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How It All Started – Saynab

10 Jun 2021

I’m Saynab and I’m 17 years old. I’ve lived in Cardiff for the past 5 years. Since lockdown happened, I’ve been more interested in politics, more specifically the significance of young adults voices. I believe that today’s youth are the future and therefore they deserve to be taught politics and how the system really works in schools. Since 16 year olds have the chance to vote now in Wales, I think they should have the knowledge of everything, and the only way they can have that knowledge is if schools start teaching them. As I said, we as youngsters need to start educating ourselves. I really want to take this opportunity to encourage and promote participation.

My interest in politics all started in April 2020 when lockdown was new to us. This was because one of my family members introduced me to the ‘Democracy Box’. Honestly, joining them was the best decision I’ve ever made because without the co-founder Yvonne Murphy, my knowledge of politics would not have been this good. As a young black Somali girl, I never had the chance to really learn about politics and moving from Somalia, to the Netherlands and then to the UK it generally made things 10X harder. This is because the first thing I had to focus on was learning the language and making new friends. As hard as it sounds, it was quite easy for me because Dutch helped me a lot. The three countries that I have mentioned have completely different systems and I realized that quite late. I never really understood anything about politics as we don’t study it in school and my parents don’t know much English so it was very difficult for me to understand. Even when my parents had to vote for the elections, I remember they didn’t even end up voting because they didn’t understand anything and we couldn’t help them out because we ourselves didn’t even have the knowledge. So, when I first joined the “Democracy Box’ I really didn’t know anything, in fact, I didn’t even know that Britain was a democratic country. That is when I did some tasks for the project to educate young adults, it really did benefit me in so many ways because I was educating them as well as myself. I felt confident knowing so many things about it. I even got my friends be interested in politics and I introduced them to the ‘Democracy Box’ and some of them are still with us. It was very hard for me to convince them to join us because we really don’t get represented in politics as black people and that takes all the interests away. We need to see more black role models. As for my friends, it was difficult for me to involve them because, as I mentioned, it was very new to me when I first came here so of course to them who have lived here majority of their lives it was new to them too. They didn’t know the UK was a democratic country while they were UK citizens their whole lives and so I couldn’t easily convince them to join something they weren’t familiar with. I honestly believe that we need more black and more female representatives within the world of democracy to convince and allow young people to meet people they have more comfortability in trusting and listening to. I believe that every branch needs a more diverse group of people working within them and the only way that could happen is if individuals of color are being represented through aspects such as politics. Politicians are generally people that are seen to be listened to and that is why I argue they need more people in that field. Additionally, I cannot stress enough the lack of focus within politics and younger individuals, who I believe are the future of democracy, and I also do not want history to repeat itself with how it did with me. This meaning that I want the younger generations, especially those who came from backgrounds like myself, to feel as though they do have individuals, they can find comfort in learning from.

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