By now we’ve seen how the power of speaking up and the importance of and using our voices. We’ve seen this exhibited through Black Lives Matter protests that have caused justice to be brought for those who were mistreated. Not to mention the removal of colonial monuments that represent oppression.
Our voices are powerful
Meet 24-year-old Daniel who is part of the Young People in the Lead. A project that was set up by the National Lottery Community Fund to empower twelve young people by bringing youth voice to the forefront of the work of the organisation; which has over a third of their funding going to young people’s projects. We at Beatfreeks sat down with him and a few of his teammates to speak about their experience with Young People in the Lead (YPIL).
Daniel told us how he recognised that the choices made by those in power affect young people the most. The pandemic we have been facing is a prime example of that. He believes that it’s crucial to have young people in those meetings where big decisions are made about their future.
What has Young People in the Lead been to you?
“It’s hard to describe it as one thing- I think the best way to describe it as an opportunity.”
Daniel found that being part of YPIL has afforded him many doors to be opened, he’s spoken to funders that could help him along the way with his goal to end homelessness. Having had experiences with it himself he aims to help change the perception of homelessness, as it’s not always within people’s control. He’s found that YPIL is putting him in good shape to achieve that goal- being surrounded by people who don’t just want to provide temporary solutions like “sticking them in a hotel”. But in fact, finding more permanent solutions to end homelessness.
What has been your favourite part of the programme and what advice would you give others seeking opportunities like this?
“Give it your all because it gives back ten times more”
Daniel expressed how he really enjoys the programme because it provides change to those who really need it. The impact is clearly felt by him and the rest of the team and those who receive the help. He also highlighted the upskilling sessions provided by Beatfreeks’ own Sipho Ndlovu who led a session on project management- Daniel mentioned that prior to the session he knew how to start a project however he gained a deeper understanding in regards to fulfilling the specific requirements in a project. He found that the skills he learned would be helpful for his future endeavours.
What have been the benefits of this programme?
“When I first went into the interviewing process I was intimidated because I was the only boy in the room”
Daniel learned the value he could bring to a team, acknowledging that we all have a specific area of expertise that can be beneficial to the growth and bettering of the team but those we are trying to help. Having undergone this process mainly in lockdown he admits it has been good for him to have a routine to structure out his day.
He reiterated the impact of the many opportunities Young People in the Lead offers to help everyone in the team to achieve their goals for social justice and change through the connections of the National Lottery Community Fund.
Meet some other members of the team as they share their highlights.
Rachel: “Meeting everyone in person at the start of the process, I was nervous because I was the youngest and I didn’t know how I’d be treated but I felt comfortable to contribute after meeting them”.
Loren: “I always feel confident and empowered after our weekly sessions. I realised just how far I’ve come and that I have a voice. Having the courage to speak out and ask questions, I found myself in a situation that I’d contributed so much I was inducted into the panel and acknowledged in this huge forum of speakers. I wouldn’t have had the courage to do that before”.
Jemimah: “I have enjoyed the whole experience so I don’t have just one highlight. I’ve learned so much about myself. Even just walking into the room with everyone I see we are all professionals and we know what we are talking about, but we are regular people. We’ve pushed through and I like these guys”.
Kianna: “The banana dance was a highlight for me, I was comfortable and enjoyed myself. I really enjoyed the skill/ information session we had as it helped with my personal development. I like that our facilitators created this caring culture and you can tell Sophia, Sipho and Joe aren’t just doing their job”.
Ruhina: “I was nervous at first and slightly unsure and scared at first, but everyone made me feel comfortable and it was a safe space. The number of doors this opportunity has opened from is great because I’ve been able to network with people. For your years I tried to come out of my comfort zone, this space has empowered me to use my voice. It has made me feel valuable”.
It’s clear that Young People in the Lead has spurred Daniel, Jemimah, Kianna, Ruhina, Loren, and Rachel into their best selves. Their drive and conduct make them the perfect examples of world leaders and game-changers. Between them, they have the confidence to bring youth voices in harder to reach areas and possess the skills that provide the necessary change for people.