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Premier of documentary on struggle of Brent boys from war-torn Somalia on March 31

The documentary zooms in on street gang culture that had developed in Cricklewood

30 March 2010: The real-life plight of young Somali immigrants putting up in Brent after fleeing for their lives from war torn Somalia, and their efforts to change things for themselves and others, has now been captured in reel.

The `thought provoking’ documentary on hardships young immigrants from East Africa face, and their movement to rise above the circumstances, has its premier on March 31. The documentary talks about the street gang culture that had developed in Cricklewood.

It all started when Cricklewood Homeless Concern (CHC) decided to speak to the group known for hanging around in the area. The intention was to offer them help and understand their problems after the residents complained to the police in 2008.

The housing director at CHC, Charlotte Curran, says the group made a strong impression on him. The youngsters explained they had no other place to socialize. The post code wars prevented them from attending nearest youth centre. They wanted to bring about a change, but had no idea how.

Curran says two years ago no one could have predicted the group would come out with an award winning movement for change, which eventually gained the support and admiration of not just the local community, but also the police.

The youngsters have now formed a group, Youth Engagement Scheme (YES). It aims to give voice to young people from traditionally excluded communities.

Deeq Omar of the YES says he was given an opportunity to make a difference not only to other people’s lives, but also a chance to prove to himself that he can do something positive with his own. Omar says the project is worth the effort, if he can direct even one young person from not taking the path of crime is an easy path to take.

The charity claims crime has dropped in the area since the group was formed.

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