Graduate Story:

Samia Dumbuya

Samia is an environmentalist living in East London; she's used the skills she learnt at Bootcamp to create an online presence for her new campaign, Our Air Our Health.

I was online, ranting on Twitter as usual, when I saw an advert about Campaign Bootcamp. At first glance I assumed it was a programme for established activists but as I read the criteria I realised this was a sign to take action in my life as an activist. I applied because I wanted clarity about where I wanted to take my activism. As I’m an environmentalist, sometimes it feels like no one is listening to me, because there are issues that people prioritise over environmental issues. Bootcamp was an avenue through which I hoped I could figure out ways of engaging with more people.

On Bootcamp, I learnt about the importance of allies and threats; one activity in particular helped me realise that I needed to pay more attention to potential allies and collaboration to create a bigger impact. Before coming on Bootcamp, I’d never considered allyship whilst building a campaign and looking back, I’m embarrassed that I used to ignore this important aspect! Another thing I learnt and enjoyed was html coding; it’s so accessible and easy! It was such a fun session for me and I want to attend more sessions like that. Generally, Bootcamp had a family vibe for me where everyone shared the same vision, despite coming from different walks of life. The bonding within the cohort was heart-warming because I never imagined myself in a place filled with people very different to me and yet I could somehow relate to all their struggles.

As an environmentalist living in East London, my main concern is air pollution because it is known as a silent killer and I find it unfair that areas like mine that are occupied by minorities are affected by the decisions of local councils. Making environmental issues a spoken topic within the community is difficult; let alone making it an intersectional topic. Because of the people I met in Bootcamp, I’ve gained access to new networks and I was provided with an opportunity to join the Uprising Environmental Leadership Programme. This led me to creating a campaign called Our Air Our Health, which collaborates with young people to build campaigns in London. With a team of all women with an array of skills, we aim to make their campaigns intersectional and more relatable to young people. We use creative visuals to spread messages about air pollution and how it damages our communities.

Through the Bootcamp mentoring programme, I was matched with a mentor from Greenpeace. Together, we laid out a plan of how I could be a more engaging activist; I took some positive steps and accomplished new activities. I now have a wider network of young environmentalists and I am hoping to initiate a youth group with other environmentalists in London. This will allow us to make resourceful and impactful sessions for our local communities, which fits into my long-term goals of wanting young people to become activists and get involved in shaping their communities.

In Our Air Our Health, myself and my team have created an online presence and this was helped by the social media sessions from Bootcamp. Having online presence is important and vital to a campaign, as by being accessible online and offline you reach different audiences.

You can find out more about Samia’s campaign here: www.facebook.com/OurAirOurHealth/

Samia Dumbuya

I'm a BSc Geography student at the University of Greenwich. I am an environmentalist and fighting for the rights of our natural environment. I hope for others to see the intrinsic value of our land.