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The "Why"

When OYA was founded in 2000, we believed our young people needed

  • Excellent academic qualifications in a society where Black people need to be ‘twice as good’

  • A sense of identity and belonging to help them to resist the temptations of the gangs-drugs-crime culture which beckoned to them daily from London streets




Twenty years on, what has changed?

Our current young people are 2nd or 3rd generation immigrants, more ‘integrated’ - at least superficially – into ‘mainstream’ culture than our young people in 2000, often fresh off the boat.


  • Discrimination against Black people in Britain has not gone away. Black people still have to be twice as good to get half as far.

  • Black kids are still at the bottom of the school league tables.

  • The gang-drugs-and-knife culture goes on and on and on.




So what do we our young people need, growing up in 21st century Britain?

They need to:

  • realise now rather than later that good qualifications mean hard, consistent work

  • think about their future, not be constantly wired into a world of social media trivia

  • respect themselves, their peers, their teachers, their parents

  • embrace the positive values in both their heritages – African and British – and resist the negative influences of a 21st century urban environment

  • have a clear, critical grasp of Africa’s relationship to Britain through history and into the present

  • be hungry for knowledge about the world – history, geography, economics, politics – and eager to find out how the pieces fit together

  • think for themselves, question what they are told and what they are taught

  • be leaders not followers, proactive not reactive

  • navigate the digital world with maturity and use social media for positive purposes

  • seek out and grasp the opportunities 21st century Britain offers

  • give back to Britain, Africa, the world and make the world a better place.



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