As we throw ourselves into the chaos that is Christmas, surrounded by requests from children for every possible new toy, rehearsals for School nativity and the dreaded trip to Father Christmas, where your toddler wraps themselves around your leg and refuses to give Father Christmas eye contact. Sound all too familiar?
At Mini First Aid we have been thinking about people who have all sorts of family challenges that our Christmas ‘stresses’ suddenly seem somewhat superficial.
Like all large cities, Leeds has a growing population of refugees and those seeking asylum, many of which have young babies and children.
Leeds NCT provide a rolling programme of antenatal and postnatal sessions for refugee and asylum seeking women and their babies at Choto Moni Children’s Centre in Harehills.
Claire, our North Leeds Mini First Aid Trainer was excited to be invited to join this group for the afternoon.
Unsure what to expect, everyone was very friendly and welcoming. Claire was made to feel at home straight away. The women are from a range of countries speaking a variety of languages. The group runs for 2.5 hours and is an opportunity for the ladies to socialise and gain practical support for birth, pregnancy and parenting. This is then followed by an hour of sewing led by a local mum and singing popular nursery rhymes for the children.
Claire’s visit was planned to show the group of about 15 ladies (and lots of toddlers and babies) some essential first aid skills. For this first visit Claire taught CPR, dealing with burns and responding to choking. All the ladies joined in the interactive session and were keen to practice the techniques on the mannequins. Friends translated for each other where necessary to ensure that everyone understood.
Claire had a very enjoyable, worthwhile afternoon. We hope the ladies in the group do not have to use any of the skills they learnt from Mini First Aid, but we can now be confident that they have the knowledge should they ever need it.
As Claire left, the group were all learning a new song - ‘Nelly the Elephant’ – as this is the perfect pace to perform the chest compressions in CPR!
Thank you to all the ladies, children and Rose, Fran and Charlotte who facilitate the group. Fran sent us this message today - Claire's first aid session was just fantastic for the women we are working with from many different countries. Her ability to teach such an important skill in a way that was understandable and practical is to be highly commended. The thought of having to administer first aid is scary, but Claire's session has given these vulnerable women the confidence and skills to help their children when they may need them most.'
And then this message arrived for Claire from Rose another facilitator at the centre;
It was a real pleasure to meet you yesterday and I very impressed with the first aid session you ran. I have been teaching antenatal classes for asylum seekers and refugees since 2003 and over the years have had many guest leading sessions but I can honestly say your was one of the best. You were welcoming and inclusive; you used simple language and your body to explain difficult and potentially frightening situations.
You ensured all the mums and even some of the children had a chance to practice the skills you taught them and you gave them chances to check the knowledge they had learnt with straightforward questions during the session and again at the end.
I am sure that those who attended have gained knowledge and skills that could really save lives. By coming to Choto Moni you have reached parents who need this knowledge but couldn't afford to pay for it and for that I thank you.