Bejay Mulenga MBE is a creative entrepreneur whose mission is to empower young people from low-income backgrounds with media literacy skills and opportunities. Mulenga is the CEO of The Student View, the UK’s leading charity dedicated to promoting media literacy among youths and has just secured £99,600 in funding from City Bridge Foundation, London’s biggest independent charity funder.
According to East London Lines, the charity will use the funding to launch its new initiative, the New Creator Club, in Tower Hamlets. Tower Hamlets is one of the most deprived boroughs in the country and has over half of secondary school pupils receiving free school meals. The New Creator Club plans to provide immersive media literacy training to young people aged 11-23 and teach them how to use, understand and create media in various forms.
The club will also provide hands-on experiences such as newsroom activities, community storytelling, and interactions with notable and established professionals in the media industry. The project will launch on November 15 2023 and sessions will begin once a week from January 2024.
Mulenga, of Congolese heritage, was born in East London and started his entrepreneurial journey at age 13. As a student, he launched Supa Tuck, a tuck shop that taught real-life business skills and made over £15,000 in its first year. He later founded Supa Academy, a platform that teaches young people enterprise skills, and Supa Network, a training provider and creative network with international clients such as Apple, Uber, and Google.
Mulenga achieved an impressive feat at the age of 20 when he became the youngest person to receive the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion. His other notable accomplishments have also earned him a spot on GQ magazine’s coveted list of “Britain’s 100 Most Connected Men.” Mulenga is also involved with BRiM, a network dedicated to increasing Black representation in marketing, and the Tackling Loneliness Network, a coalition of organizations fighting social isolation, reflecting his dedication to making a positive impact in his community.
Mulenga said: “This is more than just financial support; it’s a validation of our mission to amplify young voices.” This shows his passion for making sure that future media reflects the voices of young people.
Paul Martinelli, the chairman of the City Bridge Foundation funding committee has expressed his pleasure in backing a project that equips under-represented young individuals in Tower Hamlets with the necessary skills, experience, and confidence to succeed in their careers. He mentioned how significant it is to have a media industry that represents all voices. The Student View has also received support from industry experts such as Jordan Jarrett Bryan, a Sports Reporter at Channel 4, and Renee Kapuku, co-Founder at To My Sisters, who also serve as its Board Members.
According to Ofcom, the UK’s independent communications regulator, media literacy is the “ability to use, understand and create media and communications in a variety of contexts” A recent report by Ofcom found that only 54% of 12-15-year-olds in the UK could identify the difference between news and opinion online, which nullifies the purpose of media literacy, and is quite concerning in this age of widespread technology and hence increase in media consumption.
The New Creator Club established as part of a larger initiative to improve media literacy in the United Kingdom aims to address the growing problem of online disinformation and misinformation. In July 2023, the government published its Online Media Literacy Strategy, which highlights a multi-year plan to coordinate media literacy education and empower users to make safe choices online
The initiative also aims to encourage the younger generation to follow their dreams and ambitions in the media industry. Sadly, many youths believe that this field is only available to those with privileged backgrounds, but the club hopes to prove that wrong. A survey by the Student View revealed that 68% of young people in the UK’s most deprived areas felt that a career in media “wasn’t for someone like them”, a mindset that urgently needs to be corrected.
The Student View, believe that everyone should have the chance to explore the exciting world of media. They will be launching nearly 50 club sessions yearly to offer opportunities for budding journalists to experience newsroom activities, write captivating stories, and connect with professionals from diverse backgrounds. They hope to inspire the younger generation to become media creators and consumers while fostering a more inclusive and informed society.