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Championing healthy relationships

and sexual wellbeing

Ade, age 12

The young people we work with are telling us they want to talk about race and identity at school. More than 75% of the youth we work with in the London borough of Southwark are of black, Asian, or minority ethnic heritage, and the topic of race often comes up when we talk about self-esteem, body image, and relationships. That is why, with their help, we are developing racial identity lessons as part of the Esteem programme.

12-year-old Ade* tells of his experiences of racism

"I found it really hard moving from primary school to secondary school last year.

At the end of primary school, me and my friends missed out on so much stuff. We couldn’t have sports day and we didn’t get to go on our big Year 6 trip. Instead, everything was just rushed, and all of a sudden I was in Year 7 in a new school. We hadn’t even finished what we’d been learning in Year 6.

I got really tall over summer. Some people say I look 14, even though I’m only 12. Being tall is alright, but some people are treating me differently now. When I go to the shop I feel like the men in there are always looking at me. They don’t take any notice of my white friends, but I feel like all eyes are on me, as if they think I’m gonna steal something. 

I’m also feeling tension in my maths class. When other students are messing around, my maths teacher always acts like I started it, even though I’m just sitting next to the girl that usually starts it.

Some of the boys in Year 10 seem to hate me too. Sometimes when I see them in the corridor, they slam into me. Last time it happened, they said “Watch where you’re going you ******* monkey, we’re meant to be social distancing.” I did get some racial stuff said to me at primary school, but it feels like the hate is getting more aggressive now I’m bigger. 

I’m not sure what to do about it. If I tell a teacher, I’ll get called a snitch. If I tell my Mum, she’ll come to the school and kick up a storm - it would be too embarrassing."

*name & image changed to protect identity

"I am a young black person and I deserve to live in a better world. People need to learn about what it feels like to judge someone based on their skin or the country they come from. The lessons will help people not be bullied because they are different. Nobody is born racist, they learn it. They need to be educated that I am a person just like them. We really need this project."    Feedback from students in Esteem racial identity focus groups.

Help us support more young people like Ade. Give in the Champions for Children appeal between midday on June 8th and midday on June 15th - and your donation will be doubled! Click the button below to donate.

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Other young people's stories:

Frankie, 16

Keisha, 11

Bo, 14

Zola, 13

Jamie, 16