Introducing When We Speak’s 2019/2020 Cohort!
Since October the youth team have been supporting 9 social impact projects develop in a number of ways; encouraging stronger networks, offering professional advice, providing 1 to 1 tailored coaching and some financial support to test their incredible activism. Read and discover more about what these activists and their projects have achieved and support them through their social media accounts!
Aliyah – Pupil Power
Aliyah is a full time A Level student who has been running an excellent movement called @thepupilpower, initially bringing awareness to school public expenditure cuts and now involving students to fight against educational inequality as a whole. Before When We Speak Aliyah has carried out awareness campaigns that put the students at the front and centre of the crisis which impacts them directly. She believes that all pupils do and should have the power to influence great change they wish to see in the education system. With the support of When We Speak, Aliyah has been working exceptionally hard with a great graphic designer, Sophie Troppmair (@the_strange_attraction), to create an awareness toolkit which will be distributed to schools starting in East London. The toolkit has a range of materials to understand different education; policies and resources to equip action, from templates to MP’s, to group discussion tasks and Pupil Power merch. In addition to that, Aliyah has been holding webinars for young people around the country to debate how their schools have dealt with COVID-19 and has just launched the Pupil Power website!
Moriam – The Hajra Foundation
Moriam is a biomedical science student who has a passion for inclusiveness and the wellbeing of single parents. With this she wanted to create a charity that offered 4 main services to lone parent; childcare, tuition, financial and psychological guidance in the form of networking events. All the services would form the @HajraFoundation. Moriam and Zareen (see below) were able to carry out research while a part of the When We Speak programme at Toynbee Hall, from networking events to gaining crucial expertise and knowledge from their mentor. Moriam and Zareen have been exploring ways to reach and support lone parents during the current crisis and been involved in various online fundraisers.
Zareen – The Hajra Foundation
Zareen is a politics and international relations student in the city who had the same desire as Moriam, to create an organisation that acknowledges and brings awareness to the struggles that lone parents go through. Once Moriam and Zareen had researched the field of single parents support, they began to think about how they would launch The Hajra Foundation and bring awareness to the gaps in support. At the beginning of March, The Hajra Foundation had their launch event at Toynbee Hall which included introductory speeches, brainstorming actives on issues faced by lone parents and great food! Since then Zareen and Moriam have been looking at different ways to reach out to lone parents, looking at holding sessions in childcare and coffee mornings.
Deborah – Big Mummy
Deborah is an inspiring audio artist and producer. Prior to joining When We Speak she began developing an exciting audio documentary for the BBC Radio 4. We were supporting Deborah with the creation of an audio drama called ‘Big Mummy’ from her production company, Tiny Lungs. This audio drama aims to amplify the everyday stories of Nigerian women in communities across London. Deborah created an original space of conversation for Black Womxn at Toynbee Hall that she ran twice this winter. She is currently in the process of writing her drama. If you would like to know about ways to support Big Mummy and Tiny Lungs, you can reach out to Deborah at: email@example.com
Debbie – Unified Voices
Debbie was on her gap year in between A-Levels and University when she decided to create her powerful project Unified Voices, a gospel choir for minorities in East London, with a friend from school Hiba (see below). After joining When We Speak, the girls have turned our Wellbeing Centre into a great gospel singing haven on a Saturday as they sought to recruit gospel singers into their new choir. During this session, where they were supported by the Black vocal ensemble Nawi Collective, Unified Voices were able to try empowering songs as well as picking out excellent soloists. Many Wellbeing clients joined in on the amazing singing exercises the girls had planned! Debbie and Hiba executed an excellent singing challenge during recent lockdown to boost morale. Head over to Unified Voices social to check the challenge out – @unifiedvoicesgc
Hiba – Unified Voices
Hiba created Unified Voices with Debbie and hand the same passion for what singing can do for Black people’s mental health and self esteem. The idea for Unified Voices came from the need for Hiba and Debbie to organise a response to their secondary school’s lack of interest in Black History Month. The girls wanted to create a project that meant that they could address these issues, support the Black students in the school and bring awareness to their culture.
Shanelle – The Soul Shack
The Soul Shack is a youth and community led social enterprise, working with young people and communities affected by or lived experience of serious youth violence, trauma, poverty, school exclusions and the criminal justice system. The Soul Shack aims to be an educational and mentoring based service, training young people in the community as peer mentors and facilitators, to run workshops in schools and other organisations as well as a year-long employment programme that includes working in a restaurant and taking part in a business and leadership course. With When We Speak Shanelle has been strategising what workshops and food would be incorporated into her enterprise. Shanelle had also identified a need for recruiting volunteers for the mentoring side of her project. Due to the current crisis Shanelle is working on creative ways to recruit volunteers online.
Brookemorgan – She Oath
Brookemorgan’s passion is female empowerment! With this she created She Oath, which aims to improve young women’s confidence and motivation in their personal and professional lives, especially for young vulnerable women. While working with When We Speak, Brookemorgan had been planning an amazing event ‘She Swap’, merging a professional clothing swap with the opportunity for young women to attend informal chats and interviews with empowering speakers, designers and stylists. The event has been postponed but stay posted from rescheduling. Brookemorgan has been keeping positively creative during lockdown by creating an empowering hotline that looks to help anyone feeling anxious or unproductive, with the support of Sister System. Great spoken word activists, exercises have been posted on She Oath social media accounts, so check it out!
Bukky – ChitChat UK
Bukky created an amazing mental health network called ChitChat UK, which people could join and discuss their struggles or triumphs with a group of understanding individuals. Bukky creates mental health focus groups for discussion such as conversations on the impact of financial difficulties and toxic masculinity on mental health. With the support of When We Speak Bukky has been developing her networks and held an online mental health session where we discussed the impact of the current COVID-19 crisis on young people’s wellbeing. ChitChat UK has recently created an online webinar for world suicide awareness day (10th September) where they invited British-Nigerian influencer to speak about her journey with mental health.
Adeola – Up Lift The Next Generation
Adeola has had widespread experience from working with young people in various jobs – through these experiences she felt the need to create Uplift The Next Generation, a project that seeks to create more employment opportunities for people aged between 13-19 years old. During lockdown Adeola has been working extremely hard to continue young people’s career development and created a webinar around enhancing motivation. Recently, Adeola has been thinking about how her organisation can adapt in the face of the pandemic. Uplift The Next Generation is creating a digital toolkit which is due to launch October 2020. The toolkit will have four sections on the topics of leadership, CV and cover letter writing, self-confidence and preparing for your next career step! As well as having amazing additional features such as having access to exclusive video interviews with 8 professionals. You can approach these topics in any order you would like and when you finish there will be signposts to other opportunities and a certification upon completion!
Melissa – Engage Here
Melissa, the founder of Engage Here, an organisation that uses art sessions to empower elderly citizens (65+) with dementia has been planning fantastic things! Engage Here will be using their micro-grant to test a 6 week virtual course for these elderly client! The programme will start in October and will include all sorts of art styles and approaches such as cyanotype, stencil, felting, aromatic printing and drawing from sounds of nature!