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2022 Finalist: Mindfulness Based Inclusion Training from the Urban Mindfulness Foundation

2022 Finalists
May 22, 2024

The Urban Mindfulness Foundation provides structured educational mindfulness training that aims to bring about a more just, equal, diverse, and inclusive society. Influenced by a unique combination of mindfulness, compassion, and insight traditions and wisdom from Africa, the Caribbean, Indigenous thought, the Global South, and the West, the Foundation's training and drop-in sessions focus on social and environmental justice and are sensitive to the identity-based harm experienced by many of their students. The Mindfulness Based Inclusion Training (MBIT) innovation seeks to address the need for culturally relevant mindfulness training that makes mindfulness more accessible and engaging for socially marginalised groups and equips teachers to understand the particular challenges marginalised communities face. MBIT's programmes are African-centred and designed for Black people and other people of colour, mindfulness teachers and practitioners, and health and education workers.

The Foundation was established by partners Aesha and Dean Francis, whose culturally diverse, mixed-heritage backgrounds taught them the importance of embracing difference and connecting through perceived divides. Long-time practitioners and trained teachers and facilitators of mindfulness, Aesha and Dean grew up surrounded by relative poverty and social deprivation compounded by the experience of everyday racism and understand how essential it is for mindfulness training to be culturally relevant and socially aware. They have recently completed a master's in Mindfulness Studies at the University of Aberdeen and work as EDI consultants.

The judges were impressed by MBIT's skilful combination of a rigorous understanding of mindfulness with the cultural knowledge and creative wisdom needed to adapt mindfulness training for the communities the Foundation seeks to reach. They recognised how well Aesha and Dean have done to establish themselves as a credible voice in the mindfulness space. They also acknowledged the Foundation's classification as a community interest company (CIC) and commended the pair for wanting to ensure their business works for the benefit of their community. The judges noted the ambitious nature of the Foundation and are excited to see where Aesha and Dean set their sights next.


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