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Mums launch campaign to combat school drop outs

VISION: Dr Ava Eagle Brown (left) and Sonia Poleon

TWO MOTHERS who have overcome a range of personal difficulties to achieve successful careers have launched a campaign to stop black children from dropping out of school.

Dr Ava Eagle Brown and Sonia Poleon are arranging a series of events in which critically acclaimed authors, life coaches and speakers visit secondary schools in London in a bid to inspire the pupils and empower them to reject the temptation of a life involved in drugs and gang crime.

Figures released by the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) last year showed that knife crime with injury had increased by 14 per cent in the previous 12 months, while serious youth violence had increased by 8 per cent in London. There had also been a 16.5 per cent increase in the number of firearms discharged in the capital compared with the previous 12 months.

The increases came after a period of several years where the number of offences had been falling.


The pair believe that the event and what the speakers have to say will empower young people who attend and provide alternative pictures to the negative, drug-fuelled, violent images that seem to depict black youth in much of the mainstream media.

Among the speakers booked for the events are: philanthropist and media mogul, Dr Pauline Long; award winning International Speaker and mindset coach, Warren Inspire Ryan; Thought Transformation coach Kemi Oyesola, international speaker Darryl Jones and author Mac Attram.

Dr Brown said: “All of the speakers have overcome their background, colour and creed and have changed their mindsets to succeed. We want to show the black community that there is another way, it is possible to change circumstances and mindsets.

“The aim is to have a new conversation with the black community. A conversation of hope, letting them know if you get your mind right you can achieve anything.”

She continued: “We want to help many people make shifts in their lives to understand that regardless of what they are going through, they can push through the barriers and become successful.”


Both women say they understand how hard it can be for young people to achieve what they want in their lives if they have come from a tough background or have had to face difficult circumstances.

Brown, who is now an honorary doctor, author, international speaker and a Transformation mindset coach, came from a poor family in Jamaica where she experienced incest and sexual abuse.

She also recalls having to skip school to work and provide food for her family.

Poleon, a bestselling writer, mentor, and radio personality, struggled for years to rebuild her confidence after being violently assaulted and threatened with having her throat slashed with a knife while working as a housing officer.

Poleon said: “I believe that life and experience are our biggest teachers and that the challenges in our lives strengthen us, and true strength comes from overcoming life’s hardships without surrendering.”

The pair are also organising a full day event called Urban Life 2016 event in Kilburn, northwest London.

Critically acclaimed author and world-renowned speaker, Eric Thomas will give the keynote address.

Thomas said: “If you have a nostril, if you’ve got muscles, if you can breathe, if you have blood pumping around your body, if you are a woman, a man, boy of girl, if you are old, young or old, then you must be at Urban Life 2016.”

To find out more details about the Urban Life 2016 event, please visit: or e mail

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