MEET: VICTORIA AKINTOMIDE

As a self-confessed global citizen it’s clear after talking to Victoria for mere minutes she’s destined to create change. At just 23 she is a law graduate from Southampton University who exuberates confidence and charisma beyond her years.

Despite moving to South East London when she was 11, Victoria still identifies as Nigerian and often visits to see her grandparents and extended family.

She said: “Why law? I realised it is a massive tool to use in life. The fact that we are even able to be in this room is law. Law is just everywhere.”

Her first achievement in creating social change was running a project in Kenya called Sanico, which created reusable sanitary towels for women. Since Victoria’s involvement, the project has expanded to more regions in Kenya and continues to empower and impact women in African society.

Speaking on what needs to be done to improve life within her native continent, she said: “Corruption is specifically entwined into Nigerian daily life. We need to tackle cultural corruption, engage in political peace courses and challenge leaders when they are doing wrong so they can act effectively.

“It’s my purpose and duty to be part of a community that changes the narrative of many of our countries on the continent. We need to not impose, but work with grass root organisations and be of assistance.”

Victoria claims African nations should not rely on foreign aid and should be the ones to sort out their own issues. She believes uniting and collaborating ideas so that neighbouring countries have an understanding of each other’s education, infrastructure, gender equality and youth involvement goals can achieve this.

She said: “There is a growing middle class in Africa but it’s sporadically spread throughout Africa. It’s so stark and extreme.”

Throughout our chat, Victoria hasn’t stopped swaying to a rhythm in her head, which she says is always on a loop. With her infectious smile and friendly demeanour it’s surprising to hear she was picked on at school.

She said: “I was bullied for being too dark, I would walk down the hallway and people would shout that I was charcoal and ask if they could even see me in the dark. I’ve come to really appreciate myself and gain this strong internal confidence, which I hope radiates externally. Finding myself has been a journey.”

When she’s not planning the early stages of her own African Network, designed to connect youths and change Africa’s narrative for the better, you can find Victoria with her head in a book or dancing salsa with friends.

Recognising that people have died for her to be able to have the opportunities and life she has now, Victoria’s main aim is to have a positive impact on the world and to live externally for others.

 

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