Ambitious Aaliyah – On Keeping Her Head UP

At 20 years old, Aailyah has already carved a clear path for her future. In her first year in tertiary education, Aaliyah knows what she wants and how to get it.

“(My plan is to) complete a year in Science and Technology, get a successful transfer into the MBBS programme, complete three years of undergrad studies, and become a Forensic Pathologist or Anesthesiologist,” Aaliyah explained. 

“I have a dream, a dream that forces me to stay focused amidst whatever is happening. I need to leave my mark.”

As a resident of Parade Gardens, one of the communities covered by the UP Unity & Peace programme in Kingston Jamaica, Aaliyah shared that she really appreciates the opportunities she has had access to by participating in the project since 2019. 

“Truth be told, I love to see youths rise above the violence and show the world that they are more than what their communities make them out to be. Cheyenne [a Fight for Peace Social Worker] has motivated and helped me in ways that are beyond anyone’s capacity. She isn’t merely a social worker to me, she is a mentor and a friend.”

“If it weren’t for ‘Zeko’ [Alphonso Spencer, Community Coordinator in Parade Gardens], I would have never had the chance to participate in ongoing projects, trips and activities. I must commend Fight for Peace for the work that they are doing locally and internationally,” she adds.

According to Cheyenne, Aaliyah is outstanding and thinks about how she wants to go about achieving her goals, and aims for the highest:

“She was a participant in different workshops including Consent Culture, and this year our relationship got stronger and we’ve been working together on her personal development. She’s shared every milestone with me and I’m very proud,” concluded Cheyenne.

During her time in the programme, Aaliyah has gained access to scholarships and represented young people in local media interviews. And the growth and acquisition of skills will continue as Aaliyah participates in the SpeakUP project, focused on advocacy and encouraging young people to voice their opinions on policy.

“I believe there just aren’t enough persons willing to speak up. So I have decided to be their voice in an instance to encourage them and spread youth empowerment and positivity.”

“In the upcoming years, I would like to master the art of trading and investing, improve my hair stylist skills, and start my very own skincare business.” 

We can’t wait to hear what Aaliyah does next!

The UP Unity & Peace programme is coordinated by Fight for Peace and uses a collective impact approach, bringing together diverse partners, services and organisations, to support young people across underserved communities in Kingston, Jamaica.

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