Young Girl counters extremism with Tower Hamlets Young Leaders Programme

16-year-old Julia Hossain, a newly arrived student in East London, is front running a project to counter radicalisation movements amongst teenagers in the UK.

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The bright individual was chosen to take part in the Tower Hamlets Young Leaders Programme, which helps students act on issues and causes they feel passionate about, through the use of workshops and community events.

The programme aims to help transform young adults into future community leaders by teaching leadership skills, crisis management and developing their critical thinking.

Julia, one of selectees, has chosen to focus on Prevent – the governmental strategy to tackle radicalisation and terror within schools – during her time on the seven-month programme.

The impassioned 16-year-old, who has been hosting seminars and giving presentations to large audiences, says: “We need to raise awareness about terrorism and radicalisation in order to combat it. Vulnerable people all over the world are being targeted and it will continue if we aren’t educated and don’t stand up to it.”

Choosing counter-radicalisation, Julia gave her first conference speech to an audience of influential people from education, local government, police and community groups.

She explains: “My whole body was shaking when I entered the room,” she admitted. “But once I started, I began to feel more comfortable.

“I really felt like I had achieved something after I’d finished. Hopefully my talks can help to raise awareness”.

Born in Bangladesh, Julia and her family immigrated to Italy when she was just 6 years old. After relocating last year to London, Julia became a student at Tower Hamlets College, created for teenagers aged 14 to 16.

The Young Leaders Programme has helped youngsters like Julia, who once felt isolated and hesitant to voice their opinions.

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