I’ll start from somewhere near the beginning! I grew up in Cardiff, Wales, with a Welsh mum and Jamaican dad. Here’s a very ‘90s looking photo of me and my parents.
My current role as Campaigns and Communications Officer with RESULTS UK is all about making sure that the stories we tell about what’s happening in the world are authentic and inspire people to take action. I have always been really into storytelling, and here’s the proof! Here I am at about 10 years old in my school newsletter, featured for winning a national story competition. The challenge was to take inspiration from drawings by illustrator Quentin Blake (which you can see in the frame I’m holding) and write a story about some of the characters. I chose ‘Puss in Boots’ and wrote about the new look he was forced to adopt when his famous boots disappeared one morning - a modern take on the Emperor’s New Clothes folk tale. Fortunately, the excerpt is in Welsh here, so most people reading this won’t be able to judge my writing!
Being mixed-race and growing up around my Jamaican family of first- and second-generation immigrants means I have always had a sense of the injustice that persists in the world - racism, poverty, classism, to name a few! This has fired me up to challenge these structures wherever I can. I thought I would share this photo of my late grandmother, Nana Isma, from around the 1960s; this is just after she left Jamaica and arrived in the small South Wales town of Barry, where she would spend the rest of her life. I can’t imagine the kind of grit and determination she needed as a black woman in that place at that time.
My job with RESULTS UK involves supporting volunteer campaigners, and it’s really motivating, not only because they are giving up their free time to change the world, but also because they do the campaigning bit so well! Here is one of the highlights of working with the network: a parliamentary lobby day back in 2019 where campaigners met with their local MPs to mobilise support for funding immunisation globally. The campaign was successful and later, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, exceeded its fundraising target, enabling over 300 million more children to receive essential vaccinations. It’s heartening to know that our campaigners played a role in that. (Credit: The ONE Campaign)
I have always really enjoyed working with people from lots of different backgrounds. Here is a drawing class I helped organise back in about 2018 alongside a friend and my mum at a charity that was local to me. The charity, Oasis Cardiff, supports refugees and asylum seekers with all aspects of settling into a new life. Setting up a weekly, relaxed space for drawing and chatting was a really nice way of learning more about each other and breaking the ice.
Something I’ve worked on more recently at RESULTS UK that I’m proud of was a World TB Day project called #TBHope, alongside CITAM Plus Zambia. This is one of the images the fantastic photographer and videographer Arthur captured of advocates Julius, Precious, Grace and Bentry looking ready to take on whatever global challenge the world throws at them! Working in a global partnership like ACTION is really exciting when you get to connect people in Lusaka who have had TB and know what solutions are needed at a grassroots level with other people around the world. As a sector, we should be doing more of this at every opportunity. Let’s acknowledge the expertise that different actors have and amplify the kind of change they want to see in the world. (Credit: Arthur Davies Sikopo, RESULTS UK and CITAM Plus)
For a lot of the time I’ve worked at RESULTS UK, I’ve had a second job, supporting artists-run workshops for and with young people who use social care services in east London. I’m really passionate that art and creativity should be accessible to everyone, which is obviously a serious issue, but for me, has involved lots and lots of being quite silly. For example, here’s me sporting some hand-crafted regalia made by the group of teenage girls I worked with during a school half term. Later we took our portraits into the local council chambers and ‘reclaimed’ the space as our own!
Outside of work I am really into making art as well. I like to experiment with lots of different mediums, but the latest thing I’ve picked up during lockdown is lino printing. The process of drawing out a design and then slowly and carefully carving is very therapeutic and satisfying when it goes right. It’s also been a nice way to keep in touch with family and friends, because it started with printing some Christmas cards. Most recently, I sent this print to my grandmother of her lovely piano. (Credit: Dela Anderson)
I can’t finish off this photo series without giving my home country of Wales a shout-out for being a beautiful place! I have been living in London on and off for many years now, and COVID-19 restrictions have meant I haven’t been able to go home as much as I’d like to, so I’ve been missing it a lot. Here’s one of my favourite shots I’ve captured of the countryside, near Machynlleth in North Wales. I picked up film photography as a hobby a couple of years ago after being given an old camera by my great uncle and haven’t looked back. (Credit: Dela Anderson)