Tisha was part of the first cohort of young women who took part in our EmpowHER programme.
Tisha had finished sixth form and her seasonal contract in retail had recently ended. She felt at a loss and without direction, and her anxiety levels were having a damaging effect on her life.
Tisha enjoyed being creative but felt that there was a lack of creative opportunities in her area. Tisha attended weekly EmpowHER sessions which she described as her ‘safe haven’ – they offered a unique opportunity to discuss issues and share personal stories.
“It was a space we could just come and be ourselves, share our experiences and support each other,” she says. Tisha also participated in youth-led social action projects during her time on the EmpowHER programme, including running a workshop at a local school for a group of younger girls also taking part in the programme, and leading a group of young volunteers at a Refugee Week event.
Her youth worker saw a huge change in Tisha’s mental health. “She suffered quite erratic panic attacks in large groups of people or when public speaking. The immense step that she has taken to lead a whole group of young people; doing it with confidence, controlling her emotions and prioritising others needs over her own, is amazing”.
Tisha’s group also produced a campaign to challenge stereotypes of young Asian woman in Britain, which included writing articles and organising a photoshoot with a local young Asian entrepreneur.
Tisha was involved in generating ideas and creating mood boards, which gave her an opportunity to express her creativity. She thought it was a valuable experience that let each member of the group shine in their own tasks, whilst collaborating to create something they were proud of.
Tisha believes that EmpowHER has equipped her with new skills in organisation, team-working and leadership. “I never really thought it was something I’d be able to do, but I could. I found it really fulfilling and I got to be a part of something bigger than myself”.
Now an EmpowHER graduate, Tisha has continued to take part in social action projects, including leading a group of young people through a city-wide loneliness consultation. Her attitude and aptitude have impressed so much that she has secured a position as a staff member at her youth organisation.
She has also found a new interest sports activities, which is a considerable change for her. Tisha thinks that a programme like EmpowHER is important because it shows young women and girls that they’re not second best.
“If there had been EmpowHER when I was 10 or 11 I would be more confident, and I’d feel like my aspirations weren’t unachievable. I think my future has changed because my mind-set has changed. It’s proved to me that I have the power to make a difference.”
EmpowHER is a two-year programme jointly funded by Spirit of 2012 and the #iwill Fund. The National Lottery Community Fund and the Department of Culture, Media & Sport each invested £20 million seed funding to create the #iwill Fund to support young people to access high quality social action opportunities.
EmpowHER is delivered by UK Youth, in partnership with the British Red Cross and Young Women’s Trust. The programme helps young women and girls lead change in their communities, increase their self-esteem and build wellbeing by providing inclusive and meaningful social action opportunities.
To learn more about EmpowHER, click here.