I am what they called ‘unattached youth’, and I can count on my fingers, toes and teeth the persons who have told me that I will never amount to anything.
But it is because of my experiences that I have reached where I have. I joined Fight for Peace two years ago when I was 17 years-old. First, I was a part of the boxing and the book clubs and two months ago I was put in charge of the data – which involves tracking and monitoring my colleagues’ work.
It feels really good to be in a role where I can feel our impact together as an organisation, helping my colleagues keep track of their progress and meeting their targets.
From programme participant to key team member
We are very data-driven, because how else do you know if you are making a difference towards our goal of keeping youth away from violence?
Computing is a passion for me, as well as working with youths, so the work came relatively easy to me. I was given a two-day workshop with the software we use called ‘Upshot’ and I was a whizz in less than a week because of my computing level.
This is despite my education not being the best. There was a time that I would go to school for only two days a week. The other three days I couldn’t afford to go and would stay at home with my books. That level of poverty, where you want to go to school but don’t have the money…I can’t describe how bad that feels.
Forced by poverty to continue education at home
But I can compare that feeling to now. One of my biggest moments came a couple weeks ago, when I was given this report to go through and I was able to come up with a properly laid out plan with clear steps to be taken and data to be measured at each stage.
It feels good to be helping and valued by my colleagues. Also I get treated as somewhat of an elder in my community of Denham Town because of what we are doing as an organisation in the community.
Fight for Peace inspiring me to do more for youth
What I am experiencing now makes me feel that I can do way more.
In ten years time I see myself running a similar foundation like Fight for Peace and ensuring that other youths are free of poverty and violence.
Fulfilling children’s rights is at the heart of what we do at UNICEF. This year, as we commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Convention of the Rights of the Child, we feature a special ‘30 under 30’ series, highlighting amazing Jamaican children and youth like Oneil who are using their skills and talents to help protect and realise the rights of other young citizens. The focus of the series is on efforts to protect children from violence.