International Mother Language Day at Longsight Library was a massive success! We had over 500 participants over the course of the afternoon! There was all manner of fantastic activities to have some fun with delivered by amazing artists and local organisations.

Our lovely friends and partners from Anamika Cultural Group made beautiful International Mother Language Day & Bangla themed badges & Fridge Magnets. Ferdousi, runs a Bangla Saturday School at the library and has been involved with, as well as, Longsight Library’s initial inspiration to celebrate International Mother Language Day from our first event. Ferdousi and the rest of Anamika Cultural Group can often be found giving their time to support events in the library.

We had fantastic Calligraphers from Wai Yin Society & Rethink Rebuild, teaching us how to write our names in both Mandarin and Arabic. The most beautiful exchange happened between the calligraphers, that involved them writing each others names in their respective scripts. Louise from Wai Yin recounted that she’d never understood why people got so excited by having their names written in Mandarin until Abdullah wrote Louise’s name for her…. then she just got it. She was so excited to have her name beautifully illustrated in Arabic. It was truly fantastic to see how much they loved and appreciated each others artistic talent. As ever young and old enjoyed learning how to write their names also!

Artist Rahela Khan created a lovely oasis of calm and focus with her Mindful Mehndi drawing activity. One woman who spent a considerable amount of time at Rahelas table told us how important it had been for her to connect with others at the event.  

“I made many new friends, I am single, I enjoyed everything & I sang one of the Asian songs”.

On the back of Chinese New Year artist Mei Yuk Wong made gorgeous little origami bunnies with participants.

origami bunnies made by participants of workshop.

Ojos De Dios was an absolute hit with everyone! Ojos De Dios otherwise known as God’s Eye originating from Mexico was brought to life by local artist Mandy Cleveland of Curious Crafty CIC. It’s always a chaos of colour when Mandy comes to the library to share her joy of creating!

Extremely tasty & gorgeously baked cakes & Masala Chai were served up by Women’s Voices, who offer up catering opportunities to the women that they work with. A wee team from Rethink Rebuild came with their very popular Arabic Coffee, dates & date cookies. Their coffee really put the zoom into the afternoon, no tiredness from this point on!

Retired local head-teacher & author Bob Merrell, who has worked and visited with schools in India, alongside one of the Talk English student he volunteers with, Tehera, delivered a thoroughly inspiring and animated dual language story-session with his book “Little Bird” about a young Indian girl following her dreams. Bob, Tehera and her husband followed this with a Theple-making activity, think hacky sacs but made out of recycled inner tubes. Theple’s are a constant in the lives of Indian children who get to show off their athletic skills with them.

Local project, Equal Start, an off shoot of Manchester Central Foodbank, brought a painting and drawing activity to the library. They talked with adult participants about what support was on offer to help people who are experiencing the ongoing impacts of the cost of living crisis.

Longsight Library’s celebration was one of a whole host of activities celebrating International Mother Language Day in Manchester, brought together and coordinated by Manchester City of Literature.

And here’s a some of the feedback from folk who participated.