Farhad Gohar, aged 18, from Manchester, was sent to Pakistan as a teenager after becoming involved in gangs, and has now founded Potential. The project is looking to mentor and support young people at risk of joining gangs or of exclusion from school, to develop entrepreneurship skills and create legitimate enterprises.
“I grew up in a world where drug dealers were the only successful entrepreneurs I knew, so, I started a social enterprise, teaching skills to young people involved or at risk and empowering them to become successful business owners and leaders as an alternative to crime.”
School was difficult for Farhad, his dyslexia was undiagnosed and he was regularly put in detention for being late due to being a young carer.
As a way to pay for essentials, like clothes, Farhad became involved in local gangs. He was sent to Pakistan for six months as punishment which led to him missing out on completing his GCSEs.
After battling with depression and coming across a self-help book, he has turned his life around and wants to help other at-risk young people.
Many young people turn to criminal activity to build a future for themselves because they believe they can’t succeed through legitimate means.
Programmes delivered to support these young people often offer short-term support and do not include those with lived experience.
“As an individual for whom other projects have failed to create meaningful, lasting change and coming from a community of young people in the same position, I can tell you that the current approaches only have superficial, temporary impact.”
The bold idea
The project is looking to provide bespoke mentorship for young people aged 12–25 who are involved in or at risk of crime, or are at risk of exclusion from mainstream education. These mentors will be role models with lived experience, and will provide practical knowledge to help them fulfil their potential and become advocates in their own communities.
Workshops facilitated by an inspirational young person and focusing on a variety of topics such as study skills, money management and entrepreneurship, will be delivered to develop young people’s life skills and promote their well being.
Farhad’s goal is for his project, ‘Potential’, to be working with all of the 156 public schools in Greater Manchester.
“I want to break the damaging cycle many young people find themselves in when they turn to criminal activity for income because they believe they can’t succeed legitimately as a result of their experience with the education system.”
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