Dami Makinde is the co-founder and co-CEO of ‘We Belong’, an organization fighting for young migrants to be treated equally and fairly in all areas of society. She was born in Nigeria and moved to the UK when she was 8 years old. Despite her lawful immigration status, she was barred from student finance to study at university, and consequently joined the Let Us Learn campaign, where she helped launch the #YoungGiftedandBlocked campaign. In 2017, Makinde was seconded to the London mayor’s office as a policy advisor to help within their Social Integration Team, where she created a forum to build a bridge between the mayor and all London migrants. Makinde’s mission is to learn about migrancy among young people in particular and speak out on the hostility they (and she) experience.
“I personally believe that in today’s society, young people who are going through particular circumstances are not given a platform to voice out their issues. I believe that professionals of different sectors usually take on that role. In order to create a generation of future leaders, young people should be given a safe space, handed the mic, and collaborate with others about how best to overcome what is happening in their societies.”
Dami Makinde’s project is also her job and her life goal. Under the umbrella of ‘Just for Kids Law’ founded by Shauneen Lambe (UK ’15) Makinde aims for all young people living in the UK to be able to access student finance, regardless of immigration status. She spoke movingly about this at the European Regional Conference in London, on a panel focusing on ‘Global Citizens in a Nationalist World’. Makinde’s project report shares her story.