‘Are you afraid of what the future holds?’ A question simply phrased but hard to answer for teenagers. Between the pandemic, the economic crisis and climate change, where to start? In Derry/Londonderry they can add division, tensions and the impression that people will never be able to move on from the past.

In a series of photographs and testimonies directly inspired by Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, the young people of R.E.A.C.H. Across open up about their hopes, fears and influences.

Hopefully I will have a stable life, as in having a job and a house. As much as I’d like to say I’d be rich, living my best life in a foreign country - that’s just not realistic. 

In ten years, I can see myself being a public speaker, travelling around to help others, maybe teaching people about LGBTQ rights and help raising money for projects that aim to change inequalities in gender and racism.

Or I could see myself living somewhere like Italy or France, helping people in need, or just helping in general. I could also see myself doing something like radio work or perhaps working in clubs. Maybe I’ll be in a relationship and foster kids? I really don’t know.

I say all this but I’ll probably still be living with my mum and working at the local SPAR.

What I do know is that I would like to help people, speak to people, travel maybe even entertain. I definitely will be helping people as best I can. 

Being a travelling pub singer is my alternative, or a cool auntie.



I’m very close with my family: my mum, my dad, my grandparents etc. I would say they are the people who have the strongest influence on the decisions I make, especially my mum.

I have a great relationship with my mum and talk to her about decisions she has had to make regarding career, family and friendships. I believe my mum has been the most influential person in my life so far. My mum and I both played the same instrument; and even though she no longer plays, the fact that I do helps her have insight and guidance with aspects of music I may be struggling with. 



Time is the biggest obstacle I currently face. I have too much time on my hands as it is summer and there is nothing to do because we live in Derry. I’m a bit bored. I really like R.E.A.C.H. Across because it helps me fill up the time I have. 



The happiest moments of my life are the simplest ones, like when I was up in the apartment with my friends at Lenamore, relaxing. 



What I’m most afraid of right now is my future. I hate knowing that my future is not set as what I want it to be set as.

I know that I have control over the outcome of my future: I could become a policewoman, or a social worker, or a photographer. But then again, I feel like a puppet. I feel I’m being controlled by someone higher up than me and I can’t do anything about it.

I feel suffocated and claustrophobic. It’s like I can’t talk or have an opinion about my own future. 



I want a quiet and secure life. I want to have a steady job but not be consumed by it. I want to be anonymous in a big city. I want privacy. 



This piece of original media was created as a collaboration between R.E.A.C.H. Across and Headliners Foyle in the context of a thematic on Inclusion, Diversity and Equality of Opportunities. Photographs and interviews were provided by Grace, Ellen, Kaelah, Roisin, Erin and Harriet.
Thank you to Education Authority Northern Ireland for making these projects possible.