My name is Imani Grant and I’m 19 years old. My friends would describe me as bubbly, fun-loving, gregarious, caring, considerate and meticulous. I enjoy going to museums/art galleries, taking part in creative workshops and picnicking with friends. I’m really interested  Fine Art but also enjoy dancing, singing and creativity through social media.

In terms of barriers I’ve faced growing up, I’ve experienced racial ignorance; racism in some circumstances. I’ve also experienced elements of bullying and prejudice throughout my life.

Opportunities for ethnic minorities are generally limited and are often only available in a smaller proportion compared to opportunities that are generally available for Caucasian people.
I’ve always been taught that Black people and ethnic minorities have to work twice as hard to achieve things and to get to where they hope to in their education and jobs. I still believe this is true to this day. But though this may be true, through working with Babbasa, I now know that there are more opportunities available for us than I thought.

My motivation has been wanting better for myself and personal goals. I wanted something to give me a clear outlook now on my plans for my life and trying to be optimistic despite these tough times. I wanted to overcome the barriers around me so that could become my most confident self. I knew that this was a mission that I could not do on my own so I’ve worked so surround myself with as many Black role models as possible. I like to follow Black public figures and influencers. But most of all, I try to surround myself with people who support me, people who have my best interest at heart and people who genuinely care for me, as I care for them.

I heard about Babbasa whilst in a meeting with my youth club. They shares promotional video for Babbasa that really appealed to me. There was also of our youth group was in the video helping to promote the ‘Challenge Programme’. This was particularly encouraging to see. I then had a look through the @babbasahub Instagram page, before I was approached by Pravanya, who has been so supportive throughout all this!

I joined the Challenge Programme and I have also had some 1 to 1 mentoring with Pravanya. Participating in the programme has brought a positive change of environment to my life. I’ve enjoyed working with new people, the weekly meetings, ‘City of change’ events and the positive, comfortable environment that Babbasa Hub youth workers and representatives have created. I look forward to becoming a Babbasa representative.

My confidence when connecting and interacting with new people has improved since joining the programme, which was especially useful for me in the lockdown period. Being able to interact with other young people during this uncertain time has been refreshing and encouraging. The Babbasa Hub programme and events have also helped me to improve my Networking skills. Overall, this all has made a positive impact in my life.

I feel more positive and optimistic generally- especially knowing that there are supportive organisations like Babbasa available for people of colour. It’s an Organisation that creates a comfortable and welcoming environment. At the moment, I am currently in my gap year before starting University later this year. I hope to get into university and come out of that experience feeling encouraged. I hope to like I’ve made the right decision for myself and what I’ve chosen to dedicate my life to. Then, after working for some years and gaining experience, I’d like to start my own business by opening a Creative Hub. This will be a safe space for young people (like myself, now) to feel FREE to express themselves creatively in every way and reach their full potential in the ‘Arts’.

And finally, a piece of advice I’d give to my younger self or another young person would be: No matter what DON’T DOUBT YOURSELF. You’ve got this and SELF CONFIDENCE, more bright days and Success is coming!…Just keep Faith.