“The first time I realized just how powerful a dream can be was when I came across the story of 6-year-old Charlotte Bragg. She had terminal cancer, but her dream of being a singer helped carry her through the unbearable pain”, said Sophia Wilmot-Josife, founder of Strong Gens, in a video with information about this organisation. Strong Gens is based in the UK, and its mission is to empower children who find themselves in conflict and crisis.
Strong Gens was founded in February 2020 at a refugee camp on Chios island, Greece. It aims to help refugee children receive an education, so it built a school with the help of the community. The children feel they matter and that they are all being heard and seen. Strong Gen has managed to achieve this through a campaign run by the children themselves, who use inspirational quotes such as “I have a dream” in order to express their desire to be educated. The children draw illustrations of their dreams and thoughts, then they take pictures of themselves holding up their drawings so that the whole world can see. This really helps children express themselves. The drawings are shared on social media in order to show young refugee children’s hopes and dreams to as many people as possible. Then these drawings are turned into T-shirts and gifted back to them. People can also purchase shirts from their e-shop. Every sale goes to helping the children achieve their collective dream, access to education, with 100 percent of the profits being directed into the building.
Currently, Strong Gens provides online classes for 150 children. It teaches English, Maths, Science and Arts. It is also about to open the first safe space for refugee children in Athens, a place where they can come together and learn to build upon their dreams. It will also provide them with somewhere warm to sleep and with food to eat, which are two basic human needs that all children are entitled to.
In my opinion, dreams are the only thing worth fighting for. Strong Gens has shown that a simple drawing can be a step forward to achieving your dreams. Follow Strong Gens on Instagram, or the hashtag #Strongertogether to see children’s drawings, learn their stories and if you are able to, buy one of the T-shirts and /or make a donation, because it really doesn’t take long to change a life, to change a future. Together we can do anything!