My name is Dennis Gyamfi, born and bred in Ghana but moved over to the United Kingdom at the age of 10. At my arrival I had the opportunity to meet my siblings and mother for the first time. In the United Kingdom I lived on Somerleyton estate and attended Christ Church Primary school all in the South London area Brixton. Living and going to school in one of the deprived areas in London, Great Britain after moving from Africa I found myself involved in small drug dealing which lead me to a young man in my estate by the name Solomon, Solomon got me involved with a youth project because he saw the potential in me to do well. He got me involved with a youth programme by the name of X-it programme. I worked with X-it programme for over 3 years and in those 3 years I helped the programme achieve Public Service Award and and 72% of non offending young people.
In 2008 I started my own company by the name of Endz2Endz, the name means to bring community together. We do this through media. Endz2Endz was started through friends, I went to college and got together with my friends to start Endz2Endz which was to promote the positives that young people were up to rather than the Negativity. Endz2Endz won Spirit of London Award, won Cinemagic award through Quiet Storm an advertisement company run by a very good friend of mine Trevor Robinson. I also interviewed most of London Mayor candidates for the London mayor Election, I interviewed Brian Paddick (Lib Dem), Jenny Jones (Green Party), Siobhan Benita (Independent Party) and Valerie Shawcross (Labour Party) all on the subject of unemployments, Education, Racism and community unity.
From the time I won my Spirit of London Award in 2010, I got diagnosed with Leukemia which is a form of cancer. I was in hospital for 3 years (2013), but while in the hospital I was still working on Endz2Endz projects. When I came out of hospital in 2013, I decided to run courses with Endz2Endz teaching young people photography, film making, graphic designing etc. I believed in empowerment and encouragement and through Endz2Endz I was able to deliver them both.
Youth..Our future..Our Hope with Dennis Gyamfi #isharehope Episode 82
Summary: Dennis’ answer to the five questions! Listen to the full conversation on the player above; also available on iTunes, Stitcher and Soundcloud.
Question 1: How do you define hope or what is your favorite quote about hope?
God is hope. I believe if you get your vision and you focus on him, he will be able to deliver and give you the things which you need.
“I have a dream.” – Martin Luther King
Question 2: Who has shared the most hope with you?
I will say the church I go to which is Lighthouse International and also the people that are around me – Andrew Page, Nick Lawson, Reverend Williams and Bishop Dag Heward Mills. Sometimes I lose focus, sometimes I become drenched in my own problems and I lose hope. I need somebody to encourage me in finding the hope back again. These individuals, they encourage me and support me. They give me that hope that I need to live for another day.
My mama is someone that has always been there for me as well. I have to be honest, through my hospital days and my down times, my mama was there beside me sharing the story of Job. That really encouraged me to reach out to God. This woman, she is one of the strongest women in my life and has really held me up and supported me in finding hope.
Question 3: How have you used hope to make it through a difficult time in your life?
What happened to me was, I was living life, I was doing positive stuff, supporting young people, running a program, my company and I was diagnosed with leukemia. The doctors told me that basically I’d be lucky if I made it through 2010. I became very down, didn’t know where to go and who to talk to because everyone around me was saying , “oh you have leukemia” and most of the time in the black community, anyone who has leukemia dies in the next two or three years so it was like “oh, you’re about to die…”
I had this death talk around me and everybody I met was talking like you are going to pass away, “oh my uncle died of leukemia or my auntie died of leukemia”. Everybody that I talk to was mentioning somebody that had died from leukemia in their family. That really drenched me and made me come down like I felt that I might also die.
What gave me hope was my mother. My mother comes into the hospital reading the bible, sharing the bible with me and making me understand the word of God. At that time, I was distant from the word of God. I didn’t really want to take in as much. I didn’t want to listen to it because I’ve seen so much people in my family struggle, so I thought that it wasn’t helping. It was helping nobody. It was just something that was put out there for people to be making money out of.
I believe that the bible was the truth because from the moment that I took the word that my mom was saying from the Job story. I looked into the mirror and I said, God if you are truly real and if you are real like my mother is saying, if you are real like everybody around me is saying, then prove yourself. If you prove yourself to me, I’ll follow you for the rest of my life. From that day on, I’ve lived longer than most people in the hospital. The doctors are even thinking that I’m a miracle because most of the people I have started my treatment with are all deceased and I’m the only one that’s still alive and so it feels that God is real and I still believe in him today.
Question 4: How are you sharing hope today?
What I do now is I run a photography website to get the community together. I believe that activity is one of the ways that bring people together and get people to celebrate their own individuality because most of the time we are scared of showing who we are and letting people know who we love. For me, photography is something that get people to express themselves and it’s something that I’m doing through an organization called Positive View.
I’m working with David Beckham to deliver a photography gallery exhibition with young people that are from Somerleyton. I’m doing an exhibition in the Phillips Gallery alongside David Beckham in March (2016). GQ Magazine is also sponsoring it, so it’s going to be a big thing for the young people. It’s going to give them the experience to become photographers, graphic designers, musicians. That is what I’m about, I’m about supporting people and pushing them into their dream.
Question 5: How should I (the listener) begin to grow in hope or share hope today?
(1) Share to be understood. Share little things like a smile or a word.
(2) Share whatever you have that might help others.