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A Problem You Don’t Have…

14 Nov

If you’re reading this post, you probably don’t need to attend RASAG’s IT Club…

Free internet access is thankfully on the rise, but when so many of us are connected at home and out and about on smart phones, wireless devices and WiFi it’s hard to imagine having to make an appointment to get an hour online. Having secured one’s hour at a library, community learning space or similar, the task of logging onto the system and navigating away from the homepage is likely to take a sizeable chunk out of the designated time. Even for the most seasoned cyber surfer under an hour will be at best a couple of emails, bit of a nosey on facebook and possibly some gentle Youtubing. Or of course if there are serious tasks to be done, you could perhaps search for and download the details of a job or two, investigate your car insurance or plan a journey. So what about people who don’t know how to set up an email account, or use Google or open a programme?

With thanks to Sheffield City Council’s now closed Small Grants fund RASAG has been running an IT club on Mondays,11 – 3 at Sharrow Old Junior School. The grant which we received in March enables us to hire the IT Training Suite (£25 p/h), to buy a small amount of teaching resources and to refund bus fares to qualifying participants, ie. those who are unwaged or entirely without income. Thanks to an element of match funding from the Community Forum, we are also able to provide a hot lunch. The combination of transport assistance and food makes us an ideal facility for anyone who does not have personal internet access and who is on a tight budget.

RASAG IT Club is open for everyone, whether they’ve never switched a PC on in their life or they’re written an encyclopaedia on computer engineering. The four hour time slot means that anyone who attends is able to secure a meaningful amount of time online and have free use of a printer. All IT clubbers are encouraged to help each other out and if they are not in need of help themselves, they will certainly find they are able to help others. Top priorities include getting everyone set up on an email account and using this and other medium as a form of communication; a simple example of this would be new email users exchanging messages with each other. Today we established a group blog and six IT clubbers are authors so far, see

Literacy is the greatest barrier to learner progression and enjoyment at IT Club, so reading support is the key need within the group. If a person is literate in any language, they will be able to use a computer and may have ESL needs that can be addressed with online activities. However, if the person cannot read any language, then ESL activities will not help them to use a computer. The relaxed and friendly atmosphere at the IT Club ensures that everyone gets a chance to try new things, learn and practice new skills and meet people who learn in different ways and all have something to teach.

Some of the things that have proved to be important to IT Club goers so far include having access to music and videos from other cultures, using email, facebook, twitter and other platforms to communicate with people and being able to download job applications, funding applications and print coursework and formal letters. It’s so satisfying to see facilities being used and enjoyed, and a wide variety of people gaining substantial benefit from them. Viva IT Club!


Eid Party Pictures

20 Sep

Dancing to Jakam Jar Bu

Many thanks again to Daniel Humble for his work on the RASAG Eid party – a site of pictures from the party is available here – if you were at the party and would like to order copies of the picture please contact Dan – his details are on the picture page. 

Ahmed and Goran in traditional costume

Happy Eid From Rasag!

16 Sep

Some of the people who helped to organise and enjoyed the party

Many thanks to Goran and the rest of the RASAG team for a very successful Happy Eid party on the 11th September in the Sharrow Old Junior School Hall.  RASAG were granted £250.00 from the Shine on Sharrow fund, for which we are very grateful.  RASAG laid on food, including Kurdish dolma, made by friends of Goran, fish and rice by Nzazi, a range of lovely dishes from Sujata and a large bucket of biryani from Sagheer – thanks guys!  Music was provided by Yakam Jar Bu, and they had us all up dancing together – great to see so many different races and Nationalities enjoying a boogie together.  Side by Side’s Dan Humble came and took photo’s, including the lovely one above – thanks Dan!  There will be a link to a page of photo’s added shortly.  Firas and Shiran worked hard on the party preperations and the clear up and it was great to see Azizeh and Lemlem enjoying themselves and spending time with friends.  Great work all round RASAG team!

Many thanks to everyone at Sharrow Community forum and Sharrow Surestart for making everything run smoothly and keeping the kiddies occupied with glue, sparklies and other fun messy stuff!  There will be more pics and quotes from the group to follow, plus a piece in Sharrow Today, but suffice to say, we’re planning an even bigger bash for “Big Eid” in a few months – though we were very pleased with the 80+ people we attracted to “little Eid”

Eid Mubarack!

Many thanks to Shine on Sharrow!

31 Aug

Thanks to the Shine on Sharrow committee RASAG will be holding an Eid celebration on 11th September at the Old Junior School building, 1-5 pm.  As well as proving some delicious food for everyone, RASAG will be laying on entertainment including Kurdish singing and dancing.  We are on the look out for performers to make this a truly multicultural experience and there will be children’s activities too. 

Everyone is welcome to come and celebrate on the 11th september – the more the merrier.

Happy Eid Party 

 This will be a great opportunity to eat and drink together, have fun and meet new friends in the community.  The whole community likes to celebrate Christmas together, whether we are Christians or not…  Let’s do something special together as a community for Eid this year.

RASAG Meeting 27/07/10

26 Jul

Meeting tomorrow – Tuesday 27th July at 3pm at Learn For Life, 241-243 London Road, Sheffield S2 4NF.  All Welcome

– refugees and asylum seekers most welcome.

The agenda will include;

i. What next for the Legends project?

ii.  Views on the Big Lunch,

iii.  The campaign for Lemlem,

iv. What next for RASAG – football team, talent contest, art project, band…?!

The possibilities are endless 🙂


29 Jun

As the Legends Project approaches the finale of this leg of it’s journey, appearances at Gleadless Valley and Sharrow festivals, it seems that the time to take stock is nigh…

Legends kicked off with a workshop on the 18th July and despite complications including court appearances, fork lift truck driving lessons, hospital appointments and illness, we had a marvelous time with singing, dancing and lots of storytelling!

Activities that we worked on included a storytelling circle where  we took turns in sitting in “the magic chair” and telling a story to the rest of the group – everyone chose their own tale and did this exercise by themselves – something many would not have felt confident to do at the start of the day.

The magic chair was the place to tell stories!

We also asked people to take a piece of flipchart paper to a quiet corner and write or draw something they would like to tell about.  This produced some fabulous results that formed the basis of our exhibition.  As I had hoped in the planning stages of the project, this allowed people to express feelings and ideas that reflected on the refugee and asylum seeker experience, with people sharing elements of the story of how they escaped their country and feelings about the injustice of their struggle for freedom.  There were also funny personal anecdotes and stories which expressed a dilemma, calling on the addressee to answer questions about morality and due cause…

We put the written stories on the wall and discussed them

We took a break to enjoy a meal together and stories continued to bound across the table, with magic amulets and language being particularly strong topics!

The next day some of the participants and our professional storyteller Roisin Murray set up a gazebo at Heeley Festival and entertained adults and children with our stories.

In the evening we went on stage at Assist’s One World Over Concert, where we enjoyed explaining the project, singing a song and telling some stories – the group felt great and really elated after this event!

On Monday 21st June the group entertained audiences at Central and Ecclessall library and we showed an exhibition of stories and photo’s which was of great interest to the attendants.

The exhibition of stories and pictures was well received in the libraries

After a week in the storytelling wilderness RASAG was out in force at the Heeley Institute Variety is the Spice of Life community lunch yesterday.  Nine participants entertained an audience of over 50 people with songs, stories and more stories!  City of Sanctuary’s film maker Andrew was there and we are all very excited to see the results of his filming.  This was our greatest event so far and the participants really came into their own, taking center stage and proving the personal growth that’s been achieved through the Legends project.  The aim of the Legends project was to give people a voice and to help them to interact with the community and it was a source of great pride to see this in action.

Next on the agenda for Legends are appearances at Gleadless Valley Festival on Saturday 3rd June at 11.50 and on Sharrow Festival’s Community Stage on the same day at 1.15.  If the Heeley Institute appearance is anything to go by, we’re going to take the crowd by storm!

Performances and picnic

9 Jun

Legends storytelling group will be performing at

Heeley Festival Sat, 19/06/2010 all day in a gazebo

One World Over Sat, 19/06/2010 – 19:00 – 22:00. In Aid of ASSIST, at the Montgomery Hall, Surrey St (by the big wheel)

Central Library Surrey Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S1 1XZ, 12.30 – 1.30 Mon 28/06/2010

Ecclesall Library 120 Ecclesall Road South, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S11 9PL, 5.30 – 6.30 Mon 28/06/2010!/group.php?gid=105594016150685&ref=ts

The RASAG/Big Lunch picnic will now be held at Sharrow Summer Flea Market, Old Junior School, South View Road Sheffield S7 1DB on 12 – 5 pm, 18/07/2010