ITV Tyne Tees is celebrating Black History Month this October with a series of special reports recognising the achievements and contributions of people in our Black community.
In our first report, we hear from Salha Kaitesi, a blogger in Newcastle.
She launched Teakisi, a Community Interest Company (CIC), set up for a social purpose -to empower African women in the region.
It offers training sessions and events, to bring people together.
The following is a self-authored report by Salha Kaetesi:
Teakisi is a community resource, recently registered as a CIC, and before that we were a blog.
I was very lucky as I spoke English on arrival here – we know that language is a barrier to a lot of things.
It was absolutely a huge culture shock because everything I had gotten used to before was not present.
I remember at the time there was just a few Black people in the community, not just African women community.
You would be on the street and you would see another Black person across the road, you had to wave cause you were like oh my god there is someone there.
Through those experiences, I decided to create a blog because I wanted people to know about my truth, but most importantly because I felt like I needed for my voice to be heard – a platform that brought African women together to share their experiences, to share their stories.
By empowering them through speeches, by giving them platforms where they can be the ones who are actually heard, instead of being in the audiences listening to someone else speak.
It usually helps bringing all the community together to try to tackle issues, and talk about the issues that we have.
Sometimes it might be difficult for some people to hear but it is important that we talk about what is going on in our society because without it we won’t be able to make any change.
Celebrating Black history month is really really important – not just for us, but for our children – so they can see and grow up in a society that knows everyone in society is equal.
It is different to what it was like 20 years ago – before for example when I needed to have my hair done, I travelled to London because we didn’t have any hair dressers that were able to make my hair.
Now, wherever you go in the city you say I know where there is a shop where I can get this, and a hairdresser I can go, and there is African food I can go to. I’m happy to witness this change.
I am proud of who I am – not simply because I’m Black, but because of what I have achieved as a person.