Over 200 people were present at the 10th Anniversary Gala celebration of The HeBe Foundation, held recently at the Holiday Inn Hotel, Bloomsbury, London.
The charitable organisations, led by former Keep The Faith columnist and award-winning leader, Amie Buharie, 40, was founded 10 years ago. Just like today, many young people were losing their lives to gun and knife crime, and Amie just wanted to make a difference. She recalled, “I was doing youth work for different organisations, and I was really a little bit bored with the way we were doing it. We were just ticking boxes, instead of really impacting and developing young people.”
The first HeBe Foundation initiative run by Amie was a play called Gone Too Far, written by the young people she worked with. Some had felt stereotyped, others were on the periphery of crime. All felt Black youth were unfairly stereotyped and the play, which was performed in four churches, helped to dispel the myth.
Since then, the HeBe Foundation has gone on to help over 800 youth, via a range of projects that seek to build young people’s confidence and help them develop much-needed life skills. The projects include: Urban Debaters, Heathrow Future Fixers Events, London’s Next Top Role Model and Junior Apprentice, based on the BBC programme.
Guests of the gala – which included former participants of HeBe Foundation projects; representatives from sponsoring organisations: Heathrow, Babcock International, North Trust Investments, Oxfordshire Teaching Schools Alliance (OTSA), MJM, Aldi West London, Vanderland and ABC, and well-wishers – were reminded of the impact the charity has had on young people’s lives through their own personal testimonies.
Joshua Moses, an 18-year-old Law undergraduate, shared how participating in a HeBe Foundation project had helped him overcome his stammer, and former Junior Apprentice winner, Rai Peart, 16, talked about how coming first helped build her confidence.
Rev Les Isaac, founder of the Ascension Trust, gave the keynote speech. He called on those present to support the HeBe Foundation’s work. He said: “It is vital and crucial we get behind Amie. They are meeting young people, who have aspiration, but who are saying they need encouragement.”
The forthcoming weeks will be busy ones for the HeBe Foundation, as they get ready to run their FREE summer Junior Apprentice Programme. It will run in six areas across London: Clapham, West Norwood, Peckham, Wood Green, Heathrow and Tottenham.
And the next 10 years will definitely be busy ones if Amie, who works as an actress when not serving young people, achieves her 10-year goals for the foundation. She shared: “I want us to be working consistently outside of London, so I want to branch out and ultimately do some overseas projects. I don’t want it to be a case of doing something for people abroad, but rather, our young people gaining knowledge and experience by working abroad, which will ultimately go on to benefit others and give them the life experience they need.”
Visit www.thehebefoundation.org.uk for more details.