Ambassadors from Thornaby Academy were invited to attend the dress rehearsal of the TEDx Teesside Women event in November. This was the the first community event of this type for TEDx in Tees Valley and we were so proud to see our very own ambassador Zakiyya Kamran taking part as a panelist. In this month's blog our  Ambassador Community Coordinator Jan shares what the girls we took along thought of the day.

Zak is an active member of our ambassador community and was invited to join the Voices of the Future panel to represent young people at the event. She spoke about the importance of keeping your regional accent and the need for organisations to create more spaces for young people to meet in order to open up conversations to find out what young people want to talk about. Zak was an engaging and passionate member of the panel and it was lovely for the other ambassadors to see her sharing a stage with such an impressive group of people.

"Our voices are our stories - of where we come from and our heritage - don’t ever lose that” Zakiyya Kamran

The event's theme was 'See the Opportunity' and the day was all about the power of women, non-binary people and their allies to be creators and change makers. During the rehearsals girls got to hear from a range of inspirational speakers from Teesside and beyond including activists, a poet, entrepreneurs, authors, a psychotherapist, models, researchers and all round brilliant humans to stand on the famous TEDx red dot.

“I love how inclusive everyone is and how they try and connect to everyone” Teesside Ambassador

We asked the girls for three words to describe the event, here's a few that they chose: welcoming, unity, inclusive, inspiring, informative, amazing, outstanding, aspirational, fun, different and exciting'

In between sipping hot chocolate - they thought the speakers were: 'brave, beautiful, relatable, confident, bright, inspiring, inspirational, empowering, amazing, funny and enthusiastic'

We asked the girls to share what they thought needs to change where they live to help them on their own journeys. They said:

  • We need more opportunities like this
  • To be more vocal about the challenges we face
  • We need to be more inclusive and share our stories
  • We need to challenge stereotypes

On finding opportunity they said:

  • Finding opportunity is open to everyone and can sometimes be hidden
  • We need to use the internet in a positive way
  • Speaking up is important
  • Be open and confident with your beliefs and opinions

All the girls went home discussing the amazing Lady Unchained who spoke about women and girls in the justice system:

“It’s an emotional and relatable topic even though it shouldn’t be”
“I loved Lady Unchained because her numbers and stats were shocking but also interesting”
“It’s a serious issue that hasn’t had enough recognition”

The event brought up conversations among them all and was a fantastic experience all round. The girls received some lovely feedback from organisers too:

"Thank you so much for joining us, it was a dream come true to be able to give free tickets to girls in the area. I loved the energy they brought to the session, how patient they were in tech checks and how much they encouraged the speakers. BIG THANKS."   Michaela Reaney, TEDx Teesside Women Event Organiser

A huge thanks to the organisers and especially Michaela Reaney for inviting us.  Click here to find out more about the event and the speakers who shared their ideas and passion for creating change for women and girls in Teesside and beyond.