In 2018, The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust were proud to launch a partnership with WE to enable projects developed by young people taking part in WE programmes to be brought to life with support from QCT. In 2020, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the focus shifted to support WE’s work in the UK specifically. As always though, in coming together this partnership will continue to enable more young people to deliver impact in their local communities by providing access to funding, connecting young leaders to a wider network and championing their work to inspire others to join in.
WE is a movement that believes in the power of youth to come together and create positive change for their communities and beyond. With over 3.8 million young people engaged in their programming globally, WE offers an unparalleled network of youth advocates, who are passionate about making a positive difference on the social issues that they care about, on both a local and global scale.
Keep reading to find out more about some of the young leaders and their projects, from what motivated them to start something to what their ambitions are for the future.
Partnership in action: Write About Me
Yolanda runs Write About Me, a project that addresses the lack of diversity represented in books that her school provides.
Tell us about your project…
As a student librarian, I am very familiar with many of the books in the school library. However, when I started looking closer at our shelves, I was aware that we only had a few books which seemed to represent me and my peers. This lack of representation has an impact on how young people engage with literature as they struggle to find stories and characters that they can relate to. With reading playing such a significant role in the achievement of both school children and adults alike, I felt that it was an issue we needed to tackle sooner rather than later and create an environment which better reflects the diversity of our society.
The project ‘Write About Me’ therefore came about for two reasons. Firstly, we wanted to encourage our school to actively seek out books from a diverse range of authors which included those from BAME backgrounds, are LBGTQ+ or from low-socioeconomic backgrounds, allowing pupils to find books which resonate with them more personally. Secondly, we wanted to encourage pupils from a range of backgrounds to feel inspired enough to write their own stories which could be shared in our library in a collection of short stories.
What do you hope to achieve through Write About Me?
We hope to encourage a new-found love of both reading and writing amongst our student body. We want them to know that their experiences are valuable and needed, and we hope that this project will inspire the pupils to read a wider range of books from a wider range of author and in turn, produce their own stories where they are able to create characters who truly represent them.
As school librarians, if we can expand our knowledge and skills about the issues the project wants to explore then we will know how to offer a better service and encourage more pupils to visit the library to learn more about other cultures through a wider range of books, but also ignite a love of reading in those who have felt disenchanted by what is on offer in library.
What’s next for your project?
This QCT award is providing us with an incredible opportunity to build ‘Write About Me’ into a whole school initiative, working in partnership with the wider parent/teacher community to connect more young people with the stories and experiences of a more diverse range of people. Our ambition is that all pupils feel represented within the literature available at school, and this funding will help us to achieve this goal.