- Dancing Flamenco 8
- Disability in Dinajpur District 10
- Every Summer in Erfoud 4
- Making Reading Trendy 10
- Rebranding Blackness 9
María Cortés La Granaina is a flamenco artist from Granada. For 30 years she has performed in more than 20 differents countries. She is also a producer, choreographer and director of all her theater pieces. She is currently preparing her first music album “Reyna y Su Voz Libre” [The Queen and Her Free Voice], which is in many styles from flamenco to latin music, including ballads, rock, blues and soul. Subscribe to her Youtube Channel here or find her on Instagram at mariacorteslagranaina.
In her flamenco, Maria pursues a freedom. It can be the freedom of her movements as the guitarist follows her or it can be the freedom towards consciousness.
Maria lost her father at an early age, but it was through her father that she chose to become a flamenco dancer and a singer.
Flamenco was born in the south of Spain as an expression of a longing for freedom among the gypsies when the Catholic monarchy put laws against them.
Maria went to Holland to create a career for her daughter. Bringing her daughter to class with her, she used flamenco to remind women of a kind of femininity.
Maria envisions a world in which more people are part of a collective consciouness.
Maria started with dancing flamenco. Now she values singing, because she is able to get her messages across to her audience and open their hearts.
At this stage in her life, Maria no longer fights her life. With her songs, she hopes to create an alternate reality.
Disability in Dinajpur District
Joney, or Sofuggzaman Md, completed his physiotherapy degree in 2017 and started working as a clinical physiotherapist in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Following his desire to work in the rural areas in Bangladesh, he currently works as a physiotherapist within the project ILPD (Improving Life for Person with Disability) in Dinajpur District with the organization, Dipshikha. You can write to Johnny more about his work at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a trained physiotherapist from Bangladesh, Joney worked in cities in Bangladesh and India, but he had always wanted to work in the rural areas.
There are four objectives within the project ILPD: providing physiotherapy and education, creating financial security, and raising awareness.
Dipshikha was established in 1978 in the rural area of Dinajpur. The ILPD is a recent project that began in July 2018.
Within the ILPD project, Dipshika aims to bring financial stability to people with disability. To do so, they buy a cow or chickens for the families to raise.
There are many difficulties that people with disability face in Dinajpur district, including their lack of recognition for their names.
Joney and his team measure the extent to which patients have recovered with a visual analogy scale.
When Joney and his team began the physiotherapy exercises in the rural area of Dinajpur, not everyone was interested. Johnny had his own ways of marketing.
Dipshikha aims to provide free services to people with disability. For the ILPD project, there are only three people working with 100 children.
The COVID-19 pandemic hits particularly the low-income families in Dinajpur District. Dipshikha provided 305 families with some food and medical assistance.
Every Summer in Erfoud
Shuia b shuia, which means ‘Little by little’ in Dariya [a Moroccan Arabic dialect], is an organization ran by five young women in Catalonia. They met in a volunteer organization in 2014 in Morocco, and disillusioned by the organization they began with, they created their own in 2016. They run a summer camp in the area of Erfoud, Morocco, every August for two weeks to provide complementary education with local organizations and volunteers from Erfoud. Their Facebook page in Catalan and Castilian can be accessed here or you can find them on Instagram at Associació Shuia b Shuia.
Shuia b shuia strongly believes in working with local populations, not as an ‘exchange’ or ‘cultural’ program.. They primarily work with children in the Erfoud region.
María speaks Arabic, specifically Dariya, the local Morrocan Arabic dialect. Paula and Aina do not speak the language yet, but would like to learn.
It can be difficult to navigate in certain spaces as women, even if work isn’t more difficult. Aina, María, and Paula share their experiences working in Erfoud.
Making Reading Trendy
Rolling Books is a social enterprise based in Hong Kong that aims to promote the reading experience. They simultaneously work with social issues including poverty alleviation of minority groups, marine pollution, and women’s empowerment. Their Facebook Page can be accessed here or you can find them at their website.
James ran a bookstore 15 years ago, when it was not common in Hong Kong to have social activities within bookstores.
After leaving his bookstore, James never left reading aside. He organized running book clubs in which members would run together, and then read.
The NGO and the social enterprise work differently in terms of their business model. James chose the social enterprise and discusses Rolling Books’ income sources.
Within NGOs, it may be difficult to choose a picture book if they want to convey specific agendas. As a social enterprise, Rolling Books doesn’t face this limitation.
Reading in Hong Kong is not often thought as particularly social. James aims to make reading a trendy expereince.
Ethnic minorities children are susceptible to intergenerational poverty in Hong Kong, because the education system prioritzes Chinese [Cantonese].
Among low-income families, parents have less time with their children and children are more likely to be exposed to the digital world.
During the break from reading activities, Rolling Books has been spending more time with the ethnic minority families and have identified other needs the families may have.
Protests that began since last June in 2019 have changed the dynamics of storytelling. As a father himself, James must also think about these issues for his son.
Africa Center Hong Kong is a platform built in 2019 to foster engaged interactions between African and non-African communities in Hong Kong. They host a range of activities from monthly book clubs on African literature, film screening on African movies, panel discussions, and kids club. Their Facebook Page can be accessed here or you can find them at their website.
Abdikafi and Abdirahman are Somalis who have lived in Hong Kong for some years. Would they call Hong Kong home?
Elsie reflects on her ten years of living in Hong Kong. Unlike the poeple in the Republic of Congo, the people in Hong Kong appeared to live like robots.
Chihiro, from Nagoya, Japan, and Innocent, from South Africa, describe Hong Kong as a land of opportunity.
Although from different countries, Elsie, Abdikafi, and Chihiro feel their belonging at Africa Center. It is somewhere they can freely ‘be’.
Abdirahman from Somalia and Ali from Chad both emphasize that in Hong Kong, it is more about the ‘individual’ than about the ‘community’.
For many years, Innocent and his friends continued the practice of ‘eating with dignity’, refusing to eat in places where there was no respect for them.
Abdirahman and Ali speak of Africa Center as a platform to rewrite the narratives that people had placed upon their countries and the continent.
Working with culturally different members, the staff at Africa Center celebrates their differences. Innocent suggests that conflicts are learning opportunities.