I’m Shaniqua Benjamin, a writer and spoken poet who was born and bred in Croydon. I fell in love with writing at an early age, although I did leave my first love behind for a little while to chase after a career as a fashion designer.
After dropping out of university in 2013, I fully embraced my love of writing and started my first blog, Inside My Head. I later started writing pieces for The Croydon Citizen, Croydon Guardian, Live Mag UK, Limelight magazine, Just Croydon and the Huffington Post. I also found myself being shortlisted for the The Mirror’s ‘Voice of a Generation’ apprenticeship.
However, I wanted to make writing about young people my niche, so I decided to start a second blog, Young People Insight, which was all about a young person giving insight into young people. I had no idea how much my idea would grow from there.
Writing is my passion and I believe that God has blessed me with a gift that I can use to share with the world and make a difference, but I don’t want to make a difference on my own. I want young people to join in and be part of making a difference with me, because we are not only the future, but the present.
I want to reassure young people that there are people who do care, as we can feel that life is very “us against them” at times. But more importantly, I want young people to share their truth in their own words, without it getting twisted by the media.
Since starting the Young People Insight blog and developing it into a physical platform in 2016, I have participated in a European youth programme, The Complete Freedom of Truth (TCFT) and I put on a pilot of the programme in Croydon in August 2017, followed by an extended programme over three months in 2018.
In October 2017, I was named Young Achiever of The Year at the Mayor of Croydon Civic Awards 2017, after being nominated by a number of individuals, for the work I do through Young People Insight and also putting on the TCFT Croydon Pilot.
I have been involved in a number of other projects and achieved a number of other things, which have stemmed from Young People Insight, but I always express that I don’t have it all together. I hope that I can inspire other young people who may be struggling that they can achieve great things and make the difference.
Ultimately, I want to empower young people to rise up, use their voices and be the change they want to see.
If you would like to find out more information or if you want to join me on this journey, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org