Ealing Somali Youth Conference 2016
The Ealing Somali Youth Conference was held on 19 March 2016. It brought more than 100 young people together with members of the council and local statutory organisations. The fundamental purpose of the conference was to provide 13-19 year olds from Ealing with an opportunity to voice their opinions and concerns, as well as to let them hear from young adults from the community who’ve gone on to be successful in their chosen careers.
This year, we had a number of elected councillors in attendance, including our local MP Rupa Huq and the mayor of Ealing, who shared a few words of encouragement and motivation. The conference gave members of the council an opportunity to engage with the young people and hear about the work SADC has been conducting over the past year across the borough.
The conference placed an emphasis on educating the young people in attendance on radicalisation, educational underachievement, gang-culture and sexual exploitation through a variety of speeches by other young Somalis, the majority of whom did speeches highlighting their own journeys, as young people raised across the Ealing borough. These speeches were solely designed to highlight the inevitable challenges one may face, the importance of deferring gratification, with the ultimate aim of raising, or at least consolidating the aspirations of all the young people in attendance. The conference also included an informative role play and a poetic performance encouraging the avoidance of gang culture and the detrimental effects it can have on one’s life prospects and emotional wellbeing.
Following the talks, role play and poetry, the last hour of the conference presented the young people with hypothetical scenarios related to radicalisation, educational underachievement, gang culture and sexual exploitation. These were designed to equip them with critical-thinking skills and information to help them deal with potentially harmful situations.