Lime interview - Community & Support
Positive Image Project
EDITOR - Vernia Mengot
A passionate company who believe in doing great things for great people.
Positiveimageproject is an inspiring company set up to promote the welfare of African Caribbean and Mixed Heritage children, who are fostered and adopted in relation to Health, Black Hair and Skin Care. We spoke to Denise Blake and Flo Awolaja about their ongoing projects.
Why did you decide to start such a company particularly for children who are fostered and adopted?
Denise Brown/Flo Awolaja: Being individuals who are both child centred, as we are mothers as well as Denise being a qualified social worker, working with children and family services.
DB: Observations from my job as a Social worker, allowed me to have firsthand experience of children who are placed in care. During my social work experience, I have had white foster carers asking me, “was it ok to use cooking oil on a black child’s skin? After frequent similar questions such as this, we decided the book would be an excellent resource for all professionals, foster carers and adopters especially in relation to cross cultural placements.
‘The Black Child in Care: Health, Hair and Skin Care’ is a book you designed to cover some broad issues surrounding the care of African Caribbean/Mixed Heritage children. Tell our readers about some of the things you address...
DB/FA: In terms of their needs hair is critical to a strong sense of racial identity for black children. We go from the basic facts about what black hair is made up from to Sickle cell anaemia. We also have several resources pages showing the books that can be bought, to highlight the positive images of African Caribbean/Mixed Heritage children and Hair. Additional pages also provide a fantastic resource of websites.
Designing T-shirts are but one of your many passionate ideas promoting culture. Tell us about this creative venture...
FA/DB: This creative venture started because we were both interested in fashion. The main reason for designing the t-shirts was initially to raise finances for the publishing and printing of the ‘Black Child in care: Health, Hair and Skin Care’ book. However our t-shirts now have a life of their own, and have become products in their own right. Evolving from the t-shirt design are information cards that are normally sold with the t-shirts, giving a short biography of the Individual. Feedback from teachers has encouraged us to produce educational packs for schools.
What is the greatest lesson 2011 has taught you?
DB: For me the greatest lesson that 2011 has taught me is that ‘Fortune favours the brave’ it is the biggest one for me. Don’t let others tell you that you cannot do it’. Don’t just follow you dream, live it. In the last year we have come a long way, encountered many experiences and we are using these to continue to propel us on our fantastic journey.
HAPPY NEW YEAR
Share a memory of a New Year’s Eve celebration.
FA: For me the memory of a New Year’s Eve celebration centres on my holiday to Nigeria. It was wonderful sitting outside the 100 year old house which my mother and grandmother was born in. The whole family was there, all of us chatting with neighbours in the village. As the light from the church opposite the house welcomed in the New Year, we listened to traditional Yoruba hymns. I was home from home, and feeling totally connected with my Nigerian heritage, a magical place to be.
DB: The memory that I would like to share of a New Year’s Eve happened several years ago, when my daughter was born, I remember my aunt holding my daughter in her arms, with gentle reggae music playing in the background, my mother and aunt sat talking about their childhood memories until it was 12am. A New Year celebration I will never forget.
HOT IN 2012
You plan to do a series of road shows in 2012 linked to your book, what preparations are taking place in the making?
DB/FA: In preparation for the 2012 road shows, we are seeking funding. Engaging and speaking to organisations, about our book and the conference.
Heritage Social Arts and Dance group
Carnival Village Trust
The Black Eyed Peas of India