We love hearing how young people go from benefiting from our programmes, to giving back! We reached out to Samira to hear about her experience from being crowned the winner of Jack Petchey’s “Speak Out” Challenge! 2019 in Tower Hamlets Regional Final with a speech entitled ‘The Silver Smile’ to MC the competition at her own school final this year (March 2022).
Hi everyone, my name is Sam!
Before I begin, I just wanted to say that the ‘Jack Petchey Speak Out’ competition was undoubtedly a catalyst in starting off my public speaking and spoken word career. I personally believe that for the youth to be listened to and appreciated is such a powerful act; it sparks movements of passion and change.
Now let’s begin with me, my journey truly began when I competed in and won the ‘Jack Petchey Speak Out’ Challenge in 2019, scoring full marks in each and every category. Winning the award was such a sensational feeling. My family, friends and teachers were all there to support me at that moment, and I became instantly drawn to public speaking. My speech was named Sliver Smile; it was based on knife crime. You see, I grew up in Tower Hamlets, East London, which I call ‘a double edged sword’. This is because on the one side you have a bustling, close-knit community that knows everyone – no one is a stranger in Tower Hamlets. However, on the other side of the blade, there is a community fighting against gang crime. So, my speech was meant to showcase this dichotomy, this divide in the community, and to prove the good outweighs the bad. My biggest reward wasn’t only spreading this message, but also gaining the transferable skills and the long-lasting friendship.
Samira performing in the ‘Jack Petchey Speak Out Challenge’ competition in 2019
After my win, I decided to feed my interest by going to open mic events. I initially went to watch, but when my brother encouraged me to participate and improvise a speech in front of an audience, an uproar of nerves and sweaty palms attacked me all at once. I didn’t want to do it. But when I started my speech, the same feeling that I felt at the Jack Petchey Speak Out Challenge possessed me once again – a surge of confidence and charisma. Needless to say, the audience loved me, and I loved that feeling. Soon enough, I began to find my feet and created a name for myself as a spoken word artist. I was invited as a guest speaker at events like Richmix and Streetfest. But not only was I improving my speaking skill, I was also working on my newfound love – poetry – the art of saying so much but writing so little. This passion of mine was recognised by Chicago publishers named Trope, when they published my poem ‘They Ban-she’ in their anthology named Hidden in Chaos.
Samira performing at Streetfest
My public speaking skills have also been a tool for me to be more confident in articulating my interests, such as Art and Architecture. Last year, I got the amazing opportunity to design and build a pavilion in Olympic Park. Me and my team organised the Opening Ceremony night, and it was such a surreal feeling standing and speaking out to an audience on the very pavilion we designed and built! Also, as I said earlier, I love art. I would say that I am no Picasso but I love painting, it calms me. Recently, I was awarded the Painter’s Stainer Award in Central London, and had my work exhibited there, where I spoke passionately about my piece named Pâro.
The Pavilion Samira and her team designed and built at Here East, Olympic Park
So to wrap this up, participating in the Jack Petchey competition doesn’t mean you have to be a famous public speaker (but if you wanted to, you sure could!), it’s rather the idea that communication is quintessential in all walks of life. To be a good communicator is a master key to whatever goal you want to pursue in life.
So my message to the young people would be: don’t wait at one door when you can find a way to enter all of them!
Samira and her artwork exhibited at Painters’ Hall, Central London
Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us Samira! To watch Samira’s fantastic winning speech from the Speak Out Challenge in 208-19, click here and to hear her recent speech as an MC, click here!
Have you got a story to share with us or raising awareness about something you think should be discussed more? Get in touch, we would love to feature your story on our website and further boost your cause! Email our PR team today at email@example.com!