Mathew is the owner of the Calabash African Restaurant in Glasgow. The restaurant and venue supports Waverley Care by offering condom distribution and also facilitates workshops and seminars to raise awareness of sexual health issues. Through this work, the restaurant is helping to empower the African and wider community.
When did you first hear about Waverley Care?
We were introduced to Waverley Care in 2012 through Dr. Kalonde, who was then a Community Outreach and Development Coordinator. Since then we have continued to work very closely with Margaret Lance and other staff from the African Health Project.
Why did you want to become involved with Waverley Care?
We live with, know and care for our community and our customers. We understand only too well the circumstances and challenges our community faces in their day-to-day lives. As we cater for and entertain them, we also feel a strong duty to encourage them to be safe as well.
What response do you get from customers about your work with Waverley Care?
In the African community, talking about sex, STIs or condoms is taboo. Most of the time people don’t say anything to us but, going by the uptake of the condoms, we know they are using them. Action speaks louder than words and people appreciate the easy and discreet access to condoms that we provide.
Tell us a bit about your business, its history and the community you serve.
Calabash, opened its doors to the public in 2011 as a specialised African food outlet. Today it also doubles up as a meeting point and a home base to the many African people living in Scotland, as well as their friends and well wishers.
We know that many of the people we meet face issues such as social isolation, immigration, cultural and language problems, homelessness and even hunger to name a few. We are here to offer a warm welcome and have made friends.
We are here as a business but we are very proud to promote integration to bring the wider community together in a place where they can have a sense of belonging – a place they can identify as home.