Henry Ngawoofah – GIFT Founder

Jan 15, 2015

I was born in London in 1966. My Parents moved to Moss Side, Hartington Street when I was six months old. Then we moved to Whalley Range so I had lots of interaction in both Moss Side and Whalley Range. My upbringing in Moss Side was kind of challenging, but it was a normal upbringing like in any main city. It was multi cultural and friendly. Mum and Dad, my Dad was well known in the Sierra Leone community, he was from Sierra Leone and Mum is from Jamaica. Those days it was quite unusual for someone from West Africa to meet someone from Jamaica. So I grew up in a household with both cultures, as you can imagine it could be strict, on the whole very fond memories. Growing up my experience made me more grounded. I am the second of eight children, a large family. We relied on each other. I mainly interacted with my elder brother, he is a year older than me and we had the responsibility of looking after our siblings while our parents went to work. Dad was a breadmaker; he would provide the community with bread.

I went to school in Ardwick and my brothers went to Birley. So we would have lots of interaction with people from both. It was challenging at times being one of the minority, we just got on with it.

GIFT has grown, it was a baby then it grew now it’s in its teenage years, its 11 years old coming up with new ideas, I can stand back a bit, it’s about young people. I t would be interesting to hear from the young people the impact it has had, that’s for the young people to say. For example – Chavez came to supplementary school now is an ambassador for GIFT being on the Project and has moved into employment which is very satisfying. I say everyone has a gift, a talent that you are born with and develop and it’s to see what is attainable and achievable.

Moss Side’s main changes are that it is more diverse, multicultural, rich, and diverse and has more opportunities. I would say it’s vibrant and the future is bright for young people coming through GIFT, I like to dwell on the positive. The boundaries are changing and merging Hulme, Old Trafford it’s about working together in unity, one voice. Moss Side is the hub, hence the Project, Celebrating our gift of life to our future. On unification ideology the only downfall would be young people’s ignorance, but you have technology to help them be more open minded beyond the boundaries of class, culture, and race. As they become wiser they become more advanced.

I am one of the Founders of GIFT – Grace Incorporation Faith Trust. We set up in 2003 with the idea of helping young people discover their gifts and talents through education and training. We give youngsters from Moss Side opportunities to do something positive.


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