More than 20 young people are taking part in Engage London. Here some of them share their thoughts and ideas about what life’s like waking up as a young person in London. #hearmespeak Photos by Hugh Gary Photography

Fardowsa Ali (c) Hugh Gary Photography

Fardowsa Ali (everyone calls me Fadz)
Age: 23
What did you eat for breakfast? “I try to have protein bar. I can’t eat a full breakfast and who’s got time?”
What’s the most important issue for you? “Housing.100 per cent.”

Jahbarey Winter (c) Hugh Gary Photography

Jahbarey Winter
Age: 20
What did you eat for breakfast? “I had cornflakes with milk and sugar.”
What’s the most important issue for you? “Lack of youth support and youth homelessness.”

Misgana Asefa (c) Hugh Gary Photography

Misgana Asefa 
Age: 24
What did you eat for breakfast? “Beans and bread.”
What’s the most important issue for you? “Accommodation is very important for me, learning and getting the right documents, like a National Insurance number. You can’t work without one.”

Naomi Gahie (c) Hugh Gary Photography

Naomi Gahie
Age: 22
What did you eat for breakfast? “Nothing!”
What’s the most important issue for you? “Finding work and my education.”

Gerrell Rose (c) Hugh Gary Photography

Gerrell Rose
Age: 22
What did you eat for breakfast? “Nothing. I woke at 11am and I haven’t eaten yet (it’s 3.15pm). I’ve got used to it…”
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? “I’m thinking about community activities. A lot of people are just looking for things to do in their community which leads to them getting into trouble with society. At times I’m bored – but because of music, starting my own clothing business [k.o.r.e. king over reigning everything] and this project – I’m not.”

Martina Chessa (c) Hugh Gary Photography

Martina Chessa
Age: 23
What did you eat for breakfast? “Some brown fancy seed bread with Nutella and a green tea.”
What’s the most important thing for you? “Drug dealing and the violence derived from it, is frightening. Now and then there are big knife banks so people can put their knives in; it’s a big step for them to improve their life, but is this enough?”


Favour Ekengwu (c) Hugh Gary Photography

Favour Ekengwu
Age: 18
What did you eat for breakfast? “I had cookies, bran flakes with milk and a hot chocolate. Is that healthy?”
What’s the most important issue for you? “As a young person it is having the right friends that support you. Friendship is a big issue. Because we don’t have the friends around us anymore, we might make the wrong friends on social media. I’ve learnt that not all friends are your friends.”

Charlie Tshibangu (c) Hugh Gary Photography

Charlie Tshibangu
Age: 23
What did you eat for breakfast? “Nothing. I got up at 8am (it’s now 3pm) but I eat in the afternoon.”
Biggest issue for you? “I think we need more apprenticeships from around 20 years old. I’d be interested in anything media related, but it’s not easy to get into.”

Brandon Richards (c) Hugh Gary Photography

Brandon Richards
Age: 24
What did you eat for breakfast? “Two slices of bread and some cheese.”
Biggest issue for you? “Getting understood. We’ve got issues doctors need to hear! Our community aint heard by the older community, and unless you’ve got a string of family you’re not going to talk to older people… I feel people look at you in a stereotypical way before they know you.”

Yasar Cankaya (c) Hugh Gary Photography

Yasar Cankaya
Age: 21
What did you eat for breakfast? “Orange juice and a Rustlers Burger from Tesco. They’re £1 and you put in the microwave. Really, I had lunch for breakfast”
Biggest issue for you? “It’s about getting the message across about young men, so we’re not all stereotyped as in gangs or hoodies. Islington is good, it’s up and coming, but it’s got Pentonville Prison and it always will have … Then there’s the council [and authority] making people chase their tail to see if you’re eligible for housing or a job.”

Surelle Stevens (c) Destiny

Surelle Stevens
Age: 25
What did you eat for breakfast? “Yesterday was Mother’s Day so today I had yesterday’s heroes (that’s what I call leftovers), prawns, samosa and biryani. It was more of a lunch than breakfast.”
What’s the first thing you do when you wake up? “I need to find my inner peace every morning. I do two minutes of inner zen. I tell myself I love myself. When I was growing up I didn’t have that.”

Yasmin Sharman (c) Engage London

Yasmin Sharman
Age: 20
What did you eat for breakfast? “Porridge and a banana, and I drank some water. You’ve got to be healthy…”
Biggest issue for you? “Social representation in the media. We’re portrayed as youths who are bad, but we’re not horrible or scary, we’re really not.”

Pandora Khody missed the photo shoot because she was at work, so she sent a selfie and Q&A answers via WhatsApp. (c) PK

Pandora Khody
What did you have for breakfast? “I rush for work so my lunch is my breakfast. But when I do eat breakfast, I have cinnamon porridge and some Arab tea.”
What’s the biggest issue? “Society lacks understanding about the problem of homelessness. Being homeless as a young adult is very common, especially around Islington. The health care, government, media and stereotypes that we face for being homeless is very harsh. We need to raise the red flag. We need more support – hostels, shelters, access to food, clothing, money and counselling.”

So there you are – you’ve met some of our amazing HEAR ME SPEAK team. A big thank you to Hugh Gary Photography, check out his website.