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October is #BlackHistoryMonth, and Manchester Active are celebrating inspirational black people from Manchester
We recently spoke with Khadijat Idowu Morafa, the Founder of Across Ummah CIC, a charity organisation in Manchester who work to mitigate substance misuse, addiction, crises and domestic violence within the family and in the community.
Read the full interview below;

1. please could you tell us about yourself?

"My name is Khadijat Idowu MORAFA, the Founder of Across Ummah CIC. I had my M.Sc in Issues in Brain and Addiction. I love to foster peace and harmony within the community by supporting different demographics and social status to resolve any challenges within the community."

2. Tell us about Across Ummah cic?

"Across Ummah CIC was established to improve family and community cohesion, mental and general wellness by mitigating substance misuse, addiction, crises and domestic violence within the family and in the community.
We create holistic pathways for people to reduce these conditions, by creating coping mechanisms in building resilience through counselling, therapy, coaching and resourceful skills to combat life challenges. We organise lectures, conferences, workshops, youth programmes.
We also run food projects across Manchester to reduce Cost of living crisis, poverty and socio-economic problems."

3.what made you want to set up the organisation?

"When crisis happens in the family, many people do not have coping mechanisms more than turning into substance misuse. Some people from overseas entered criminal injustice and social services wrath due to lack of knowledge about being assimilated and lack of social values and norms. There are issues of identity crisis and Adverse childhood experience in many communities. 
Across Ummah intervenes to educate the communities and create pathways to prevent and reduce these dysfunctional traits in the family and in the community at large. We believe viable and good family units will foster viable community and eventually viable society. We run youth events to bring the awareness of the substance misuse and support them to reach maximum potentials in life."

4. in your experience, what do you think are the main causes of substance abuse and addiction in manchester's communities?

Some of the causes of substance abuse are due to peer pressure, trauma, adverse childhood Experiences, socio -economic pressures like unemployment, poverty, lack of coping strategies in difficulties, lack of education or ignorance, easy access to drugs and mental illness and isolation.

5. how do you help people?

Through counselling, coaching, therapy, training, workshops, giving educative sessions and awareness in schools and in our events. Our food hub and panties are another outlet for people to mix and socialise with other people in the community. We train people to learn new skills on budgeting, parenting, triaging and signpost to other sectors they could be supported.

6. despite your work. what obstacles to reducting levels of substance abuse & addiction remain?

"There are so many obstacles, we face but we never give up on anyone and are always there for our clients.
Economic and Social Inequalities – Poverty, unemployment Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and social disparities contribute to substance abuse in vulnerable populations.
Relapse and Long-term Recovery – Relapse is a common challenge in addiction recovery, highlighting the need for ongoing support.
Limited Prevention and Education – Education and prevention efforts are insufficient as there has been so many reductions in some services to promote awareness as there are people including our youths unaware of the risks and consequences of substance abuse.
The stigma and discrimination associated with addiction can deter individuals from seeking help and getting treatment, we as a community Interest are accepting all backgrounds and create pathways for their individual’s needs.
Lack of access to Treatment and rehabilitation centres – Many communities face limited access to addiction treatment and rehab services. The waiting period for NHS is long and the private sectors are so expensive.
Co-occurring Mental Health Disorders – Substance abuse often co-occurs with mental health issues, and addressing both simultaneously can be challenging.
Accessibility and Social Inequalities – The availability and ease of access to drugs and alcohol to fuel addiction issues especially Cannabis, Shisha and vaping."

7. who has supported your work and how important has that support been to you and the organisation?

"All the teams- Board of Directors, staffs, volunteers and the service users have been amazing in building trust and collaborating with us. Without adequate fundings from our funders and supporters such as NHS and Mental sectors, One Manchester, food Manchester, Rafiki and Fareshare Food Network, BBC Children In Need, Healthy Me Healthy Community, MACC and Manchester City Council and others Stakeholders we would not have been able to achieve this milestone."

8. what has been your most memorable or stand out moment?

"Wiping tears from people’s eyes, validating and reassuring them to achieve maximum potentials in life are great values. Working with diverse communities with various challenges in life such as gambling, addiction or other issues that they felt quite daunting and unsurmountable, and working with these individuals to cross these hurdles, turn their lives round and have sense of achievements."

9. how can people in manchester get involved and support the work you do?

"We welcome more volunteers from diverse background because of diversities in the community that we serve. More funding will boost the projects that we run, and everyone is welcome."

We'd like to say a mssive thank you to Idowu for taking the time to speak to us.If you like to learn more about Across Ummah, and the work they do, visit the links below!
Find them on;
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