Trust Embraces Diversity: Celebrating Black History Month With Purpose And Pride

23rd October 2023
Dr Fanika Awana (CT Doctor) & Christeena Seraphin (Staff Nurse)

Black History Month is an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the rich contributions the Black community makes to Health and Social Care within the South Eastern Health & Social Care Trust.

It is an opportunity for individuals to share their insights, experiences and contributions which are an invaluable part of diversity within the Trust.  Sharing these narratives provides an opportunity to foster a greater understanding, appreciation and unity.

The aim is not just to celebrate Black History Month, but also to educate, inspire and encourage dialogue.

Staff Nurse Christeena Seraphin, who is based in the Downe Hospital shares her story about becoming a Nurse.

“In India, when I was a small child, Nurses would wear white dresses, I was fascinated with the dresses, I felt they looked like angels. So I too wanted to become an angel.  I had a handful of family members who were Nurses, so it wasn’t hard for me to think that is what I wanted to do.

“When I started nursing, I was really passionate about it. However, due to family circumstances, after two years, I left nursing to become a teacher and to look after my children.  After three or four years, I realised the Nurse in me was eager to return to the hospital setting and I resumed my nursing career.

“I can never forget my 78 year old nursing tutor, Sister Veronica.  We would call her Florence Nightingale. She had a passion for nursing. Sister Veronica wanted her passion to be instilled within us, so I believe whatever goodness I have in me, has been passed down by her.

“I love my job. I touch life every day.  It is such a privilege to be a Nurse and I am thankful to the Trust for recognising Black History Month.”

Staff Nurse, Fatima Farah is based in the Ulster Hospital. Fatima shares her journey.

“I am originally from Somalia and my family moved to the United Arab Emirates in 1982 when I was five years old.  I lived there for 40 years and started my nursing career there in 1997.  I really wanted to become a Nurse, as I care a lot about people.  I then decided it was time to move to Northern Ireland for the benefit of my children.

“I have undertaken further education and have achieved a Diploma in Psychology, a Diploma in Nutrition and a Diploma in Physical Activity.  My next goal is to become a Mental Health Nurse.

“People in Northern Ireland are so very kind and caring, when I help them. I feel connected with them. I am enjoying every moment here.”

Highlighting the importance of marking Black History Month, Equality Officer, Shauna Flynn added, “In the South Eastern Trust, we value all our staff and know that they are the backbone of this Trust.  We are delighted to have a diverse workforce and service user population as it enriches all of us.

“This month we are enjoying celebrating the vital contributions of our multicultural health professionals and continue to serve and embrace our diverse communities.”