Over the past 4 weeks I have been working with Each One Teach One as part of my university placement. I am a third year degree student of Family and Childhood Studies and my final piece of work is a journal article. I decided to write about the impact Non Government Funded Organisations have on young people. I first heard of EOTO when I saw Ben’s talk at Ted X Observer in 2012 and I was eager to get a placement with the trust. So after several emails and a chat with Sarah, the director, on the phone I landed myself the opportunity to come and work down here! I was born and bred up north, and life down south, particularly in London seemed very glamorous. But living and working in London for the past month has opened my eyes to many harsh realities. Life for many young people is often a struggle especially for those who do not have a strong relationship with education. So what happens to those young people who do not fit into the governments desired A-C grade bracket or those who may leave education early? In terms of government support and from the stories I’ve heard along the way…very little!
EOTO work with several projects which are all community funded in some way and are run and sustained by the most inspiring and dedicated people; real life heros! During my time on placement I have visited Hair Project, Chats Palace, Box4life and Makerversity, each offering a unique service to young people and supporting them in making dreams a reality. Each project has opened doors for all young people, from all walks of life, who may for whatever reason feel they do not fit into traditional education or may even feel they are not part of society. And from what I can see, all staff at the projects work all the hours round the clock to ensure they can give the best possible opportunities to young people both educationally and personally. A lot of the young people just need someone to care about them as an individual and support them with their aspirations rather than forcing them to learn subjects they have no interest in. These young people may not have the A-C grades desired by the government, but their talents and ambitions are what makes them matter so much.
These ambitions are sometimes more difficult for young people to achieve without the traditional route of education and the government may even promote them as impossible. However EOTO and their network of projects are fighting and winning at making young people’s dreams achievable through real life experiences with experts in the industry. Opportunities to get hands on in a project with the best people in the business do not come any better than those working with EOTO.
The project that touched my heart the most was Hair Project. Curtis, Paul and Jaime have not only set up the most fresh and up to date salon but they are providing young people with a life changing experience. Spending time at the Hair Project and speaking to the students about their experiences made me really smile! Each and every one of them said how supportive the Hair Project had been, not only in their education but often in their personal life too. Every one of them showed gratitude in their own way to the team at Hair Project and were truly inspired by them. One Student at the project stated that, ‘they are better than family’ and couldn’t stress more how much Paul, Curtis and Jaime had supported and inspired her to reach her full potential through encouragement, confidence building and providing the most friendly environment for her to train in.
Through time, effort, experience and determination all of these projects are providing opportunities for young people to reach far beyond their hopes. They have strong support from the team at EOTO, who are equally hard working and dedicated to making a change in young people’s futures. My time at EOTO may have been short but it is certainly one to remember. Not only has it helped me to develop professionally; it has helped me personally and opened my eyes to the many problems faced by young people. EOTO has inspired me even more to work with young people and develop a career in making what the government makes impossible; possible for young people! I am truly grateful for the opportunity EOTO have given me and hope to work with them again in the future.
Written by Kaylie Williams