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We are excited to introduce you to Yinka. We had a wonderful day with her at Coal Drops Yard in London. A space full of creativity, incredible shops, and good food. This space was the perfect setting for the photos you’ll find on this interview.

Yinka spent a lot of her shaping years in Nigeria where her parents are from and later lived in the US. She has recently relocated to London where she is currently studying International Politics, and Human Rights.

Her day consists of deepening her understanding of protecting the rights of people everywhere with a focus on those who are refugees, displaced and seeking asylum.

This topic is close to our hearts, and we believe you will learn a lot from this interview, we definitely did.

Yinka is sweet, kind and her love for people is so pure. We hope you enjoy getting to know her.

FIFTY A

What made you want to study politics and human rights?
I’m unsure if there was a single moment of epiphany but soon after I realised that I would love to contribute towards improving the lives of people who are refugees, displaced or seeking asylum, I started researching how I could do this. I knew I wanted to meet immediate needs, like clothing, shelter and such, of communities forced to flee their homes but I also longed to contribute in some way at a policy level. So, I started looking for jobs with organisations that did both and I quickly realised that returning to school might increase my chances of being able to join these organisations. I started my academic career wanting to be a medical missionary so most of my training was concerning that but since I no longer wanted to be a doctor, I realised that I would likely need to learn more about this new field. I kept seeing that a degree in international relations and subjects like that could be helpful so, at the end of a lengthy exploration, I arrived at international politics and human rights, which I felt was a good match.

Have you always known you wanted to do something with refugees?
I care deeply for people who are often marginalised but it was not until people began to be displaced as a result of the war in Syria that I truly became aware of the plight of refugees. I lived in Portland, Oregon at the height of the conflict and an initiative began called, Refugee Care Collective, which invited individuals and communities to create restart kits filled with essential household items, for refugees who had arrived in Oregon.

If my memory serves me well, it began here for me. The more I learned about those who were refugees, how a person becomes a refugee and the difficulties they endured, I knew that I wanted to come alongside them in whatever way was best.

What does volunteering with refugees and people seeking asylum look like?
It looks a lot like listening and learning; I’m currently working with several initiatives, one with young refugees, another with unaccompanied minors seeking asylum and others in different capacities with families who are refugees. Though the need of each person is unique the needs that you likely experience, are also true for them; people want to feel safe, heard, loved and cared for and this is the journey I embark on as a volunteer. I join coalitions that aim to meet these needs, all the while listening, learning and partnering with those who are refugees.

FIFTY B

25

It can be overwhelming to be involved with the governance of one's city or country, so I think finding emotionally healthy ways to navigate this is important; apathy should not be the resolve.


75

What is something you’ve learned during your studies that you didn’t expect?
My studies have made me more aware of how important rhetoric is and how crucial it is to restore agency to the people who are being helped.

The language we use, the way we address the dilemmas facing refugees is important not just for the sake of political correctness in speech but because how matters are framed can affect how they are treated. For example, a phrase like “refugee crisis” implies that people who are fleeing their homes are a crisis for everyone else and therefore there needs to be a way to contain the crisis. The truth, however, is that refugees have been affected by a crisis that caused them to leave their homes. Secondly, those who are refugees, have to be consulted in the proposed solutions.

Do you think young people, and millennials should pay more attention to politics? Why?
Politics is interwoven in everything; the phone we hold in our hands (designed in one country and assembled in another), the clothes that hang on our backs, for example, so I think it’s beneficial to be aware and to engage. It can be overwhelming to be involved with the governance of one’s city or country, so I think finding emotionally healthy ways to navigate this is important; apathy should not be the resolve. This is because if young people and millennials choose not to pay attention, they give up the opportunity to shape and transform the way their world is governed.

What is one thing you’d like to tell our audience about refugees?
I think it gets lost in the politics of it so I think it’s important to remember who refugees are; a refugee is a person who has had to leave home to flee war, violence, conflict or persecution in search of a safe place. It should never get lost that this is a story about people.

FIFTY A

I think no matter the cause or campaign, the city or community, a personal relationship with Jesus, inviting Him to transform our lives, continually and to love as He does will change our world.


FIFTY A

What’s been your journey with God so far?
I have known about God since I was a child but my relationship with God began to transform in my early teens when, it seemed like for the first time, I was made aware that God loves and wants to be in a personal relationship with me. It’s a truth that has been transforming my life since. My journey with God shapes the way I view myself and the world. I am deeply loved so I can love without restraint. If and when it gets hard to dispense this love or I forget I am loved and crafted, God’s presence is the safest place to bring my raw emotions and to wrestle with my humanity.

Does your faith inspire you to help those in need? how?
My relationship with Jesus informs and inspires my desire to help those in need. The Bible is quite explicit about how to treat those who are often marginalised; with great compassion, generosity, hospitality and love.

I deeply believe in the inert value of every person and how deeply God loves each person. It is His love that informs and refines mine.

What is one thing you find particularly important for Christians to do/be today?
To borrow the coinage from Bridgetown Church, I think what is important for Christians today is to:

Be with Jesus
Become like Jesus
Do what Jesus did

I think no matter the cause or campaign, the city or community, a personal relationship with Jesus, inviting Him to transform our lives, continually and to love as He does will change our world.

We believe God gives us big dreams, what are you dreaming for?
I heard once to dream so big that it’s impossible without God; I’ve been practicing this. I dream of the resolution of conflict, flourishing communities and a world where no one is marginalised, exploited or lacks what they need. I dream that all people will come to know Jesus and be transformed by who He is.

FIFTY B

FIFTY B

FIFTY A

FIFTY B

25

On a lighter note…

75

What are three things you’re consuming right now

Books – reading and listening to lots of Bob Goff lately 😀

Music ­– I’m sampling lots of albums I hadn’t got around to listening to from KB, The Brilliance and Andy Mineo and Wordsplayed…there’s more I’m sure.

Podcasts – Dream big podcast, Love Anyway, Timothy Keller and Carrie Lloyd right now.

HUNDRED

Find Yinka Ayodele


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