Lottery funding confirmed for Muwumba

Colleen Macauley will participate in the Muwumba project: Photo courtesy of the Edinburgh Evening News

We are delighted that the BIG Lottery Fund is funding a joint project between Waverley Care and Relationships Scotland.

The Muwumba project will provide training sessions in counselling for a group of African hairdressers in Edinburgh – helping them identify when people are reaching out for support and providing guidance on how to help.

The idea for Muwumba, which means sticking together, emerged through outreach work as part of our African Health Project.  Through this work, we’ve engaged with African hair salons as they are typically places where people come together and share stories of their day-to-day lives.

One of the hairdressers who will participate in the project is Colleen Macauley, and her experience is typical of other hairdressers we’ve worked with.

In thirteen years as a hairdresser, Colleen has found that clients want to open up about their lives, with a particular focus on family and home life.  While Colleen, and others like her, will draw on their own experiences to provide advice and support, this comes with its own emotional strain, particularly where clients are facing complex personal issues.

Discussing her experience with outreach workers, the idea of Muwumba emerged and we approached Relationships Scotland to take forward a joint project involving the training.

Initially the project will be targeted at a group of Edinburgh hairdressers but the hope is that the training will be delivered in other community settings.  The project has the potential to deliver improved counselling support in trusted community settings, making a positive difference to people’s lives. In Colleen’s own word’s, ‘It’s all about helping people to find support where they feel most comfortable’.

While the focus of our African Health Project is to raise awareness of HIV and promote sexual health, we are in a unique position to listen to the whole range of challenges faced by African communities and to work with them to develop innovative solutions. This project is a perfect example of that process in action.

Photo courtesy of the Edinburgh Evening News.