Rashida, Team Programme
Demotivated after not being accepted into college, 18-year-old Rashida found her voice and a way to turn her passion of motivating other young women into a business idea through her participation in the Team Programme with the Royal Barbados Police Force.
Before joining the Team Programme, Rashida felt she lacked the public speaking and leadership skills she needed to start her own business.
‘I was a very shy person I could not talk in public because I was scared. The programme played a major role when I went into the working place because not only was I able to express myself, but I was able to communicate well with everyone else.’
Prince’s Trust International has worked with the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) since 2016, delivering the 12-week Team Programme to young people aged 16-25 across Barbados. Team is one of Prince’s Trust International’s longest running and most transformative programmes.
The Team Programme aims to increase confidence, motivation, and skills and as a result enables those young people to move (back) into employment, education, training, volunteering, or an apprenticeship.
Rashida found out about the Team programme through a former participant but was hesitant to join at first. When both her Dad and her Aunt recommended the programme to her, she took the plunge.
Not knowing what to expect, Rashida was eager to improve her public speaking, leadership, and communication skills. It was daunting getting to know a group of strangers, but every day the group would do ice breaker activities to get to know each other better. After just a few days they were giving speeches, planning community projects, and gaining more confidence.
A few activities stood out to Rashida that helped her gain confidence in public speaking and leadership:
‘We did this trust exercise where there were 2 groups, and each group would have a captain. The participants were blindfolded, and the leader would have to lead them and tell them where to go and you would have to trust that person. In another exercise, we would get a story and we would have to build on it. We were given two paths for the outcome of the story and working as a team we would have to decide which path was best.’
Rashida was thrilled to find that once she started working on her leadership and public speaking, they started to come naturally to her, she could take charge of a situation whether it was good or bad and be assertive and confident in her decisions as a leader.
After the Team programme, participants are offered 1-1 sessions with a mentor and Rashida was paired with Constable Keisha-Anne Powell. This conversation, along with the new skills she learned in the programme, gave Rashida the confidence and clarity she needed to put her ideas into action.
‘She (Constable Powell) has allowed me to really understand and tell myself I don’t need people’s opinions to do what I want. I need to stop living for other people and start living for myself. Constable Powell she told me at the end of the day it’s my life and there is no point in doing something I don’t want to do. I need to live for me. This programme and advice really helped me a lot in terms where I want to take my life.’
Growing up Rashida loved her dark complexion, but found that others would tease her at school, to the point where she didn’t want to go to school anymore. As she got older, Rashida learned that she didn’t need listen to anyone else’s opinion to feel good about herself. Experiencing this and going through the Team Programme made Rashida realise that she wants uplift other girls and young women who might not feel good about themselves and start her own cosmetics business.
‘I want to change the perspective that everyone has on the ideal girl. Social media has made it that girls are supposed to look and behave a certain way to be accepted. I want girls to feel comfortable in their own skin and embrace themselves.’
Since the Team programme ended, Rashida has applied to Barbados Community College to do business studies which will enable her to make her entrepreneur dreams a reality. Although Covid-19 has derailed many of her original plans, Rashida is thankful that it brought her to the Team programme because it’s given her the opportunity to change her life and find her confidence.
Rashida wants other young people to know:
‘Don’t let other people’s opinions influence you, always be true to yourself and never give up.’