(This is a new version of an article which first appeared in I Love Chatsworth Road magazine issue 3 available to order here.)

WRITER: Lise Olsen

FOTO: Jørn Tomter

Atika, 18, grew up in Lower Clapton and is studying Arabic and Linguistics at SOAS, University of London. She is also a member of Team v, a programme run by vInspired. Team v provides volunteering opportunities for younger people, nationwide. Atika is part of a nine month programme, split into three projects. She recently finished her first project, called ‘Beyond A Tin Of Food’, to raise awareness of food poverty in the UK – a very current issue, with food poverty having risen by 610% in the UK over the last three years. As part of the project, she cooked community meals, had a stall at Chatsworth Road Market to collect donations and partnered up with her old secondary school, Clapton Girls’ Academy.

 “I had this idea for a community meal and messaged my friend’s mum who was on the board [for Round Chapel Community Meals]. Around a month later, I cooked for Community Meals and asked people to donate food. That’s when I made the most network with people around Hackney.”

 “The Sunday before [the market], myself and my volunteers gave out leaflets with food we wanted donated, or that the Hackney Foodbank needed.”

 “I spoke to a really nice gentlemen, and his wife, about food poverty and foodbanks. He took my address because I live around the corner from Chatsworth Road and a few days later he came with everything we asked for. At that moment, I was so satisfied with the campaign and what I was doing. And how it touches people. “

According to Atika you don’t need much to help others. Just look around you and make a start. “I build on what is in my community and how I can use things that are in my community to make a difference.”

“If you buy excess food, donating some to those who need it, for example, a local soup kitchen or people on the street, can really make a difference. The difference you make is on a personal level. People are really thankful, appreciative and grateful for what they are given. If you want to have a positive feeling and a good heart then give! One tin goes a long way!”

Atika’s second project for Team V was to raise awareness of young carers who provide regular and/or ongoing care for family member(s) with a mental illness, physical illness or substance abuse problem #doyoucare

Atika’s final and current brief is called Swing The Vote; a campaign which aims to get young people registered to vote and use their vote on 7th May 2015.


More info:

Team V website

Atika’s video diary

Twitter @atika_d

Hasthtags #doyoucare #beyondfood #swingthevote

Atika’s blog