Activist community

City Girl in Nature – a community crowdfunding project in London by [email protected]

Kwesia launched “City Girl in Nature” after a profound experience with nature during a British Exploring Society expedition to the Peruvian Amazon. Growing up in a deprived and inner-city area of ​​London, England, she faced several challenges that had a traumatic impact on her life. From being a young career to his grandmother who had long term health issues, to losing his aunt murdered by his uncle which is described as an ‘honour killing’ to losing friends to knife crime and homelessness.

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The opportunity to travel to the Amazon has come to a particularly low point and changed its trajectory in many ways. She experienced for the first time, through a direct and immediate encounter, life on earth associating energy and potential. It had a healing effect on her, situating herself in a greater universal whole. She began to breathe more deeply, her horizons more widely expanded. She was also among complete strangers, with whom she developed bonds of friendship and trust, having to work together and cooperate to achieve common goals.

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1660411314_1660411293462.pngUpon her return, she pledged to provide similar opportunity and healing to those who come from a similar background to her. For many complex reasons, young people from black and minority ethnic communities do not have access to nature and the outdoors. They are often trapped in cycles of poverty and discrimination, with little understanding and access to spaces beyond their homes and immediate challenges. Many experience adverse childhood episodes that lead to lifelong debilitating trauma.

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Kwesia understood that she needed to build bridges between the community she cares about and the environments that can heal them. She understood the power of social media in the lives of young people and the appeal of signifiers of respectability among her peers. She also understood that nature is not an abstract term or something that is removed from our daily lives. This nature is within us, at our doors and in our streets. She knew she had to make nature “cool” again.

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She began learning about the nature all around her and did self-discovery, walks and visits to her community spaces. She assembled a team of black filmmakers and creatives and asked them to follow her explorations of spaces and places she found healing, and invited some of her friends to join her.

1660406915_2c31dd83-f737-420c-815a-302df81611e3.jpegThis led her to create her YouTube channel, where she met different people from all walks of life and engaged them in conversations in and around their own local spaces. The diverse, multicultural people she engaged with all looked like her, dressed like her, and many were having these conversations for the very first time.

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She started incorporating art, style and fashion into her films to make her films resonant and connective. She met other explorers doing similar things and to create new networks and connections – from beekeepers and polar explorers to urban birdwatchers, from forest hikers to neighborhood gardeners, and grew her social media presence by bringing together like-minded people.

She began sharing these explorations via social media and visited youth clubs, schools and parks, giving talks about her lived experience and ways to access nature and the outdoors, and its benefits to health and well-being. The innovative approach of having young people in urban settings walk their streets and neighbors, have a conversation about nature and the healing power, and turn them into memorable shorts and films has begun to change narratives on whom nature and the outdoors are available, and that young black people like her have equal access to seek wonder and joy in these spaces.

1660406796_86a5b2fd-2302-4f62-8b62-64a51ef227da.jpegKwesia’s YouTube movies have been viewed over 28,000 times. These were then shared and viewed on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter and What’s App (10 out of 1000) times. She spoke to a wide range of audiences, from schools and youth clubs to national conferences.

1660412207_adventure+spirit+2020-36.jpgThis was an opportunity to transfer the knowledge of young BME (Black Minority Ethnic) from his community to large organizations. These large organizations are often not representative of diverse and multicultural communities, and Kwesias’ nature activism enables it to provide these communities with access to authentic accounts of lived experience by young Black and South Asian, helping them to develop their own equality, diversity and inclusion policies. and practice.

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And by working alongside grassroots black communities, enabling and supporting them to access new and emerging opportunities. She became an ambassador for the British Exploring Society, directly influencing and encouraging young people to undertake expeditions as she did, offering one-on-one coaching and support, and actively engaging with local community groups by building connections and partnerships, including leading young people on Duke of Edinburgh Awards trips around the countryside.

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The money raised here will be used to facilitate and organize nature walks, camps/trips around connecting with nature, facilities for workshops/discussions in schools, creating more online content through a second series on how inner city dwellers can connect with the natural world; allow access and engage the community.

If you would like to help Kwesia in her quest, please consider contributing to help achieve other goals and community engagement. Thank you, always love