Things come full circle for Mete as he reflects on his journey. In this interview, we catch up with Mete to learn about his unique connection to our organization, the current projects he’s working on, and how he feels about his newest role as a member of GFC’s Board of Directors.
I’m from a place called Hackney, in London. For those of you who haven’t heard of Hackney, it’s one of the most diverse boroughs in the UK, if not Europe. It’s otherwise known as “the world in one borough.”
Growing up in Hackney wasn’t easy. It had one of the highest rates of crime in the country, one of the highest rates of poverty: in fact it was known the worst place to live out of 434 local authorities in the UK, just in 2006. However, fast forward 14 years, and the transformation has been unthinkable. Hackney is now the hipster part of London. It’s known as the home of the tech hub in London, and it’s London’s nightlife.
I’m really proud about where I’m from, because I genuinely believe it has helped shape who I am today.
If you ever do visit London, make sure that you do visit Hackney – otherwise you have never truly been to London.
I’d probably start from [my nonprofit] My Life My Say’s perspective. Of course, the global pandemic is going to affect young people in many different ways. It already exposes and amplifies a lot of inequalities in our society, which disproportionately affect our generation.
For me, what’s really important is that our generation has a voice in shaping and rebuilding society, because we can’t go back to how things used to be.
We’ve seen how many young people have lost their jobs, have been placed on furlough schemes. Many of their careers have been halted. Many of them are suffering through mental health issues. Many of them just feel neglected, and it’s really important that we give them that voice.
One of the projects that I’m working on right now is called the Quarantine Question Time, which has engaged with thousands of young people from around the world.
The idea is really to set up a digital space where young people can receive expert advice about coronavirus, but also around the next question and the next phase, which is about how young people shape society.
As a local councillor, it has been an extremely difficult past six weeks. That’s partly because there are so many vulnerable residents who need support: people who are not able to leave their homes who need to do basic things like buy food. How do we get support to them? How do we support our community-based organizations? How do we support our local businesses? Our local economy? Our local workforce? Our environment? All of these things that we have to think about.
It has been a very busy six weeks, but I think we are doing really well. Are there things that we could do better? Of course, and that’s why we’re always continuously looking for new ideas. I think Hackney Council can be really proud of the way it has dealt with the coronavirus pandemic, and I think that there are a lot of other boroughs – including other governments, actually – who can learn from our approach.
I first came across Global Fund for Children for a project that I participated in called the Youth of Hackney, which brought together young people from all walks of life from our borough to play soccer, to keep us off the streets. It was some of the best experiences that I had in my childhood. We got the opportunity to travel around the country, to participate in so many different cool trips.
I’m really excited about being on the Board of Global Fund for Children because it gives me the opportunity to help make a difference to the lives of so many different children and young people, from around the world, who desperately need it.
I firsthand witnessed the difference that a project supported by Global Fund for Children could make, to me and my friends.
I’m really excited and eager to roll up my sleeves and get involved and help support so many different grassroots organizations – from Latin America, to Africa, to all over the world – who are helping to support children in need.
In my opinion, being youth-led is allowing young people to lead within an organization. That’s why I’m really proud that Global Fund for Children set up the Youth Leadership Council to really serve that purpose: helping ensure and helping strategize the organization’s objectives, working across different departments of the team, really driving that youth focus. [It’s] also allowing the Youth Leadership Council the space to organize and connect with hundreds and thousands of young people from around the world, connect with its partners, to help support children in need.
I think we are really serving that purpose, and I really hope that other organizations and other institutions can learn a lot from GFC’s approach in being youth-led.
In my opinion, GFC’s work is so important because it’s uniquely placed where it helps support grassroots organizations that other institutions ordinarily wouldn’t reach. I experienced that in Hackney. I genuinely believe that [through] our network … we have an opportunity to help support children and young people who ordinarily would not have access to those opportunities.
I’m really excited to be part of this global family: this global family which gives a voice to people who ordinarily do not have a voice, who are often overlooked.
We have a genuine opportunity to build a network that can last for the foreseeable future and help, hopefully, eradicate poverty and help support children in need.
People who lack social awareness.
It would probably be to duplicate me, and place me in different places at the same time.
Global Fund for Children (GFC) UK Trust, created in 2006, is a UK registered charity (UK charity number 1119544). We work to generate vital income, create new fundraising opportunities, and raise awareness of the invaluable work of GFC’s grassroots grantees. Our aim is to extend the reach of GFC in the United Kingdom, Europe, and beyond.
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