Ali Abdi, 30, is a Community Organiser in Cardiff
To mark three decades of the IWA’s role in making Wales better, we decided to look forward to ‘the next thirty years’ by introducing some of the people who will be shaping ‘the Welsh agenda’ as the future unfolds. We have teamed up with PricewaterhouseCoopers and their #GreatWales campaign, which celebrates the ideas and people who contribute to the Wales of the future.
Ali Abdi, Community Organiser, Citizens Cymru Wales
Butetown, Riverside and Grangetown, Cardiff
I am passionate about bringing people in my area into the community organising process. We persuaded Nando’s to open the first mainstream halal-compliant restaurant in Cardiff city centre; the community now see that change is possible if we act together with others for social justice and the common good.
My ambition for the future is to continue to tackle powerlessness in my community and the frustration connected with it: the perception that nothing can be done to overcome it. I have a strong track record of leading young people from Somali, BME and other disadvantaged backgrounds into non-partisan political action. While there are many serious issues equally worthy of my attention and support, I’ll have the greatest pleasure if I focus on the challenges that my community are most anxious about.
This year, we will be launching the Bay Citizens’ Community Jobs Compact which aims to bring local people and employers together to tackle poverty, unemployment and under-representation in the workforce with an emphasis on employers committing to sign the Community Jobs Compact. This includes obligations to accredit as a ‘Living Wage for Wales’ employer, to pay all staff and contractors at least £8.45 an hour, to recruit using name-blind and address-blind CVs and/or guarantee an interview to local residents who meet the criteria, plus to introduce unconscious bias training for interviewers. The Compact will also ensure all staff have the option of a permanent contract, and demonstrate opportunities for growth and development, for instance through internal career progression and mentoring.
For all employers who sign the Compact, Bay Citizens will promote job opportunities in the community and encourage local people to apply; provide support to local people to complete applications and prepare for interview and signpost employers to organisations who can support them to implement the Compact commitments.
My hope for Wales in the future is to help shape ‘Not the world as it is . . . but the world as it should be.’
Each day, throughout the month of June, we are celebrating the exceptional people on the Next 30 list by publishing a short pen portrait here on Click on Wales, as well as raising their profile on Twitter using #IWAnext30 and #GreatWales to highlight the exciting contributions these people are making to Wales’ future.