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They've got the whole world in their hands


The Afrocats and kittens are hard at work making huge strides in their creativity and wellbeing at Cross Street Chapel.


Last week on our thriving Youth of the World programme, arts practitioner Loren taught our 12-and-overs how to make personalised calico carriers, and with ‘bags’ of intercultural attitude to boot.


Loren is of proud half-English and half-Filipino descent, and the sunshine colours of Pinoy culture always come through in her warm personality, and of course her vibrant outfits - which you just can’t miss when you’re on session with her!

She brought materials to make handcrafted stamps made from cardboard, string, and two blank sides of calico fabric, all of which are simple, inexpensive, and sustainable, which is great for the planet.


“The question I asked myself was: how can I encourage young people to be more imaginative with materials I already have, rather than buying extra stuff?” reflects Loren.


Hmmm…

helping diverse young people explore their creativity✔️

their heritage✔️

and it costs very little to make?✔️


We think you’ve succeeded as a triple-threat, Loren!


From Ghana to Italy, Iraqi Kurdistan to Nigeria, Pakistan to Jamaica, Ireland, and beyond, our young people were free to design with their own perspective on their individual culture and heritage in mind.


This brings a truly global outlook to a safe space where they are free to express themselves through their free-flowing creativity, a proven outlook for maintaining balanced wellbeing and positive mental health.


The carrier handles will be attached on another session – looking forward to seeing the final products!


Upstairs, professional animator Toby was busy with his weekly visual arts task for the 11-and-unders.


In preparation for the final 5-minute animation project, everyone discussed what stories they would like to tell using their drawing skills.

Some of our young people wanted to tell stories about robots, and some about their favourite Pokémon.


Some even wanted to bring an international angle featuring their home country’s flags, Afrocats sessions, and their lives in England as newcomers and first-generation young people in the UK.


For such young participants, they show an incredible ability to comprehend our world through their open-minded ideas while staying respectful towards one another’s differences, and they always know how to keep us on our toes with their talents.


Afterwards, Toby took everyone's work home to animate it into a coherent piece – one that could well be viewed by many more people outside of Afrocats.

“At the end of this project, we’ll be making a short animation to be uploaded on to the Afrocats website,” he says.


“And if it goes well, we can even submit it to some film festivals.”


So watch this space – we bet Aardman Studios have nothing on the Afrocats!


As always, everyone has made wonderful progress, so until the next session take care and keep on being the best you can be as part of Youth of the World!


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