We believe in the power of a community that celebrates one another, works together and supports each other. When we come from a place of recognition and teamwork, we are more likely to contribute to change and help others reach their goals.
As a result, we are also more likely to achieve our own goals because we have a strong network of people behind us cheering us on. But why we advocate for a community that celebrates one another has a deeper reason. We are going to discuss the importance of this and explain our concept of a 'tribe' - reflecting the traditional Bantu definition of Pamodzi.
What Is A Community? We are talking about a group of people with common interests who work together in some way and interact positively. The concept has been around for centuries, and it's one that has taken on different meanings over time.
In its most basic form, a community is simply a group of people who live in the same area or share the same interest. But as we've evolved, the idea has become more complex. We now use the term to describe groups of people who come together for a common purpose - whether that's to support each other, work together or simply share their ideas and interests.
At Pamodzi Creatives, we refer to ourselves as a Tribe. Roni, our founder, describes it in her own way:
"The concept of celebrating each other within our respective 'tribes' or communities originates not so much from an aggressive space of reinforcing one's identity as separate to or superior to the other, but from the traditional Bantu definition.
This means creating authentic spaces where people can grow in their identity with the knowledge that who they are and what they bring or do positively enhances their community."
Why Is It Important To Be Part of a Tribe? There are many reasons why we advocate for a community - especially one that celebrates one another. Initially, it can provide a sense of belonging and identity. When you share similar interests with other people, it can be easy to feel like you're a part of something larger than yourself.
Being part of a tribe can also give you a sense of purpose. If you're passionate about something, working together with others who feel the same way can be incredibly rewarding. It is also a great way to meet new people and expand your horizons.
As well as this, being part of something can provide support - both emotional and practical. Knowing that there are people who care about you and want to help you succeed can be a huge motivator.
Advocating for a group that celebrates these successes is just one way we can drive positivity and progress in our respective fields and areas of interest.
At Pamodzi Creatives, we work with a number of different tribes - from other non-profit organisations to inspirational women and their own communities throughout Portsmouth. We've seen so many ways in which the people involved celebrate one another and use each other's skills to implement positivity and new ideas.
What Does Pamodzi Mean For Our Community? Pamodzi is a Bantu word that means together; the choice of adverb is the product of a transient socio-political period that left many communities-within-communities questioning their right to exist in the UK.
Pamodzi was born from the need to create an authentic space where inspirational stories are celebrated and others around us feel inspired, challenged and affirmed through everything.
The word has come to mean much more than this for us. It is the embodiment of what we stand for as an organisation: celebrating each other, working together and supporting one another in whatever way we can.
This is why we advocate for a community that celebrates one another. We believe it is the key to driving positive change in our society.
Inspirational Women of Portsmouth Awards One of the ways in which we celebrate and support our community is through our unique award event.
It recognises the outstanding achievements of women who are making a positive difference in Portsmouth. It is a chance to shine a spotlight on some truly inspirational individuals and give them the recognition they deserve across many different categories.
Anyone who identifies as female can be nominated for their contribution to business, STEM, education, the arts and much more. However, we don't have 'winners' but award recipients.
We prefer this term because you are nominated as part of a community that you belong to, rather than competing against the most 'elite performers'. In essence, any award given is a product of that whole tribe.
That is why we advocate for a community that celebrates one another. Without the support and continued encouragement to drive positive change, the community would not benefit.
If you know anyone who you think would be a good nominee for our 2023 awards, keep an eye out for our October launch event!
Benefits of Community Whether it be a small neighbourhood, group of faith, sports club or educational institution, being a part of something like this can have serious benefits on a person's mental and physical health.
Many people underestimate the power of this type of connection - another reason why we advocate for a community that celebrates one another.
Resilience People who are part of close-knit communities are more likely to weather difficult times. This is because they have a built-in support system - something that is essential during tough periods and times of change or initiative. Being able to rely on others and know that they will be there for you can make all the difference.
Furthermore, having a variety of skill sets, leadership and organisation can reduce the burden on any one particular person. Encouragement from all drives the tribe forwards - utilising strength in numbers.
Mental Health There are a number of studies that show the correlation between being part of a community and good mental health. This is likely due to the increased social interaction and support that is available.
Loneliness has been linked to a whole host of mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety. Therefore, by being part of a community, you are more likely to avoid these issues.
Not only that, but being around people that celebrate your achievements and skills can really boost self esteem - pushing people to do more, challenge themselves and implement new positive changes.
Resources When you are a part of a community, you have access to a range of resources that may otherwise be unavailable.
This could be financial support during tough times, advice and guidance from those with more experience or simply a shoulder to cry on when needed.
In addition, many communities also pool their resources in order to fund projects or causes that they are passionate about. This could be anything from starting a new business to cleaning up the local area.
But, by working together, we can achieve so much more than we ever could alone.
The Heart of Why We Advocate For a Community We hope this has given you some food for thought and inspired you to get involved in your tribe.
Remember, being part of a tribe is about more than just receiving - it's also about giving back. So, get out there and start celebrating one another!
Pamodzi Creatives is a charity that advocates for a community that celebrates one another. We recognise the outstanding achievements of people who are making a positive difference in Portsmouth through our unique award event.
However, most of all we are a Community Interest Company that exists to benefit a tribe & pursue a social purpose.
There are many ways you can support the work of our Pamodzi tribe and advocate with us.
Firstly, you can become a sponsor for our Inspirational Women of Portsmouth Event. Simply commit to one of our sponsorship packages and contact us at email@example.com to find out more!
Otherwise, you can subscribe to our patreon page, gaining exclusive access to new content and podcasts.
If neither of those take your fancy, we always appreciate people using their own voices and platforms to express the work we do in the community. Sharing our content through any social media helps raise awareness of our mission and showcases the fantastic people making up our tribe.
Did you know that endometriosis is one of the leading causes of infertility in women? This is just one of the many reasons why we believe it is so important to support endometriosis charities and other non-profits working to empower women and enlighten others on the struggles faced today.
Our team's focus on inspirational women of Portsmouth is reflected not only in the work of one charity we support but also in the 'Endo Warriors' they are fighting for.
Endometriosis Southcoast is a charity that does amazing work in supporting the people who are affected by this awful condition. They provide much-needed resources and support, and they are fighting to make a big difference in the lives of people living with this diagnosis.
It is something that affects a huge proportion of people across the world, yet still remains a heavily taboo and under-researched topic. In order to continue inspiring our local communities and challenge stigmas as we see here - we work with endometriosis charities like this one to educate others and ignite tough conversations.
Explaining The ConditionEndometriosis is a systemic disease that affects the metabolism in the liver and adipose tissue. This leads to inflammation, pain sensitisation and mood disorders. As a result, many people suffer from severe pelvic pain, fertility problems, and other complications.
It is thought to affect around one in ten women of childbearing age, though this figure may be higher as many cases go undiagnosed. It often starts during puberty and can get worse over time.
Unfortunately, there is no cure and many of the treatments that manage the symptoms aren't that effective and are mainly medication that manipulate hormones of the reproductive system, surgery and lifestyle changes.
The exact cause is unknown, but it is thought to be due to a combination of genetic and hormonal factors. As a result of this, it can have a huge impact on someone's life, yet it is still relatively unknown in both the general population and the medical field.
If you would like to learn more about endometriosis charities, or if you are looking for support or advice on the condition itself, please visit Endometriosis Southcoast. Their website has a wealth of information, and they offer an incredible support network for those affected by this condition.
Adenomyosis. Another condition this charity is working to research and raise awareness of is adenomyosis, similar to endometriosis in a few ways but also differing enough that many people don't understand what separates the two.
Adenomyosis is when endometrial cells invade the muscle wall of the womb. This can cause heavy and painful periods, as well as pelvic pain and pressure.
There is a cure, however that cure is the removal of the womb (hysterectomy). Treatments are available to help manage the symptoms for those that do not want a hysterectomy; however they are mainly hormonal contraceptives and analgesics. Again, doctors are unsure of the cause..
Both of these conditions are extremely misunderstood by a lot of people. People often find themselves being victims of medical gaslighting or simply being misdiagnosed with things that present similar symptoms.
Some of the most common are IBS, depression, and anxiety.. In reality - this makes it so much harder for anyone to receive treatment that actually manages these symptoms and improves the quality of life.
Without endometriosis charities, this awareness and physical research may never escalate. Leaving so many people without the correct understanding is highly dangerous to these Endo warriors suffering from horrible pain and discomfort.
Like endometriosis, there is no cure. But treatments are available to help manage the symptoms. Again, doctors are unsure of the cause, although it seems to resolve itself after menopause in most women.
Both of these conditions are extremely misunderstood by a lot of people. Women often find themselves being victims of medical gaslighting or simply being misdiagnosed with things that present similar symptoms.
Some of the most common are IBS, depression, anxiety and PCOS. In reality - this makes it so much harder for anyone to receive treatment that actually manages these symptoms and improves the quality of life.
Without endometriosis charities, this awareness and physical research may never escalate. Leaving so many people without the correct understanding is highly dangerous to these Endowarriors suffering from horrible pain and discomfort.
Research to date Part of Endometriosis Southcoast's mission is to provide new and ongoing research into these conditions. This is in the hope that not only do more people understand where and how they can get support, but so the medical help provided can improve.
Some of the most recent research undertaken by this amazing charity are:
How Different Factors Affect Care Jodie, chair of trustees and research advisor was diagnosed at 29 after struggling with many life-altering symptoms. Now, she is completing her PhD, investigating the relationship between multiple different factors and the medical care of endo.
This includes comparing the health-related quality of life in patients of different ethnicities as well as those from different regions of the UK.
It is thought that women of Asian descent are 9 times more susceptible to this condition, so it is important to recognise whether ethnicity is a determining factor in care and the outcome of long-term treatment. It should not be this way, but many disparities have been found over the years already.
It has been noted that women wait an average of 10 minutes extra to receive pain relief in A&E compared to men, but when you are looking at an all-female group of sufferers, it is even more straightforward to determine any racial and ethnic disparities in the medical field.
Furthermore, Jodie is also looking at how being treated at British Society for Gynaecological Endoscopy (BSGE) accredited centres differs from standard gynaecological centres in the UK.
By reporting on these areas, the charity as a whole will have a wider foundation to move forwards and make changes in the way people suffering from these conditions receive treatment and ongoing support.
Menstruation Talking therapy Endometriosis charities across the country work to find new ways of managing these incurable conditions. One thing the team on the South Coast are doing is launching a study to investigate people's views on psychological treatment.
Many will undergo a large number of doctor appointments, invasive procedures and even surgery - trying different medications to manage pain and life-changing symptoms. But what happens when this doesn't work? When the list has been exhausted, is there anything else that can be done to improve quality of life?
Research into the possibility of talking therapies is few and far between. Here at Pamodzi Creatives, we know how valuable it can be to inspire new initiatives and involve the wider community.
This study asks anyone willing to share their thoughts on the matter and could lead to the investigation of a need for a separate women's health pathway within the NHS, another hopeful treatment for these painful conditions.
Why We Support Endometriosis Southcoast Pamodzi means together. And without a culture of togetherness, endometriosis charities like this one, or any non-profit for that matter, would not be able to carry out the necessary work and support they offer.
Also, our Inspirational Women of Portsmouth Project just simply wouldn't be complete without celebrating a team of such amazing, giving women like these. The positive impact they are making on the wider community is unmeasurable and will continue to make great headway for those who need their support.
Unfortunately, conditions generalised to a specific group like endo or adenomyosis are more likely to be scrutinised. With such little understanding of how or why it occurs, women all over are just being left in the dark about their own bodies.
It's time to speak up and utilise the resources we have. Only then will we begin to get the answers we need and people will begin taking control of their health once more.
How Can You Help? If you want to get involved with endometriosis charities, there are a few ways you can help.
You could volunteer your time and skills to help with social media, design work or even become a mentor for someone who needs support. If you have some extra cash to spare, you could make a one-off donation or set up a monthly payment to help with the running costs of the charity.
And finally, if you suffer from endometriosis yourself or know someone who does, spread awareness however you can. This might be through sharing this blog post, talking about your experiences on social media or even just having an open conversation with friends and family about what endometriosis is and how it affects people.
Also, if you'd like to take part in any of the research being carried out by the team on the South Coast, you can head over to their research page now and sign up.
The more we can grow each community and get people involved, the quicker we have a chance of seeing progress. This is an incredible team of women working so hard and remaining so hopeful for a better outcome in the quality of life and care for those suffering from endo and adenomyosis.
Pamodzi Means Together.
Our Mission Statement is to celebrate inspirational local stories and collaborate with creatives to challenge, affirm and inspire our communities. If you’d like to get involved or learn more about what we do - visit our website or social media today.
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I, as much as anybody, can attest to the positive effect that dance and movement have on our bodies physically. Our hearts and lungs, muscular system, and strength can all be greatly improved by movement and dance. It’s just well-known that exercising has a positive impact on us physically when done healthily and safely.
But what about the effect it has on our mental health? Well for me, I haven’t always put the two together.
I’ve danced all my life. I have vivid memories of the hours I spent in front of the TV watching the kids on Barney the Dinosaur and joining them with their dance routines or more times than not, going completely rogue and choreographing my own dances. I had loads of friends growing up thankfully but still found that a massive chunk of my childhood was me, by myself in my room, dancing. It didn’t matter what CD I got my hands on, I would dance to track after track and visualise the dancers alongside me on the stage and the hundreds and thousands of audience members watching me (while giving all the attitude and sass that I could as a 6-year-old). It's quite strange actually because even though I was on my own, for sometimes long periods, I don’t remember feeling alone or sad, I just remember being so happy, excited, and invigorated afterward. And of course, when it would be time to go to my weekly dance lessons, I would be like a kid on Christmas morning with the excitement, before rushing straight home to perfect what I had just learned before the next week. I just felt happiest when I danced.
In the years that followed I would have looked at all of this and not put much thought into it and the effect it had on me and my mindset. It wasn’t until I got older, and more to the point, until I stopped dancing completely for a few years that I realised how much of an effect dance had on me. Not only physically, but mentally too.
As I got older, I never wanted to stop dancing, even as my friends starting to stop for different reasons. Sometimes it wasn’t by choice, it was more that things got in the way; work, studies, boys, socialising. And although I had all these things in my life too, they always fell second to my dancing. Whilst in secondary school I started working as a student-teacher for my dance school, and when I left school and started college and had other jobs, I always made sure they fit around my dancing so I could keep going. Then in 2014 when I was 24, I decided it was the time to “grow up” (inverted commas because I fell into the trap of believing that to be a grown-up meant I had to stop dancing), and get a “real job”. I was moving from Ireland to the UK to live with my boyfriend and needed a new full-time job, and having no connections with any dance schools in the UK, I thought it would be the best time to do so.
I stopped dancing for a full 2 years for the first time ever. And initially, I didn't mind. There was so much going on that I didn’t really have time to miss dancing. Having just moved, I put a lot of my feelings and emotions down to homesickness, stress, and settling into my new surroundings. But after a few months, I started to really miss moving and music. So instead of doing what I innately knew would help (dance), I joined a gym for the first time in my life! After realising working out alone wasn’t the one, I decided to try some of the exercise classes, and this started to make me feel good. I loved the upbeat music and “dance-like” rhythm of the boxercise or aerobic-style classes, but after a couple of weeks, I got bored and stopped.
This trial and error of different things continued for another year and a half. At the same time, I really wasn’t feeling good or happy. I wasn’t myself and I wasn’t the girl my boyfriend had fallen in love with and I started to doubt my decision to move countries. I had essentially gone from being someone busy with exciting things, highly independent, and creative at home to someone working a full-time office job, with no creative outlet, and who was highly dependent on my boyfriend. Due to this, our relationship started to suffer and I knew a massive chunk of it was because of how low, unfulfilled, and downright crap I felt. And in April 2016, after a pretty bad argument, which left me booking a same-day flight home to have “crisis talks” with my family, I promised that I would and could make it work. I knew I couldn’t help my relationship until I tried to help myself, but I still wasn't 100% sure how. And then, in the August of the same year, I started back dancing.
At this time, I still hadn’t figured out that stopping dancing had been a massive catalyst in my lacking self-esteem, my confidence, and my overall mental health. I only started again because I saw an Adults dance company on Facebook who did girly-commercial style dancing a stone throws from me, called the Neptune Girls and I thought it looked cool. However, after my very first, not-so-good, and quite shaky lesson, I felt different. I didn't fully understand it at the time but I just remember feeling like the girl who walked into the studio that evening was not the same person who strutted out. And as the weeks went on this got stronger and stronger.
It probably took a good 6 to 12 months before I looked back and was able to piece it all together. Dancing for me wasn’t just a hobby, it wasn’t just a job and it wasn’t just exercise. It was like therapy in physical form. It felt like I was under a spell as soon as the music started. Any worries, stresses, or problems seemed non-existence during this time. I could dance and move without the constant barrage of thoughts and noise of life whirling round and round in my head. They would still come back once I stopped, but I felt able to deal with them again with fresh eyes and a new perspective. And of course, this not only affected my mindset, mentality, and headspace but also filtered into my relationship and other aspects of my life.
Now, I’m completely aware of how dramatic this may all sound, but that’s because for me it was dramatic. In the space of a year, I went from flying home to figure out my life, what I was going to do, and potentially where I was going to live, to getting engaged, really enjoying my job, and also feeling like my “old self” once again. Returning to dance was like a domino effect on so many parts of my life, and I fully believe that if I didn’t go back things would probably not be the way they are for me today.
The years when I didn't dance were the times in my life when I struggled most with my mental health. I craved music and movement but nothing ever fully satisfied that and it became detrimental to so many areas of my life. Of course, other things were affecting how I felt too but dance had always been, and probably always will be, my release and escape, and without it, I wasn't sure how to cope with everything that was going on.
I say that I am someone who doesn't "suffer" from my mental health thankfully. And by that, I mean that I've never had any medical or other support to help it. But just as we all have physical health; mental health is also something we all have. They can both be good and healthy at times, bad at others, and something we need help with along the way too. We all know there are things we can do to help look after ourselves physically; like drinking water, eating nourishing food, and getting enough sleep. But are we as aware of the things we can try and do to maintain our mental health? We wouldn't wait for our physical health to reach rock bottom before we start to look after it and the same applies to our mental health; being mindful of doing the things that nurture and improve it when we can.
For me, it's dancing. In a studio or class setting. In a nightclub, freestyling away to my heart's content without a care in the world. Or even just in my kitchen, cranking the radio right up and moving around in whatever way feels good. I realise that now. And there are still days now when I feel like the last thing I want to do is move let alone dance, but these are the days that I need to dance the most and the times it has the biggest impact.
I dance now for me, my body, and more importantly, for my mind.
If you are struggling with your mental health, you can get help locally by visiting the Health and Care page of www.portsmouth.gov.uk or talking to your GP, Postive Minds. https://www.positivemindsportsmouth.org.uk/ , Talking Change https://www.talkingchange.nhs.uk/ or CALM https://www.thecalmzone.net/about-calm/what-is-calm/
Lead Author : Kelly Marie Baker
Kelly-Marie is a tree loving, free spirited mum of two. Based in Southsea, she leads her family on a Home Education journey, learning from life and the world around them. Over the years her creative soul has been fed with the likes of poetry, dance, choreography and, more recently, writing. Her writing is predominantly focused on personal growth and development with a special interest in using the platform to challenge social norms and provoke deep thought. Kelly believes that The Arts are an immensely important tool to communicate complex and delicate issues and is proud to be collaborating with Pamodzi Creatives. Kelly’s favourites are nature, travel, personal development and coffee…all the coffee!