Last Saturday the first ever TEDxYouth@Croydon took place. It was held at the prestigious Brit School in the biggest borough of London (by population), Croydon.

TEDxYouth@Croydon’s lineup of speakers consisted of eleven diverse, young and talented speakers from different industries, educational and professional backgrounds. They all spoke on the day to share their big ideas, with the aim to cause a spark and inspire.

The day was divided into three, with breaks in between which offered attendees the chance to speak to the TEDxYouth@Croydon team, the speakers and socialise with one another. Attendees also had the chance to play with Sensory Sand and share what inspired them at TEDxYouth@Croydon on the Graffiti Life wall.

In between the speeches, we were also shown two fantastic pre-recorded TED Talks videos; one about dance and another about ‘what adults can learn from kids’.


Curator Elaine Powell opened up the very first TEDxYouth@Croydon. Malachi Talabi was host and did a good job of keeping the attendees and those watching the livestream entertained.

The first speaker was Chirag Patel, co-founder of Eduvee. Chirag reiterated that the world is changing and that we have to keep up. In his talks he stated that ‘learning is not one size fits all’ and suggested that different people require different ways of learning.

Next up was Vivian Arsanious, a Canadian who is currently studying in London. She shared her experience of desiring to belong and ultimately becoming a part of the masses. Vivian ended her talks with ‘be an individual and not a member of the herd’.

Blessing Maregere discussed entrepreneurial-ship. He shared his personal experience with creating a cleaning company and added, ‘if there is a problem, create your own opportunities’. With this opportunity, he solved a problem and moved onto the next thing that inspired him.


After the break, Tom Messenger spoke of the rarely told stories of street children in Durban, South Africa. After a group of families in Durban witnessed the abhorrent treatment of the street children there, Street Child World Cup was born. Tom’s speech was truly touching as he had video footage, images and sad stories of the street children and their struggles. One day, one spark changed Durban.

Next up was spoken word by Najite Graham (Phoenix Type), who once spoke at the House of Commons about social action. She explained the IPF Trinity (I = inspiring, P = passion and F = footprint) and stated that weapons of mass distractions stops us from practicing the IPF trinity.

‘Barrier or Hurdle, You Decide’ was the title of Gary Smith‘s speech, who shared his personal experiences with health problems and dyslexia and overcoming those hurdles. Gary’s hurdle inspired him to create Dyslexia Toolbox, a cross-platform tool to help those with dyslexia. Gary reflected on his problems and viewed them as a barrier or hurdle to jump over.

Croydon’s own Rosina St James was up next. She shared how her careers adviser suggested she should work at Tesco. Ironically, she met her again years later at Tesco’s and told her she studied at the London School of Economics. The career’s adviser was shocked. Rosina told her to not crush people’s ambitions. Rosina finished her talk with ‘value your determination’ and ‘understand your identity to live your dream and ambition’.

After the break, award-winning spoken word artist, jazz singer and actress Justina Kehinde gave us some hard-hitting poetry, ‘I write with my grandmother’s hands’. One of the most memorable lines of her talk was, ‘if you don’t narrate your own story, someone else will and they will not do it right’.


The High Spirit Bag Brothers, John and Joshua Okungbaiye told us that ‘an idea is a calling to fill in the gaps of the world’. The brothers shared the journey that led them to create their bag range and the hurdles they overcame to make that a success.’When an opportunity knocks, you need to answer’.


YouTube sensation and stars of Youngers on E4, Mandem On The Wall, introduced us to ‘PEP’, which stands for planning, execution and perseverance. With their story and a bit of comedy and laughter, the Mandem inspired us with one of their lines being ‘no one lives forever but our aim is to create something that will’.

At the end of the inspiring talks, TEDxYouthCroydon closed with a dance by The BRIT Dance Group and a talk by Elaine Powell, who thanked everyone involved in making this day a success.

From social networking sites, speaking to some of the attendees and reading the Graffiti Wall, it can be said that the speakers did exactly what they set out to do; inspire and motivate.

The day was incredibly positive, wonderful and inspiring. It’s definitely etched in my memory and I cannot wait to see what next year’s TEDxYouth@Croydon has in store for us!