By Annie Edwards, Canaan Project Youth Worker
On the 16th of May, Dumaeza joined the Canaan Project after school Girls Club in Bethnal Green for our Canaan-Feast collaboration session. Our after school sessions usually include a discussion segment about a topic we feel has some importance to the young women we work with, be it relationships or self-esteem. Last week, however, we began to explore the importance of faith and our personal beliefs – but not without some jellybeans, take-away pizza and popping some balloons of course!
At Canaan Project, being based in the heart of Tower Hamlets, we recognize the importance of faith to the local young people and found that this session with Dumaeza allowed us access to discover just how important faith is to our young women. After outlining the guidelines for discussion as set out by The Feast, Dumaeza used some questions to stimulate the conversation and the results were really interesting. One young woman commented that one thing that’s difficult about being a young person of faith is feeling restricted by your beliefs to do or not do certain things. Some other young women recognized the significance of other religious festivals and that, whilst they might not celebrate Christmas, for example, they can see that it means something to their peers, which was positive and encouraging to hear.
In the same way, it was also positive to hear from the young women who would say they profess no faith whatsoever or just aren’t sure about what might be beyond us. It was important to recognize their own place in the discussion and to also note that their voice was just as valuable.
The session felt as if it zoomed past us because we were so involved in the discussion, but we hope that we can continue to keep asking the big and little questions with our young women now that the conversation has begun. A huge thanks goes to Dumaeza and The Feast for creating a space where the young women could be open and honest, and for equipping us as their youth workers to continue the conversation.