On the Romania team: Pandora Khody

After two years of homelessness, linguist Pandora Khody, 21, works long hours to ensure she’s got her own place to go back home to. A big fan of fashion and art, here Pandora explains how life is looking up since she discovered the Pilion Trust. Q&A with Nicola Baird

Pandora Khody from the #HearMeSpeak team styling her selfie. (c) PK

Q: What’s your connection to Islington?
“I came to London when I was 10 or 11 and grew up in west London, then I moved around a lot. I used to rough sleep around Islington for a while, from 18 – 19 years old. Now I live in east London. I’ve lived in so many places.”

Q: How did you discover the Pilion Trust?
“Through my friend Fardowsa – she introduced me to Savvas [CEO of the Pilion Trust which runs a night shelter for young homeless Londoners]. On the day I got in touch with him I went to stay at the Crash Pad. I thought it was going to be a hell hole but I felt really safe and nurtured.”

“Society lacks understanding about the problem of homelessness. Being homeless as a young female 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.”

Q: Are you working?
“Since December I’ve been working at Ugg (a famous Austalian sheepskin boot brand) in central London and really enjoy it. One thing I really like about my work is there are so many tourists and I’m able to use all my languages. It makes me look back a couple of years and think oh my god I’m here. I love the staff and conversations with the customers.”

Q: How are you feeling?
“I’d been homeless for three years and a bit. I never really thought I’d be working where I am, or I’d be renting and earning money. I always looked down on myself. If it was not for Savvas, and my partner, I’d not be here. Life can always improve but I’m very happy with my life.”

Q: Why did you get involved in Engage London?
“I like to get myself involved in activities and experience new things. Because of Savvas I was confident that #HearMeSpeak was going to help me gain knowledge, confidence and have a learning experience. And I enjoy being with everyone, the activities and being creative.”

  • See Pandora on the TV panel live Question Time show here.

Pandora Khody with fellow panellists at City university after a live TV Question Time in front of a studio audience. L-R Surelle Stevens, Pandora Khody and Fadz Ali (c) SS for Engage London

=====
Places Pandora likes in Islington
Angel – it’s really small but has so many things to look at and I love one vintage charity shop. It’s also got really nice restaurants and the Business Design Centre where they have shows. I like the way you can walk from Angel to Cally Road by short cuts and can walk to central London.”

King’s Cross– My all time favourite place is King’s Cross. It has an amazing canal view, fountains and events. Also it was there where I worked at London Fashion Week (LFW) at the University of Arts London (UAL) Central St Martin’s where I was accepted ,but didn’t take up the place. I could not have had the experience working for LFW if it was not for Savvas

=========

Pandora is one of the three members of Engage London team who is due to go to Romania to meet  Engage Europe. Safe travels, or as they say in Romania, cālātorii sigure.

Society lacks understanding about the problem of homelessness. Being homeless as a young female 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.

 

 

 

 

Making TV: #hearmespeak Question Time

For the second Engage London workshop, we moved into the TV studio at City’s Journalism Department. The result was a hard-hitting Question Time show. Please watch then let us know what you think about the #hearmespeak team’s opinions on being street smart and opportunities for young people.

The #hearmespeak team in City TV studio after recording our Question Time show. Topics for the panel included knife crime, sex education, lifelong learning and being gay (c) Amelia Green for Engage London

How do you choose just four panellists for a TV show when you have such a great group of young people, aged 18-25, with a lot to say? Pilion Trust chief exec Savvas Panas decided that the best method would be to pull names from a (metaphorical) hat. That’s how our panel was Yasmin Sharman, Surelle Stevens, Pandora Khody and Fadz Ali. City first year journalism student, Matt Hardy, sporting a jazzy TV-style shirt, took on the role of anchor.

Working on the technical team proved a popular choice too. The whole TV show was filmed by Engage London’s Brandon Richards, Misgana Afesa, Jahbarey Winter, Gerrell Rose and Marcus Simmonds working with City technicians Dave Goodfellow and David Brandsbury. Skills learnt included technical grasp of Tricaster, ability to work in a team, operating the manual camera and  using the audio mixer.

Notes showing planned audience questions. (c) Engage London

With 18 active on the #hearmespeak team, including journalism students and Pilion Trust members, plus an invited audience of 26, there were still plenty of people wanting to have their say on camera for Engage London. So a Question Time format worked well, giving, another six people a chance to raise important views for young Londoners. They also experienced the camera pan on to them when anchor Matt turned to the audience to present their question.

The result was a fabulous show. Watch and enjoy it here (click on the link):

https://mediaspace.city.ac.uk/media/180418+QT+HearMeSpeak/1_qd09ypiy

In the audience

Special guest in the audience for our Engage London #hearmespeak TV show was Jennette Arnold, OBE, who has been a member of the London Assembly since 2000 and currently Chair of the London Assembly. (c) Barbara Schofield for Engage London

As well as team members and supporters, we had a special guest in the audience. This was Jennette Arnold who has been a member of the London Assembly since 2000 and is chair of the London Assembly (2017-18). She loved the show, taking a front row seat to be able to see all the action. At the end of the recording, Jennette gave a wrap talk thanking all the #hearmespeak participants saying how much she “loved the professionalism… I have to know what young people in my constituency are feeling. The questions were so relevant.” She ended by inviting us all to “go and visit City Hall,” which is where the Mayoral Assembly members, including Mayor Sadiq Khan are based, just by the River Thames, opposite the Tower of London.

Feedback:

Jennette Arnold, Chair of the London Assembly :  

“A big Thank You 🌹for the welcoming informative time that I spent with you, your collaborators, Students and guest at HEAR ME SPEAK event. You clearly have developed an excellent programme, which has been well received by a number of the students I spoke with. Please do keep me updated on progress, and do not hesitate to call me, if you believe that I can be of assistance to you or your students.”

Lemn Sissay, actor & poet

(From his PA, Sarah) I’m afraid Lemn was away at an event in Lancashire last night but thank you anyway and please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any future enquiries.

Fardowsa Ali (what’s app) #hearmespeak panellist

“It was awesome”

Pandora Khody (what’s app) #hearmespeak panellist

“Thank you guys.”

>>More feedback to come…