Skip to main content

Born To Write: Save the Children Blogging Conference

A great cause and a great event.
There's nothing better than an early morning ride on a Boris Bike from Waterloo, through the old part of London, past the Old Bailey, towards Smithfield Market. The fresh air blasting against one's bearded face and the cold air piercing one's eardrums. This is exactly what I did on Saturday 26th February en route to Save the Children UK's headquarters in order to attend their Born to Write blogging conference.

I must admit the thought of networking first thing on a Saturday did not strike me as a top priority, but thanks to a variety of people engaging me in conversation, not least Denrele who was in charge of tweeting for the day, and some coffee - I hope it was FairTrade guys - I was coerced into being sociable. I'm glad I was too.

The day started in earnest with a couple of speakers: Adrian Lovett, who spoke on how social media could be used to get people thinking about poverty now in a way that the 'Make Poverty History' wristbands did in the early 2000s; this was followed up by Gareth Owen, whose job title is the interesting Director of Emergencies, who talked about how social media is used to get information from the coal face to the public when disaster strikes. Both made compelling arguments.

With one eye firmly on my impending trip to Rwanda and Uganda this April, I attended the workshop run by Colin Crowley, whose role is that of a multimedia journalist in times of disaster. He demonstrated wonderfully the manner in which even the most simple of video and photographic techniques can garner the most potent of responses from the world - taking time in many cases to focus on the story of the individual and not the thoughts of the journalist as news channels often do. A great example of this being an interview he filmed with Andrise, a young Haitian girl.

To round things off, author Melvin Burgess came forward for the key note address discussing the importance of providing a voice for people through listening and retelling their stories. What one could gather from his message was that if, through social media, we can share the voice of the forgotten, the oppressed, the dejected and the downbeat and connect them with the millions of ears out there, we can make a difference.

The day was an immensely worthwhile experience. Every speaker could be said to provide some sort of encouragement for moving my own social media enterprises forward, but doing so in a way that continues to point firmly towards helping others who find themselves in need of a voicebox. 

I'm going to be a busy man in East Africa this April.

I would like to thank Save the Children UK for the opportunity to participate in the conference, with a special thank you to the speakers and Colin Crowley for providing some real inspiration. Save the Children can be followed on Twitter (@SaveChildrenUK).


Popular posts from this blog

From a Crooked Rib by Nuruddin Farah

I stumbled across Nuruddin Farah’s novels when searching for something written by a Somali author. Perhaps due to the conflict that has raged for years in Somalia, it is very difficult to find much from Somali writers published in English.
From a Crooked Rib was published in 1970 and tells the story of Ebla, a young, orphaned, illiterate nomadic girl, who runs away from her encampment. She takes the decision to leave upon learning of her Grandfather’s intention to marry her off to an older man within their Jes (a group of families living in an encampment together).
She firstly escapes to a town, Belet Amin, where she finds her cousin and his pregnant wife. She also finds a guide and confidante in a character known only as the widow. Things seem settled until, yet again, Ebla finds her freedom compromised by a male character – this time her cousin, whose wife and child Ebla has been nursing.
In her haste she leaves Belet Amin with the widow’s nephew, bound for Mogadishu – still called

Atay Maghrebi: The Slow Train to Tangier

Marrakech station is an architecturally magnificent mixture of older Moroccan motifs combined with modern palatial glass windows. It shimmers in Marrakshi tones of gold and umber even in the half-light of dawn, slowly waking up as weary passengers emerge from taxis in all directions.

The first time I had taken the train from Marrakech, it was on the earliest departure of the day, shortly after 6am. I was shocked at how dark the place had been. A few low lights were on in the building, but the railway carriages had sat in perfect darkness.
Being on a tighter budget, on my first journey northwards in 2016 I had booked a standard class ticket and hadn’t bothered to check the length of the journey. Ten hours later, having run out of cash, my back had been aching and I was massively dehydrated. I wouldn’t be making the same mistake again.
This time I’d opted for a departure during daylight, albeit still early enough to accommodate the massive journey time, and I had treated myself to an…

Yel Değirmenleri, Bodrum

After a week traversing Istanbul and the small city of Konya in early April 2018, I took an internal flight and headed to the coast in Bodrum.
On my first evening there I had noted the direction of the sunset as the whole of the sky became flooded with a beautiful orange light.
A couple of the days later, I walked up to what I could see was the highest vantage point in the vicinity by the Yel Değirmenleri, a group of 18th-century Greek windmills. The windmills are in a terrible state of repair with one Tripadvisor user lamenting it as a "waste and insult to the [city’s] past."
In almost any direction, the location commands views over Bodrum Bay or Gumbet Bay, and is perfect for capturing sunset over the landscape and Aegean Sea.
Playing with the manual settings on my Nikon D3300 (don’t ask me what I did) it seemed to capture a quite spectacular range of colours in raw mode.
For more, follow me on Instagram: @ayohcee.