During the Being and Belonging Advocacy Week, I learned that campaigning takes all of us because even the smallest effort can make a difference.
The Being and Belonging Advocacy Week by WONDER Foundation was an enjoyable experience. I met amazing people and took part in unique activities about advocacy and campaigning. The presentation was a great output to display my skills and learning. This made me conclude that the campaign takes all of us.
Everyone can make a difference
The Advocacy Week was a great opportunity to meet people from various backgrounds. I listened to personal struggles of discrimination in different situations. At the start, I met Benedict Ryan who talked about migration policy, and I learned about integration. In an activity, the group and I went around talking about situations of integration. For instance, showing the individual an area where they can feel relaxed about their culture, like London having Chinatown.
Moreover, we discussed that being a citizen of a country does not require speaking the language fluently, or understanding all of the country’s culture. I understood that being kind and welcoming to migrants is the simplest way to make them feel comfortable. For a policy for migrants, having school districts near for their children, or having their house near work, would help them live better in the country. It does not have to be a big gesture to make the individual feel welcome, even smiling or giving directions would help make a difference.
Campaigning takes everyone
The presentation by Dowon Kim about Digital Storytelling, and the speech by Pamela Pemberton regarding being an advocate for Black Lives Matter, were very interesting to me. Dowon’s presentation gave me insight into how easily social media can build awareness. The activity of using Instagram to show what we learned during the week was a fun experience.
I used dancing, where others used the Baytree Centre as their background. All these short videos were building awareness and campaigning for the Being and Belonging program by WONDER. The videos were posted on WONDER’s social media, and I found it so interesting to see how impactful and easy social media was used for campaigning.
Pamela’s speech involved the youth’s participation in social media to advocate on issues of systematic racism. Social media was used to speak for the voices that were not being heard. This form of campaigning that thousands of people took part in made history for the Black community and the world.
My role in the week was to be a photographer, and I learned the skill of using a Nokia camera. This was a great opportunity to see this Advocacy Week through amazing pictures. It was fortunate when my pictures were used for WONDER Foundation’s Being and Belonging social media.
During the week, my communication skills were being challenged as I am not a big talker, so this experience really helped me get comfortable with the other colleagues. My communication skills developed when discussing with my colleagues and the experts, and when presenting the policy about school exclusion.
Time management, research and organisation skills were used when a member of my group was ill, so we had to research information and pictures, re-organise the presentation, and put it together in a limited time. I felt accomplished presenting this case and receiving feedback. The judges were impressed with my use of an analogy of my personal experience of inappropriate school exclusion. This appealed to the ethos in public speaking. Also, using the skill of good teamwork and working under pressure when we had technical troubles during our presentation.
Researching, collecting and analysing data skills were used during my volunteering at Baytree Centre when researching charities and analysing their features to match the criteria for WONDER Foundation.
Campaigning is working on a project with help and reaching a goal. Regardless of background or expertise, a campaign is meeting a goal no matter how big, like meeting your MP, or small, like producing a video. Campaigning takes us all, because even the smallest effort can benefit others.
Author: Kayla Dumbuya, volunteer at WONDER Foundation