mojatu: AstraZeneca is very much in the news lately, what would you tell the layman about this groundbreaking scientific feat? Dr Bittaye: If you consider what we have done in the scientific community, it is like the modern day equivalence of landing human on the moon because in the history of vaccine development, we have never developed a vaccine within a year and we have been able to achieve that as a scientific community and as a human race thanks to the massive collaboration and support from the society in general. For me, people should take this as a human triumph knowing that by coming together and applying our human ingenuity,
Nottingham connected there is wnothing that we cannot achieve. The vaccine we have developed in collaboration with AstraZeneca together with many other vaccines that have been developed, serve as tools that are needed in our armoury in the fight against COVID and no single vaccine will be sufficient enough to fight this virus because it is a global pandemic. We need multiple vaccines to succeed because no single vaccine could be produced at a quantity needed to fight the virus since it affects every country across the globe. Of course there are different technologies that have been used in the development of these vaccines but with regards to the efficacy and the safety of the different vaccines, all of the approved vaccines so far, have the same level of efficacy which is 100% when it comes to protecting people from severe COVID disease, hospitalization and death. So, there is no preference when it comes to the different types of COVID vaccines, nonetheless, based on the different technologies used in their development, different vaccines cost different amount of money, require different infrastructure in terms of storage and handling. Whichever vaccine you are offered, take it, and know that you are getting the same benefit as the others are providing. Mojatu: Is the vaccine safe for everyone to take? Dr Bittaye: All these vaccines have undergone rigorous safety and efficacy testing in tens of thousands of people during the trial and they are very safe. Now that we have rolled out these licensed vaccines in the real world, we are beginning to have real world data which shows that there are no other side effects that are found in people receiving the vaccine that were not found in people that took part during the trials. Basically, all of the side effects are mild and moderate and no severe side effects have been associated with any of the
vaccines so far. Just in UK alone, nearly 30 million people have been vaccinated which is almost half of the adult population and the real-world data coming from the vaccination programme, shows no severe side effects associated with these vaccines. They are safe, the monitoring process is still ongoing and if anything comes up contrary to what we have seen so far, it would be reported to the regulatory bodies involved and communicated to the public and whereas it is required to stop the programme, it will be stopped. Thus, the benefit of taking the vaccine outweighs the risk of not taking it. Mojatu: What would you tell young people who claim to have strong immune system and that they do not need to be vaccinated? Dr Bittaye: We do know that COVID follows an age-related disease pattern, that is the older you are, the more likely you are to have a severe disease from COVID especially if you have an underlying health condition but we have also seen data coming from hospitals in the UK and across the world reporting a greater number of young people ending up in intensive care with COVID. So, what I have to tell people is that the best protection is to protect yourself from catching the virus in the first place by observing all the public health guidelines because we are still learning about the virus. The vaccines have demonstrated in some data showing that it can protect people from catching the virus, but such data are no strong enough. So, the vaccines do not provide 100% protection from catching the virus but, what is clear and refreshing to know is that the people that are taking the vaccine would be protected from symptomatic infection and sever diseases, hospitalization, and death. My advice to young people is to take the vaccine even if not for the sake of self-protection,
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but to protect others around them because the vaccines have been shown to stop the chain of transmission. If you take it, there is high chance that if you catch the virus, you will not pass it on to others and that is what we call ‘hard immunity’ because when more people are vaccinated, we would eventually get to a point whereby the level of transmission will be low and the vulnerable ones who cannot take the vaccine due to some other reasons would also be protected. Mojatu: Recently, the Oxford AstraZeneca has been criticised by some countries for reports of blood clot despite backings from WHO and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) that there is no indication of a link between the vaccine and the claim. What assurance would you give to the public? Dr Bittaye: I cannot say anything more than what WHO and EMA have said, that there is no link found. Yes, there was a need for an independent investigation to take place and the results came out to say that there are no relations between the vaccine and the blood clots and that the vaccine is safe and can be used. Mojatu: What is the difference between the first dose and the second dose? Dr Bittaye: The first dose primes your immune system and trains it to be able to deal with the virus if it encounters it while the second one is a booster dose. The priming of the immune system generated from the first dose is boosted and amplified by the second one which makes the immune response more durable, robust, and stronger. The twelve-week window between the first dose and the second one still gives adequate protection. *Please follow us on issu.com/ mojatu for the whole interview
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Let’s Talk About PrEP
By Shalom Adebanjo-Akers
‘It’s a Sin’ a hit series on All 4 - inspired by the story of Jill Nalder, who, when studying in London, lost three friends in the 1980s to AIDS, - reminds us of how woefully ill-equipped and ill-informed the world was and unfortunately still is about HIV and AIDS. The Terrence Higgins Trust reported a “four-fold increase” in the numbers of HIV screening nationally, resulting from the show’s portrayal of what was but a fraction of the global aids pandemic of the time.
• Myth 5: HIV positive person cannot safely have children. - If a woman is receiving treatment for HIV during pregnancy, the risk of transmission dramatically reduces. All pregnant women in the UK are offered a blood test as part of antenatal screening, which checks for four infectious diseases. It is suggested that women with HIV do not breastfeed. (NHS)
HIV is a virus that damages the cells in your immune system and weakens your ability to fight everyday infections and disease (NHS). AIDS describes a number of life-threatening infections and diseases when your immune system has been severely damaged by the HIV virus (NHS).
How does it affect you?
Much has changed since the UK’s first diagnosis of HIV in 1981. People with HIV can live long and healthy lives with medication. In addition to this, there is the drug PrEP - pre-exposure prophylaxis, which has proven to be highly effective, when taken correctly, in preventing people from catching HIV. Though we have come a long way in treating HIV and AIDS, stigmas and myths continue to persist that prevent adequate treatment. • Myth 1: You cannot protect yourself from HIV As a starting point, condoms can help prevent the transmission of HIV. Secondly, PrEP drugs substantially reduce and minimise the risk of a person contracting the virus. PHE credited PrEP as a critical factor in the dramatic drop in new HIV diagnoses. • Myth 2: You are only at risk of HIV if you are gay - HIV is not concerned with sexual orientation or race. Black Africans make up less than 1.8% of the British population yet, are disproportionately affected by HIV, representing 44% of all new heterosexual HIV cases. (NAT 2014) • Myth 3: If you have HIV/ AIDS, you will die - HIV no longer has to be a death sentence. Medication and research have meant that this does not have to be the case. • Myth 4: HIV will automatically lead to AIDS - Whilst HIV is the infection that leads to AIDS, it is not automatic that exposure to HIV leads to AIDS. AIDS is the name used to describe several life-threatening infections and illnesses that happen when the HIV virus has severely damaged your immune system. Thus, AIDS is preventable by the early diagnosis and treatment of HIV. (NHS)
Evidence shows that there has been a decrease in newly diagnosed cases of HIV, especially amongst gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (GBM) (PHE 2019). However, Black African heterosexuals remain overrepresented in the figures of newly diagnosed HIV cases each year. The reasons for this include: The stigma associated with HIV Low HIV testing Lower condom use (NAT 2014) Late diagnosis of HIV is highly prevalent in black communities, and as we know, this can reduce the effectiveness of treatment. A person diagnosed late is ten times likely to die in the year following diagnosis than someone diagnosed earlier. (NAT 2014) In 2016, 42% of people diagnosed with HIV were diagnosed late. (Public Health England 2020) Though the reasons for late diagnosis are unknown and can range from the belief of monogamy, fear of HIV status, much needs to be done within communities to combat the growing apprehension towards testing. Compared to African men, the percentage of African women living with HIV in the UK is twice as many. As a result, Mojatu Foundation polled its female audiences to determine the knowledge of and attitudes to PrEP. 71% (24/34) were unaware of PrEP. Like the more extensive surveys, in situations where Mojatu’s audiences had heard of PrEP, individuals associated it with being only for GBM. It is demonstrable that treatment literacy is low; this includes things such as knowledge of PrEP, where it can be accessed, who it is for and its relevance (HPE 2020). We acknowledge that much needs to be done to raise awareness within the community on HIV prevention alongside other organisations, in order to reach the goal of zero HIV transmissions by 2030. Such work includes debunking myths and misconceptions, the eradication of HIV related stigma and the encouragement of community testing.
Nottingham connected What exactly is PrEP? wvvv PrEP (Pre-Exposure prophylaxis) is a medicine taken in the form of a table for people who are at risk for HIV to take in order to prevent getting HIV from sex (anal or vaginal) or injection drug use. PrEP is taken before and after sex to prevent transmission (THT). Not to be confused with PEP (Post- Exposure prophylaxis) which is taken after exposure to the virus and which in some circumstances may stop the infection, if taken 72 hours after exposure. PrEP is available free on the NHS in England, Scotland and Wales from sexual health clinics.
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For more information on PrEP or to take the quiz to find out if PrEP is right for you: https://www.iwantprepnow. co.uk More information on HIV and AIDS: NHS - HIV and AIDS Terrence Higgins Trust - Prep - Pre-exposureprophylaxis
Is PrEP right for you?
You do not have to test HIV positive to take PrEP; it works to prevent the transmission of the virus. If in the last six months, you have had anal or vaginal sex and;
1) Have a sexual partner with HIV,
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2) Do not consistently use a condom, or 3) Have been diagnosed with an STD in the past six months or •
You inject drugs
You have been prescribed prophylaxis (PEP) (CDC)
What can you do now? Go to your nearest sexual health clinic and get tested, it is free. Please be aware of COVID restrictions and call before attending. Order a test: 1. Self-Test: see the results within minutes 2. Terrence Higgins Trust - Offers Low cost and Free Tests for eligible people 3. Postal Test: Test yourself and then send it off to a lab, who will contact you with your test results. 4. Free testing. HIV 5. SH:24 What can you do henceforth? • Get tested at least once a year or more regularly if you have multiple sexual partners • Practice safe sex by using a condom and opt for water-based lubricants. • Raise awareness amongst peer groups about the importance of regular testing. • If you inject drugs, do not share needles • Do not contribute to the stigma
African Institute for Social Development
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INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY #CHOOSETOCHALLENGE TESTIMONIALS (IWD) Rose Thompson (MBE Cancer Comms and Sistas Against Cancer) I do take myself as an influential bright example I think. I do not ascribe to having power over people, but I think everybody has a gift to natural power and I find myself saying to people now that do not give your power away, use it to change a lot. There has been a huge challenge from the perspective that I was diagnosed with breast cancer before COVID and I was going through treatment for the second time and that has been more challenging. I am the kind of person who would like to be out in the community. I left the NHS many years ago to work in the community and I find it difficult not meeting people and the BME council support groups.
thinking about how we capture these stories and just decided to develop twelve questions with BME council community’s team and just make that as my care actually. I search questions of the Black UK population and that kind of escalate into something that I am pretty proud that we are aiming to launch very quickly and by now, you may have heard that we have done a report about Cancer-COVID and mental health. That was my answer to it because I was very frustrated for not being able to do what I used to do before and we hope that will help people understand Cancer, COVID, ethnicity and that COVID does not care about the colour of your skin or whether you are from another ethnic group. The reason why people suffer basically fall wider than that and we need to address them. I #ChooseToChalleng Racial Discrimination.
health. So, I #ChooseToChallege Discrimination in The Workplace. Councillor Rebecca Langton Am really sad that this year we have not been able to get together as we did last year, for IWD. The event we held at the Council House was the last time we got together with other people before the COVID pandemic began and it is worth remembering what it was like to be together with around 500 inspired women from around Nottingham. Hopefully, may be next year, we would be back together again. This year was sending a few virtual comments in to celebrate IWD in a different way.
Sometimes not getting up putting one foot in front of the other and also the treatments have been challenging and whether to have or not to have it, but you find alternatives as well. I challenge COVID by taking the stories that I have particularly all those people who had passed whether family or friends particularly. My thoughts were, if I can’t get out, what can I do from home? So, I started
Being a powerful woman means that you know who you are, you know your strength and weaknesses, have a sense of self and that you are able to achieve your goals without compromising your values and integrity. COVID has challenged me to think more creatively about how I am able to achieve my goals working from home and I can say that successfully, I have been able to do so. I have challenged COVID by making sure that I can keep safe and my husband is an NHS worker and we are just making sure that he is not bringing in the things from hospital to home. So, taking more care in terms of hygiene making sure that we do not do anything that would compromise our
Being a powerful woman to me means using a platform to support other women and I really believe in empowering women and supporting each other to achieve things that we did not know we could do. I have been very lucky in many ways to be at home with my husband and to keep my job, not having to worry about many things but COVID is a challenge to all of us. I find it really hard not to spend time with my friends and family in the way that I normally do, and it has been a big challenge to learn new ways to engage with people and as a Councillor, meeting with people in everyday life is a big part of my job and it has been a very strange and big challenge. It also really challenged me to think about what
International Women’s 8th March
Nottingham connected we do to tackle inequality where they exist. The COVID pandemic has challenged us all to think about inequality and how it affects people’s health outcomes and how it also affects people in life, but I hope that it is a challenge that we will take together after COVID.
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I have been lucky to be involved in a number of projects working with colleagues to do things like set up the gold number in the city so that wherever you and whoever you are, you can ring the house if you need help. I was also involved in projects around funding for free school meals and lots of the things
that I have done that have been involved in the challenge to COVID, have been about teamwork and perseverance and I am really proud of that. So, I #ChooseToChallenge Inequality in All Forms. Watch all videos made here https://bit.ly/39vyJQO
Disability Support for Nottingham and County
s Day www.iwdnottingham.com #nottinghamwomen
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International Women's Day 2021
14 News & Sports
Government’s Response to Violence Against Women By Lily Obiah As women, we are hurting. It took one of us out of many before, to lose their life at the hands of our very own symbol of safety, the police, to make anyone listen. Being in danger is a concept that is nothing new for womankind, but in the current politically charged climate and with the help of social media and the Covid-19 vacuum, everyone has more time to care. The famous statistic stating that 97% of women have experienced some form of sexual harassment is no surprise to us. We have been calling out for help for as long as we can remember and only now are people shocked and appalled. Let us also remember that the 3% of women left out of that statistic, preferred not to say. At the expense of the late Sarah Everard, people are finally starting to understand why 5 in 6 victims did not report their experience to the police, but how can this ever change? This act of violence left our authorities speechless. Sarah went through all the motions to try to feel safe, she did what everyone tells us to do; wear sensible shoes that you can run in, wear bright and memorable clothes, walk a route with CCTV. Sarah’s story therefore exposes the invalidity of the precautions that women are warned to take, and it supports the notion that the government should be fighting against the perpetrators and not the innocent victims of violence. What does the government have to say in response? Yet again, they have missed the point! No. 10 has offered us a scheme including better lighting on the streets and more CCTV even though this was not anywhere near enough to save Sarah. Undercover police will also be sent to pubs and clubs to oversee girls possibly under the influence of alcohol in their most vulnerable state. Have they forgotten what has just happened? Yes, their proposal to make sentences longer and have more police patrolling the streets is a start, but where are the institutional changes that we need to prevent the acts from happening in the first place? Women deserve to feel safe and this can only be achieved through proper changes in legislation and reform regarding the prosecution of sexual violence, so that people cannot get away with it. The crucial point that the government is missing is the fact that sexual harassment and assault is not unique to the night. Women are violated at work, in shops, on the street in broad daylight, at school and in their own homes. Women’s organisations are speaking out to inform the government of what needs to be done, for example a spokeswoman for the organisation ‘Reclaim These Streets’ has said that “Women won’t be able to trust that they are safe until misogyny and racism are tackled at an institutional level within government, police and the criminal justice system” and here at Mojatu, we couldn’t agree more. Change will only come about if
we confront the root of the problem. Sadly, this change does not seem to be coming anytime soon. Only days after Sarah was found, a peaceful vigil for her on London’s Clapham Common, her hometown, was interrupted by aggressive police who forced women to the ground and proceeded to handcuff them. Once again, women have been silenced. Yes, we are aware that Covid-19 is still present, but what is to say that violence against women is any less important. It has not stopped during the pandemic and has actually increased rapidly throughout the lockdown. In the year ending March 2020, 207 women were killed in the UK alone. This statistic only looks at those whose lives were ending, emitting the countless cases of women who have been attacked and assaulted and are still having to live through it. Summed up perfectly by the British Journal of General Practice; “Many women face an enemy more terrifying than COVID-19”. Domestic abuse support charities for women are experiencing rapid increases in calls and are in urgent need of the government’s help and support to fight this different kind of pandemic. Not only do women currently suffering abuse need support, but those for whom it has been years since their experience, as the effects of sexual violence are long-lasting and include both mental and physical symptoms. This support should not stop at the victims, but should also extend to the witnesses, often children, who as a result have a much higher probability of facing mental and physical illness later in life. One of Mojatu’s principle aims is to be a neutral and unjudgmental source of support for women and girls that have experienced discrimination and trauma. Women who have been subject to sexual violence are in need of support and Mojatu, along with many other charity organisations, are having to step in to provide what the government is failing to. So, what can all of us do to encourage change? We can listen to those who feel they want to talk about their experiences and make them comfortable in doing so. We can stand up to and call out our friends and colleagues who are making women feel unsafe and we can continue to campaign online. If you or someone you know is experiencing or has experienced any type of sexual harassment or domestic abuse, do not hesitate to contact us at Mojatu or use any of these numbers and resources: mojatufoundation.org/i-need-support/ nationaldahelpline.org.uk womensaid.org.uk/information-support/ refuge.org.uk/get-help-now/phone-the-helpline/ supportline.org.uk/problems/domestic-violence/
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Detention Centres for Asylum Seeking Women By Sofia Bassani In 2019 the then immigration minister, Caroline Nokes, promised to introduce schemes that would reduce the number of vulnerable female refugees and asylum seekers in UK immigration detention centres and instead house them in the community. The vow seemed like a step in the right direction towards a more humane British immigration system. Now, however, Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, has gone back on that promise and new detention centres for women are being built all over the country. The first is to open in County Durham in autumn on the site of a former youth prison. This news comes amidst a range of other recent proposals by the government to send asylum seekers abroad to be processed; a move which has been said could have “grave humanitarian consequences” by Mike Adamson, the Chief Executive of the British Red Cross. These new plans signify a worrying hardening in the UK government’s response to immigration after our withdrawal from the EU, making us even more isolationist than before. In 2016 the Shaw Review was carried out which laid out some recommendations on how to improve the UK immigration system and as recently as 2018, Sajid Javid, the former Home Secretary, took these recommendations on board and promised to get vulnerable refugee women ‘a programme of support and care in the community’ instead of in detention centres. This would have meant that women could live in flats, houses, hostels or bed and breakfasts while receiving a weekly allowance from the government and also having access to the NHS. Yarl’s Wood, a detention centre for women, was emptied just last year and the detention of women was at a historic low. It seemed like change was on the horizon and that the British government was finally viewing refugees and asylum seekers as humans rather than statistics. Nevertheless, the reversal of the promise to house women in the community has shattered this trust in the government to treat refugees in a compassionate manner. These women are some of the most vulnerable in society. Many may have fled from unstable countries and suffered gender based violence which has resulted in a high prevalence of mental health problems. Putting them into detention centres rather than housing them in safe spaces within the community only serves to make these mental health problems worse as there is inadequate access to healthcare. Agnes Tanoh claimed asylum in the UK after spending three months locked up inside Yarl’s Wood and has now started a petition to stop the new detention centres as she has seen how ‘detention destroys a women’ as they ‘become depressed and suicidal’ due to the inhumane conditions that they are forced to live under. These are the people who the UK should prioritise rather than imprison. To risk your life escaping persecution is something which
no human should have to go through. When refugees reach what is supposed to be a safe country they should be treated with the utmost care and sensitivity rather than being put into detention centres that only meet the most basic of their needs. A study was carried out into the effects that detention has on the mental health of refugees and asylum seekers and the results are clear – detention is extremely damaging to mental health (Werthern et al., 2018). The most commonly reported mental health problems were anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder and they found that ‘detention duration was positively associated with severity of mental symptoms’. This finding is especially worrying due to the fact that there is no time limit on immigration detention in the UK, unlike in most other European countries, meaning that mental health problems that refugees may face are being allowed to continue getting worse and worse. Furthermore, non-detained refugees who were living in the community had lower symptom scores than those in detention centres, showing that it is the detention centres themselves which are extremely damaging. Prompted by calls from activists and charities, the government released many of those in detention centres into the community in May 2020 due to fears of Covid spreading rapidly through the centres. This was the perfect opportunity for the government to trial alternative methods of housing refugees and asylum seekers. Now that we have seen that these centres can be emptied quickly and easily it is shocking that Priti Patel has still chosen to continue building new detention centres for women. Werthern’s study also found that greater trauma exposure prior to detention was associated with symptom severity. The gender based violence that many female asylum seekers have been through will, therefore, continue to negatively affect these women far more severely in detention than if they had been housed in the community – a fact which Priti Patel has willingly accepted. These women need to be protected and it is extremely embarrassing to be a British citizen under a government that refuses to do so. Image by Getty Images
16 News & Sports
BAME affected by COVID 19 -FMB Radio By Kitty Luscombe COVID-19 has been part of everyone’s lives for over a year now, however, the BAME community has been hit dramatically by the virus. According to Public Health England “After accounting for the effect of sex, age, deprivation and region, people of Bangladeshi ethnicity had around twice the risk of death than people of White British ethnicity. The risk also increased for people of Pakistani, Indian and Mixed ethnic groups. People of Chinese, other Asians, Black Caribbean and other Black ethnicity had between 10 and 50% higher risk of death when compared to White British.” There are numerous shocking figures such as a report that found that 15.2% and 9.7% of critically ill patients were from Asian and Black ethnic groups, respectively. ONS analysis showed that, when taking age into account, Black males were 4.2 times more likely to die from a COVID-19-related death than White males. These stats show the devastating impact that COVID-19 is having. Scientists have come up with a variety of explanations why this may be the case. Firstly, members of the BAME community are more likely to live in urban areas, for example in London, where 40% of the population are BAME. The impact of living in cites is that there are more people within certain areas. This can be due to the use of transport networks and supermarkets. This increases the chances of contracting the virus as many members live-in urban areas. Secondly, some BAME members live in households with many other family members, which means that there is more chance of a large group of people contracting the virus if it is in within one home. Normally this is also with grandparents, which puts them at even higher risk
thereby increasing the chance of catching the virus. Another reason may be attributed to lack of access to important services such as health facilities and other key places as a result of language, cultural and other barriers. By such, they may not be able to access the help or support that they need during this time. Also, many of them work in frontline jobs that expose them to direct contact with people such as the NHS, security sector and production lines. A disproportionate number of BAME doctors and other healthcare workers died of COVID-19 and according to the Health Service Journal, it is reported that a shocking figure of 95% of medical staff that died during the pandemic are from the BAME community. The British Medical Association have put in place many actions such as calls for the government to develop an action plan on how it will protect BAME communities going forward and for greater consideration of the role that structural discrimination plays in how COVID-19 affects people from BAME backgrounds differently. This demonstrates that people are aware of the situation and the fact that BAME communities are more effected. It further strengthens the argument that the vaccine is crucial within the BAME community in order to reduce the death rates, minimise infections and protect the community. However, after all the data above, the BAME community groups are less likely to want the COVID-19 vaccine, and even if they accept to have the vaccine, how much of an impact will it have on them considering the above argued reasons.
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´The husband stitch¨ By Maria Escarda Granados It is not commonly known, but if you have searched the internet you may have come across the ‘husband stitch’, also referred to as the ‘daddy stitch’. It is a surgical practice in which, after childbirth, some specialists sew the vagina, adding one more stitch than necessary. During child labour, doctors usually cut the perineum, which is the skin and muscle between the vagina and anus, so that the baby can emerge from the enlarged vaginal opening. The cut is usually between two and seven centimetres long, and the wound is closed after delivery. However, while repairing it, some doctors add an extra stitch without the woman’s consent, thinking that this would mean greater sexual enjoyment for the male partner. The ‘husband stitch’ is not widespread, but neither is it an urban legend or a myth. There is a small amount of data available, showing how many women have been affected by this practice. Furthermore, there is no straightforward method of assessment for how prevalent the practice is in obstetrics. However, what is clear is the number of women sharing their experiences and their testimonies in the media. Some women claimed that their doctors told them that their vaginas would look better than ever. Some even went so far as to stress the procedure’s benefit without fully explaining what this benefit entailed. Unfortunate statements made in delivery rooms ranged from “I’m going to leave it as if nothing had happened”. To an incident involving a gynaecologist who, with a wink, told them that he would “leave them as a virgin”. They did not discover until later that this meant that he had narrowed the vaginal opening. In reality, these expressions are just another way of insinuating that women are to be perceived as defective after giving birth and ought to be returned as soon as possible to their pre...form. Despite the name, it is crucial to make clear that in most cases, it was not an express request from the partner of the woman who gave birth but an initiative of the specialists themselves. The gynaecologists would comment on it, almost as a joke, explaining that he would leave the vagina as if his wife had not given birth by sewing. Though the intended reason behind this, the extra stitch is to increase the sexual pleasure of men. The result for most women who have gone through the ‘husband stitch’ after childbirth is extreme discomfort and pain during intercourse. Some are even afraid of having sex because it is too painful for them. Therefore, the reality is that the aftermath of the ‘husband stitch’ can affect sexual life and negatively impact a couple’s relationship. In addition to anxiety symptoms, there are physical consequences such as pain during penetration,
urinary or faecal incontinence, or recurrent pain in the vulva. In many cases, these physical consequences do not receive the necessary care and treatment. For instance, some mothers take years to consult a pelvic floor specialist, and even fewer might receive adequate psychotherapeutic treatment. The inability to decide, be fully informed can constitute a gynaecological assault on your self-concept, your selfesteem and your sexuality, as well as a form of obstetric violence. In 2014, the WHO spoke about obstetric violence for the first time, stating: “Throughout the world, many women suffer disrespectful and offensive treatment during childbirth in health centres, which not only violates the rights of women to respectful care but also threatens their rights to life, health, physical integrity and non-discrimination”. This type of violence exceeds the physical and verbal. It is also institutional, which often leads to it going unnoticed. Why is it that there exists this horrible need to put men first at women’s expense constantly? At a time so crucial for a woman as her child’s birth, some professionals still find a second to think about the male’s enjoyment and pleasure. The bottom line is as follows: the “husband stitch” is an abusive procedure. Additional suturing is done without the wife’s consent. The mother is objectified, degraded and patronized. This horrible practice also testifies to a general lack of understanding of female sexuality. The vagina will not become narrower after the procedure, so the “husband” and his “stitch” have no purpose other than to control the female body and sexuality.
18 News & Sports
The white saviours of Lesvos - By Ophelie Lawson Back in Lesvos, I met with many volunteers and humanitarian workers. The reality is: most of them were actually white. Volunteer trips have always been popular, if one thing, it is because they are appealing to a broad audience; whether it’s people looking for a great boost on their cv; or a university student seeking a “life-changing experience”, or those looking for an exciting opportunity to feel better about themselves through helping others. For most of them, the decision to volunteer is led by self-interest, with little or no experience in humanitarian work nor any prior understanding of the complexity and gravity of the situation for refugees and asylum seekers. Most of them are importantly unaware of their white privileges. They won’t recognize themselves, or know, deep down, but will deny: the ‘white saviours of Lesvos’. Those volunteers who claim they are there to ‘save the refugees or to ‘bear witness to the situation’, and so on. They do not identify with the refugee population, instead they place a huge gap between themselves and ‘those in need of their help’. They see them as people that need ‘saving’, not as humans who could be their neighbour, family member, friend. Being a black activist on the island, fully identifying with the black refugee and asylum seekers population, I spotted the white saviours easily. And as a black European on the island, I was constantly the victim of racial profiling (the act of suspecting or targeting a person on the basis of assumed characteristics or behavior of a racial or ethnic group) so I experienced first hand how these people act. The discriminatory practice was coming from everywhere. From the police, the locals, and far too
often from the white volunteers. In my presence, they would act mostly as if I was stupid, always in need of something from them. I often refrained from saying that I was not a refugee or an asylum seeker, I did this because: 1. What would that say? That because I have a European passport, papers, I am better than the rest of my black communities or the refugee and asylum seekers population? 2. Because if people were capable of acting with me in such a way based on someone’s skin colour - in this case mine - quite frankly I just didn’t want to have anything to do with them. I saw no difference between black refugees, asylum seekers and I. They could have easily been my brothers or sisters. I treated them like they were and even met a few that came from the same country half of my family was born in. I was not there trying to ‘save’ anyone but rather engage with some of the most marginalized black communities in Europe and support these communities as much as I could using my own privileges as a Black European. And since I was fully identifying with them, it also meant that the emotional impact of seeing people living in those conditions was somehow stronger on me, making my work more impactful and more honest. The white saviours: they travel to serve the poor, hungry and sick. Though they think that they have the best of intentions to help, their focus is on the refugee community instead of facing the core of the problem created by those that come from their communities; white, Western and Christian. They are often driven by the idea that those they are trying to support are in need of rescue from people who look like them. Read More here - shorturl.at/eDY57
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Interview with Ahmed. President of the Togolese Community - By Ophelie Lawson Ahmed arrived in Greece in September 2019, leaving his wife and 3 children behind him. Now President of the Togolese community within Moria camp, he talks about his role and the responsibilities that come with it, as well as the every day realities people from Togo face, from the minute they arrive in Greece asking for asylum to the way they get treated every day.
the [old] camps but there were always too many people (for the size). Sometimes you could be queuing for 4 to 5 hours. In the new camp, when we first moved in there were no containers, we were not together anymore. For instance, in my tent, it is only three of us, mixed with Sudanese people. Others are with Somalians or Congolese people, but we are not together anymore. O : What made you want to become president of your community ? Knowing you were already vulnerable when you arrive ?
Inside Moria 2.0, after rain, January 9th Ahmed : “Most of us [Togolese people] when we arrive in Greece we are sent directly to prison. After 3 months, you get released. This is when I step in and become responsible for them. When they go out, I have to direct them through the application for asylum process. I first sent them toward Eurorelief or Info point so that they can register and have a tent. Us Togolese people we used to be all put next to each other. After that, they immediately have to go towards the asylum services offices (EASO) to do the rest of the registration and get documents. They also have to go to UNHCR for the monthly financial support. Fingerprints are also taken when people first arrive. There are a number of steps to follow for new arrivals. They also have to go to the hospital, however, it is hard to have access to it. There were small clinics inside
Ahmed : Our old president was moved to Mytilini, meaning he couldn’t really always access the camp straight away to help when there are new arrivals. And you really need someone who is really present for the whole process. If you don’t have the help of someone who knows everything you really can’t do anything, this is why I voluntarily said I will take over to help our brothers arriving and those in prison. I am vulnerable but you need the help of others. O : What’s the biggest difficulty being the president of that community ? Ahmed : Being a leader is not easy and you can never please everyone. Some will be aggressive, others will treat you as if it was you who brought them to Greece. When some have problems with the police, it is your duty to go there to discuss with them, but the police always look for problems ‘go malaka, go go, go your countries”. This is a real issue for us presidents of communities, we represent but have no protections. There was one time one of the leaders of one of our
black communities was harassed by Afghan people, he lost one tooth. We are not protected. I represent Togolese people in front of the authorities if they have a problem but also if they have a rejection of their asylum, I must help them with making an appeal. I have to help them find a lawyer, volunteers mostly because we don’t have money. But they are really busy because they have too many clients. So sometimes we have to wait like 2-3 months to get an appointment, but you have only 10 days to make an appeal. So you have to run everywhere, beg everyone to help us, help people of my community. Being the representative is not easy. O : Is the Togolese community a minority in the camp ? Ahmed : Yes, we are in minority. This is why the Greek state tends to not grant us asylum Ahmed cooking a meal for him and other Togolese people Read More here - shorturl.at/hCNVX
20 News & Sports DECOLONISATION AND THE REFUGEE CRISIS By Ophelie Lawson
Colonisation and the process of decolonisation Colonisation, in simple words, is the process by which one power settles among and establishes control over the people of an area against their will. It is the action of appropriating a place or domain for one’s own use. Establishing itself in an area that is not ours and reclaiming it as ours. Decolonisation is the ‘freeing of minds from colonial ideology’ in particular by challenging the ingrained and deep rooted idea that to be colonised was to be inferior. Decolonisation critiques positions of power and dominant culture. It is a process in which we rethink and reconstruct ideas that preserve the Europe-centred, colonial lens and withdraw political, military and governmental rule imposed by invaders on a colonised land. Colonisation erases, from the society under its control, entire ways of life, replacing indigenous social structures with supposedly ‘enlightened’ governance. Through the creation of deadly stereotypes and stigmas, as well as preconceived overtly racist ideas of others, the colonisers justify their invasion, enslavement and genocide. It takes deep root in the subjugated people’s thoughts and ideas. The history of African colonisation by the western world is a long and complex one. It created detrimental biases about what it means to be African and black in the western world. Colonisation, and its tool of racism, deeply embedded an idea that anyone of African descent in Europe is an imposter and that they are inferior. This deadly idea lives in many of the white westerners’ minds. Anti-black racism is a concept deeply internalised in the western world. This racist discriminative social construct works by referring to different types of human bodies and from there determining what they are entitled to. The African Diaspora has made lasting contributions to the western world. Part of the African European diaspora are largely the descendants of enslaved people who were brought from their African homelands to the Western world by force to help build Europe and the US. These contributions often go intentionally unrecognised and people of African descent have long been denied economic, social, and political equality. It also meant that most African people coming to the Western world after colonisation were directly labeled economic migrants, generating fears that ‘they’ were
coming to Europe to steal opportunities .This narrative can survive in the western world due to the distinct lack of acknowledgement of how much wealth from Africa lives in western cities. So much unacknowledged theft has happened that many westerners are unaware of what their governments, countries, have stolen, and corporations continue to steal. It has often never occurred in the eyes of the Westerners that people coming from Africa were not migrants by choice but rather forced migrants. They cannot see how the comfort of the white man was built upon the back of the Black man’s suffering. Governance of terror What the white man did to Africa is more than just create economic hardship and commit theft. The systems they put into place corrupted African governments to serve the white man’s interest, it also created an environment of fear in which most opposition was met with violence, suppressed, and countered with systemic political murder. The effect of this in the citizens of many African countries was a total breakdown of the social fabric of their society. The lack of trust gave way to a culture of paranoia. The same tactics imposed by Stalin in Eastern Europe were exported by the enemies of Stalin for use in Africa. A society of political repression, paranoia and clandestine murders was the enemy against which The West so righteously struggled. During the time of their “righteous fight,” they had no qualms about instituting the same policies upon the people of Africa. Europe had learned very well the effectiveness of terror in controlling populations. In such an environment the continual exploitation of a nation’s natural resources is easy. The breakdown of the social fabric due to colonisation is identical to the breakdown of the social fabric due to civil war, or any kind of war. Their nation has been taken from them whether it’s from war or colonisation, in either case, through violence. Most of the time, even in the case of an African living upon the land of their ancestors, through the process of colonisation they have become a stateless person. Read More here - shorturl.at/nxQW3
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THE UNHEARD REFUGEE VOICES PODCAST WITH PRINCE By Ophelie Lawson
Decolonizing the way we see refugees. Raising awareness to the abuse lived by black asylum seekers/ refugees
Black communities idolize white people
Black people have internalised inferiority
Lesvos: a hellhole for black refugees and asylum seekers
Black boys feel entitled and proud when they have white friends
How does institutional racism impact refugees/ and asylum seekers on Lesvos? How black asylum seekers and refugees are experiencing racism even in the most hostile and inhuman living conditions and what racism and anti-blackness actually are and how our institutions are shaped by it.
4. Black people being denied asylum because considered economic migrant: comment etre accepter. Considered economic migrants; Coming from countries that are not at war, and not considered a failed state, yet they return their lives are under threat. Also they are victims of colonisation
Guest speakers: Prince, a former resident of Moria camp who has now been granted refugee status and his very aware of the racists dynamics on his island.
5. Black people always portraying an incorrect image of their reality as asylum seekers in Europe on social media to maintain their reputations back home, rather than speaking about the reality of living in the camps which is nothing like they expected and how this is linked to the fake European dream that doesn’t apply to black asylum seekers and refugees and feed into a fake narrative of Europe being the dream
1. Introduction: Prince - Ophelie 2. Prince’s own experience of racism as an asylum seeker and now refugee: “I am tired of white people trying to save me” and “they always feel and act like they need to save us”, How was your experience as an asylum seeker shaped by your colour ? What it means to be a black asylum seeker. From asking for asylum to opportunities for integration and work to interactions with the authorities (fear of being stopped by the police based on their racism) and police harassment, and insecurity. Black people are constantly the target of police, Why you never walk in the street with a big group of black people because you will always be annoyed by the police How you are careful about what you say because you feel you are not free and are always under the control of the white Greek man who, although granted you asylum, is still controlling you 3. Internalised racism amongst black asylum seekers/refugees population: (a form of internalised oppression; Internalized Racism: Internalized racism is defined as “the acceptance, by marginalized racial populations, of the negative societal beliefs and stereotypes about themselves” (Williams & Williams-Morris, 2000, p. 255; Taylor & Grundy, 1996). Individuals may or may not be aware of their own acceptance of these negative beliefs. Internalized racism can also be expressed via a rejection of the cultural practices of one’s own ethnic or racial group.)
6. White saviorism: White people trying to save black people from the consequences of what they have done to us (https://www.dw.com/en/inside-morias-africanneighborhood/a-19570092) o Most if not all refugees* from African countries that spoke to DW feel that they are being mistreated by the asylum services at the camp who - they claim - do not take their asylum claims into serious consideration and instead prioritize the cases of refugees from the Middle East. o The asylum process is slow and refugees believe they are being discriminated against based on the countries of their origin. “The major problem is that people who examine asylum claims at the asylum services do not know refugee law and they do not know how to interview people. And the refugee themselves don’t have any idea about what refugee law is. So it’s an impossible situation,” said Dr HarrelBond.
22 News & Sports
BLACK SINGLE MOTHERS, ASYLUM SEEKERS, IN LESVOS, GREECE: A NEGLECTED HARSH REALITY By Ophelie Lawson
Some of the most vulnerable and neglected asylum seekers on the Island of Lesvos, Greece, home of the biggest refugee camp of Europe, are black single mothers and women. Here, Blackness seemed to be tied to the idea of something meaningless, and people, the authority, many locals, volunteers and humanitarian workers, seem to be unable to recognise the humanity in Black communities as in the same way that they do with other communities.
In simple terms, Anti-Black racism includes attitudes, behaviours, beliefs, stereotypes and prejudices or discrimination that is directed at people of African descent. It is rooted in Western history and a direct result of enslavement and colonisation of African people by white Europeans. It is deeply embedded in Western institutions, policies, and practices. It is quite simply part of the system.
According to the UNHCR, women represent 23% of the population on the island. They are exposed to a multitude of dangers; from gender based violence to police sexual harassment, whilst often being subject to neglect by the authorities and NGOs. For years many NGOs have denounced and condemned the dangers of the Greek refugee camp for women and girls. They have asked the Greek Government to take immediate action to ensure their security and provide humane conditions, initiatives such as the Human Rights Watch. However, things continue to worsen and those at the worst end of the spectrum are Black women. Inside of Moria 2.0’s containers, where families are accommodated Black women are exposed not only to the dangers of being women and/ or single mothers in these camps, but also to anti-black racism.
Mavrovouni Temporary Reception and Identification Centre “I was supposed to give birth on the 26 of December but when I went inside the camp it just didn’t happen. I had high blood pressure. I gave birth on the 4th of January instead. I spent one day inside the camp before social workers took me to a house.” Christine’s story reflect the struggles of many Black single mothers. Her story is a heartbreaking one. After fleeing her country to seek safety in Europe, she came to Lesvos only to experience severe neglect and hardship. Crossing on a boat across the Meditteranean to come to Europe she was pregnant and in distress.
The impact and consequences of White Supremacy in Africa and western history of colonisation has created systemic barriers and discriminative social constructs. These have been put in place to prevent black people from fully integrating and participating in all parts of society. To hear directly from those at the receiving end of this reality I spoke with Christine, a single mother from Congo RDC. Christine arrived in Lesvos on the 18th December 2019, she arrived already 9 months pregnant; Moria 2.0 camp, officially called
“I came here expecting something else but the reality was otherwise” says Christine “The life in the camp while pregnant was so hard I couldn’t manage. My anxiety and high blood pressure were very high.” “The day I gave birth, when I started feeling the contractions, I went to the police inside the camp. After a while they called an ambulance. There were about 5 pregnant women inside the ambulance. I had to stand up while having contractions. When we arrived at the hospital they told me to go wait outside. I was the last to be seen.” Read More here - shorturl.at/ gmwNX
ESPRESSO GALLERY Interview with Abriz Akbar
Abriz Akbar is one of three business partners who run Espresso Gallery on Woodborough Road, in Mapperley, Nottingham. Espresso Gallery is a coffee shop/art gallery opened over three years ago as a community project in the form of a traditional European coffee house, where people casually meet and socialise within a relaxed environment. In an interview with Mojatu magazine, Abriz highlighted how their community project, which is independent of their business, has been giving out food parcels to the general public: Abriz: Part of what we have been doing is just doing something expansive in this time of contraction, where everyone is fearful and anxious about what is happening. Five of us who are friends and brothers came together and decided to help the community in which we live and operate. Mojatu: Who do you target as beneficiaries? Abriz: We do not have a specific target, but it is for anyone who needs food basically. The idea started during Eid (Islamic feast) a few years ago whereby we helped feed the homeless and make them feel part of the celebrations. This is what we are continuing during this difficult time. Our Shaykh, Shaykh Abdalqadir explains in his book ‘The Muslim Prince’ that giving charity is not only about giving money or collecting large sums to send abroad, but it is about personal giving within your locality, be it in cash or kind. So, for us it was not about raising money for a charity, but about cooking food together and giving it directly to those who need it. Mojatu: What kind of food do you give out and who is involved? Abriz: We organise daal (lentils), bread and water, which covers almost everybody because it is a vegan/ vegetarian menu. We do everything from start to finish, that is, from funding to cooking. We also came into contact with Mojatu Food Bank through a brother from the Gambian community called Abdoulie Jah. Mojatu helped in the distribution of some of the meals we prepared and the response has been great. We are extremely pleased in our new relationship with Mojatu because we share the same desire which is to help
those in need. We are not a charity or an organisation but just five brothers who came together to help within our community, but it is very much appreciated that we can work with Mojatu since they have the network and the resources to reach further than us. Mojatu: Not much has changed and Ramadan (Fasting) is a few weeks from now, do you have a Ramadan plan? Abriz: We are planning to provide meals on a weekly basis (every Saturday) for two hundred people with the same Indian/Pakistani cuisine in varieties of daal. This will be throughout Ramadan which will be a bigger project for us that we are looking forward to as feeding people is a key part of Ramadan. Mojatu: Will this project continue after COVID lockdown? Abriz: After Ramadan, we just want to continue as we have been doing which is at least once a month. The most important thing for us is to do something expansive in our community because there is a lot of confusion and uncertainties at the moment and one way of being part of the solution is to help. Mojatu: How do you and your brothers feel in doing such a noble thing? Abriz: We just hope that people enjoy our food and that it is accepted from us. There is no other reason for doing it. Mojatu: What is your final message? Abriz: There is so much poverty and need in our own areas and the pandemic has further exposed it. So, if you can help those in need in your local communities, please help. There is nothing wrong with contributing to charities that help people abroad, but it is just as important to help within your neighbourhood where you live and spend most of your life. This also enhances community relationships, and you will know where the help is going and how it is given. I end with the motto which is written on the Nottingham Coat of Arms: “VIVIT POST FUNERA VIRTUS”, interpreted as ‘virtue outlives death’, meaning whatever you do in life echoes in eternity. That is where I want to leave.
HOW AND WHERE TO INVEST YOUR TALENT By Jacob Opoku
What inspired you to write this book? Looking at how some great talents are wasted because of simply having the knowledge that we have the talent in the first place. I believe that coming to a realization and knowledge is just as important as applying the knowledge acquired Summarize your book in one to three sentences as if you were speaking to someone unfamiliar with your book and its topic. This book demonstrates to you how to become aware of your talent. The best possible ways to invest in your talents and skills. The book cheers you on to go for your goals in life and where to invest in those talents. What is the overall theme (central topic, subject or concept) of your book That we all have talents that God gave to us to help us fulfill our mission here on earth. Nobody was left out, but talents and skills differ and what is required of us all is to work with what has been given to us and increasing it. Where does this book take place? This is a non-fictional book Who are the main characters and why are they important to the story? not applicable Why do you think that this book will appeal to readers? To know that you also have what it takes to contribute to this world and live a satisfying life is what everyone in this world looks for. Our purpose on earth and this is what
this book seeks to demonstrates hence it will appeal to all readers.
not to put your talents to work and contribute your quota to this world.
How is your book relevant in today’s society?
How did you learn about the topic? (i.e. personal experience, education, etc.)
In today’s society originality pays a lot, unfortunately, some people only live in the shadows of others. This book seeks to demonstrate that we have different skills and what matters is not to sit and compare your skills with others but to go and immediately start putting your talents to work. Is there any subject currently trending in the news that relates to your book? Yes everything. People have become consumers only looking to some few people to become producers of products and services. It is all self-doubt and comparison that is killing our contribution to this world. The news and in fact media companies are looking for originality in entertainment and in educating the audience. You could be the next big thing. What makes your book different from other books like it? I have written this book with the simplest of language and fronts, not academical and jargons to create misunderstanding. Easy to read and very practical. You read and feel as if I have known the reader all my life What do you want readers to take away from your writing? If others are doing it, you can also do it. Only start immediately and do not give yourself reasons not to contribute to this world and live a fulfilled life. The more you delay the more you give yourself reasons
I have made some mistakes myself and delayed what I should have done long ago. I am however grateful that I have been given a second chance to manifest myself and contributing to this world in my own way. Is there a particular passage from your book you’d like us to utilize? If so, please provide. Yes, all the pages. You need to go through it and fully appreciate that the book seeks to demonstrate What other books have you written? This was my first ever published book, but my second book is out already on Amazon entitled ‘Love Lessons from The First Couple.: Before You Say I Do’. This is the link to purchase the second book - https://amzn. to/3d2A4Q2
JOHN CARROLL LEISURE CENTRE The announced closure of John Carroll Leisure Centre has rocked the Radford community and hundreds of individuals have spoken out calling for its doors to remain open. We simply cannot stand by and let vital services like this disappear. John Carroll is the last remaining community facility in Radford, which is one of the most deprived areas of Nottingham. Quite simply removing it would be a devastating loss. John Carroll Leisure Centre is at risk of closure as the Nottingham City Council have identified it as “at risk”. It is due to be permanently shut from June as part of large Council budget cuts. Leaders have justified this stating that John Carroll was the “least used facility” in comparison to other venues with the same high budget. However, we feel that this is not acceptable as John Carroll is used and loved by people of all ages and has remained a constant meeting place for members of the community for decades. It is a safe space for women to come together, exercise, laugh and find joy. As one of the only places in Nottingham to offer female-only swimming classes it holds a key role in the mental and physical health for women in our city. To take this service away would be to do a massive disservice to the women of Nottingham and leave them without a place to exercise freely. It also provides children with a place to go after school to build confidence and have fun playing sports that the underfunded schools in the area often cannot afford to offer. John Carroll is not just a sports hub though and has successfully served as a polling centre many times and
as a safe space for those to access support surrounding FGM. These examples are only a handful of the services the leisure centre has provided to the community over the decades. The space is being used; it is not an abandoned building to be knocked down. We need to invest in spaces that support community cohesion and collaboration. By closing safe meeting spaces like this, you disperse people and the Council are offering no alternatives in the area. Emerging from a time of great isolation and loneliness in the shape of lockdown, we have to prioritize people and community. We need to foster co-operation and trust between people. We will need to meet and mix more so than ever before and this closure completely stops that for those in Radford, which is not acceptable. This is more than a physical closure as this is a symbolic loss for communities that do so much for each other, yet consistently receive subpar support from the local government. In fact, in 2019 Nottingham Labour specifically promised to protect leisure centres from budget cuts in their local election manifesto. We have to hold them accountable and protect the people of Radford. We strongly support the Save John Carroll campaign and urge the Council to reverse their decision. We cannot save money at the expense of people’s mental and physical health. It is nonnegotiable. Find out more and how to oppose the closure at: https://www.savejohncarroll.co.uk/
image courtesy of Nottingham Post
Africans don’t just live to die. A response to the New York Times Were it not for the notoriety of Western media’s often reductionist reporting of the Global South, I would be confounded by the New York Times article published on 4 January entitled “A Continent Where the Dead Are Not Counted”. Bylined from Lagos, its central thesis is that the low death rates from COVID-19 in “Africa” are because Africans do not report deaths. It suggests that the actual death rate in countries on the continent could be anywhere from the publicly reported rates to the kinds of high rates reported in Europe and the Americas. What this implies is that death is so commonplace in “Africa” that if about 1 in every 1,000 people – the current reported death rate from COVID-19 in the US – died from a previously unknown illness in a matter of months, it could go unnoticed and unrecorded. The article’s premise is astounding. The piece is neither reporting nor analysis as the evidence doesn’t go much beyond the anecdotal. The title is outlandish, lampooning an entire continent while the text itself only mentions only three of Africa’s 54 countries. Its underlying assumption is that if rich countries have suffered, Africa must have suffered worse. If that’s not the case, then it must be because the suffering has been rendered invisible by some uniquely African incompetence. Its depiction of the continent will also ring false to many people who have seen how countries in Africa and the West have responded to the pandemic. When I flew to Kenya in late-January 2020, for instance, airport officials had already implemented temperature checks and contact tracing protocols. Even in March 2020, airports in Europe and the US were still largely operating as usual. I had a similar experience travelling this winter. When my family wanted to travel from Nairobi to Tanzania, we required negative COVID-19 test results to be allowed entry. I called the National Influenza Centre and, within hours, a professional came to my home where she collected our samples donned in full personal protective equipment (PPE). This stood in stark contrast to when I’d travelled from New York to Kenya a month before. In the US, I struggled to obtain the necessary PCR test. When I did, my sample was taken by a nurse whose only protection from the hundreds of potential carriers she encountered each day was a surgical mask. While these experiences are anecdotal, you can imagine my consternation when reading the New York Times article.
Given the novelty of the coronavirus, the truth is that every country worldwide is facing the same problem: how to detect, classify and record deaths from COVID-19. It is widely accepted that the actual death rate is higher everywhere than is currently reported. The article doesn’t provide any evidence that reporting of COVID-19 deaths is less accurate in Africa than anywhere else, though it implies data collected by countries in Africa without the international stamp of approval are unreliable. Strengthening vital registration systems in many countries is a genuine issue. However, there is huge variation between countries. Some such as Egypt, South Africa and Seychelles have compulsory universal registration systems. Others such as Nigeria and Niger, as the article correctly points out, lag behind. In my own country, Kenya, it is not possible to “bury loved ones in their yard at home”, as the article suggests, without a burial permit. Kenya is also building a compulsory digitised system with a single record capturing all vital and civil data for every Kenyan, a project more advanced and ambitious than in many high-income countries. It also bears reiterating that official death records are not the only means of detecting a disease outbreak. Public officials have other tools for recognising aberrant mortality patterns including surveillance systems which report unusual events. This reporting is what traced the 2014 Ebola outbreak to its patient zero in the remote village of Gueckedou in southeastern Guinea. More importantly, even in the absence of adequate testing, diagnosis and reporting, COVID-19 death rates on the scale seen in Western countries would have been a cause for alarm in any one of Africa’s 54 countries. Africans don’t just live to die! The question addressed by the New York Times article does warrant serious analysis: what factors contribute to the pattern of morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 seen in African countries? Why is it different from early predictions? The answer will be nuanced, and there is emerging evidence from early scientific analyses. Demography – Africa’s youthful population – may be an important factor, but it gets only a passing mention. Effective countermeasures implemented by governments may also be a strong explanatory element but is completely ignored.
Nottingham connected Many countries implemented strict lockdowns early on. Innovations in detection, management and supply chain have improved country responses. Rwanda is utilising robots to support diagnosis. Other countries are using robust community healthcare systems to continue providing essential services. An unprecedented collaboration across the continent led by the African Union also contributed to strengthening testing, disease management, supplies, and, currently, vaccine preparedness. These and many other positive stories hardly make headlines in mainstream Western media reporting. As Nanjala Nyabola points out in the Boston Review: “perhaps the long shadow that Western imperialism still casts on the continent encourages the lazy tendency to view Africa through the lens of the United States’ and Europe’s devastating experience, encouraging the assumption that Africa’s trajectory must either mimic the West in extension or opposition, rather than having its own trajectory produced by regional and national contexts.”
Countries in Africa continue to suffer due to the direct and indirect consequences of the pandemic. Some leaders have done a poor job in managing the epidemic and every country has faced serious socioeconomic constraints. However, by and large, if one were looking to generalise, then a round of applause for a job well done would be due. As long as reporting of Africa and other parts of the Global South continues to be addressed to an audience craving a glimpse into the strangeness of how the other half lives (or dies), such articles will continue to be churned out. What is lost with this imperialist view is incalculable. The dignity of the people of an entire continent. Serious analysis and comparison of approaches to solving global problems. The ability to learn from one another. The chance to see ourselves as part of a whole, more similar in our humanity than different. And the opportunity for true internationalism. Article is taken from African Arguments.
Helmet Hijabs and Hair - By Hana Ziolek International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It has happened every year since 1911 Every year across the globe people come together to celebrate women’s achievements, or rally for women’s equality. International Women’s Day should act as a reminder for all of us to commit to elevating and empowering all women, every day. The campaign theme for International Women’s Day 2021 is #ChooseToChallenge and more information can be found here: https://www.internationalwomensday. com/About Sustrans Midlands & East is proud to be playing its part in championing these objectives as an employer and as a walking and cycling champion. So we will be running a series of activities from 5-8 March to encourage and empower women of ALL backgrounds to think about cycling as an option for them. We will acknowledge women of African, Caribbean, Middle Eastern and South Asian heritage who are currently the least represented in the cycling world.
What is #HelmetsHijabsandHair then? •
#HelmetHijabsandHair is a competition that aims to address some of the barriers to cycling. Its purpose is to encourage women of ALL backgrounds to think about cycling as an option for them. The aim is to increase the confidence and esteem, especially of young women, to cycle with a helmet if they want to, including cycling to school. The idea for the project sprang from a conversation with a participant in a Young Women’s group run by After 18, which supports young refugees. This young woman enjoys cycling; loves styling her
hair in many different styles; understands and agrees with her foster Mum’s view that she should always wear a helmet when cycling. Yet, she could not envisage travelling to sixth-form College on her bike because she likes to look stylish when attending college and is shy to wear the hairstyle at college that she usually wears with her cycle helmet. •
The Project fits in perfectly with this year’s IWD theme and will be listed on the International Women’s Day website. International Women’s Day weekend will provide the launch setting for the campaign. Some of the young people and other partners involved in the project have been involved in the design of specific promotional materials and communications.
OUR COVID-19 WORK •
What do we hope to achieve? •
We want to help to increase the confidence and esteem, especially of young women, to cycle with a helmet if they want to, including cycling to school. In the context of the recent surge in interest in voices for change within the Black Lives Matter movement and beyond, there is an opportunity to foster increased pride and confidence in young Black women pushing beyond stereotypes.
We want to increase the confidence of schoolaged young people, especially young women of African, Caribbean, South Asian and Middle Eastern heritage, to choose to cycle more and more often, including journeys to school and college.
The purpose of our activities is to encourage women of ALL backgrounds to think about cycling as an option for them.
What will we be doing? We will run a social media campaign, host a webinar and take part in a ‘newsroom’ event. More Information Twitter: @SustransEMids @SustransWMids Facebook: /sustransEmids/sustransWestMidlands/ Instagram: @sustrans
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Tackling Emerging Threats to Children (TETC) & School Health Hub Newsletter: February 2021 Edition - By Sarah Lee Many moons ago when I was a teenager in the days when we listened to vinyl, one of my favourite albums was by the artist George Benson. Little did I know it then, but one of those tracks also became the anthem which my 16 year old daughter now blasts out whenever she is in the shower and has claimed as her favourite too, (albeit she prefers the Whitney version). In spite of listening to the lyrics for well over 30 years, I confess that I’m still working on internalising the key message of the song “Learning to love yourself, it is the greatest love of all”, but the various lockdowns have certainly encouraged me to practice kindness and selfcare in a way that I haven’t done before.
investment of time and attention; that it doesn’t make her selfish; that it makes her better placed to give of herself to others because she’s OK with who she is and she is nourished with self-love. As children grow into adolescents, under pressure to “fit in”, sometimes they forget to be their own best friends and stay true to who they are in their hearts. Wouldn’t it be powerful if before they left primary school, we could strengthen their love of self so that the doubts and insecurities which plague many as they go through secondary school, were quietened? Wouldn’t it be great if each of us at every stage of life, were encouraged to embrace our quirkiness, our unique personalities and individuality, rather than succumb to the pressure to conform and the need to please or impress others? The RSHE curriculum puts relationships front and centre. Let’s put the relationship with self at the heart of what we teach as part of this. Knowing, accepting and liking who we are makes us stronger, and in turn, makes us kinder to others. What will you do for yourself today to show a little self-love? Read Full article here - shorturl.at/hqEFQ
I am glad that my daughter loves the song and somehow, I think she has recognised the importance of the lyric at a much earlier point of her development than I. I watch with pride as I see her show kindness to others in her every day deeds and actions, but what impresses me more is that she knows that she has to spend time taking care of herself; that she is worthy of the
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OUR COVID-19 WORK
Our Covid 19 Work
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Hooks 4 Change: Find your pathway By Jaya Gordon-Moore
‘Hooks 4 Change’ is a project set up by Fearless Youth Association this year, aimed to increase social mobility and social capital for young people (age 14-18) from poor socio-economic backgrounds across Nottingham. We believe that many young people want to get involved in more opportunities in this city, but do not know where to go and who is offering what – we plan to help guide them. ‘Hooks for change’ is a criminological concept arguing that people stay away from crime when they are exposed to ‘turning points’ in life. As we all know, young people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities suffer the most from educational inequality and lack of social mobility, ever-widening the gap of achievement and representation across institutions and powerful positions. Not only are people from these communities stigmatised by racial bias, but they are more likely to be from impoverished areas which also has a direct correlation to educational attainment and social mobility. Furthermore, young people from these communities are more likely to be victims of crime, and less likely to have access to opportunities inside and outside of school to change their position. It is important to address this injustice because it has the potential to not only show institutions the importance of elevating these young people, but also offers them a chance to grow, move away from potentially dangerous situations, and help them explore opportunities available for them. This was not only an opportunity for young people in Nottingham to access the support they need, but also a chance for organisations to promote the amazing work they are doing. As we all know, it can sometimes be difficult to reach the people we need to help the most,
one of the aims of these packs is to bridge this evergrowing gap. This is not only an opportunity for young people to get involved in more in their city, but also an opportunity for you to reach more of the people you are aiming to help. It is so important that community organisations collaborate and do not compete, sharing resources and allocating needs is the way forward. We all specialise in particular areas and so it is important to highlight this. What we did With the help from a range of organisations in the city, we managed to design and distribute ‘Hooks 4 Change’ packages across Nottingham to those from these disadvantaged backgrounds. Offering them: • • •
A comprehensive brochure highlighting a range of opportunities from a number of organisations across Nottingham. Mind map / Goal setting prompts and activities to help guide young people on their development journey Stationery and Notepad
To increase access, the opportunities brochure is also available on www.issu.com. Simply scan the QR Code on this page, or go to: https://issuu.com/mojatu/docs/ fearless_youth_association_hooks_4_change_project How to receive a Hooks 4 Change package If you or your organisation is interested in ordering some packs, please do email us : email@example.com A big thank you to all the organisations involved, and Peace First for helping fund this project.
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2021 IS CENSUS YEAR! AND WE ARE COUNTING DIFFERENTL By Marius Misin
What is the Census? Simply put, the Census is a population count. The information collected gives us an updated picture of our society and will help inform decisions delivered within your community, such as introducing a bike lane, an additional bus stop or increasing specialist teachers to help broaden educational needs for pupils. The Census itself is a national survey that happens every 10 years and everyone in England and Wales is expected to take part. By taking part you’ll be helping make sure you and your community get the services needed now and in the future. The Census has been around since 1801, with the most recent in 2011. Census has been a legal obligation since 1920 and non-completion or falsifying information can incur a fine of £1,000. Moving the census online This year Census will be a ‘digital-first’. This means we will be encouraging everyone to complete their Census questionnaire online. The survey can be completed on any smart device and should only be completed by a trusted person on your behalf. What to do next? All households will receive a letter through the post and on that is a unique access code to complete the online Census. Paper questionnaires is available on request for those who prefer. How to complete your Census?
Census day is Sunday 21 March 2021 but you can complete your online form the moment you receive your access code. The Census survey asks questions about your household, their age group, occupation and general questions around health. Making Census accessible for all There will be support available for those who need it. One-to-one support is available at our Census Support Centres. Available in select areas, Census Support Centres will help individuals who are not confident filling out the form online, don’t have access to online facilities or need help completing it by paper. Our freephone Census contact lines will be opened to accept calls for paper questionnaire requests, provide language support for those who need it and be on hand to complete telephone capture. We have guides in large print and braille format, and our accessible videos have audio and subtitles. Useful links: Census Accessibility: https://census.gov. uk/accessibility/ and www.census.gov.uk
Marius Misin Community Advisor for Roma South Nottinghamshire and South Derbyshire Office for National Statistics
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Get Covid-19 Vaccination If you are: • 18+ years • Living or working with vulnerable people Venue: The Forest Recreation Ground, Gregory Boulevard, Nottingham NG7 6HB Date: 09/04/2021 Time: 2pm-4pm Details to send: Name | Date of birth | Post code | NHS number (optional) If you do not have NHS number, please tell us and we will help you register with the GP.
Contact: Frank: 0751 6962 992 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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WHY HAVE AFRICAN COMMUNITIES BEEN IMPACTED MORE BY COVID-19 THAN OTHER COMMUNITIES? By Meghna Battacharya and Yusof Hassan
To say race is merely a colour is to neglect current issues. Multiple correlations in data show that with different races come different consequences to shocks in the economy. COVID-19 has exposed the ugly truth of these correlations, and this article briefly asks the question of what these truths are. Sources like the ONS show that Black African ethnicities have had mortality rates that were 2-2.5x higher than for people of White Ethnicity. The cause of this can be simplified to the exposure to COVID-19 that African community members have experienced, and this can be connected to employment opportunities available to African communities. Firstly, according to a GAIN 2018 research paper, negative experiences of African community members in Nottingham express instances mainly of racism, followed by the problem of language barriers—both reasons that could hinder African community members’ chances at employment, especially in the sectors and specific job roles that allow their workers to work from home/minimise their exposure to COVID-19. The second, more theoretical reason, is something I will call the The Immigrant Paradox/Mentality, which pushes minority community members more into in-person jobs. This mentality is adopted mostly by immigrant workers, where workers are more aware/cautious of the risk of losing their job, and so they work hard to earn it (broadly speaking, as this will not apply to everyone). Read More here - shorturl.at/hqEFQ
STIGMA SURROUNDING MENTAL ILLNESSES IN BAME COMMUNITIES By Meghna Battacharya and Yusof Hassan
In many communities, mental illnesses are rarely spoken about, and so can go under the radar until causing real issues. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, mental health issues have been on the rise. The Mental Health Foundation has identified factors that affect BAME communities’ mental health that don’t affect their white counterparts, including racism/dicrimination, social and economic inequalities, and the criminal justice system, among other factors (“Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Communities” 2015). From previous articles, we have examined how and why BAME communities may experience more significant mental health problems than most in the UK. Therefore, this issue is incredibly important to make aware in African communities. However, studies show that, specifically in African communities, these mental health issues are quick to be overlooked. A qualitative study by BMJ journal (Memon et al. 2016) concludes that there is a lack of sufficient information and awareness about mental health issues in BME backgrounds. This introduces the dangerous stigma surrounding mental illnesses in African communities that can cause further damage. Why is mental health stigma a serious issue? Stigma can cause delays, or even dismissals, of people suffering from these illnesses from attending therapy. In communities where mental health is not taken seriously or even seen negatively, those suffering from it will not take up professional help. Therefore, they can end up spiralling down, both emotionally and physically, which can further affect financial positions through a lack of optimal working, among other things. Read More here - mojatu.com
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IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNITY By Meghna Battacharya and Yusof Hassan
When addressing ethnic minorities, we always hear about community, African communities, Asian communities, etc. But why? Why do they matter, and to whom? Do we even need them anymore? According to a 2018 GAIN research paper, 67.3% of African members interviewed said they did not belong to a specific community. Although this number will have likely changed since 2018, this worrying statistic continues to affect the lives of the African community Some don’t see the benefits of community, and there is reasoning behind this. Maybe grouping people into communities based on where they originate from doesn’t work? Just because they are of the same ethnicity, that doesn’t mean they’ll get along. In addition, there are major cultural differences between first generation immigrants and people that were born and raised in England. This can cause rifts in a community due to opposing views. And so, to some they may seem irrelevant, or even disruptive.
BENEFITS TO COMMUNITIES BASED ON ETHNICITIES By Meghna Battacharya and Yusof Hassan
Many benefits can be identified from the presence of minority communities being formed. Firstly, communities can assist one another in combating some of the harshly negative experiences that minorities experience in England. The GAIN research paper shows that, other than racism, one of the main sources of negative experiences is language barriers. Other than language barriers being inconvenient in daily life, this could also affect one’s chances in employment in the UK. As part of a community of people who have similar cultural and lingual experiences to oneself, it is likely easier to fit in and ease into the transition of learning how to operate in a country different to what someone is used to. One could hire a translator, but for one thing, that can be expensive. For another, the inclusion in a community means one can feel a sense of belonging, especially if one is homesick. The first point is mainly focused on ethnic minority members who are emigrating to the UK, but what about those that are born here? Unfortunately, those people can still have negative experiences based on their ethnicities, regardless of how in-touch they are with their ethnic roots. So, a community of people who share similar experiences—be it because of race, religion, or other factors—can be beneficial as a source of support against discrimination and the mental health issues that come with it. Read More here - mojatu.com
WHAT IS THE BEST WAYS TO SUPPORT PEOPLE FROM THE AFRICAN COMMUNITIES DURING THE PANDEMIC? By Meghna Battacharya and Yusof Hassan
COVID-19 has disproportionately affected ethnic minority groups in developed countries in the UK, with black communities having the highest diagnosis rates (Netuverli et al,. 2020). Reasons for this can include factors such as ethnic minority groups being more likely to live in urban, overcrowded communities which has increased their exposure to COVID-19. Pre-pandemic, a number of cultural and socio-economic problems had affected the mental health of members in African communities, including reasons such as lower-income households and higher likelihood to reside in overcrowded conditions (Beasor 2011). On top of this, more institutionalised racism has been embedded in the urban housing plans for African communities which has not only increased the probability of them suffering with the physical effects of COVID-19 more intensively, but also suffering adverse mental impacts. During this challenging period of time we have all endured, it is extremely important to put mental health first, as COVID has caused a mental health emergency. COVID-19 has undoubtedly aided financial and social uncertainty, loneliness and sadly the loss of loved ones has also been a disastrous consequence for so many. This article will try to articulate how best we can help members from the African communities and propose some suggestions on how to prioritise mental health for this community (Black mental health and self-care in a time of crisis Centre for Mental Health, 2021). Read More here - mojatu.com
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NOTTINGHAM EQUAL CONVERSATIONS
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BLUE MOUNTAIN WOMEN
Community Conversation on the Impact of Covid19 • • •
What is the aim of the these conversations
To open up a dialogue for black Caribbean and African groups to learn more and understand the impact of the Covid 19 To address loneliness and stress amongst these communities and groups The project will focus on black Caribbean and African communities living in particular neighbourhood areas of Nottingham
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SOUNDS OF LOCKDOWN By Jaya Gordon-Moore
Covid-19 pandemic, including mental health impacts, and shared personal stories and reflections. The project also provided a creative outlet and led to new collaborations and the podcast amplifies young talent. The project has been developed as a collaboration between Primary, Fearless Youth Association and FMB Radio Finding our sounds and reflecting on lockdown The aim of the project was to give young people interested in creativity and sound an opportunity to get involved in creative avenues, develop their skills and elevate their voices. To do this, we offered several workshops over around 12 weeks, both faceto-face and via zoom. Each workshop was focused on a different element of sound, from looking at sound technology and learning how to record sound, to writing and sound scaping. The end goal of this project was to produce a podcast exhibiting all of the sounds we create compiled. We are excited to announce the release of the Sounds of the Lockdown podcast, a journey through sound and music created by Parmjit Sagoo, Jaya Gordon-Moore, Craig Hill (Rap name: C.A.S.E), Daud Xiddig and Dom Hubner. In 2020, musician Jaya Gordon-Moore and creative practitioner Parmjit Sagoo worked with three young musicians – Craig, Daud and Dom – to create a podcast that reflects on their experiences of the past year. They used creative activities, writing, spoken word, music, rap and sampling to create individual and collective audio pieces. Sounds of the Lockdown opened up a space to talk about the challenges of life during the
As we all got to know each other more and developed are ideas further, it was clear that reflecting on lockdown was actually more like reflecting on life over the past year. The group all agreed that lockdown had impacted each and every aspect of our lives. It was interesting to see how the podcast became very introspective, and more of a reflection of identity, masculinity and mental health. Throughout the podcast, you can hear sounds of news stories, voices of confusion and hopelessness, juxtaposed against sounds of nature, togetherness and hopefulness. It was clear that Craig, Daud and Dom all felt that lockdown was a chance for us to think about
Nottingham connected ourselves, what is important to us, and the kind of society we want to be in. We all know that lockdown has been a really tense and difficult time for people across society but young people in particular, with the future seeming more unpredictable than ever. We also know how much creative avenues can be helpful in not only reflecting on this, but to connect and empower people. Additionally, this project was youth-focused, and so could really help bridge the ever-growing gap between not only everyone as individuals throughout lockdown, but the younger generation and the older generation. It could help to show how beneficial creative projects are for wellbeing, social cohesion, and overall understanding. It was great seeing how much the boys’ skills and confidence developed over the weeks, such as with Craig, now working on a young people’s album project in Nottingham with Community Recording Studios (CRS Notts). Parmjit Sagoo has worked as a creative practitioner and community arts specialist for over 18 years, with extensive experience of working within a wide range of community, arts, and education settings. Her unique approach weaves together drama, story-making, story-telling, creative movement, conversation, and yoga. Through integrating these practices, Parmjit facilitates safe yet dynamic spaces, enabling exploration, imagination, collaboration, and connection. Parmjit investigates how these creative processes can become pathways to personal and collective transformation and wellbeing, constantly exploring the potential of the arts and yogic practices to heal, empower and build resilience. Website
Covid-19 Support Work
Jaya Gordon-Moore (Stage name: JayaHadADream) is a female independent rapper, singer, and producer from Cambridge now based in Nottingham. After studying her degree in Sociology at the University Of Nottingham, she now works full time as a creative at Fearless Youth Association and on a number of freelancing projects across the community. Jaya strives to incorporate elements of social justice commentary into her music, particularly around Race, Gender, Identity Politics and Wellbeing, maintaining a current yet unique sound. Website To find out more about the projects and opportunities we run at Fearless Youth Association, go to: www. fyaonline.com Listen to Sounds Of Lockdown The Sounds Of Lockdown podcast will be available from 26th March 4pm on several platforms:
The podcast will also be airing live on FMB Radio every Friday from 26th March, 6-7pm
Credits: Sound production by Alex Rooz Image by Honey Moore
42 Covid-19 Support Work
KIERAN’S AND FELIX’S SPORTS SHOW By Kierran Murray and Felix Rowland
Radio Hosts: Kieran Murray and Felix Rowland
Air Time: 6PM on Saturdays (around 20-30 minutes long) The Sports show gives insight into some of the more complex and under-represented sides of sport and their issues and discusses how various social issues are integrated into sport as a whole. Examples of this are our discussions on mental health and its stigma in sport and the failings in various sports to achieve racial diversity, both at high levels and in the administrative bodies in sport, and in an early episode addressing diversity in sport we focused on the differing treatment of black and white footballers in the media and the lack of diversity in the Football Association for instance. While sport is a great entertainer for those who follow professional sport, we can easily become disconnected with the abstract world of high level sport that we see from the outside and not notice the human issues athletes suffer through, as well as the failings in many sports to protect athletes from social issues such as racism and homophobia. With this in mind we’ve discussed both the effects of sport (and lockdown) on mental health and the lack of mental health support in sport. Although
more noticeable in high level sports and how they’re marketed, at all levels sports maintain a macho ‘dressing room culture’ making it difficult to speak out about mental health in a sporting environment and causing many athletes to feel trapped in their jobs with no help around them. Fortunately, there are a handful of people we’ve covered paving the way to improve the environment in sport both in terms of reducing racial discrimination and in supporting athlete’s mental health, such as Raheem Sterling, who has stood up against the clear bias against black athletes many tabloids maintain and tried to inspire younger athletes to stand against this system that all too often holds them back. Similarly, Tyson Fury has opened up to the world about his mental health struggles following the peak of his career and despite working in the sometimes toxic environment of boxing, he has shown his vulnerable side while fighting at the highest level, trying to redefine what it is to be ‘masculine’ into something more positive. We cover these crucial topics and look at sport from a different perspective in our show, putting the industry as a whole under the microscope rather than debating about players or other more standard sporting themes. Read More: shorturl.at/vwDJ2
Covid-19 Support Work
INTERVIEW WITH NERGIZ KURDISH WOMEN’S GROUP By Joseph Hughes
The Nergiz Kurdish Women’s Group are an advocacy organisation, based in Nottingham, who support Kurdish women in the community. Our Managing Editor, Pa Modou Faal, caught up with a few members of the group to see how they’ve been coping during the coronavirus pandemic. What role does your organisation play in community support? The Nergiz Kurdish Women’s Group (NKWG) help Kurdish women in employment, educational courses and training; we do anything that will help make Kurdish women more independent and help them stand on their own feet. We also help asylum seekers get access to translation services, and support them through the accommodation process, as well as work with local foodbanks to improve the welfare of the most vulnerable in Nottingham. During the last year, we’ve hosted activities online for mothers and children to combat loneliness and to bring the community closer together. We’ve also had the opportunity to run computer literacy training through the Nottingham Community Centre which our team and other members of the group completed. On International Women’s day we arranged several discussion groups explaining Kurdish women’s history, with the hope of empowering women in our community. Because of the pandemic, many of our sessions have had to move online- but we’ve still managed to do our vital work by delivering virtual meetings on wellbeing, mental health and gynaecology. We’ve even hosted virtual yoga sessions! What other groups do you work with in the community? We work closely with the City Council, especially with the Community Cohesion Officer Shazia Khan- she’s been a great ambassador for our organisation. One benefit of the pandemic is that we’ve been able to interact with more groups across Nottingham and other cities nationwide, and created more solidarity between women’s advocacy groups. It’s true though that there’s only so much you can do in online sessions in terms of the positive impact we want to make to Kurdish Women’s lives. For example, with issues around mental health, we need to engage in person to really make a difference, because online spaces can be overwhelming. It’s easier to understand how best to serve the community’s needs when we
meet in person, but we’re making the best of meeting virtually. How is the NKWG funded? Government grants have been really useful this year and have meant we’ve been able to continue to fund our community support work. In fact, lots of organisations representing diverse communities have benefitted from grants and have been able to help each other out in terms of which ones to apply for. What activities have you hosted for children? Over Zoom, we’ve been able to put on lots of fun activities for the kids- they’ve enjoyed drawing, arts and crafts and expressing themselves creatively. We also opened a school for the children to learn the basics of Kurdish language. We’ve given out care packages to the children, full of toys and games as an outlet for their energy during a time when they’re probably quite bored and can’t see their friends. Their mothers are very appreciativeit’s given everyone a real boost to interact with one another. The best part of our work is the fact that it feels meaningful, you get a real sense that it’s making an immediate impact. Read More - shorturl.at/ioNU0
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RESPECT MY VOICE By Honey Harrop advice to those struggling with their sexuality or gender identity over lockdown. It also includes some Air time: 6PM on Wednesdays LGBT history from around the East Midlands, going back as far as the 14th century! ‘Respect my Voice’ is a podcast aimed at amplifying voices often overlooked in society. The main aim is Show #3 is all about Travellers’ rights. Honey talks about to concentrate on people and communities who are the history of the GRT (Gypsy, Roma and Traveller) often sidelined, and shed a bit more light on the issues community in the UK, as well as their contributions they face through interviews and discussions. to British life and some organisations fighting for GRT rights. Of course, there is also discussion of the Show #1 is the introductory show and focuses on the difficulties Travellers face, including poor media broader topic of amplifying voices. It includes insight portrayal, health challenges, historical and modern from Honey (the host) into her experience of being a persecution, lack of pitching sites and cultural queer woman, followed by an interview with Maz, a stereotyping. member of Canvas4 Equality. The conversation touches on decolonisation (particularly around education), Show #4 discusses Public Sexual Harassment (PSH). White privilege and the Black Lives Matter movement. This episode touches on what PSH is, who it affects and some attitudes towards it. It also includes an Show #2 dives into LGBTQ+ spaces during the interview with Emily Garton, student ambassador pandemic. This is a special LGBT history month for Our Streets Now at the University of Nottingham, episode, featuring an interview with the notorious which particularly touches on PSH on campuses, mythNottinghamshire drag queen Marilyn Sane (Lewis busting, and the campaign for legislative change. Barlow). The discussion includes community sentiment throughout the last year, the closure of some of Listen to her shows on Anchor. Nottingham’s most prominent queer spaces, and Radio Presenter: Honey Harrop
Covid-19 Support Work
DÉJA’S AND LILY’S COMMUNITY CONVERSATION SHOW By Déja Jones and Lily Obadiah
Radio presenters: Deja Jones and Lily Obadiah Air Time: 6 on Sundays PM
Two University of Nottingham students that are complete strangers from diverse backgrounds chatting fortnightly about topics ranging from international issues to those within the Nottingham Community as well as personal to ourselves, with a particular focus on challenges posed to vulnerable groups in the community amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The series comprises of five 30-minute episodes titled ‘Community Conversations’ and are available on Spotify under FMB Radio. Together we dive in to sensitive underacknowledged topics from mental health struggles, our experiences as mixed race women in the UK and the concerning rise in domestic violence and discriminatory hate crime in the face of COVID-19. Listen to us explore each other’s views and experiences as we touch on an array of issues from the widespread impacts of COVID-19 and Lockdown, rising social tensions amidst a contentious socio-political climate, the role of social media in fuelling these conflicts and showcasing Nottingham-based organisations
and resources offering support in dealing with these challenges. FMB Radio have given us a rare platform to voice our experiences, opinions and ideas on topics that are important to us and the Nottingham community. Whilst creating this show we wanted to raise awareness regarding the issues vulnerable groups face and also offering support to such groups should they need it. We also want to encourage critical conversations between friends and family in terms of race, gender and identity in the modern age beyond the mainstream ways of thinking. We believe having these conversations are essential to invoking social change towards equality for all groups. If whilst listening to our shows you find any of the topics relate to your personal experiences or you have any questions we would love to hear from you! Reach out to us via email through email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. We hope you enjoy listening to our discussions as much as we enjoyed having them! Listen to them on Anchor : https://anchor.fm/dejajones8
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INTERVIEW WITH EMMANUEL HOUSE By Iain Messore Emmanuel House is a name not many of you may be aware of, but their work aims to help one of the most forgotten group in society: the homeless. A forty-fiveyear-old support centre founded by a Catholic Priest; Emmanuel House is a charity which has two primary goals. The prevention of homelessness and helping individuals who are homeless to overcome it. In FMB’s latest podcast on Anchor, we were introduced in more detail to the work that Emmanuel House does. In just half an hour, we are introduced to the work one of Nottingham’s most caring support centres. Emmanuel House incorporates three broad categories of work in its capacity as a support group. Firstly, there is the use of dropin provisions to help those in immediate need. These provisions are designed to help people who need but cannot access support elsewhere. Secondly, Emmanuel House offers various outreach sources to help individuals. One of the most common impacts of homelessness is the detrimental
effects on mental health. The charity therefore works to provide specialist mental health support, and help these individuals overcome the hidden impact of homelessness. The final area of support we see is helping victims of homelessness find shelter, be it hotels, or Emmanuel House’s own night shelters. These three key areas of work, combined with various other support groups and activities discussed in the interview, we can see some of the good this support group does for the people of the Nottingham. The past year has been a serious challenge for the work of Emmanuel House. Although the government’s scheme to provide temporary accommodation to all homeless people has been of great help, there are still rising challenges. Demands for homelessness support have sadly increased throughout the covid-19 pandemic and will likely continue to rise for some time. In the interview, we hear of the challenges that Emmanuel House is facing at the moment, and how it plans to move forward over the
next few years. The issue as always, stems from resources. Emmanuel House is a charity, and the work it does must depend on the generosity of others. Fortunately, Emmanuel House is well connected in Nottingham, with over one thousand supporters and links to one hundred and thirty other organisations and charities. Their Christmas funding campaign was so successful it raised over £100,000. This is still not enough, however, and the charity will need further help to continue its good fight to combat homelessness. This interview highlights the work of an essential charity. Homelessness is often invisible, and as such FMB’s work to highlight and help is essential in fighting homelessness. For the full details, please see the full interview on Anchor. And for more details on Emmanuel House, visit their website. There you will find an eye opening and impactful story of one of their workers. This film is only ten minutes long and is worth the watch.
LISTEN TO FMB RADIO https://tunein.com/radio/FMB-Radio-s17066/
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BLACK MEN HAVE NO PROTECTION By Dylan Tejada Within the last week, it was brought to the media’s attention that a young black man named Richard Okorogheye had gone missing. His mother appealed to the police for the missing student to be found. Articles were shared on Facebook for people to know he was missing and needed to return home. A video was circulating around social media of his heartbroken mother, pleading in an interview with Sky News nearly three weeks ago for her only child to come home and hopefully be found. He left his home in West London on the 22nd of March to see a friend, according to his Mother.
The tragic passing of Richard has reminded us of why people from ethnic minorities are more likely to go missing. Speaking to Inews, Dr Karen Greene, a director for the ‘Study of Missing Persons at the University of Portsmouth’ discusses how ‘If you have parts of the population that aren’t allowed to reach their full potential, they are more likely to suffer’. She also added ‘some groups may be given less support or have less trust in offers of support’, which is the exact circumstances of a lot of cases where other ethnic minorities go missing. Due to different types of racism people experience, it makes them less trusting of people and cynical of the people trying to give support. Also, when we hear about missing persons, there is a lot of underlying racial bias which we see in the way pressing cases like Richard’s are covered.
However, when he never answered or returned calls, she contacted the police. However, in another interview with Sky News just almost two weeks later his Mother says her ‘heart has been ripped apart’ as it was tragically announced his body had been found in a pond in Epping Forest and was pronounced dead. Currently, it is still unconfirmed as to how he died, and what exactly happened that night and the course of time he was missing for. Richard was a student at Oxford Brookes University, studying Business and IT. He had been shielding since the start of the pandemic as he was living with sickle cell disease. So naturally, his mother was concerned when he didn’t answer his phone. In a Sky News interview after his death, she described the circumstances as ‘tedious’. She also explained how she, ‘felt something had happened there’. Now his mother awaits her answers to her son’s unfortunate death. Days later, she revealed she was ‘disappointed’ with how the Metropolitan Police initially handled the case surrounding her son and that she desired for closure, however she commented on the how she thought they were working hard as the week progressed.
When it comes to missing people, it will be missing white people who will receive a lot of coverage, in particular white. In relation to this point, also speaking to Inews, Dr O’Brien mentions in terms of racial bias, that some authors have called this idea ‘white woman syndrome’ and people may pay more attention to and want to read more about ‘a damsel in distress’. It is overall important for the media to highlight ethnic minorities more when it comes to dealing with these kinds of situations. It seems we are overlooked, and this needs to change and so much more can easily be done. We need to be made prominent as well, just as much as every other missing person. If more is done from now, more awareness can be raised, and more people are aware.
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Living Testimony of David A. Campbell…The Miracles of Prayer By Pa Modou Faal
David Campbell was an active man during his youth days and was renowned for his love for and talent in Reggae and gospel music. He had also been very productive working in the security sector and had worked in pubs and night clubs around the City of Nottingham for years before calamity struck his wellbeing. In 2004, Mr Campbell was diagnosed with diabetes which he had been coping with for over ten years His love for gospel music developed further and in 2007 he travelled to Nigeria where he became an evangelist and was ordained as a minister. Upon his return, his love Christ multiplied, and he later became known for his preaching music in many churches around the UK and Nottingham in particular where he lives. Unfortunately, Mr Campbell’s health started to deteriorate horrifically around 2012 while he was diagnosed for many ailments and had been moving from one hospital to another. In 2017, his life took a severe turn when doctors at the Queen’s Medical Centre (QMC) in Nottingham discovered that his liver and kidneys were functioning only at about 2% later leading to acute heart failures. He was literally waiting for his time as doctors lost hope in him. All his medications were stopped, and he was told that he had a short time to live and was later sent home. His predicament became very precarious to the extent that he was assigned with carers who would be by his side day and night.
would offer him prayers for healing. According to Mr Campbell, God was hearing the prayers and that He was healing him steadily and speedily, and he eventually recovered from most threats that his health was confronted with. Upon his return to the QMC hospital, series of tests were carried out on him an upon the doctor’s surprise, Mr Campbell was informed that his nearly failed organs were functional and have been recovering immensely. He narrated his story to the doctors some of whom according to him, were in disbelief. His medications were reassigned to him and he has since then been receiving his regular medical check-ups which he describes as progressive. In 2019, Mr Campbell narrated his story to one of his carers who told him that his life is a testimony which requires documenting, so that it would serve as inspiration to others who are going through difficult times in life either with health complications, family or other issues which through prayers, could be remedied. He also stated that among the most motivational drives that convinced him to write his testimony in a book was when he met someone at a church in Birmingham who confessed to having plans of committing suicide but Mr Campbell’s story motivated him and helped changed his mind. He confidently said, “I am giving my testimony for those in need and the desperate ones to go back to God because my life has not been ended by God despite the doctors’ declaration, and His mercy is what keeps me going”. Mr Campbell has written his book titled “Healing Testimony of David A. Campbell” where he captures his story in chapters making it easy for people to follow his narration. He has also developed a website devoted to preaching: www.davidkindle.co.uk which details the works of his ministry. A detail interview with David by Mojatu magazine could be found at www.issu.com/ mojatu
As a man of faith and strong believer in God, he did not loose hope and clung on to prayers while laying helpless but not hopeless. Miraculously, he was introduced to a pastor who asked for him to be brought to his church where he and his congregation
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50 Health & Food
Remote monitoring - Saving Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Lives during Covid-19 and beyond COVID-19 has adversely affected people’s health across the globe, and many have lost their lives due to complications from having other medical conditions like high blood pressure (HBP) and Type2 diabetes (T2D). The CheckUp Health app is the only solution of its kind that focuses on the healthcare sector in the HBP/ T2D BAME community especially while they are being adversely affected by Covid-19. With the mHealth app and website, patients are empowered to manage their own health by monitoring their blood pressure/type 2 diabetes safely from their own homes using remote monitoring devices. Thanks to The CheckUp Health app and remote monitoring devices, patients can perform many of the tests required for type 2 diabetes /high blood pressure in their homes, without having to travel and be unnecessarily exposed to Covid-19. This will improve the overall health of the BAME community and offer them real-time assistance when they need it, at whatever stage of their health problem they are in. CheckUp Health has a variety of healthcare professionals who understand the needs of the BAME community. BAME people are more likely to contract Covid-19 due to a variety of factors like genetics, poverty, use of public transport and as previously mentioned, HBP and T2D. Age and BAME are two of the major contributing factors, and when combined with intergenerational households, the exposure to high risk people by asymptomatic super spreaders is much higher. The CheckUp Health project is vital in improving the health of BAME communities which have been overlooked in the past due to various factors. With over 50 years of experience, CheckUp Health addresses the healthcare inequalities exposed by Covid-19 in the BAME population by focusing on this
community and offering them a way to monitor and improve their health remotely. CheckUp Health strives to meet the needs of the HBP/T2D BAME community. No matter what stage the patient is at with their diagnosis, CheckUp Health is here to meet the needs of the HBP/T2D BAME community every step of the way. During the pandemic, BAME patients had 20% less access to treatment than before Covid-19, which severely affected their ability to get the Covid-19 treatment they needed. As a result, and because T2D and HBP increases the risk of severe Covid-19 infection, BAME patients have a 10%-50% increased risk of death. The pandemic ultimately exposed the exacerbated longstanding inequalities affecting BAME people in the UK, and their health outcomes are now worse than ever. Due to genetics, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) people are more likely to have high blood pressure (HBP) and Type 2 diabetes (T2D) compared to Caucasians, and because of these health conditions, are more susceptible to Covid-19. The UK has 4 million people with T2D. Africans/AfricaCaribbeans are three times more likely and South Asians six times more likely to develop T2D. 50% of T2D sufferers also have high blood pressure and T2D is 3-4 times more likely to occur in black people of African/ Africa-Caribbean descent than white people. mHealth is paramount in getting BAME communities the monitoring and medical treatment they need during the pandemic. But due to factors like language difficulties (most apps are in English- BAME people’s second or third language) religious beliefs and poverty, to name a few, BAME people have not been able to get the help they so desperately need.
Nottingham connected CheckUp Health has high standards, a clear vision for the future and are working towards improving the app and reaching the wider community. Fungai Ndemera, Director of CheckUp Health shares the reason she started the project: “Both my dad and father In-law passed away a week apart due to undiagnosed diabetes. They passed away at a time when we least expected them to, some years back. The memories of their sudden death and the pain left to us and our mothers drove me to research more and want to be part of the people who help solve problems caused by hypertension and diabetes. “What shocked me in my research is that 415 million people are estimated to be living with diabetes globally, approximately 1 in 11 of the world’s adult population. This figure is projected to increase to 642 million people by 2040. “According to new NHS research, almost one in three people who have died in hospital in England after testing positive for Covid-19 also had diabetes. The risk is also more pronounced for men, people of black or Asian ethnicity and those in more deprived communities. Those with pre-existing kidney disease, heart failure and previous strokes are also at high risk,
Mojatu Foundation's Women's Only Sports Every Saturday
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regardless of the type of diabetes they have.” Because of the impact the remote monitoring solution will have on minority groups in the UK, Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, has awarded funding to drive the project forward and make a real impact. Innovate UK Executive Chair Dr Ian Campbell said: “In these difficult times we have seen the best of British business innovation. The pandemic is not just a health emergency but one that impacts society and the economy. “CheckUp Health, along with every initiative Innovate UK has supported through this fund, is an important step forward in driving sustainable economic development. Each one is also helping to realise the ambitions of hard-working people.” The launch of the CheckUp Health website is a major step in allowing BAME community members to get the medical advice, help and support they need, from healthcare professionals who understand the various cultures, religions and languages. CheckUp Health wants to help as many BAME people as possible, by introducing them to the website, app and remote monitoring solutions that we offer.
52 Education & Career
A HEALTHY RAMADAN By British Nutrition Foundation The holy month of Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and a time when many Muslims across the world fast during daylight hours for 29-30 days. The Islamic calendar is lunar and so Ramadan falls at a slightly earlier time in the year each year. Ramadan 2021 is expected to start around the 12th of April. While fasting is obligatory for all healthy Muslims (not children), there are exemptions for those who are ill or whose health could be affected by fasting, for example, pregnant or breastfeeding women and people with diabetes and other health conditions. Muslims taking part in Ramadan do not eat or drink anything during daylight hours, eating one meal (the ‘suhoor’ or ‘sehri’) just before dawn and another (the ‘iftar’) after sunset. The end of Ramadan is marked by ‘Eid-ul-Fitr’, the Festival of the Breaking of the Fast. A special celebratory meal is eaten during the festival, the first daytime meal for a month. How does fasting affect the body? During fasting hours when no food or drink is consumed, the body uses its stores of carbohydrate (stored in the liver and muscles) and fat to provide energy once all the calories from the foods consumed during the night have been used up. The body cannot store water and so the kidneys conserve as much water as possible by reducing the amount lost in urine. However, the body cannot avoid losing some water when you go to the toilet, through your skin and when you breathe and when you sweat if it is warm. Depending on the weather and the length of the fast, most people who fast during Ramadan will experience mild dehydration, which may cause headaches, tiredness and difficulty concentrating. However, studies have suggested that this is not harmful to health, provided that enough fluids are consumed after breaking the fast to replace those lost during the day. For those who would normally consume caffeinated drinks such as tea and coffee during the day, the lack of caffeine during the fast may initially lead to headaches and tiredness. This may ease over the course of Ramadan as the body adjusts to going without caffeine during the day. The changes to eating habits and lack of fluids during the day may cause constipation for some people. However, if you are unable to stand up due to dizziness, or you are disoriented, you should urgently drink regular, moderate quantities of water – ideally with sugar and salt – a sugary drink or rehydration solution. Once the fast is broken, the body can rehydrate and gain energy from the foods and drinks consumed. Consuming a lot of deep fried, creamy and sweet foods may actually cause you to gain weight during Ramadan. Salt stimulates thirst and so it is a good idea
to avoid consuming a lot of salty foods. The pre-dawn meal, suhoor, provides fluids and energy for the day of fasting ahead, so making healthy choices can help you to cope better with the fast. Is fasting good for health? Results from studies on the health effects of Ramadan fasting are mixed, probably because the length of the fast and the weather conditions experienced vary depending on the time of year and the country where the fast is being observed. Some studies have found that people who are overweight or obese lose weight and body fat during Ramadan. Some small studies have looked at the effect of Ramadan fasting on factors like blood cholesterol and triglycerides (fat in the blood) and found a short-term improvement in some cases although some studies found no effect. There have also been some small studies that suggest that Ramadan fasting may have a short-term beneficial effect on the immune system. What to eat and drink at iftar and suhoor Iftar When first breaking the fast go for plenty of fluids, low fat, fluid-rich foods and foods containing some natural sugars for energy (avoid consuming a lot of foods or drinks with added sugars). Below are some examples: • Drinks – water, milk, fruit juices or smoothies – water provides hydration without any extra calories or added sugars. Drinks based on milk and fruit provide some natural sugars and nutrients – these are also good to break the fast but avoid drinking a lot of drinks with added sugars after breaking the fast as these can provide too much sugars and calories. • Dates – traditionally eaten to break the fast since the time of the Prophet Muhammad, dates are a great way to break the fast as they provide natural sugars for energy, provide minerals like potassium, copper and manganese and are a source of fibre. You could also try other dried fruits such as apricots, figs, raisins or prunes, which also provide fibre and nutrients. • Fruit – a traditional way to break the fast in South Asian cultures, fruit provides natural sugars for energy, fluid and some vitamins and minerals. • Soup – traditional in many Arab countries, is a light way to break the fast and provides fluid. Traditional soups are based on a meat broth and often contain pulses, like lentils and beans, and starchy foods like pasta or grains, providing nutrients and energy.
Nottingham connected • After breaking the fast – meals vary between different cultures and traditions but try to make sure the foods you eat provide a balance of starchy foods, including wholegrains where you can, fruit and vegetables, dairy foods and protein-rich foods like meat, fish, eggs and beans, as shown by the Eatwell Guide. • If you can, once you have had a chance to digest your food, you could try doing some light exercise such as going for a walk. If you attend Taraweeh prayers (special night-time prayers for Ramadan) in the evening, perhaps you could walk all or part of the way there. Suhoor • Drink plenty of fluids, choose fluid-rich foods to make sure you are well hydrated for the day ahead and go for starchy foods for energy, choosing high fibre or wholegrain varieties where possible as these can help keep you feeling fuller and can aid digestion, helping to prevent constipation. • Oats - these are wholegrains, and you could choose porridge, which will also provide fluids as it is made with milk or water, muesli with milk or yogurt or overnight oats. You could experiment with fresh or dried fruit, nuts or seeds as toppings.
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• High fibre breakfast cereals – these provide plenty of fibre and are often fortified with vitamins and minerals, providing extra nutrients. Because they are consumed with milk, you also get fluid and nutrients like calcium, iodine and b vitamins from the milk. • Starchy foods like rice, or couscous – you could try rice pudding with fruit or experiment with couscous or other grains with dairy or fruit. If you go for savoury dishes at suhoor then it’s a good idea, make sure these are not too salty or they may make you very thirsty during the fast. • Yogurt – this can be a good food to include at suhoor as it provides nutrients like protein, calcium, iodine and b vitamins and also contains fluid. You could combine it with cereal and fruit as in the examples above. • Breads – go for wholegrain options as these provide more fibre, for example wholemeal toast or chapattis. Avoid combining bread with salty foods like hard cheese, or preserved meats. You could try nut butters (without added salt), soft cheese, or banana. As bread is fairly dry, make sure you drink plenty of water or other fluids alongside or you could have fluid-rich foods such as a lentil soup, which is a traditional food at suhoor in some countries.
54 Education & Career
BEING A STUDENT IN COVID-19 By Charlotte Smith Getting a degree in the UK is expensive particularly for students from poorer backgrounds. These are the students who would rely on a maintenance loan to cover their living expenses which eventually leaves them graduating with well over £50,000 of debt. This shortfall means that either parents from low-income background will have to struggle pay or students will have to work part-time to meet their needs and, in some cases, both situations apply. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic many parents have lost their jobs and student part-time work (which is predominantly in the hospitality sector) is non-existent. The very clear message going out to students now is that they are not even worth a mention, as Prime Minster Boris Johnson’s 4th January State address being a good example where he did not mention anything regarding the plight of students. A decade of austerity has steadily increased university fees and changed maintenance grants into loans and has meant universities now mostly rely on student’s fees to run. Therefore, it must be the government who supports both students and universities at this unprecedented time by refunding student loans. The way society works is that you pay money for a service and if you don’t receive the quality or experience you paid for, you get your money back. For example, back in March when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the UK and flights were grounded, if your holiday flight was cancelled you got your money back. Students amass, on average, would have a £40,000 debt by the time they graduate in England. This money pays for a degree, and the degree students across the UK have received is vastly different to the one they expected upon arriving at campus for the first time. From first years who have still never set foot in a lecture hall to third years set to graduate with half their degree having been online, students are now questioning if this online degree was worth the debt. Many students feel they were lured back into campus for one reason only: money. Universities now run mostly on tuition fees and rent from students thus cannot afford students not coming back. Therefore, the government assured students that they could go back safely and would receive the same quality of education through the format of ‘blended learning’, meaning partially in person and online. However, ‘blended learning’ has not been the case. The vast majority have had one or two hours in person a fortnight, or none. Many first-year students have never met their tutors or course mates face-to-face. This, combined with an influx of COVID-19 cases, led to students across the nation being confined to their one
small room. In hindsight, it was always obvious that sending hundreds of people from across the country into small and crowded accommodations together, would inevitably lead to COVID-19 outbreaks and necessary subsequent lockdowns. However instead of acknowledging this, the blame was shunted onto the students themselves as they were vilified for the highly publicised actions of a few. There are always going to be a few rulebreakers in every generation. While lecturers have worked hard to produce valuable online learning in very difficult circumstances, it is completely impossible for an online degree to stand in for the degree students went to university to get. One cannot do a laboratory experiment or a geography fieldtrip online. Access to the library for books while isolating or stuck at home because of a lockdown was a nightmare or impossibility. Whenever they are approached to answer these concerns, the government’s £256 million Student Support Funding is the common answer to every problem the UK students have faced. This is not new for the pandemic and was cut in 2020 from £277 million the year prior. However, it will pay for technology for those who don’t have access, help those who have problems paying rent having lost parttime jobs, fund increased mental health services and do many other things besides. When one does the maths, it works out at barely anything per head in England. Multiple petitions have circulated calling for a reduction in student fees but have all been dismissed. After five petitions collectively gathered 980,000 signatures, parliament had to debate on the issue, but the outcome was that they were not considering reducing tuition fees. Since then, one further petition calling yet again for fees to be reduced has attracted almost 600,000 signatures. While many universities have refunded students from their university accommodation that is illegal to live in, this only came after rent strikes were organised. The students who live in University of Nottingham accommodation pledged to withhold an estimated £1.2 million in rent if the university didn’t give them their money back. The university did, and while this is a win for many students, most outside of first year live in private rented accommodation and therefore must keep paying rent for houses they cannot live in. Across the board, students will graduate with a lower quality degree and less practical skills, and they will graduate into a job market that is virtually non-existent. Youth Unemployment is predicted to rise and is currently sitting at an already 14.2% high. It has never been clearer, students need help.
Nottingham connected News & Sports Female Genital Mutilation
FGM – FACTS, HELP & ACTIONS
• FGM is any procedure that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. • FGM has been illegal in England and Wales since 1985. • FGM is a form of child abuse and violence against women and girls. • • FGM is Non-Islamic, against the teachings of Islam and brings Islam into disrepute. • FGM is putting the health of our daughters, sisters, mothers and wives at great risk. • • Over 200 million girls and women worldwide have undergone FGM. • 10,000 girls aged under 15 who have migrated to England and Wales are likely to have undergone FGM. Taking Th • In Nottingham, about 85 new cases were recorded through NHS in 2016/17.
Taking The City To the Fa Taking The City To the Farm
Are you concerned a girl or woman is at risk or need support? • • Join the Community FGM Steering Group: Contact us • For emotional & peer support for survivors in Nottingham, join the FGM Survivor’s club: Contact us Free • Refer survivors needing medical attention to FGM medical specialist in Nottingham: Contact us Sessions: Free Refugee • Sessions: Free FGM helpline Refugees & Asylum Seeker • Call 0808 028 350 for a 24/7 anonymous or email: email@example.com Tuesdays Welcome Sessions: • Call Nottingham City Council Children and Families Direct: 0115 876Seekers 4800 Saturdays Tuesdays • Ring the police on 999 if FGM has just happened or about to happen Saturdays Tuesdays ADOP Activities include: Saturdays ADOPT A TREE include:Fruit Harvesting Actions Activities Fruit Harvesting Tree Management Activities To help end FGM and support survivors, join oneinclude: of our campaigns or projects Tree ManagementWeeding for Pumpkin Fruit Harvesting • FGM Survivors Club • Volunteer with us Feeding the animals Weeding for Pumpkins & Maize Form Tree Management • FGM Steering Group • ‘Adopt a tree’ project https://go Feeding the animals Pumpkins & Maize • FGM Global Faith Ambassador Weeding• for Donate to support our work Form online @ • FGM Global Young Ambassador Feeding •the Fundraise our work oodland 9sz animals to support https://goo.gl/WyH
W gement nd a l ana ionEDIBL d o M o W gement E ss s‘18 e S d a WOODLA n n a l a EDIBLE d p M o e s o S n W ment pr Home Farm, Screv AEcocentre, ssio ‘18 SeWOODLAND For more information, contact Foundation p www.farmeco e ManeasgseioMojatu S s r n p Home Farm, Screveton, NG13 8JL AEcocentre, https://goo.g Mojatu Foundatio S e07759 Phone: 01158457009 Mobile: 927671 8 1 ‘ p www.farmeco.co.uk S r T: 0115 784 | M: Ro 07 p Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Website: A www.mojatufoundation.org Mojatu Foundation | 1676666 Alfreton https://goo.gl/pEK1AC
• Request for training
T: 0115 784 6666 | M: 0751 366 1176 | E: ang @mojatu.foundation Mojatu Foundation | 167 Alfreton Road, NG7 3JR T: 0115 784 6666 | M: 0751 366 1176 | E: email@example.com @mojatu.foundation @ mojatuf @ @mojatu.foundation
56 News & Sports