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Celebrating Nigerian culture and tradition in Kent

25 October 2021

“Our association organises several activities that promote our culture and celebrate our members,” explains Olu Obadare, President of the Nigerian Community Association Kent and Medway (NCAKM).

The group launched in 2017 with the aim of supporting the socio-economic and welfare needs of Nigerians throughout the region. For Black History Month 2021, NCAKM organised two events in support of its members with the aim of educating people about the Nigerian cultures and traditions.

Celebrating Black History Month

As Olu describes: “The first Black History Month event was in commemoration of World Mental Health Day on Sunday 10 October, where we invited community members to discuss and focus on taking good care of their mental health.

“We helped them understand what good mental health is, and emphasized the various support services available in the area. Most importantly, we encouraged members to speak up when they need help.

“The second event was on Tuesday 19 October as we visited The Victory Academy, Chatham to showcase our rich culture,” Olu continues, “We had over 500 students that came to watch us perform through singing and playing musical instruments. We dressed in our native attire, and we were able to showcase what we do as a community.”

Keeping communities together

Events like these are an important part of how NCAKM helps strengthen the community, as Olu explains: “We are committed to providing advice, guidance, counselling, and support. The team at NCAKM has brought a sense of unity and togetherness amongst Nigerians living in the area; thanks to our amazing volunteers and dedicated executives who continually give their time, talent and treasure.”

With the isolation that Covid has brought, that sense of togetherness is more important than ever: “Usually in October we have our Nigerian Independence Day celebration but, because of Covid, we decided to reach out to more families this year instead. We’ve been able to visit loads of Nigerian families this month, to help get them out of isolation and let them know they’ve got a shoulder to lean on if things aren’t going well.”

A positive impact through food

Since launching, the group has provided the equivalent of more than 334,000 meals in the form of food parcels to people in the area, using food from FareShare Kent and FareShare Go.

“We launched the project ‘Help Feed Those in Need’ and we support over 120 families, totalling around 250 individuals, on a weekly basis. We deliver to people’s homes, youth shelters, and domestic violence shelters,” Olu explains. “Our relationship with FareShare has been brilliant, we’ve not had any issues whatsoever since the beginning.”

“Some of the feedback we’ve had from the local organisations we’re supporting is that their members look forward to our delivery every week,” says Olu.

Seeing the impact that the food they provide has on children is one of the most rewarding parts of NCAKM’s work: “At some of the domestic shelters I deliver to, when the children see me now they’re always excited. They call me the delivery man, they scream ‘oh the delivery man is here!’. That gives us a lot of joy because we can see that we’re positively impacting the lives of people.”

Read more about their work on their website.