Umunna Young Adults (UYA) was founded in 2016 as a non-profit organization, consisting of young men and women aged 18-30 years old from the Igbo ethnic group of Nigeria who currently reside in Winnipeg. UYA is a branch of the Umunna Igbo Cultural Association of Manitoba Inc. Their mission is to preserve the Igbo culture for the current generation and generations to come, while also giving back to both the local community of Winnipeg and their home country Nigeria.
In November and December 2017 UYA collaborated with House of New Hope, a non-profit church organization, to collect clothing, toiletries, money, and non-perishable food items to distribute back to Nigeria. The UYA members placed hampers in the Universities of Winnipeg and Manitoba as well as in their respective workplaces, while also going door-to-door spreading awareness for the cause and asking for donations.
UYA also recently hosted the UYA Local Showcase on July 29th at 441 Main. This event gave the diverse young men and women of Winnipeg the chance to display their talents, whether it was painting, singing, rapping, fashion designing, or dancing. The profits from ticket sales were donated to Boys and Girls Club, a non-profit organization that has had a positive impact even on some of the UYA members. Overall the event was a success and UYA hopes to make turn the showcase into an annual tradition.
UYA also finds importance in volunteer work. Over the past year UYA members have come in groups to volunteer at Siloam Mission, where they serve food, organize clothes, clean, and interact with the people that drop by the facility. In June 2018 UYA also volunteered at their first Manitoba Marathon, where they cheered the participants and gave them words of encouragement in the final stretch of the race.
UYA prioritizes preserving their Igbo culture. Many UYA members dance traditional Igbo dances—some members regularly dance at the African Pavilion. The members also take time out of their monthly meetings to learn Igbo, their native language.
Other events that UYA has hosted so far include the All-White Christmas Party in December 2017 and the Pop Off Social during reading week in February 2018.
Future goals for UYA include creating their own scholarship, hosting cooking lessons that teach people how to cook Igbo traditional food, and hosting a gala night to raise funds to donate back to Nigeria.
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