I am going back to the ISL to clean. Not that I didn’t clean before. But i am thinking about what happens next. I have been away for 6 months and although things are basically the same way things have changed.
Uche has been mainly responsible with Tony and Christie supporting him while i was away. They have been working with the young people from the community doing reading, art, and science classes and going on exciting field trips. They started a movie night on Saturday nights as well. Engagement with adults have been limited in terms of activities and classes.
Thanks to Uche , Tony and Christie, Joval, Zanj and Mr.Mac and all those who volunteered, the ISL has continued without me.
Cleaning is me thinking about my role after 6 months of indirect involvement but 6 months of repositioning the leadership and management of the ISL to Uche.
I still want to make a contribution to shaping the space, but i need to be clear about where the best space for me is. What is my new role at Di ISL? Friendships at the ISL have changed and therefore the transition at this point is different and difficult.
If i spend time cleaning i can begin to organize things in my mind. Georgia thought me this. to clean the ISL is to support the most basic need at the ISL and then by doing that see where the things will have to go. Maybe cleaning will turn into something else but i am going back to clean the ISL
Policy guideline 1. Race
When we started the ISL we didn’t know that we would be getting requests from “white people” to volunteer. We didn’t know but somehow we should have anticipated this. Over the last year and past weeks I have had to think seriously about people wanting to volunteer with the ISL.
The ISL is open to participation from everyone. We do not discriminate on any basis. We do not want to discriminate on race.
While we are open our objective is not to reinforce the problematic of the “savior complex” or the “the white savior complex” in our work. So when people ask to volunteer what do we tell them? At the moment we have a disproportionate number of volunteer request. Young “white foreigners” from all over are able to travel freely to low-income but spiritually and culturally rich countries such as Jamaica, there Black or African counterparts in the Caribbean, Europe, United States or Canada cannot. This is an inequality and a social injustice. This dynamic is problematic for all involved those who want to volunteer and those who cannot volunteer.
This “volunteer dynamic” is present in several other low-income countries in the Caribbean, and Africa.
I am not only identifying an ideological or philosophical problem. I think it is a very important part of our experiment but questioning how we can come together to do make our interactions valuable. I have more questions than answers and at the moment I think we should move to considering a policy for “diversity participation in social work”. Some guidelines that we use to understand how to accomplish our objective of “creating a space to learn together and develop an understanding and motivation towards social leadership and creating positive alternative realities.
These are some questions I am considering for persons of diverse background interested in volunteering at the ISL ;
There are more questions and more points to dissect but we have to start here .