Jameela, 16 from Ealing in West London is just one of thousands of young women to have benefitted from the Us Girls programme. Despite living just two minutes from the Bollo Brook Youth Centre, Jameela admitted that that she had never attended any of the centre’s facilities and had remained virtually inactive since leaving school the previous year. She also felt that there was a lack of access to sport for young Somali women.

However, after meeting Colin, a Senior Youth Worker, at a local awards ceremony that Jameela was attending with her father, a nominee at the event - Colin he told her about his project’s girls’-only gym sessions taking place at Bollo Brook.

The next week Jameela turned up with eight friends. After making use of the centre’s facilities for the first time, Jameela told project organisers: 

The gym was really fun. I hope we can help other girls to take part in activities like this”.  

Through her and her sisters‘ involvement at the centre came new opportunities, and the chance to volunteer with a local youth-led community organisation - Acton Youth Association. Jameela and her sisters were soon helping with recruitment drives and other celebrations of girls’ work in the local area. 

Colin said: “When I first met her, Jameela was shy and unsure of how to access provision […] Jameela now seems much more confident, as her performance at the celebration night demonstrated. This was partly due to her feeling able to access that provision, but also as she is now part of a group of young Somali women looking to shape how they provide sporting opportunities, and overcome cultural barriers together’.