Tutu visits young Londoners

Archbishop Desmond Tutu met young people in north London earlier in the month.

He made the visit as part of his responsibilities as one of The Elders, a group of independent leaders working together worldwide for peace, justice and human rights.

The Archbishop was accompanied on the visit by fellow Elder, Mary Robinson, first woman President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

They were hosted by the charity XLP, which works with young people in deprived parts of London.

Archbishop Tutu told the young people: “It is important to remember that where you come from, does not determine where you end up.”

The two Elders spent an hour with the youngsters, as well as volunteers and staff from XLP, to find out about the struggles and lack of opportunities faced by young people living in the inner city.

The visit was organised in celebration of Mandela Day, which takes place each year on 18 July. Mandela Day calls on people all around the world to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy by serving their communities and taking action to build a better world.

Patrick Regan, XLP founder, said: "No single person or organisation can effectively address the complex challenges faced by vulnerable youth people living in the inner city.

"Only by coming together and standing with each other can we expect change – can we give the next generation a fighting chance.”

Archbishop Tutu and Mrs Robinson met the youngsters at XLP's Community Bus project in Islington.

The bus is one of over 20 projects that XLP runs across inner-London.

One young person supported by the charity told Archbishop Tutu, "I was told I'd end up in prison or in a dead end job."

Instead, the youngster received a mentor from XLP and ended up staying in school, becoming an A-grade student, and finding a good job.

The Archbishop told Mr Regan as he was leaving, “I am incredibly thrilled by all the things you do here at XLP and I believe that XLP makes God smile.”

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