Anyone who knows me knows I’m obsessed – yes, *actually* obsessed – with finding out about and sharing people’s different cultural traditions, especially ones that bring people together as a community, large or small. So any excuse to do so at Global Generation, and I’m there! I love it when the Skip Garden comes alive with the colours and flavours of heritage and seasonal rituals. To me, it always speaks of how we are all connected, rather than different, because, at the heart of all these different customs, the values are all the same – the sharing and togetherness as well as the passing down of heritage and connecting with our ancestors is something we all do in our own unique ways.
Some of my personal highlights of such Global Generation moments in recent years include:
- parents of Friday Night Out Project participants coming in to share their cultural cuisines at our cooking sessions
- former Youth Programmes Intern and current alumna Sara Bloch beautifully sharing Passover traditions with our team
- Eid celebrations with our neighbours from Rubicon and Saxon Court, as well as wider King’s Cross community organisations who brought delicious dishes to share together
- a pre-Christmas party with our Generators and other young people from the Red Cross Islington Young Refugee and Befriending Group – where we all learned dances hailing from Algeria, Eritrea, Syria and Uganda
Sharing in this way often runs through a lot of our projects. Last summer, some of you may have read about our new Create Project, working with young people aged 16 to 18 from City & Islington College’s ESOL department. We’re so delighted that the project has been able to continue and is now a regular presence in our Skip Garden calendar – a chance to use creativity through making, growing and cooking to help the students develop their English. It’s also a perfect opportunity to encourage learning through sharing our different traditions and cultures – whether we’re learning about seasons and months of the year by talking about special annual events from our cultures, or we’re cooking up a storm in the kitchen based on dishes from different parts of the world.
Giorgia and I will be kicking our February off with a Create Project session on tea or coffee traditions from the students’ cultures (Spanish, Afghan, Sudanese, Turkish, Ethiopian, Colombian and more), and then together creating our take on a quintessentially English high tea – think less cucumber sandwiches and more beetroot hummus!
I’m looking forward to many more opportunities this year of sharing and understanding one another’s customs across our different youth and community programmes, and also bringing in and sharing more of my Eritrean background (watch this space…!)