EDUCATIONAL INTERVENTION & HOLISTIC SUPPORT
In 1980, awakened by the Black Parents Movement and surrounding discourse at the time, a group of local parents and teachers gathered at Kentish Town Library to discuss practical ways in which they could support each other and their children. At the time, academic and social research into the education attainment of black students was highlighting the fact that large numbers of young black and mixed heritage British young people were leaving school or being permanently excluded with little to no formal qualifications due to an educational system which was alienating and even discriminating against them. The list of issues identified included an educational system in which children and young people did not see themselves represented: which failed to include or acknowledge the historic and contemporary contributions of BME societies, communities or individuals as well as misunderstanding the needs of these children and a readiness to label them negatively from an early age.
The overriding concern, however, was the understanding that if young people, were failing to complete school to age 16 or left without achieving a required standard of education, the result would often be a lifetime of continued social disadvantages, affecting health, employment, housing, quality of life and self esteem.
Action was needed; and fast. Thus Camden Black Parents and Teachers Association was born. At that time the emphasis was on development through self help and working collectively. However, as the organisation grew, members realised that much more could be done to help more young people with funding and dedicated support roles and in 1989 Camden Black Parents and Teachers Association became a registered charity.
Over the years the organisation has supported and touched the lives of thousands of parents and young people, not just in it's "home town" of Camden, but London wide. In 1998, with the support of Camden Council, CBP&TA was granted a long term lease for it's current premises in the Queen's Crescent area of Kentish Town. The building was named the CARAF Centre - creating a hub for our services. While locations and faces (of staff and children) have changed many times the motivations remain the same - supporting parents to support their children.
There are still plenty of challenges and many more people whose lives we haven’t been able to touch because of lack of resources; nevertheless we've never been the kind of people who shy away from a challenge!