Headliners (UK) began working with Rajaun in the first term of year 9 back in 2019 on the #UnfilteredProject. At that time Rajaun was finding conflict in different environments which was leading to him being placed in isolation in school. He was finding it difficult to process situations in which he felt an injustice had occurred.

The main aim of the #UnfilteredProject is to create a safe and open weekly space, to discuss the issues affecting each individual young person. Through these conversations Rajaun’s maturity and understanding of the issues he was facing grew week on week. He became more able to deal with conflicting ideas and experiences in a group environment, without entering into the negative patterns that were happening in the classroom and other spaces.

These conversations were emotionally charged for each young person, especially when talking about issues surrounding racism, which Rajaun and the group concentrated on throughout the project. The use of journalism as a tool to voice and focus his frustrations, enabled Rajaun to turn his anger and need for change into a cohesive story, giving those ideas and issues a platform. 

Within the project Rajaun led multiple interviews on different aspects of racism with both his peers and guests such as Ben Lindsay, pastor and CEO of Power the Fight, an organisation and that works with local communities with the aim of eradicating youth violence. The interviews propelled Rajaun’s confidence in himself and his journalism skills which developed further at each workshop.

Alongside using journalism as a tool for dealing with the issues facing young people and their subsequent frustrations, the #UnfilteredProject runs mentoring workshops with a concentration on anger and how to deal with it. The lead journalist and project facilitator supports young people to develop techniques to deal with anger not as a negative emotion, but just as an emotion like any other that the young people can learn to manage in different situations.

Through these mentoring sessions Rajaun explored different tools and techniques, actively trying them out week by week in different settings to find out what worked for him. Both Rajaun himself and the adults around him noticed the clear drive he had to make positive changes which resulted in a clear reduction in time spent he spent in isolation whilst in school. His patience and commitment to ensure he was well prepared for any situation led to Rajaun winning the Jack Petchy Award.  

When the #Unfiltered Project concluded, Rajaun moved into our Islington Young Reporters Club, funded by Vanguard through which Headliners continued to work with Rajaun on media and weekly mentoring sessions throughout lockdown. The support was invaluable to him helping him to continue to work on the barriers he faced in his life as well as coping through the challenges and frustrations of lockdown.

As he continued to create work with Headliners, he produced a podcast episode with Kay Rufai, a creative, mental health researcher and founder of S.M.I.L.E.(ing) Boys Project. Kay was an inspirational person that Rajaun had been really keen to meet. He produced this solo podcast which took a lot of dedication which in itself highlights Rajaun's personal development and skills growth. Rajauns continued engagement with headliners (UK) projects has really shown what can be achieved when a young person with the drive to succeed is given the support  and tools they need to be the best they can be.

Headliners continues to work with Rajuan through our Vanguard funded mentoring and skills sessions and are so proud and excited to see Rajaun succeed!

Rajaun took part in both the #Unfiltered project which is funded by the Young Londoners Fund and the Islington Young Reporters Club which is made possible by funded from Vanguard. Rajaun also won a Jack Petchy Award. Thank you to all three funders for supporting this work to take place.