Tutu/Youth Futures Ubuntu Round Table Project is big winner at Light the Fire Awards
Anyone involved in working on the streets of our inner cities will know what a mammoth task it is for many young people to overcome the fears, prejudices and very real obstacles that life in 21st century Britain can throw at them.
Drugs, gangs, crime and violence often seem hopelessly entrenched in austerity Britain but there is real hope. The inspirational work of young youth leaders from Tutu Foundation UK and Youth Futures partnership Round Table project makes a very positive difference.
They work with troubled youngsters from difficult backgrounds, often similar to their own, and using the psychological model of Ubuntu - a South African philosophy championed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and based on the shared humanity of all of mankind - they bring opposing factions together for meaningful dialogue. They also identify the natural leaders and communicators from the streets and encourage them to use their skills for the common good of their communities.
The work of these extraordinary young leaders and the difficulties they have had to overcome was recognised at the Leap Lighting the Fire 2019 Awards in the city of London on Thursday.
The Desmond Tutu Foundation UK/Youth Futures Round Table project won three major prizes including the category for Best Project/Organisation. Meanwhile Inspirational Adult 25+ went to Meconah Morrison and the prize for Young Leader went to Talia Kensit. Not only was this a powerful endorsement of the work of the Round Table Project but as individuals making a real difference both Meconah and Talia were well-deserved winners.
Meconah Morrison lives and grew up on the Tulse Hill Estate and is a real agent for change with young people, parents and family in her community. She is recognised for her ongoing relationship with some of the most complicated and hard to reach young people on her estate, often acting acts as a bridge between the young people and of older people in her community.
Talia Kensit was excluded from full-time education at 14 but is now at University studying law. She runs Youth Realities which tackles abusive teenage relationships and works with Art Against Knives a charity that aims to deliver creative opportunities for young people across the borough of Barnet.
The wider work of the Desmond Tutu Foundation UK/Youth Futures Ubuntu Round Table project has made remarkable inroads into reducing conflict and bringing understanding between often opposing factions, particularly young people and the police.