Inspired by Humans of New York. Photography by Joe Newman. You can follow Young London on Tumblr and Facebook.
“I’m from New Jersey. I’ve been here for two years and finally got a job waitressing, I thought it would be easy to find a job here but It’s so much harder. Now I have to work a 0 hour contract, which means I either don’t work at all or work 70 hours a week.”
What do you enjoy about living in London?
“Well I’m a writer and I found at home I had no time to dedicate to my work, but moving here has allowed me to spend more time on it. I enjoy just going to a park writing, it is so freeing. “
Do you prefer the political system in the US or UK?
“I prefer it here much more. Even though I think voting doesn’t matter, here it feels like it does much more. We only have two parties to choose from in the US whereas as you guys have many. It feels like people are more represented even though I think it is a false representation.”
“I love Big Ben!”
“I’m in trouble.”
“I just finished my studies, I have two months left on my visa and I can’t find a job. I’m spending lots of money here and if I go back to Bangladesh it will take me 10 years to pay off my debts. If I stay here it will only take 2.”
Why are you finding it hard to get work?
“It’s hard for international students, you pay £17,000 a year and then your visa will only allow you to work 20 hours. No one will hire me because they have to sponsor me to get an upgraded visa. I do get interviews for jobs but when they hear my problem they say “we will get back to you”.
25, Charity Founder
“At twelve I met a boy and we started going out. It was nothing really it was just like oh we’re going out. Once we got a little older it got more serious and around 13 or 14 he started getting involved with the wrong crowd, which meant I got involved with the wrong crowd. He joined a gang, began to sell drugs and get involved with lots of fights. I went from being a quiet person to being crazy and aggressive. We would regularly get into fights with other gangs and trouble with the police. However in school I was great, I did cheerleading, I did well academically, I was the best but when then I was on the road I was also the best. You couldn’t even tell I was a girl at that age, I had a shaved head, a hoodie and I was very tall. Yet I always wanted to escape that life, but my boyfriend wouldn’t let me go, he was very manipulative and aggressive. It’s just unfortunate for me because at 12 I was going out with this normal boy and by 14 I was going out with a gang leader. By around 18 he went to prison for attempted murder, which I think was the best thing that ever happened to me. It completely cut him out of my life, it set me free!”
What do you think would have happened if he didn’t go to prison?
“I think I would have either been dead or pregnant with his child.”
What do you do now?
“After he went to prison, I did more cheerleading with a charity organisation. A year later I decided I wanted to help young girls who are in the same position as I was. I decided to set up charity that provides a platform for troubled young girls to get into the fashion industry and I’ve been doing that ever since. People have to realise, people can change, they just have to want to. It’s like a student I’ve got at the charity, she’s got such an attitude she will either learn this by someone telling her or life will teach her.”