Founder of Coffee Afrik – Abdi Hassan turns underused community spaces across London into environments for youth to do activities and express themselves. Since it was founded in 2018, Coffee Afrik has made community development its top priority.
“In very simple terms — We are hubmakers,” Hassan said. “We have designed and produced and curated six hubs across London in Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Enfield, Harrow and Newham.”
Hassan is from Somalia and he takes pride in involving his culture in the work he does.
“For us, as Muslims, we are here to serve. It’s of service. We’re of service,” Hassan said. “So connecting with our community, honouring our community, honouring our culture, honouring our arts, honouring our ancestors. It’s very important, especially when you think about all these models of healing and community work.”
Coffee Afrik is a community interest company, also known as a CIC, meaning all the planning happens around the needs in the community. Its thriving hub in Tower Hamlets served over 150 youth in just eight sessions.
“We are all experts by experience, which means we honour our knowledge, our practice, and we’re very much focused on building spaces that are focused on healing and focused on liberation,” Hassan said.
The mission of Coffee Afrik was to make spaces for Black people by Black people. Hassan noticed this need and founded the organisation with that goal.
“It’s also a challenge because the work we do has depth. You can’t do this work superficially. You can’t do it in a light touch way. It is very much focused on healing and healing takes a lot of emotional time and depth” Hassan said.
The future of Coffee Arik is bright and Hassan is ready for the change that will come as the organisation grows.
“I’m very proud of that impact and I really hope that it inspires other grassroots, particularly Somali-led and black-led organisations, that it is possible to make and create good travel and good noise and still be sustainable, but it’s hard work.”
To get involved with Coffee Afrik, visit their website at www.coffeeafrique.co.uk/get-involved.
Article written by Naomi Washington, Creative Writer and Digital Media intern