Youth Learning Network
The Youth Learning Network (YLN) is a voluntary set up in February 2006 under the umbrella of the Home Office funded Grassroots Rising Community Regeneration Network Team at Southwark Action for Voluntary Organizations (SAVO) now Community Action Southwark (CAS). It has taken as its foundation, the principles of organising and preventing
rather than seeking solutions as illustrated in the words of Martin Luther King Jnr.
The organisation has adopted SANKOFA as its Logo – The African Bird with its head turned backwards which symbolizes one taking from the past what is good and bringing it into the present in order to make positive progress through the benevolent use of knowledge. That is, we should reach back and gather the best of what our past has to teach us, so that we can achieve our full potential as we move forward. Whatever we have lost, forgotten, forgone or been stripped of, can be reclaimed, revived, preserved and perpetuated.
“OUR LIVES BEGIN TO END THE DAY WE BECOME SILENT ABOUT THINGS THAT MATTER.”
YLN is an independent organisation established to meet the educational needs of children and young people from African backgrounds in South London as well as undertaking activities that help to facilitate and empower parents.
The organisation started with – The Youth Dialogue Project which was funded by UnLtd’s Refugee Initiative for Social Entrepreneurs. The Youth Dialogue Project focused on youth solutions to issues commonly faced by young people with the aim of creating a safer, stronger and more inclusive community, as outlined in the Home Office Charter for Communities.
The organisation became a Social Enterprise – Company Limited by Guarantee, Registration Number 6484203 with a Company Secretary and Directors in January 2008 and in May 2011 acquired a Charitable Status with Registration Number 1141917 dedicated to engaging and challenging the negative behaviour and attitude among African and Caribbean children and young people. The Network provides support to Parents and the Communities in areas of raising educational awareness and standards that allow them to play active roles in schools and school work, act as a focal point for the spread of new ideas in the field of parental involvement and a voice on how schools are organised and run.
YLN’s mission is to create strategies to empower our young Africans and African Caribbean people, through specific learning programmes and projects in order to develop their talents and skills. Create a positive learning environment that motivate and instill confidence, knowledge and understanding of self that enables them to become positive contributors to society. The additional value lies in enhancing the support to Africans and African Caribbean children and young people, who having difficulties with motivation in mainstream education, those on the verge of exclusion, and those who have been excluded.
The process also involves and motivates parents to engage in the quest to resolve the issues relative to the educational needs of their children. Parents are important to the resolve, because they are the voices of change for education to be regarded as an investment and not as a cost to the nation.
YLN regards education as the passport to enlightenment, and that enlightenment must be shared by parents, teachers and the decision makers. It is therefore vital for African parents to fully understand how the educational system functions, to be able to highlight areas where educators are failing the children. We must eradicate a system that perpetuates the failure of the African child. We argue that given appropriate guidance, support, direction and motivation, our children and young people should be able to have a better understanding of who they are in society, and participate in the creation of an effective socio-economic niche.
YLN’s Vision is to lift the historical spirits of children of African Heritage through pride in African History. The group is responding to The African Union’s proposals for the people’s of the African Diaspora to enhance their relationships with the people of Continental Africa. The group has designed international initiatives that provide young people with the opportunity to experience a trip to Africa to learn about their almost lost roots, culture and heritage. Such travel experiences have been of significant benefit to the young people. The benefit remains a lifetime changing experience that broadens their horizons, improves knowledge of self, improves confidence, teaches them new skills and helps them to gain valuable knowledge of Africa.
The overseas trip is linked to a sponsorship deal we have secured with British Airways. The group is sincerely grateful to British Airways for its generosity and contribution to the notion of building one world.
The educational benefits of such trips are that they engage young people in a comparative assessment of levels of development. The young British person can determine how his or her quality of life might be more or less advanced that of the young continental African. Such trips enhance the development of the young person. It enables him or her to decide the educational disciplines they should pursue. It helps to identify the cultural loss through slavery and the economic differences between African children living here in the UK but born in different parts of the world.
Young people will also embrace the opportunity to explore in Ghana, visit national museums, learn about slavery, learn about the great Ghana Empire of Timbuktu visit places of historical interest, see wildlife in their natural habitat and very importantly, spend quality time with families in local villages to experience life on a difference level.
You can contact us at: c/o Unit 2, 17 – 19 Blackwater Street, East Dulwich, London SE22 8SD.
Tel 078 2162 3009.
Email: – Info@YouthLearningNetwork.org