I have this amazing ability of always running out of time even when I give myself plenty to begin with. So, it was a bit of a mad rush the morning of Saturday 21st July as we prepared to go to the I AM FESTIVAL hosted by Casey Elisha.
After a smooth drive into London from Birmingham followed by gridlocked central London traffic and a mad dash emergency toilet situation, we made it fairly unscathed to Deptford Lounge, Lewisham ready for a fun day!
The I Am Festival is an event where children of colour and their parents can explore children’s literature with images that look like them as well as empowering them as they celebrated their uniqueness.
When we arrived, the hall was all set up and ready for the attendees which was so welcoming! The children naturally gravitated towards the bouncy castle, play zone, arts and crafts station and face painting area. As the children played under the gaze of daddy (Mark), I wandered around the stands, having a nose at the various products and speaking to all the vendors who were so welcoming and friendly. It was awesome to see so many products aimed specifically at our beautiful brown babies with the purpose of developing their self-confidence and self-love. day
There were various workshops arranged for both parents and children throughout the. I would have loved to go to all of them but there were just too many so I had to plan our selections. After a little play, we attended our first workshops. Mark and our eight-year-old son Kaleb attended a workshop run by “Middle Child and Me” author Zara-Leigh Marquez where they enjoyed the story and were then able to create their own superhero and make a cape and a mask. Niomi, aged five, and I attended a workshop being run by the lovely Roxanne at Yindi Curls. We were able to create our own natural hair masques under her instruction which Niomi loved. Roxanne was brilliant at explaining the benefits of each ingredient and suggested ways of using the product in our hair care schedules. She was lovely and engaging and had a brilliant way with the children.
There was a workshop on how to become a children’s author with authors Casey Elisha, Rachel Beckles and Lorraine O’Garro. This was interesting and informative as they divulged what it takes to be a self-published children’s author. I concluded that the ladies are savage about achieving their goals and much kudos to them for making it happen!
The children also attended the “I Can Project” workshop with Mr I Can who engaged them on the topic of self-confidence and had the children singing and dancing up their belief in themselves! The children had a blast all while having valuable life lessons installed and just when you thought the dancing was over Niomi got all involved in the African dance workshop led by Hair the Beat. There was also a Zumba class for the children and various book readings which they enjoyed.
The day was so well put together so much to see and do which is great for inquisitive and eager children. We never heard “I’m bored” once, and the children didn’t want to leave when the day finished!
Before we headed home we ate Nandos in Westfield Stratford before hitting the motorway. We would definitely recommend the event and look forward to the next one. In the meantime, I am following every stall holder on their social media platforms learning so much from them until we meet again.
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Yolande is a wife to one and mother to two. She currently works in retail while home educating her sprogs. She is on a quest with a business start-up and personal development! Watch her juggle it all!