#DundeeKindness: Kelly Ralston Mazengera, Co-founder of The Selkie cafe

About the Exhibition

#DundeeKindess celebrates some of the people, organisations and businesses who have gone out of their way to help others in Dundee.

They are just the tip of the kindness iceberg. There are hundreds of others who have given their time, talents, energy and resources to being kind – they have seen a need in others and reached out to help.

Dundee Kindness Exhibition is brought to you by Dundee City Council, and is part of the programme for St Andrew’s Fair Saturday, a unique festival supporting social causes. St Andrew’s Day provides a powerful opportunity to celebrate our unique cultural diversity, to share a simple act of kindness that could make someone’s day, and place the focus on Scotland’s values like ‘fairness’ and ‘inclusivity’. To find out more visit standrews.fairsaturday.org or follow #FairSaturday and #StAndrews

Kelly Ralston Mazengera, Co-Founder of The Selkie Cafe:

“So we took over The Selkie cafe mid lockdown, and we didn’t know the second lockdown was coming. I don’t think any of us did. Two or three weeks into lockdown, even on our street we could see that there was a need. We were doing takeaways and we had a lady come past and ask if we had any spare scones or any extras. She seemed quite embarrassed.

And I thought, wait a minute, if that’s what’s on our doorstep, what’s out there?

Agencies definitely have their place but the pandemic brought out people who didn’t know how to access agencies or didn’t have a sort of background of being able to access benefits or even know what a food bank was. Our thing was that we will help from our family to yours.

It was really strange because one of the families who got meals from us used to come in all the time, but literally overnight they lost their jobs and then suddenly they were needing a hand.

But we felt like they had supported us, and it was our turn to support them. And then we would come back in again b

ecause we’ve got jobs again, you know, like, so it’s that whole circle.

I lost my auntie in May 2019, she was only three years older than me, and unfortunately, she had a battle with heroin on and off all her life. We still have families who phoned up and say, Kelly, have you got a meal? We call them Auntie Nicky meals. No one had to ask, it was on Auntie Nicky and I loved that because she might have had her struggles with addiction but she was the kindest, loveliest person.

We have all these ideas of what poverty looks like, and it doesn’t look the way you think it looks. We don’t really realise how close we are to the deep blue sea.

And so we decided we could make a change. My dad, who’s African, always used to say to me, “Always be yourself unless you can be Mandela and then be Mandela.”

We still have families that we support.”

To see the full article, please visit here.

We’re so proud of how far Kelly has come and we can’t wait to see what she gets up to in the future. You can see what The Selkie has to offer, here.

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