Church Street Library hosted two key health events in October, organised by Westminster Libraries’ Bengali Service in partnership with the Health Information Project and Westminster Family Learning Service.
The first event, tied in with Black History Month, aimed to promote Black and Ethnic minorities’ health information and raise awareness of common illnesses that these communities are naturally predisposed to, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
An author and producer from Gift of Living Organ Donation (GOLD), Dela Idowu, gave a presentation of a film about her emotional struggle dealing with a family member’s kidney failures. She had produced the film to raise awareness about living organ donation, which is a concern in both the Black and Asian communities. The film showcase was followed by a Q&A session and was a great success. There are plans to host more events like this in both Kensington & Chelsea and Hammersmith & Fulham libraries.
The idea for the next event was to bring families together through the festive periods of both Eid and Diwali by providing family learning activities and to convey a message about health. The story book used was ‘Dinosaur Douglas and the Beastly Bugs‘ by Heather Meisner and is part of a project commissioned by Public Health, aimed at improving dental and oral health in primary school children. The idea is to encourage children to brush their teeth at bedtime so that they get rid of the ‘Beastly Bugs’.
The event started with a story session, followed by family workshops making pop-up cards using the main character from the book and Islamic colouring and painting.
While some families were happily taking part in the workshops others were immersing themselves with free massage and henna arts designs. Over one hundred people attended, which led to a great and busy day!
Posted in Children / Teens, Church Street Library
Tagged Bengali, children, Church Street, dental health, Eid, families, health, Health Information Project, Hindu, Islam, Muslim, oral health
Westminster Libraries’ Bengali Service recently held two very successful ‘Eid and Family Learning’ events to mark the celebration of the second Islamic festival, Eid-Ul-Adha.
Eid-Ul-Adha is celebrated worldwide at the end of the pilgrimage season to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. Muslims sacrifice animals and distribute the meat amongst the poor to honour the biblical and ancient story of Prophet Abraham’s sacrifice of his son.
The first of the events was held at Pimlico Library on 27 October with 94 attendants (61 of them children), and the latter was held at Marylebone Bangladesh Centre on 2 November, where over 150 people (97 of them children) came. Everyone participated in various activities, provided in conjunction with Westminster Adult Education and Family Learning Services; cultural workshops were delivered by the Marylebone Bangladesh Society. Story and quiz sessions were run by local volunteers along with the outreach worker.
The family learning workshops ranged from making gorgeous and decorative gift boxes and Eid cards, to digital family portraits, which were then framed with handmade glittery frames designed by participants to keep or give as a gift to their loved ones. There was also henna body and hand painting as well as face painting for the children and families to enjoy.
Light snacks and drinks were provided at the end of both events which created a party atmosphere and were enjoyed by all. Both of the events were extremely well received and lots of positive remarks were made, including “When are you having the next Eid celebration here… please do let us know”!
These events are organised with the aim of increasing participation from the Bangladeshi and Muslim communities of Westminster into library activities – success!
Posted in Children / Teens, Church Street Library, Learning, Pimlico Library
Tagged Bangladeshi, Bengali, children, Church Street, community, craft, Eid, Eid-ul-Adha, Islam, learning, Marylebone, Muslim, Pimlico, WAES
In July, as Ramadan (the time when the majority of Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset) approached, the Health Information Project (me!) and Bengali Outreach workers Sultana and Yeasmin were discussing the health implications of going over twelve hours without a crumb of food and more importantly, a drop of water.
We decided to get together with Meena Malek, who runs the wonderful Bengali ladies social club on a Wednesday afternoon at Church Street Library, and put on a Pre-Ramadan Health Information event.
The ladies from the social club and many others from the local Bengali community took the opportunity to hear basic fasting facts and to ask important questions regarding the health implications, which were answered with no-nonsense advice by five NHS dieticians from the Kickstart teams (early years nutrition programmes for under fives and under fourteens, working with families).
We were also lucky enough to have the Black and Ethnic Minorities Juvenile Diabetes Champion, Aderonke Jomo Coco, who campaigns tirelessly for more education around preventing Type 2 diabetes in young people.
There was a good turnout and a family atmosphere and everyone enjoyed the tasty samosa snacks as well as the opportunity to ask the experts lots of questions. Sheila from the Munro Alternative Therapists’ Co-operative gave wonderful hand massages which were a real treat.
The end of Ramadan is celebrated with a party, an Eid party; so Yeasmin and Sultana got together with Tareq from the Bengali Carers’ Network to organise a brilliant party which took place at the Beethoven Centre in Queen’s Park last week.
After another health event elsewhere, I raced over to the Centre where more than 60 adults and around 40 children were having a great time. There were book and bric a brac stalls, wonderful food, children’s activities directed by librarian Lucy from Queen’s Park Library, dancing, a raffle that flowed on and on with a stream of prizes. Wearing my healthy hat, I tried not to wince at the amount of chocolate vanishing into eager hands then mouths, washed down with dayglo fizzy drinks – well, it was a special occasion!
All in all everyone enjoyed themselves and I am really pleased that Westminster Libraries played its part in bringing about these community events.
Posted in Church Street Library, Queen's Park Library
Tagged Bengali, Church Street, diabetes, diet, Eid, health, Mini Kick Start, Moslem, Muslim, NHS, Queen's Park, Ramadan