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Badu champions East London's next generation, fostering systemic change through dynamic community inclusion and using sport to engage and support underserved populations. Acknowledging mentoring as a key investment for the future is crucial to uplift and empower individuals, helping them harness their unique talents for a future full of possibilities.

Founded by Nana Badu in 2008, the social enterprise works with an average of 22,000 children every week. On a mission to challenge stereotypes and the status quo, Badu supports young adults from underserved communities to rewrite the narrative of what they can achieve by dismantling the systemic barriers that hinder their progress.

Central to this mission, alongside various other community initiatives, is Badu’s Mentoring Programme, which Here East is a proud sponsor of. Running since 2018, this eight-month programme connects young people from Black and Global Majority backgrounds with an ecosystem of mentors from their local community, aiming to fuel their personal, professional and academic progress.

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This programme provides crucial support for the most underserved young people in inner-East London, who encounter unique barriers while navigating London life. With limited access to resources for their growth, bridging the gap in underrepresented black and global majority talent becomes challenging, especially in corporate settings. This difficulty in dismantling systemic inequalities within the professional world can greatly affect their outlook, well-being, and career prospects, leading to issues like mental health challenges and poverty.

Playing a pivotal role in empowering young people to unlock their full potential, Badu’s Mentoring Programme inspires them to lean into their ambitions and strive for goals beyond those society has predetermined for them. It connects them with inspirational role models with shared lived experiences, opens up access to work placement and career opportunities and, most importantly, reframes their perspectives on the future.

Delivered in both one-to-one and group sessions led by their mentors, the programme is tailored to the individual and focuses on four main categories – industry experts, skill development, personal development and strategic critical thinking. Driving self-development in different areas, the sessions dive deeper into topics including finance, technology, wellbeing, entrepreneurship and creativity, as well as offering practical support with further education and employment applications.

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The feedback heard from Badu’s mentees sheds light on how the programme is having a tangible impact on their lives.

In 2023, Badu’s Impact Report revealed that 100% of participants expressed that they felt equipped to navigate challenges and opportunities after participating in the programme. Moreover, a 2024 report from Badu showed participants came away feeling more empowered, confident, and connected with their peers and community; expressing how the programme offered a “welcoming and supportive environment” that helped enhance their skills and “supported them in getting to know their own identity.”

Painting a picture of this impact on a personal level, personal testimonials from Badu’s 2023 Impact Report bring these results to life:

“This mentorship programme has been invaluable in my journey. It's not just about becoming more confident in my speaking; it's also about finding a community of like-minded peers striving to break into the industry alongside me. This newfound confidence and supportive network have truly propelled my personal and professional growth, empowering me to pursue my aspirations with renewed purpose.”

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At Here East, we are dedicated to being a supportive neighbour to our local community – nurturing the bright young minds of East London and providing pathways for them to unlock their potential.

Reinforcing this commitment, we couldn’t be prouder to have Badu as Here East’s charity partner. Together we’re joining forces to reduce child poverty in the local growth boroughs; aiming to make a tangible difference to the lives of vulnerable children and alleviate the hardships they face.

Thank you, Badu, for all that you do for our community’s next generation. We’re thrilled to partner with you in this mission and we look forward to our work together driving positive change for local young people – opening doors to the boundless opportunities they deserve.

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