A special Windrush project has been launched in project with the aim of teaching young people in the borough the story of those who migrated to Britain from the Caribbean in the 1950s and 60s.
The Our Memories project was inspired by the Windrush Scandal which saw thousands of migrants from the Caribbean wrongly detained, denied legal rights and threatened with deportation.
The situation arose as a result of the government’s ‘hostile environment’ policies aimed at getting tough on illegal immigrants.
The project was launched jointly by the charity Voyage (Voice Of Youth And Genuine Empowerment), the African Caribbean Leadership Company (ACLC), and the Black Cultural Archives in Lambeth.
The project involved 12 elders and 15 young people who took part in active learning about the Windrush Generation.
It started with a series of workshops facilitated by the Black Cultural Archives (BCA) teaching young people about the relevance, individual journeys, experience and history of the Windrush Generation.
The BCA also organised a walkabout in Brixton tracing the huge social economic and cultural contributions made by African and Caribbean communities in London.
This was followed by a series of presentations and workshops ensuring the young participants had a genuine appreciation of the great journeys, sacrifices and achievements of Windrush Generation members.
Once the young participants in the project had a fuller understanding of the history of the Windrush Generation context, five of them participated in training, ensuring they would be equipped to conduct interviews with the elders.
‘A UNIQUE CHANCE TO RECOUNT WINDRUSH STORIES’
They learned key skills such as data collation skills as well developing emotional intelligence, especially important when working with people recounting harrowing stories.
Supported by a project manager four of the young people were invited to attend Lunch Club sessions at the ACLC to conduct a series of oral history interviews.
The interviews have resulted in the production of a book called Our Memories which was handed to the 12 Windrush Generation contributors at the ACLC on Wednesday December 18.
A spokesperson for the project told The Voice: “The elders were so amazed to read their stories and see themselves presented as proud pioneers who laid the foundations for a multi- racial Haringey.
“In response to the scandal we at Voyage wanted to use the project to provide the unheard with a unique opportunity to recount their stories and teach our young people something amazing about the story of migration. We took on this project as we are committed to elevating the voices of all participants, recognising that no individual’s journey is more valid than any others.”
‘WE SALUTE AND LOVE OUR ELDERS’
Paul Anderson MBE, Chief Executive of Voyage said: “We salute and love our elders and we can’t thank them enough for what they had to endure to make out lives that more safer, more prosperous and more integrated.”
Arike Oke, Managing Director of BCA, said: “Passing on our stories from generation to generation means more than just sharing experiences – it’s also about building those links of understanding, empathy and pride. Projects like this help us to ensure that the Windrush Generation and their part of our history is never forgotten.”
One of the young participants, Rhoda, 15, said it had been “It was truly amazing to understand their stories. They had to be so strong”.
Local councillor Mark Blake said: “Haringey Council welcomes this fantastic intergenerational project that highlights the struggles and invaluable contribution of the Windrush generation to this country and our borough. This is a perennial story that resonates across the diverse communities of Haringey.”
Former Chair of the Met Police Black Police Association Leroy Logan MBE said: “This project is an opportunity for the current generation to learn from the Windrush Generation about how they survived the hostile environment. We hope the young people learn about what it takes to build a country whilst strengthening their families and their communities. I remain hopeful this generation will continue to build on this legacy and develop the resilience to address the injustices and inequalities our elders faced to ensure they are never repeated.”