Invisible disability revealed in UEL campaign
30 July 2021
Paris-born artist Djouka, currently enrolled on the University of East London's MA International Fashion Business course, has launched a project to raise awareness of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) among Black women in the UK.
Djouka was working in fashion production and garment sourcing in Paris but always wanted to move to London to pursue further studies.
I chose UEL because it is known for diversity and inclusion. I was pleasantly surprised to discover there was a module on the curriculum that each student would be able to create their own campaign to make a difference to their community,"
Djouka, UEL student in Fashion Business MA, said.
The Mental Wealth module is a unique facet of a UEL degree. It is aimed at enhancing soft skills, such as critical thinking, emotional intelligence and resilience, alongside practical skills, such as digital proficiency and industry connections.
She said, "I am passionate about invisible disability. And my focus is ADHD which is something I suffer from. The campaign highlights lack of support for adult Black women who are assessed at a later age.
"As a woman of colour working in the fashion industry and facing tremendous pressure, mental support is not often available. So, I’m using this opportunity to raise awareness and to express something that I am so passionate about."
Mental health charity ADHD Babes is a community group that runs workshops and offers a safe space for Black women and non-binary people.
Djouka partnered with Annabelle Gatti Pierrini, a French photographer who also has ADHD, and together created visuals for the viral social media campaign.
Djouka said: "Working with the ADHD Babes, I decided to do promotional fundraising through social media to gain more recognition for the organisation.
"The outcomes were positive as it allowed people to come forward and ask questions about how to get assessed and how they could support the organisation. Those were the outcomes I most wanted to achieve."
Vivienne Isebor, director of community outreach and wellbeing at ADHD Babes, said: "Djouka has shown immense drive while supporting us.
"Her passion and determination not only galvanised support, but also created a sense of worth and appreciation within the team. It reminded me that our community and the volunteering team's efforts do not go unnoticed and our resources are endless."
Kent Le, programme director the MA International Fashion Business, said, "Like many others suffering from mental health issues due to lockdown restrictions, I am particularly drawn to Djouka's idea. Her campaign encourages conversations about the importance of support networks. I am glad our curriculum gives students space to express not only their creativity but also raise important issues like this."
To follow ADHD Babes go to https://linktr.ee/adhdbabes.
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