SPOTLIGHT: Project Zazi offers health & wellbeing to young POC in Bristol

Project ZAZI is a space for young black people and people of colour to explore themes like identity and culture, and how these play out in life, especially around wellbeing.

Project ZAZI is run by Off The Record (OTR) which is a Bristol organisation that supports young people’s wellbeing – it offers things like therapy but it’s also SO much more than that – it hosts all sorts of creative spaces for young people to get involved in: workshops, informal groups, physical activities like parkour, self expression and more – most of all it’s a place to get to know people, and get to know yourself.

ZAZI means ‘Know yourself, know your strength’ which pretty much sums up what the project is about. Knowing your own mind and understanding pressures from society is like arming yourself with tools to be able to navigate life. Project ZAZI has a huge range of different groups so each person can find something that resonates with them. We’ve put together just a small selection of the groups and spaces that are on offer.

Speaker’s Corner is a space for black people and people of colour ages 16-25 to discuss identity in a non-judgmental way with the focus being on you and your views. In these virtual sessions we discuss and debate various aspects of culture such as – where do we feel like we belong? How can we feel safe? What does a healthy relationship look like?

Social Action Projects work with Black People and Young People of Colour aged 15-21, and the sessions look at elements of culture and mental health to support young people in becoming the change that they want to see in the world. Our sessions look at campaigning, activism, culture, history and intersectionality as components and accelerants of change.

Girl Talk / Chat Bout is a space for girls and young womxn aged 16 – 25 to chat about themes like race and racism, colourism, beauty politics, role models, cultural norms, consent, gender and sexuality and more. It’s a space to “think about the lived experiences of Black People and People of colour and how some of the common themes that contribute to poor mental health is gendered and therefore intersectional.”

Masculinity sessions for ages 17-22 help unpack what it means to be a “man” and the issues associated with masculinity, so that young men can become allies within their social spaces, and also advocate and cultivate authentic, unapologetic, meaningful masculine expression.

‘The group talks about real things that matter to me, stuff that we don’t get to focus on anywhere else, I really like coming and the team are really nice and supportive” – Jamal, 15

This October, Project ZAZI put together a Hall of Magnificence to highlight 25 young people of colour in Bristol doing amazing things, from activists and journalists to chefs and entrepreneurs. They said “ These young people are influencing, challenging and reconstructing the spaces that they enter. They are all beacons of light for our city. They are all magnificent. We hope they inspire you as much as they inspire us!”

You can also listen to Project ZAZI’s Amplify podcast which celebrates the voices of innovative people of colour in Bristol. And if you’re still hungry for inspiring and nourishing content, check out the Zazi Library, a curated collection of  game-changing resources, from poetry, fiction and non-fiction books to podcasts, films, youtube channels and online resources for your perusal!

There’s plenty more on offer at OTR so check out their website and get in touch with them to get involved!