CELEBRATING HERITAGE: Members of the Caribbean cultural awareness summer camp perform at Birmingham’s Drum Arts Centre in Aston
AN ANNUAL Caribbean cultural awareness summer camp in London has proved to be such a hit over the past three years that the groundbreaking scheme hopes to expand to Birmingham next year.
And to showcase what’s on offer, the cast of 80 young people travelled up from Walworth Academy in south London to perform at Birmingham’s Drum Arts Centre in Aston.
The production – Island Rhythms: ‘A Weh We Come From – was put together in an astonishing 10 days, yet the youngsters taking part acted as if they had been rehearsing for months.
Sponsored by the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), in association with the Jamaican Diaspora UK, the camp immerses third and fourth generation children of Caribbean and Jamaican descent into the rich and diverse pool of their history and heritage.
Paulette Simpson, senior manager, corporate affairs and public policy for JNBS, said: “Culture is the basis of all social identity and development – a cultural heritage is the endowment that each generation receives and passes on.
“We’re delighted that three years on, this programme is being supported by parents, young people and the community at large.”
Celia Grandison-Markey, Jamaica diaspora advisory board member added: “This is all about leaving footprints in the sands of time for the next generation to follow. This programme has proved to be essential in the development of youths here in the UK. I am sure it will play its part in helping to address the growing problem of gang, gun and knife crime in our communities. It also aims to increase awareness of the contribution the Caribbean culture has made to the UK and the rest of the world in areas such as medicine, law, music, sports and the arts.”
Dr O’Neal Mundle, a lecturer at the University of West Indies and programme co-ordinator for the Jamaican team, said the programme had been a great journey for all involved and reminded everyone that Jamaicans are a great people.
He added: “Although we on the Jamaican team spearheaded this summer camp, there has been so much that we have learned through interacting with the children of the UK.”