27th September 2016
An East London charity which is helping to transform the lives of local unemployed women, has been championed by some of UK’s most accomplished and influential young women as ambassadors.
You Make It which takes twenty-five local women through its programme each year, has attracted the support of a host of high profile influences including song writer to the stars Carla Marie Williams who has written for Beyoncé and Britney Spears, award-winning lifestyle & parenting blogger Vicki Psarias and entrepreneur Jessica Huie MBE.
Founded in 2011 by Asma Shah at her kitchen table with just £3,000 investment, she worked alone trawling the streets of Bethnal Green and working with other local organisations to identify an eventual twenty-one women to enrol in the first term. A huge success, seventeen of the women went on to secure paid work or full-time education following the course.
On September 12th, twenty-five women graduated from the six month programme which is run from Bethnal Green. To date, You Make It have supported 81 women through the programme and 78% of their graduates are in paid employment, working on their own start-up or have accessed a formal education place.
Many of the women have complex personal lives and backgrounds which can include surviving abuse, mental health issues and poverty. You Make It gives these women tools to manage life and creates deep shifts which take them from seeing themselves as a problem or victims who need support, to valuable assets of society ready to seize and create opportunities.
Carla Marie Williams who grew up in Harlesden and has crafted a celebrated career writing for some of the world’s biggest stars, said;
” Factors like the environment that you grow up in and the way that you are perceived because of the colour of your skin or your religion, do affect opportunities. However your sense of self worth and your opinion of yourself is the ultimate decider in the life that we make for ourselves. That is why the work that the charity do in reframing women’s view of themselves, is so crucial. I’m delighted to be supporting You Make It.”
In 2019 Asma will launch a sister project working with Southwark and Lambeth to give support to the displaced women resulting from Peckham, Brixton’s and the surrounding area’s gentrification.
“I’m a middle class woman who always sees the world through the eyes of someone who went to a crap school and was brought up on a council estate at a time when my existence was a struggle not only because of racism, but because of the struggles that being a young woman from a poorer background brings. Working with the women on the course I’ve learnt that the challenges I faced then still exist today – with the added challenge of islamophobia and increased segregation and gentrification,” said Asma.
Vicki Psarias better known by her blog alias ‘Honest Mum,’ has written extensively about confidence and its impact on professional accomplishment and opportunities. She praised You Make It for its focus on developing the soft skills of the students who emerge from the programme empowered and ready to advance in employment, academia or start-up businesses;
“As women, we often feel like frauds don’t we? I know I do, and often, and there’s a term for it: the imposter syndrome,” she says. “The imposter syndrome alludes to feeling like a fake when you have no reason to. It boils down to confidence, and despite more women than ever thriving in the work place, it’s sad to admit, we often doubt ourselves for no reason at all.”