Baroness Verma House of Lords - July 13th, 2011

Baroness Sandip Verma, spoke to the audience saying, 'I would especially like to thank every single young person that came today. I met Tara Love a year ago and she stuck out to me because she asked me: ‘What can I do?’ and now she has gone out and done it. Yes you are the future and you are the present now. I think it’s really important that politicians pay attention and listen to what you have to say. It is about people believing in you, you only need that one person to say that I believe in what you are doing and ordinary people can make other people extraordinary and extraordinary people extremely extraordinary. We want to be able to share common purposes, to share that goal. Like the saying goes ‘It starts with a couple of drops and becomes a sea.’ I am so glad that I was here to hear your speeches today, and I will look in 10 years to see who has become a leader.'

The CEO of the organisation, VIP Minds, Adam Nazar, sits on the Boards of a number of other groups such as Mosaic, a charity founded by the Prince of Wales. He had introduced three friends to the Youth Achievement Awards. One young lady Adam introduced is Anisa Qureshi. She does a lot of charity work to raise funds for organisations such as Oxfam, NSPCC and READ International. She is currently embarking on the ‘World Challenge’ working towards a project in Mozambique as well as volunteering with The Groundwork Charity and is a Board member of VIP Minds.

Harun Asif takes a ‘Hands-on’ approach in community. He has worked as teacher for Unwind Summer School as well as being a member of the committee for the ‘Salaam Cup’. He is the Head of Youth for ‘Redbridge Engage’ and is developing the organisation, ‘Aspire Youth Initiative’, of which he is the Founding Co-director. ‘I fully recognise giving back to the community as I myself have experienced what it means to receive help.’

Tasif Zaman expressed a love for politics and formulating policy and his community work with the Redbridge Youth Forum, Redbridge Youth Council and the UK Youth Parliament. Most recently he has been developing the organisation ‘Aspire Youth Initiative’, of which he is the Founding Co-director. Tasif encouraged all young people to be involved in the Youth Parliament. He said it was a special feeling to be able to sit on the green benches of the House of Commons. He received the Youth Achievement Award from Lee Scott MP who expressed how inspired he was by Tasif’s accomplishments, his passion and involvement in politics.

Tolu Williams has been an active volunteer for many good causes over the last few years including the anti knife crime campaign (STOP), and the Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust (HART). With the goal of improving the lives of all people and aiming towards world peace she continues to work towards her ambition to work in the UN. She worked with Baroness Cox for about a year including visiting Armenia to help in community activities in the conflict area of Nagorno Karabakh.

When presenting the award Nick de Bois MP said that he was ‘awestruck that at the age of 21 Tolu has done so much. She has inspired us with her attitude of living for others and has set a great example for us all. It was truly worthwhile to be here. I am immensely proud to have you as a constituent. I am only sorry that I couldn’t be here for longer. Once again I would like to congratulate you. Really, really congratulations.’

One of the participants commented afterwards: I would like to express my gratitude for the award yesterday. I think I speak for many to say it was a very inspirational event. As one of the recipients of the award, I left the event yesterday with the motivation to continue striving in my endeavours, contributing to my community. I had the opportunity to network with people who had an interest in my work and I hope to explore those opportunities further.

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