KEMI RYAN - CEO | Mentor | Outreach Service Provider
I believe in change and in order to see change we must believe in it. Its been and still is a long journey away from breaking the opinions of peoples perspectives of an ex- offender. I have dedicated not only my time but my spirit in trying not only to deter young people from a life of crime but also convincing people that change is possible with the right things put in place.
I am very passionate in the subject of female ex-offenders and the things they are subjected to for example; The aftermath of crime. I believe if we make enough noise about this issue we can break through the barriers that surround the typical stereotype of an ex offender.
I am also passionate about the intervention and prevention of crime with in our young people and believe strongly we should empower our youth with knowledge and credentials.
I have worked with so many young people along my journey and one thing that always plays on my mind is where will they be in the next 20 years? That's why I try to install the knowledge that was given to me, in them, and to believe in ones ability wherever their coming from in this one life to live.
Its so unreal to be living in the shoes of a black female ex offender in the 21st century. Trying to hold on to the last bit of hope to make it back to being a citizen; soul killing, deprivation, sleep deprivation, rejection, mind overturning in despair, overthinking, even rejecting the blessing of life, giving life, lost in the system with a cloth of hope with my spirit hanging on to it with the blood given to me off my ancestors pumping through my veins.
I pick myself up and my journey begins with nothing to lose and more to gain I have dedicated my strength and time to fulfil my aim. My aim is for the government to realise that change is possible with the help of real opportunities, not flawed opportunities that set people up to fall not only in their ability but also in themselves. Where is the real help for female ex offenders look around where is her voice, where is she, what's her name, exactly! lost in the system.
NATASHA RYAN - CEO | Mentor | Outreach Service Provider
At the beginning of my journey I had a unrealistic view on the aftermath of crime as I set out to change my life in a positive way. As a first time offender released into the community after serving an 8year custodial sentence for drug offences (which I was guilty of) I knew that I wanted nothing more than to turn a negative into a positive. I was released with a plan, a plan to get some stability in my life and make up for the wrong decisions I had made in the past....... I learned quite early on that the challenges I faced where coming in my direction more than I ever could have anticipated.
I tried to gain employment by taking up voluntary positions as a way of proving myself, but soon experienced just exactly what the word 'discrimination' meant and how it present's itself. It was really difficult at times to comprehend all the happenings upon release but one thing was for sure, I had to find a way at working towards my passion whilst also trying to protect myself from the discrimination faced as an ex-offender. I had experienced a lot over the previous years in custody and I knew the importance of preventing young people from udertaking criminal activities.
Both myself and business partner kemi Ryan (also sister) had been designing workshops for a number of years and drawing from first hand experiences, we created interactive workshops aimed to educate and deter young people from crime.
I have experienced and seen many examples where the aftermath of crime regresses a person rather than progress a person and I believe its a sad thing when a person is up against so many obstacles when trying to turn their life around, shouldn't the obstacles be in place for the people not wanted to make those changes?
At times, life in general was difficult but I lived in hope. As well as employment issues I faced an array of other issues relating to the aftermath of crime, it was then I realised that I had too much experience to just focus on prevention. I had to take into account people in positions like myself, people who wanted to make a change in their life but where prevented due to their conviction/s and also the employers who for whatever reasons were not willing to take anyone on with a record. It was also apparent that services for women with convictions were some what limited and the majority of preventative services were aimed at men. My passion from the outset was to deter young people from a life of crime and for me this was and still is a big problem. With me being female, I knew the importance of recognising the need for female support just as much as male support.
My passion was brewing by the day, whenever I experienced a situation of discrimination or exploitation it gave me determination to create a platform in which I could make people see the truth. I sat back at times trying to justify what would make people treat people in such manners but kept coming back to the same answer, it unjustifiable....
And here I am now working with a big vision for reformed, a vision created through the everyday livings with the aftermath of crime, with which we aim to educate ,inspire, prevent and break down barriers into employment for people with convictions.