In mid-May, Bolton College joined forces with local charity The Smile of Hope to honour Africa in style.
One of Bolton College’s strategic priorities is to ensure that the community of Bolton feels part of and makes full use of the College, and this is the third year running that the College has demonstrated its commitment to celebrating diversity by hosting Africa day.
The Smile of Hope, founded by Leila Gomes and Maria Oprea, is a charity that represents Bolton’s African community. The charity had several sponsors for the event, including Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, where members of the The Smile of Hope often assist customers with bag-packing to help raise funds and contribute to the local community.
Thursday’s event, which took place in the atrium for college-wide spectators, showcased Africa’s cultures and traditions through a vibrant combination of drumming, gospel singing, poetry readings, lively dancing and a colourful fashion show. The College was also joined by pupils from Gilnow Primary School and St Gregory’s Primary School, who gave energetic vocal and dancing performances.
Peter Griffiths, Head of ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) at Bolton College, said: "I was delighted to host another Africa Day celebration at the College. This has now become an annual fixture and it is so enjoyable to celebrate a small taste of the many African cultures represented both in this College and across Bolton as a whole.”
Maria Oprea, Chair and Co-Founder of The Smile of Hope, said: “The event was a complete success this year; we all worked hard and it was worth every minute. We even had guests who had travelled all the way from the south of England to attend! I would like to thank Bolton College for hosting this cultural event, and also the schools, local businesses – particularly Bolton at Home, who always sponsor the event – and our volunteers for their invaluable contributions.”
Marie Gilluley, Principal and Chief Executive of Bolton College, said: “Celebrating cultural diversity is an important aspect of College life, and during their visit last year Ofsted commended us for being ‘a college that actively promotes integration and celebrates diversity’. We look forward to welcoming The Smile of Hope again next year.”