Sisters with Voices get their dance on
Sisters with Voices
By Patricia Hoskins
Teenage girls from an inner city area of Birmingham are being given an opportunity to get involved in a unique mentoring programme, to help build up their confidence and self esteem.
The girls discuss life issues
A mentoring programme called ‘Sisters with Voices’ based in Ladywood hopes to improve the expectations, achievements and life chances of young women in the area aged 13 - 17-years-old.
The programme has been set up by a Christian based charity organisation called Martha’s Oasis and is specifically aimed at those living in and around the Ladywood area especially (but not limited to) those of Afro-Caribbean and mixed raced heritage who may be under achieving due to social and personal circumstances.
The girls are mentored on a one-to-one basis tackling personal issues in the areas of self esteem, confidence and life aspirations.
Project Co-ordinator Maeve Thompson
Making an impact
Project co-ordinator Maeve Thompson hopes that Sisters with Voices will have a positive impact in the area.
“During my role as a project co-ordinator, I’ve really been challenged mentally and emotionally, hearing some of the girl’s stories.
“It’s different knowing about the problems to seeing them right in front of your eyes.
Girls have a discussion about life
“Each programme runs for six weeks and during each week a different topic is tackled and discussed. On a Saturday they take part in various workshops including dance, creative writing, singing and more still reflecting on the topics and issues raised.”
A life of crime
There are many issues in Ladywood and Martha’s Oasis feel they’re not being addressed (i.e. activities for young people and aspirations of people living in the area.)
Maeve explains: “The area has a high rate of crime, gang violence; teenage pregnancies and school drop out. It’s really encouraging to see the positive impact we’re having on the girl’s lives.”
Dance teacher Samina Jolly
Dance, dance, dance
Dance student and teacher Samina Jolly heard an interview with Maeve Thompson on BBC WM, talking about Sisters with Voices. She decided to get in touch and offer to teach a dance workshop for the girls.
“I heard the project name Sisters with Voices and decided to get involved. I really believe in that statement. I’m a sister with a voice and I feel I can be a good role model and influence for the girls creatively and academically.
“Dance is a great way for the young people to express themselves. There are so many different styles so it’s something they can really get their teeth into.
Girls say Sisters with Voices is needed
“The Sisters with Voices programme is a great opportunity for the girls."
Watch the sisters get their groove on
Watch the girls in action on a Saturday morning dance workshop. Maeve Thompson also talks more about the Sisters With Voices programme.
Watch the video below.
Let’s hear it from the girls
A group of girls from the Ladywood area that took part in the Summer 2006 Sisters with Voices programme say there’s definitely a need for more projects like this where they live.
Here’s what the girls had to say:
The girls enjoy a dance workshop
“During the six week programme we’ve been doing rock climbing, dance, singing and creative writing. We’ve learnt how to work as a team and bond with other people.
“A lot of the activities have helped to improve our social skills, boost our self esteem and improve our confidence. They’ve also helped us to have a more positive attitude. It’s been nice being around other teenage girls from our area.”
“We’re strong and always proud”
On a singing workshop the girls wrote a song together and recorded it in music studio with the help of local female rap artist LGTee.
Farrah has really enjoyed taking part
“The song we wrote is about self esteem and what people think about us positive or negative. The chorus basically says: ‘No-one can bring us down, we’re strong and always proud and to everyone that is suffering, keep your head up to the sky, it’s gonna be a better day.’
“We hope when people listen to our song it will boost their confidence and self worth and realise it’s not just them suffering, there are other people going through the same thing and there are people out there to help you.”
Listen to the Sisters With Voices song
An oasis in Ladywood
The girls feel more organisations like Martha’s Oasis are needed where they live.
Sisters with a voice
“There are a lot of problems in our area to do with drugs, gangs and crime. There’s a road where people stand all day because they’ve got nowhere to go and nothing to do but smoke and drink all day. They’re wasting their lives and the young people in the area are being influenced by them.
“It’s good to have something in Ladywood like Martha’s Oasis and Sisters with Voices. People in the area need to know there is help out there for them.
“We just want to thank Martha’s Oasis for what they are doing.”
Would you like to be a sister with a voice?
If you're a teenage girl aged between 13-17 years old living in and around the Ladywood area, get in touch with Martha’s Oasis and find out more about the next Sisters with Voices programme.
More about Martha's Oasis
To find out more about the work Martha’s Oasis is doing in the Ladywood area give them a call on 0121 454 8844 or visit the website:
last updated: 11/08/2008 at 14:12