Artspeaks Outreach Projects 2015
This summer Artspeaks has successfully supported two projects based in the UK and internationally as part of our Outreach work for the year.
Our first international project led us to the work of LMPE, a North African orphanage based in Marrakech, Morocco housing and providing the needs of one hundred abandoned children and young people.
Stationary items donated by Artspeaks were distributed by the team taking part in this year’s Soul Rally annual road trip spanning across Europe and North West Africa. The Soul Rally has been running since 2010 seeking to bring together a union of six global charities in what is currently a unique fundraising opportunity within the British community.
Redda Belhaj, Co-director of LMPE was very grateful upon receiving the items, reassuring the team that all orphan children would have easy and open access to the stationary provided.
On Saturday 8th August, Artspeaks held their first UK based Outreach project teaming together with Shapla Aziz, Founder and floral specialist of ‘Traditions’ to deliver a Halo workshop to sheltered women residing at St Mungo’s Broadway. The shelter was a natural choice to make – with excellent facilities and a professional yet supportive atmosphere, many of the 14 women occupying the shelter are from various backgrounds ranging from domestic abuse cases to exile and displacement from their country of origin. Supported by key workers, relevant support systems are in place encouraging women to seek education and employment opportunities as well as attending in-house counselling programs.
Although Halo’s carry many religious and spiritual connotations albeit a symbol mainly prolific in religious art, selecting this form of floral arrangement to create felt apt to the nature of the backgrounds the many women came from, the environment we would be working in and the overall sense of vulnerability– an object that signified light, majesty and power.
By providing a session that fostered both creativity and the therapeutic nature of handling and arranging flowers, our participants were introduced to skills which could be easily transferred in to other areas of floral work and serve as a foundation to build existing skills upon.
Equipped with necessary resources and instruction booklets all participants were carefully directed in the making of their Halo’s, following clear visual demonstrations and working at a pace they were comfortable with.
As described by Saud Ahmed, Project Worker at St Mungo’s Broadway, the workshop was ‘well received and went down a storm’. With overwhelmingly positive feedback, both Shapla and I felt we had more than accomplished our objectives for the day – to deliver an enjoyable, creative session within a safe space whilst at the same time empowering women to gain new skills.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank our supporters, Shapla Aziz, St Mungo’s Broadway and of course the vivacious women who attended our workshop for a thoroughly ‘blooming’ marvellous day filled with laughter and confidence.
Samia Quddus, Founder of Artspeaks. This blog was written from a personal perspective and does not necessarily reflect the view of the organisation.