Vandu Languages' Collaboration in Black History Month Events at Lewes Depot

  • 04/03/2019
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Vandu Languages' Collaboration in Black History Month Events at Lewes Depot

Every October, the United Kingdom celebrates Black History Month. This year, the chosen theme was particularly powerful: "Saluting our Sisters," calling attention to the role of Black women in shaping the UK's history. We had the honour to celebrate this year’s occasion with four brilliant local speakers who brought expressiveness, encouragement and set a positive example for the residents of Lewes and other local communities of East Sussex.

At Vandu Languages, we collaborate with our sister company, Diversity Resource International (DRI), to support communities in and around Sussex. Together, we address crucial issues, such as institutional racism, workplace discrimination, and ensuring equitable access to training and development opportunities.

During the month of October, DRI organised two events at Lewes Depot, an independent cinema located in Lewes. These events featured a panel of local speakers who shared their lived experiences and inspiring stories, underscoring the importance of Black History Month. The project was made possible through the generous support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund and was organised in collaboration with Vandu Languages.

The Speakers

The first event on October 27th welcomed two inspirational speakers: Nozzi Graham, from Twerk4Fitness Africa, a body confidence community in South Africa, aimed at promoting self-love using twerk techniques; and Maria Urassa, a spoken word poet/artist and co-author of "Waiting in the Pit 2."

Both speakers emphasised the significance of every individual's talents and unique strengths in enriching a society's cultural value. They stressed that racial differences should not impact personal, academic, or professional opportunities.

“It is really great to have a safe space where we can express our experience and stories,” commented Nozzi, “we need to have more events like this in the community”.

The second event featured two women sharing their experiences of moving from Kenya to pursue academic professions in the UK: Mary Frances, who expressed her experience supporting women’s rights through advocacy and legal representation in Kenya; and Jean Obungu, who shared insights about her upbringing and her passion for empowering individuals through poetry. Additionally, poet Sophia shared her poetry and her experience of moving from London to Lewes.

Key Takeaways

These events provided an intimate space for speakers and the audience to share personal stories and discuss the challenges they've faced in their lives. Key takeaways from these events include:

1. Using your talents as strength.  No matter where you go, your passions and hobbies can be sources of personal and community development.

2. Your ethnic background should not limit your opportunities. In an equitable society, one's race and nationality should not limit personal, academic, or professional aspirations.

3. Continued progress. While British society becomes increasingly inclusive, the presence of microaggressions reminds us to continue discussing unconscious biases and working towards a more welcoming environment for migrants and ethnic minorities in our communities.

“After the event finished, everyone was chatting amongst themselves and sharing more stories and asking questions. It was great to see how they wanted to know more about each other and shared their own contacts. All the people who joined are planning to have a catch-up with coffee and want to stay in contact during the Christmas holidays” added Maria Tayao, Project Coordinator at DRI.

Vandu Languages’ Commitment

At Vandu Languages, we consistently strive to support local communities, particularly individuals from minority ethnic backgrounds. Events like these provide networking opportunities and reinforce our ongoing efforts to break cultural barriers, promoting a more tolerant and inclusive society.

If you'd like to learn more about Vandu Languages and the services we offer as an Interpreting and Translation Agency, please click here or explore additional articles on our Blogs and News pages.

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