9. Amelia Viney and Saba Shafi – unleashing the power of young people
Amelia Viney describes herself as a kid who sought to be involved in “some kind of liberation”, but found herself working in the corridors of power of Westminster and Capitol Hill. Saba Shafi was a Liberian refugee who came to the UK, succeeding in pursuing the neoliberal dream of a top university and a swift rise up the corporate ladder before realising this path was unlikely to sufficiently fulfil her in the long term.
Having quit their careers, these two women now run The Advocacy Academy, a transformative Social Justice Fellowship for young people who are passionate about making a difference in the world. It has grown from a week-long summer camp in 2014 to a 300 hour programme supported by some of the most powerful movers and shakers in London. During the Fellowship, participants work with top campaigners, creatives, academics and coaches to help them develop the skills to lead a grassroots campaign in their community, deliver a speech to their Member of Parliament in the House of Commons, and so much more.
The Academy’s founders and participants believe that a better world is possible, that there is nothing inevitable about injustice and inequality, and that the lives of ordinary people matter. Campaigns run so far by the programme’s participants include Legally Black, a viral campaign for better black representation in our media.
I talked to Amelia and Saba about the Academy, the young people they admit to the programme, and how they ended up where they are. They are fantastic women.
You can check out the Academy here: