Hogan Lovells, Goldman Sachs, AVIARD Inspires and Mentivity Collaborate on The AMANI Project
London, 14 November 2022 – Goldman Sachs and Hogan Lovells are delighted to be partnering on ‘The AMANI Project’, a unique six-month soft skills and mentoring programme for 16–18-year-olds of African and Caribbean heritage who are worthy of a second chance. It was inspired by the personal transformation of award-winning youth coach, filmmaker and knife attack survivor, Amani Simpson, and is being run in partnership with National Mentoring Award recipient, Mentivity, led by CEO and fellow community champion, Sayce Holmes-Lewis.
The programme, which launched earlier this year, comprises a series of soft skills workshops exploring topics including financial literacy, communication and reframing education and mentoring support. Each of the 20 participants have regular interactions with the 35 volunteer mentors from Goldman Sachs and Hogan Lovells, who are coached to be authentic and real about their own journeys while offering tips and resources that can help each young person make progress in their own lives.
“AMANI signifies ‘Aspiration’ in Arabic and ‘Strength’ in Kiga, which is exactly what we want to empower within the lives of our participants. Many have faced systemic pressures and subsequently made ill-informed decisions, but they’re all deserving of a lifeline! This project is about uplifting the youths that society too often labels as unreachable and helping to install a foundation of self-awareness, hope and confidence before introducing them to other opportunities and support networks. Someone did it for me when I was 16 so I’m paying it forward to the next generation!” Amani Simpson
Below are comments from some of our participants and partners:
Zahria, age 16, said: “The Amani Project has taught me so much, and as a young black female, I appreciate everything that is offered within the project. The most inspirational aspect I take from the project is talking to all the mentors and their encouraging approach to helping me learn life skills, such as money management. I'm glad to be part of a project where there is no wrong answer and everyone is heard, we all have respect for each other and help each other learn and grow as people.”
Darren, age 19, added: “From the first session I could already imagine the opportunities that could arise from the Amani Project. A couple of sessions in and I had learnt plenty of new things such as my career options after school, financial literacy and setting/regulating goals. Also, there’s networking opportunities every session and the vibes are top tier.”
Andrew Bagley, EMEA General Counsel for Goldman Sachs, said, “This Project is about investing in our communities and making a positive change in society by equipping young people with the soft skills and support they need for a successful future. We are delighted to be partnering with inspiring individuals and organisations who share our values and believe in taking positive action.”
Yasmin Waljee OBE, International Pro Bono Partner at Hogan Lovells, said: “At Hogan Lovells, we’re committed to creating thriving communities. We’re proud to partner with Goldman Sachs, AVIARD and Mentivity to contribute to this unique project which will help young individuals who have faced hardships or made mistakes and are deserving of a second chance or a boost in confidence”.
Guy Marrison, counsel at Hogan Lovells, said: “We’re incredibly proud to support this important and inspiring project, which gives the young people on the program the confidence to pursue their goals and access to an engaged support network they can draw on as they take the next steps in their career and education journeys.”
Fabienne Gress, Responsible Business Manager at Hogan Lovells, added: “The AMANI Project is an excellent example of how we can deliver impact and build opportunities for underserved young people by uniting the resources and talent of large global institutions with these incredible grassroots social impact organisations. The program has inspired hope for these young people and we look forward to celebrating their achievements with the volunteers and Lord Dr Michael Hastings CBE later this year.”
Sayce Holmes-Lewis, CEO of Mentivity says: “Mentivity are proud to support the Amani Project in conjunction with Goldman Sachs and Hogan Lovells. There are so many young people in need a second chance and support from people that are passionate about mentoring young people towards a life of positivity and opportunity. There’s nothing more powerful than giving your time to other people’s children. They see this time as love because you’re not obligated to be there. That’s why this project is so powerful.”
Lord Michael Hastings of Scarisbrick CBE, Chair of SOAS, University of London; Chair, London Chamber of Commerce Black Business Association and Patron of AVIARD Inspires says: “This is a wonderful and tangible project that demonstrates the impact that multinational companies and local grassroots organisations can have together on the lives of the next generation when they collaborate and put ‘purpose before profit’. I hope that other organisations hear about this project and commit to offering support and tangible opportunities for current and future cohorts of young people seeking to become more productive. Everyone says that the young are our future but if we fail to invest in skills and confidence building, we will repeat the past and fail the future.”
To learn more, watch this short video.