'When I bring joy to people and when I go to locations or when they have parties or there’s children, I walk in they are happy to see me and when they are happy to see me that gives me motivations and makes me happy.'
We had a truly fascinating Interview with Edwin from Igbo Union Nottingham, they do so much for our community so check out for yourself their amazing work.
Can you give us some examples of your work?
We are a community based organisation, a community based in Nottingham, we have around 300 members we meet every Sunday, we have a children’s so we either have dancing, Igbo lessons, languages and all activities that we do, so our purpose is to bring people from that part of the country here to come live together and foster corporations and friendly relationships across people from Igbo in Nottingham, and we collaborate and work with some organisations.
What are the best parts/experiences of your work?
The best part of my work is that when we go to visit people in hospitals, sometimes they don’t have any family members here so sometimes we bring them gifts and that brings joy to them. When I bring joy to people and when I go to locations or when they have parties or there’s children, I walk in they are happy to see me and when they are happy to see me that gives me motivations and makes me happy.
What are the greatest challenges of your work?
It’s not easy to satisfy everyone and people have different opinions and views on things. Sometimes it’s hard, especially if they are friends, to not side with anyone so you can’t please both people so you end up losing friends, but for the interest of peace and the organisation, stand for justice, so as long as we see it as right and you’ve taken the decision you go on with it.
How do you overcome these challenges?
What I would always say to myself is that we will get past this, so I always look at the bigger picture. For instance, if there is a dispute, so maybe somebody did something that everyone is reacting to, so when you are looking at the challenge remember that after two days the anger will start to calm down and will start to go away. If I’m angry I will go away, think about it, then once everything has calmed down I will contact them and look to get past it, so looking at the bigger picture where everyone cooperates.
What is the best way to build up trust?
I think the best way is to be open minded and to carry on working closely with people, building trust and your track record with people trusting you and based on your relationship with people you start to build the trust. When someone betrays your trust you know they are not to be trusted, even when given a second chance, you are looking over a period of time where you know whether you are going to have to trust them or not.
How do you get people involved with your projects?
We have a Whatsapp group where I send messages out, say we are for example having an Igbo women’s dance, we send the details out to our 200 members who are on Whatsapp, and they have family and friends, so we do encourage them to rebroadcast it. Other methods are word of mouth, we do have an email and invite other communities to come along if they want.
What is the future for your orginisation?
I believe the future is our young people, those who want to learn the Igbo language and these young people are interested in this culture. A child born in England may know about Africa but not know about the culture, so giving them the opportunity to learn about the instruments, learn about a certain dance or about the stories, I see a future where the children with Igbo parents are coming more, are integrated more and to encourage them to
stay out of crime.
How has social media effected young people?
Social media is a challenge because the way we teach is changing to digital learning, it’s no longer blackboards it’s smartboards, so it’s part of the project we are bringing in now. We know the social media challenge is a big one so we need to keep up with it so the intention is to create our own social media, allowing them to get the information they need, if we don’t have social media they are more likely to follow other organisations and go there.
How is your organisation governed?
We have the chairman and vice chairman, we hold a periodic election every two years, if the people are good, we can vote the same person in again for a second year. We have a financial secretary, treasurer, secrateries that help to give the peace and we have the public relation officer who reaches out to communities.
How can people find your orginisation?
We are Igbo Union Nottingham on Google, we have a website that is in development which is igbounionnottingham.co.uk, you can reach out to myself and I can pass on information, we have a union number which you can call or Whatsapp, 07788719371, any message that
comes there is channelled to the union.
We work with many different organisations, we work with Mojatu, so we cooperate with them and that’s unending. Even though I focus on certain groups, I work with people from different communities, so it’s interesting working with different people from different communities.
Check out the Interview