This piece is part of our Hope 100 series, telling the stories of the people and organisations creating hope for 2020 and beyond

Dorea Nengese, 16, from north London, was frustrated with many aspects of the education system. Top of her list is its tendency to diminish students’ individuality and creativity. To address this, Nengese and fellow students, Tori Allison-Powell and Asiya Kigozi, set up Ignite, a life skills education programme teaching young people about first aid, money management and dealing with conflict.

Ignite is one of the 2019 success stories from The Agency, a creative entrepreneurship programme in which 15 to 25-year-olds from deprived areas of the UK create projects to deliver social change, based on the needs of their own communities.

It is broken down into two stages: in cycle one, young people create and develop their ideas and pitch them to a panel of judges. If successful, they go through to cycle two, an incubator stage in which they receive funding and mentorship to help bring the idea to life. Ultimately – the hope is – the process goes on to create a sustainable social enterprise. So far, The Agency has funded 45 projects, of which 34 are still running.

It launched in the UK in 2013, first in Battersea, south London, and Manchester before expanding into Cardiff, Belfast and Waltham Forest, north London. This year will see The Agency launch in Southampton and its third London location, Brent.

The model originally hails from Brazil, where founder Marcus Faustini launched it as a way to support young people from the favelas. “But we need these poor young people occupying leadership spaces in society,” Faustini said at an event for The Agency at parliament in October.

“In 10 years’ time we will see the huge changes we are making now, starting here. And there is still time for you to join us in making this long-term change happen.”

Main image: James Allan

Originally published at Positive News

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