Our first London-based project: "Colombia Colores"

Colombia Colores is the first project implemented by CCC in London, aimed at the children of the Colombian diaspora that teaches about the richness of Colombian culture through music, art and dance .  We hope to reach out to Colombian born, second and third generation Colombian children between the ages of 5-12. Our projects will have a range of projects varying between food, art, myths and Indigenous cultures. This project has arisen from a need expressed by the Colombian community in London to offer regular workshops on Colombian culture for their children.We hope to bring together the young Colombians and educate them on meaningful parts of Colombian culture and encourage them to feel connected and part of a larger community. This blog will explore the importance of Colombia Colores and the impact it can have on young Colombians in London. 

Colombian diaspora in the UK

During the 1970s, many Colombians came to the United Kingdom as migrant workers, and by the mid-1980s, many began to come as asylum seekers as a result of erupted violence and displacement. This peaked significantly between 1997 and 1999. Many of those that migrated to the UK as asylum seekers are from urban backgrounds with limited access to education. As of June 2021, there were approximately 16 thousand Colombian nationals living in the UK, many of which will have young children or are young themselves. It’s important for them to have the resources we can provide to maintain their cultural identity. 

Research has suggested that Colombian migrants in the UK view social activities, such as arts and performances, as a means of maintaining their Colombian identity. During our project, we will incorporate social activities as a way to celebrate Colombian culture. We hope that our project “Colombia Colores” will encourage people to connect or reconnect with their Colombian identity. 

Importance of having a cultural identity 

Usborne (2010) found that having a strong sense of cultural identity, as well as personal identity, leads to a higher self-esteem. Their research found consistent positive relationships between cultural identity clarity, self-concept clarity and psychological adjustment. This highlights why celebrating and teaching one another about their culture is an important way to encourage positive perceptions of the self. Often, being second and third generation can be a struggle. Your sense of belonging can be viewed as more complicated. It’s meaningful for the individual to have influence from their cultural heritage as well as from the country they are living in. 

An individual’s cultural identity is passed down through generations, including beliefs and values. Culture brings people together to celebrate the community. Identity is the individual’s perception of their self, which culture plays a role in forming. When migrating to another country with a different culture, a person’s perception of their own identity starts to shift. Their cultural identity might be lost during the process of assimilation. “Colombia Colores” will play an important role in establishing a stronger cultural identity amongst the young population with any Colombian ascendance in London. 

Having a connection with your community plays an important role in promoting a positive mental health. Being part of a community, having relationships and connecting with others prevents feelings of loneliness and isolation

Importantly, “Colombia  Colores” will play a significant role in bringing the Colombian community together. This will give individuals the opportunity to learn from each other and celebrate their cultural identity as a community. Giving people this safe space to celebrate their culture together will improve their self-esteem. Studies have also shown that mental health disorders are more common in people of ethnic minority groups that have lived in areas that have fewer people from their own ethnic group. By bringing people together, we want to encourage a sense of belonging.

Colombia Colores, through its workshops on Colombian culture, art, music and dance, will try to reinvigorate the symbolic links to the children’s Colombian identity, strengthening their sense of belonging with their country and their local city of London. It aims to make children embrace and validate their cultural heritage, sowing a seed of a stronger sense of themselves in the future. And with this, will come stronger communities of Colombians, but also, more integrated communities with broader communities. 

We can’t wait to see the wonderful expressions and creations this will spark.

Workshops will begin on November 4th, at the St Jude’s Centre in Elephant and Castle. Follow the address by clicking this link.  

Sign up your child here: https://bit.ly/Colombia-Colores-Inscripción

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