Monday, 24 June 2013

BHI Media Workshop

The Black Health Initiative (BHI) led a media workshop during Refugee Week ran by Richard Smith and organised by Ali Mahgoub from the Leeds Refugee Forum at One Community Centre. The workshop raised awareness of various health issues through an innovative by using rap, music and poetry.

Richard a former DJ used music as a backdrop and used his bubbly personality to make everyone feel comfortable and free to express themselves. There was a brief talk about how there are many health issues which people are unaware of and not willing to discuss, one being prostate cancer which is a killer in the Black community, yet there a few people who are willing to discuss this. We were then asked to write a short piece about health or whatever we wanted to talk about. There were a variety of different styles of performances and topics.

Bilal Awali a 16 year old student at Mount St Mary’s rapped about street crime and the negative impact it has he says “I have seen it a couple of times and wanted to talk about it, the event has made me want to carry on performing and learn more about health, so I will definitely read more on the issues.”
Rachael McGarry a volunteer at Refugee Action is currently working  on a project for young people which aims to get them involved in sports and more activities. Rachael performed a piece on women and the way they are portrayed in the media. Rachael says “You can’t really talk about health so open but it is important to talk about especially with refugees who don’t know the country.The event has opened my eyes about health, particularly in the black community. ”

There was also a rhyme on health by Solomon who works with people who are challenged financially at the One Community Centre who said “It is important to reach people who are struggling financially; debt can cause mental health for many people. Richard has been inspirational and shown me how music can be relaxing; I will definitely try the method, especially with people I work with. We are planning a stall for the Debt Free Project next month in Lincoln Green and will use music as I have seen how relaxing it is.”

I was unaware I would have to perform but after being put on the spot I decided to be a good sport and quickly jotted something down and performed a extremely short piece titled:

Knowledge is power and power can bring change,
Change can lead to positivity and make the world a better place.
Change starts with you so stand up and take your place!

Ali says “The forum tries to do joint events, to work with disadvantaged groups, by organising these events we can let people have access and see what there is on offer. Refugee week is a celebration but also the best way to put on different events to raise and bring awareness.”

Throughout the workshop there was an emphasis on the importance of health problems and the need to talk about it. If anyone ever feels like there is something wrong they should talk about it with family, friends and get checked out as it is the only way to get better and from getting worse. Richard’s final message is simple “Your health is your wealth, the better you look after yourself, and the better you will be.”

After the workshop came to an end there was delicious food available for everyone to enjoy.
BHI is extending a warm invitation to men within the city to attend the Men's Health Dialogue on Thursday 27th June 2013, at Tiger 11 Hillside Beeston Leeds. There is a mini bus shuttle which will be going from the BHI office. 

BHI are also seeking people from the Black and Ethnic Minority community, who are living with lung cancer. If you can help or know someone who could call them on 0113 307 0300 for further information.


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