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Delving into Diwali, making music, and social justice

The days are getting shorter, the nights are drawing in, and it’s almost time to celebrate Diwali, the Hindu festival of light, on Monday 24th October!

And in the Percival Suite at Cross Street Chapel on our brilliant Youth Of The World programme, art practitioner Nayna came along to introduce to our young people the enchanting Indian art of rangoli.

Rangoli is an artistic tradition on the Indian subcontinent where different materials such as flower petals, colourful chalk powder, and coloured rice are used to make stunning patterns on floors, tabletops, and home entrances.

‘Diwali is about community, family, and food!’ says Nayna.

‘People are more and more scattered about everywhere these days, so it’s a great way to reconnect with our culture when we can’t be together.’

You can find more educational resources all about rangoli here.

Our young people loved making their designs – have a look below to see what created.

Meanwhile in the Kenworthy Room, our 11-and-overs were getting stuck into creating their own youth campaign posters with professional illustrator Edel.

By exploring complex and challenging topics of racial injustice, religious violence and extremism, police brutality, and knife crime, they were able to use their own lived experience and critical thinking to express what they would like the wider community to be aware of about these issues, and make posters supporting these messages.

Look at what they came up with!

And in the Gaskell Room, musician Luke Benjamin was back on form teaching keyboard and vocals.

Luke worked with us on our fantastic 2021 production Umbrellas In The Sun, so he really knows his stuff when it comes to rehearsing and performing music.

‘We’ll be bringing everyone together for a performance,’ Luke says.

‘So this is their chance to be creative and play, stretch the dexterity of their fingers and learn some simple songs.’

Mark, one of our younger Afrocats, felt super inspired by Luke’s keyboard lessons.

‘I want a keyboard for Christmas so I can practice!’ he says.

Learning a musical instrument like a keyboard is also a great way to boost self-esteem, and can be a great stress-reliever too.

We rounded off the session with making silly faces to stretch our facial muscles and warm up our vocal cords, and learning a simple harmony in unison to ‘Halo’ by everyone’s favourite diva, Beyoncé.

Our Afrocats and kittens made incredible progress this week, and we can’t wait to unleash more of their talents and creativity during future sessions on the programme.

Would you like to give a gift, fundraise, or partner with us to help make a difference for vulnerable asylum seekers and refugees?

Click here for more information.


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