Congratulations to Azi Mohammed, who was one of two recipients of the Young Leader with Impact award at the inaugural London Impact Awards. This award was for young people who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to, and leadership in, working with young people affected by violence.
Azi, 21, first got involved with Salaam Peace, a community organisation using sport, media and education to engage the community in tackling negative perceptions of the local Muslim community, while he was still at primary school. First taking part in a local sports project, he progressed from participant to volunteer to now being named Director of Operations. His work has helped engage over 1,000 young people, inspiring his peers to follow his example and making him a beacon of inspiration and a role model for other young people in his community. He is currently in the final year of a psychology degree at King’s College London.
He is the best example of what Salaam Peace is, and what we produce. A local young person who began his journey participating on our engagement programmes, since 2011 his development from a young person to adult and the impact he’s had is inspirational. To marry this with educational excellence is a huge achievement. His desire to continue to "Be the Change" in the community he wants to see is as strong as ever.Sab Bham, the founder of Salaam Peace
We heard from Azi about what it means to be nominated for the Young Leader with Impact award and what’s next for him.
What did it mean to you to be nominated for the Young Leader with Impact Award?
It was an honour to be nominated for the award. However, I only really put this all into perspective during the awards evening, whereby I was able to gain insights into the amazing work of other organisations and young leaders. Being recognised in the same light prompted a great deal of personal pride and provided me with further ammunition to 'be the change'.
What do you want others to know about working with young people affected by violence?
While working with young people affected by violence is of huge importance, I feel that as a society, we need to take a proactive, rather than reactive, approach to youth violence (as well as other social issues). We need to prioritise engaging with young people from as early as possible, instilling positive values and providing a support network for them. Thus, if and when a young person encounters difficulties, they have the personal knowledge and support around them to keep on the straight and narrow, preventing potential crime in the future.
From June 2020 onwards, my role as director of operations for Salaam Peace will be extended to a full-time position. One of my long-term aims in this role is to develop comprehensive programmes combining sport with education, entrepreneurship, nutrition and general life skills to ensure that our beneficiaries gain a comprehensive skill set to thrive in the future.