Pastor Chika Amadi's 'Family Mediation Centre, London' Honoured On London Faith And Belief Community Award
The London Faith And Belief Community Awards "celebrate the creative, generous and vital work of London’s faith and belief communities by bringing together local heroes and shining a light on their inspirational work"
Since it's inception 5 years ago, the organizers annually give out 40 awards of £500.00 each to further support the unique and inspirational projects executed by the awardees. The award ceremony has been made possible due to the generous and continued support of Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London’s Council on Faith .
Family Mediation Centre, founded by a Nigerian diaspora Pastor Chika Amadi is among the distinguished receipients of this year's award. At the award event, the humanitarian exploits of the centre was briefly explained to the audience. Here is further narration of the centre by the founder:
History of Family Mediation Centre
As you maybe aware I started representing families at various meetings since about 2006 when I was a parent Governor at my children’s school. But my first Child Protection meeting was as Pastor when one former member of our church (a Nigerian) faced the danger of her four children being taken away into care. I just accompanied her to offer her emotional support but when I noticed that their conclusion was to take away her children I begged the chairman of the committee which included 4 teachers each representing one child, GP representatives, the Police, four Social workers, a Health Visitor and one other person or so. At the end of my pleading with the conference attendees I made a suggestion (purely on the spot idea which I believe was Holy Ghost inspired). As I spoke I saw all of them watch me in awe! And suddenly all the hard faces began to soften one by one while the sister I accompanied was sobbing. I concluded by suggesting that instead of taking the children away they should arrange regular RESPITE For the mother of the children. Immediately, I finished the Chairman thanked me profusely for such wise idea which they had never used or thought about before. With that an arrangement was put in place to enable her and the children to go on breaks regularly sponsored by the local authority and arrangements made for the Home Office to grant her and the children leave to Remain in the UK.
From there people who had Child Protection and Safeguarding issues got in touch with me, the work became more intense when I became an elected Councillor. I challenged many decisions of Harrow Council Staff to make Black children subject of Care Order or taken into care but rather to adopt supporting parents first unless where there is real and manifest danger to children’s lives as specified in Children’s Act 1998.
As of today, I have worked up and down the UK supporting families and many children taken into care have been returned to their families, some in danger of being taken into care stopped while others were made subject of Child in Need where the parents were struggling instead of outrightly removing them.
Has it cost me anything? Yes, I was suspended by the Labour Party as an Party Elected Councillor for speaking up for children because they sided with the LGBT community who claimed that my tweet was condemning them when my intention had nothing to do with them.
In a recent case in 2020, I was dragged to court by a Northern Ireland Local Authority for condemning what I perceived as institutional racism involving a newly migrated Nigerian family whose four children were taken into care. But thankfully, the Judge condemned their actions, removed me from the case completely because he believed what I was doing was legal and mandated them to apologise to me.
In the course of all these I discovered that the best way forward for families is to give them a customised parenting skills course which recognises cultural and religious conflicts and practices which is at the heart of the misunderstandings between local authorities and families.
So in 2020, I developed a comprehensive curriculum and we started our virtual parenting skills course training which are well subscribed to and we have had participants from White, Asia, African, Mexican and Caribbean backgrounds from Canada, The USA, Africa and many UK Boroughs and Councils. With the training, participants are better equipped parents to detect Mental Health issues in their families which affects children and themselves (‘Raise yourself before you raise a mentally sound children); they are able to connect with their children emotionally and create a conducive environment for their children.
Apart from supporting families in Child Protection matters I have mentored a lot of church and unchurched young people who were living gang or drug lifestyles. I have also organised The Family Round Table Workshops for Teenagers and Young adults where we engage them in motivating programs aimed at helping them gain confidence, learn new skills, create awareness of Mental Health Challenges, dangers of drug trafficking and money management.
So to make the work easier I decided to register a community non profit organisation and appointed two other Directors including Pastor Dapo Oshinowo who has always believed in me and cheered me on who should not be closely related to me. Within a month one resigned saying that she does not do any free work except it is church work. I was heart broken however, I had to replace her with another Director. Today I have three other volunteers working alongside me and they are amazing. With the Team of Pastor Dapo and Deaconess Olaide Oshinowo, Silver Worgu, Sister Alliance Menakutima and Belinda Chukumati we are set to take up more challenging works and changing lives.
Has it cost me anything? Yes, I was suspended by the Labour Party as an Party Elected Councillor for speaking up for children because they sided with the LGBT community who claimed that my tweet was condemning.
Today Award from The Majesty; The Queen’s Lord Lieutenant and his Deputies and the Director of The London Faith and Belief Community means a lot to me as a recognition of our contributions to our various communities.
I stand here today because He (Jesus) lives and I can face tomorrow and weather any storm of life and can do all things. I am a woman helped so much by God and other people, I have dedicated my life to helping others. I dedicate this Award to anyone especially Christian parents who has ever raised or is raising Godly children under difficult circumstances, to those parents all over the world who have struggled untold hardship, wept secretly and suffered injustice of any kind in the cause of raising children under their care. Keep it up weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning
I also dedicate this award to every child who have suffered things they are unable to speak about or missed the love of a parent - I urge you all to look up to heaven - someone cares for you, He made and has a purpose for you.
I want to thank everyone who has supported me and cheered me on this assignment including my loving husband. Apostle George Amadi, Lead Pastor: Goodnews Bible Church, my children, my Team Members especially Pastor Dapo Oshinowo who has offered his unreserved support from the beginning of this organisation, all members of Goodnews Bible Church London and Mr Olalekan Odedeyi CEO and all Directors of SAVE THE WOMAN AND THE ORGANISERS OF THIS WONDERFUL AWARD - the Faith and Belief Forum.
Permit me to pay my special respect to my late Brother, my Destiny Helper Paulson Ugochukwu and a wonderful Retired Social Worker Cordelia Locher), Henry Oduenyi, Publisher and Emeka Esomonu now my Brothers and awesome Cheerleaders.
I use this opportunity to commend those who work with parents and children expeditiously especially teachers and Social Workers and The Local Authorities they represent.
In conclusion, I also urge them to rise above bias, racism and stereotyping in all their dealings because that one child could be the STAR OF TOMORROW