by Tamala Ceasar – a journalist, blogger and author of children’s book, ‘Spaghetti and Cheese, Please!’ www.spaghettiandcheeseplease.co.uk. Follow on twitter @mz_positivi_t
MELISSA MURRELL – Using writing to develop creativity in the young
alling in love with books at a very young age, Melissa Murrell enjoyed everything about them. Whether it was creating stories from her imagination, or drawing pictures to accompany her tales, this growing passion was nurtured by her eldest sister. Merging her passions for storytelling with volunteering abroad, in 2014, Melissa founded Creative Tales, a project piloted in Ruiru, Kenya, to inspire young people to use their creative abilities to communicate through writing.
Creative Tales started as an idea, evolving into an urge. “All of a sudden, I wanted to go wide and far, travel to different countries, and share the love that I have for creating stories. Not only is there a need for it in countries such as Kenya, but children much closer to home (in London) need to have that love for reading and writing instilled in them,” she says. With 5% of adults in the UK having literacy levels below those expected of an 11-year-old, Melissa recognises the importance of cultivating storytelling from a young age. “It develops knowledge and inquisitive creativity, and I wanted this project to hone that.”
The Creative Tales project exercises communication skills through illustrated story cards. These cards help to develop children’s lateral thinking in forming a story, helping them understand that there are many answers to various questions and situations. Desiring to make a lasting contribution, Melissa explains that her project goes further than just storytelling. “Through generous donations and the support of my church, Light & Life Full Gospel Fellowship, Creative Tales has helped to provide simple provisions for the children in the community of Ruiru, Kenya, which included resources for teachers and children to help facilitate lessons.”
Melissa’s passion for storytelling doesn’t stop at community projects, but also extends to publishing. Having self-published her first colourful and endearing children’s story, ‘Not Now, Naima’, in August 2014, Melissa describes where her influence came from: “The inspiration behind writing for children comes from my nieces and nephew. I’ve always wanted to write books based on them and so ‘Not Now, Naima’ is based on my four-year-old niece, Naima, a fun-loving and very witty young girl.”
A Coventry University graduate, Melissa states that being a writer enables her to be more aware of things taking place around her. “It is important to look at the world, to be observant of what is around you, and have the ability to create something out of the things you see.” With plans to have CT workshops incorporated into school curriculums across the UK and worldwide, Melissa has big plans to use her gifts to serve others, as said in 1 Peter 4:10, she adds, “We are stewards in God’s Kingdom, and even if it means watering a seed that has already been planted, I am grateful to be able to do my part.”
For more details, visit www.creativetales.org.uk, like on Facebook @MelissaMurrell or follow on Twitter @razpunze
TABITHA FYFFE – A jeweller with a heart
It is often said that your career should reflect your passion. Tabitha Fyffe, owner of handcrafted jewellery brand, Fingerprints, was heading for an academic career in Psychology. However, God had other plans. Instead of buying Christmas presents one year, Tabitha decided to create gifts for her friends and family, but little did she know that this was to be the beginning of a business that would not only reflect her talents and creativity, but also the imprints of her faith.
After graduating from University College London as a new Christian, Tabitha was unaware that a budding path into jewellery making was unfolding. “I began to have a desire to be creative in a way I had not experienced before. During my first Christmas as a believer, I made presents instead of buying them. This was the beginning of my journey as a designer. I had been making jewellery as a hobby, for friends mostly, and after around a year of making, I had a real sense that this was something God was leading me to do. I felt that He wanted me to make it official and start a business.”
In the run-up to launching Fingerprints in April 2002, Tabitha was looking for the perfect name for her company. After receiving feedback from a friend, whom she had designed a piece of jewellery for one afternoon, Tabitha recalls her friend’s description of her gift (which was made out of polymer clay and sterling silver) had confirmed the name that she wanted to represent her designs. “She pointed out that she could see my fingerprints all over the clay beads that I had made for her bracelet. When she told me, I just felt that was it! It communicated the brand; that the pieces are unique; made by hand, and reflect the qualities of the one who made them, just as we do as God’s creation.”
Thirteen years later, mother-of-four Tabitha sells personalised gifts and accessories for birthdays, weddings and other special occasions, through galleries, boutiques and independent shops in the UK. Leaving imprints of her faith on a range of products, such as cufflinks, necklaces and earrings, Tabitha attaches a tag to each piece that carries a description of the brand story, coupled with a Scripture to encourage and inspire her customers. “There are around a 100 different verses on the tags, and I pray that each person will receive the verse that is right for them – a word in season hopefully,” she says.
Having successfully run a small business through the recession, Tabitha describes the fruitful journey of developing her business as a ‘venture that inspired her to inspire others’. She encourages fellow entrepreneurs by advising them to start off with what they have, and let God build their business. “You do not always have to wait until you have everything you think you need. Just make a start with what is in your hands.”
For more details, visit http://fingerprints.uk.com/, or like on Facebook @Fingerprints.
HANNAH OYEWOLE – Empowering young women to achieve
With her positive attitude and uplifting talks, entrepreneur Hannah Oyewole is proving to be an empowering role model for young women, via her social enterprise, Young Ladies Club (YLC).
Hannah, who describes herself as an entrepreneur, motivational speaker and author, started YLC after recognising that young women needed help and support in four core areas: entrepreneurship, employability, education and personal development. Through YLC events, seminars, workshops and motivational talks, Hannah encourages and empowers women in these areas, as well as encourages them to overcome the obstacles blocking them from attaining their goals. She explained, “I hosted the first Young Ladies Club event in the month of November 2011, and we had over 250 young women registered for the event. Immediately I knew there was a need for this service, and decided to concentrate my full attention on the business in 2012.”
Since launching YLC, Hannah has hosted 15 events, partnering with several businesses and organisations and receiving heart-warming testimonials from the women that attend. She recalled, “One of our most memorable successes was when a young lady, who attended our business boot camp event, launched her business a week after the event. Whilst launching her business,
she was able to secure a vendor space at one of the UK’s largest hair and beauty shows for half the price. This really allowed us to see how she used her initiative and power of negotiation. The fame of our events has gone around the UK and also globally, and we have a high demand for seats at our events.”
Leading YLC is a natural fit for Hannah. A natural performer, hosting YLC events gives Hannah the opportunity to help others, whilst utilising her God-given gifts. Faith plays an important role in Hannah’s life. She has been a Christian for 10 years, and attends Kingsway International Christian Centre in Chatham, Kent, under the teaching of Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo. She credits his teaching for teaching her about life, business and purpose and, of course, the tenets of the Christian faith. Hannah shared, “My faith in God is the core reason why I decided to go into business in the first place. I did not have a huge amount of capital, so I essentially started my business on a shoestring. It was very difficult, and I faced a lot of trials and tribulations but, through it all, God has been my anchor and my strength.”
Hannah is excited about the things she has got planned for 2015. “I plan to host workshops and seminars, as I have had a lot of enquiries from both men and women about starting a business or discovering their purpose. I also have a lot of material that I intend to release, in order to be a blessing to my generation.”
For more details, visit www.hannahoyewole.com or www.youngladiesclub.com, like on Facebook @OfficialHannahOyewole, or follow on Twitter @hanoyewole