"It was an amazing honour.”
The former gang member, who turned his life around after discovering self discipline, Self Development, Building Resilience, Achieving Goals all whilst in prison in Jamaica. He has gone on to be a well recognised film maker, author and an inspiration to young people. He was invited to Butetown to share his journey in and out of 'Road Life' after serving 8 years in Jamaican Prison courtesy of Xcellerate Youth Project By BE.Xcellence. Butetown, is one of Cardiff’s most diverse districts, in Cardiff.
The Boxing Club has free tutoring sessions in Maths and Science for students from Year 6 to Year 10. they aim to empower young people struggling in the respective subjects post lockdown to help them gain confidence and discipline.
Self-funded Tiger Bay Boxing Club in Butetown is empowering youth from diverse backgrounds
Wasem opened the Tiger Bay Amateur Boxing Club in 2018.
Located behind a mosque, Tiger Bay’s owner believes in Islamic values, which inspired him to reopen the boxing club in 2018 for deprived communities with personal funds.
“In Islam, the Prophet says that a strong belief makes a strong Muslim. You have to be physically fit to move forward. Therefore, our team established a space where students learn to live with discipline, morals and attain equal respect for all no matter the race, religion or gender,” Wasim said.
The club’s aim – as well as getting young people fit and teaching them discipline – is to combat antisocial behaviour and prevent intolerance by creating a cohesive community of all religions, races and nationalities.
Wasem has been leading a team of young volunteers who distributed 120 food boxes a week to vulnerable, shielding families. Wasem said, “It gets the young people motivated instead of them sitting in the house. It builds a relationship between us and our elders, it helps keep the boys on the straight and narrow and it teaches them at a young age that you have to be good in order to receive good.”
Wasem and the coaches at the club work hard to combat antisocial behaviour amongst young people and prevent extremism and Islamophobia by creating a cohesive community of all religions, races, and nationalities. There hard work is really evident when you speak to the young people.
They are very focused, articulate and it is great to hear them talk about their career aspirations and the role the Boxing Club has made in helping them achieve the goals.
Wasem has personal experience of the problems faced by some young people in his community. He lost his dad at 15 and got into trouble on the streets while his older brother was away serving in the British Army.
His life turned around when he became interested in mixed martial arts The sport gave him the discipline and skills he needed to land a job in security. Now he runs his own security company of 30. Starting mixed martial arts and training helped him regain his old life and inspired him to help others.
An 18-year-old student, Mohammed Ali studying in Cardiff and Vale College, said the Boxing Club was distinct because it felt like home where people from across the world bond and help each other.
The Club’s members can freely use the computers provided to complete school or college work or make their resumés.
Wasim Said, says, “We started tutoring sessions just before the pandemic hit and recently expanded it, as the combination helps students manage stress and anxiety.”
Tiger Bay, the first boxing club in Cardiff to incorporate boxing with free tutoring sessions for the youth.
“Whenever I struggle outside of here, I come in to train and use the study space when needed. It helps me manage my anxiety,” said Mohammed Ali
Tiger Bay ABC now has more than 150 young members, and during lockdown, club members were delivering 120 food parcels a week to vulnerable local people.