VOLUNTEERING AT AFRUCA SUMMIT 2014 by Dorcas Gwata
In the world of giving, one is not really supposed to have a favourite charity, so I am really breaking the rules when I say AFRUCA charity is one of my most favoured. I was honoured to have worked with them through a Vodafone ‘World of Difference’ program and have since the volunteered for them on a number of events.
The charity, Africans United Against Child Abuse (AFRUCA) was formed on the backdrop of the Victoria Clmbe case, on the recognition that there some cultural practises and safeguarding issues specific to African children and families in the UK that needed to be addressed. AFRUCA provides that very platform.
Debbie Ariyo OBE and her team put together another impressive, informative summit. We welcomed a stream of people in the Hilton Hotel in Central London, the usual colourful outfits, familiar faces, supported by a well organised children crèche above the hall.
Diane Abbott MP gave a heart warming speech as we tossed and stewed over the very social issues affecting Africans in the Diaspora.
The ‘To beat or not to beat” session had everyone engaged, opinions flew as the audience shared their personal views and experiences on the challenges of parenting in the Diaspora.
In the Female Genital Mutilation session we heard powerful, personal testimonies from brave and resilient women who had us all well out of our cultural comfort zones, men included.
The clitorius is on stage here at the summit, I tweeted away.
The wonderful Lola Gani-Yusuf co-presented the human trafficking session and challenged us to look deeply into our conscience and address the issues that are happening in our very own backyards.
There are important issues here, and the stakes are high. There are too many African children in care, they are disproportionately over- represented in prisons and mental health services. Parents and services are feeling the financial pinch as more and more children and families continue to live in dire poverty, here in the UK.
The charity has produced a number children’s champions who are now delivering workshops and scaling up knowledge on skills on safeguarding measures for African children and families. They too were ever present on the floor and stage raising awareness in their work. Progress at play, wonderful to be part of it.
As the day set in, the highest thrown belonged to the lady herself, ever humble, diligent and unapologetically fierce when it comes to advocating for African children and families, Debbie is well respected not just within our African communities but way beyond African boarders. I learn a lot from her.
As the evening drew in, we toasted a successful summit over a glass of wine, as I rounded off a beautiful of volunteering for AFRUCA. I am honoured to be part of these amazing charity.
Dorcas Gwata. TribalSands.
October 2014. All rights reserved.