- What is your favourite word? I don’t know Factory East. Susanne – my girlfriend.
- What’s your least favourite word? Police.
- What’s your favourite colour? Lilac.
- What colour or material would be suitable to describe you as a person? What colour or material. Yeah I’m a bright man. Yeah my favourite colour is lilac so, and my material would be cotton.
- What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? I don’t know. Well that’s a difficult to ask me at the moment.
- What turns you off?
- What is your favourite curse word?
- What sound or noise do you love? The sound of an airplane and laughter. Yeah. Laughter.
- What sound or noise do you hate? The sound of police sirens coming to get me.
- What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? A psychologist.
- What profession would you not like to do? Politician.
- If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? “I’m proud of you Jack.” That’s what I’d like to hear him say to me. Because I do my work. My work is Jesus alive in my life. I don’t preach Jesus to everyone but he has helped me through a lot. Without him supporting me, without me feeling him, I wouldn’t be here today.
Tag Archives: Jack Ramadan
Do you have an obsession?
Yes my charity. This. It drives my family mad. For the nearly seven years that I have done this I have never taken a penny out of it, you know, my brothers and sisters and my mom can’t believe that I’m still here doing what I’m doing working 18 hours a day sometimes and sitting here painting floors doing that for everyone, not really doing anything for myself. But this does something for me.
Where and how will you be living in twenty years from now?
I would like to be, you know, in England but I’m also building a house down in Cypress at the moment, so I will be spending a lot of time going to the Turkish side of Cypress to do that. You know if I’m not here, I’ll be there.
What’s a miracle you’ve encountered in your life?
A miracle. That I’m still here now – that’s a miracle. That I’m still here today, the man I am now, having come from the person I was in my younger days. ‘Cause I was the worst kid in the area at one time. I have done a lot of prisons and I suffered a lot. That’s a miracle that I am here now with all the suffering I’ve been through. The positive side now is that I do the thing that I do. To help the kids, to grab them and to change them is a big thing to me.
Do you feel more British, European or a citizen of the world.
Citizen of the world.And British?
Yeah and British.And you don’t feel European?
Well I don’t know I’ve never looked at myself as a European. I mean my roots are half Turkish, half Irish and my mom and dad met here in the 60s. So you know with it not being a European country I wouldn’t be here now. So it’s the first time I thought of that question and it’s a good one. Yeah I like European I think it’s good.
Britain and the European Union, to stay or to go?
I think that they should be on their own. I think every country should be on its own and deal with things like they need to deal with it. It’s like an individual – if one individual can do it, doesn’t mean that the other individual can do it. And it’s the same with countries – if you try to change one country and make it like another one, then it isn’t working. They can see that it isn’t working. There is always arguments amongst one another. You can never trust the politicians. As they say just things to please the masses. I’m a bit switched on. I don’t vote I wouldn’t vote for them I would vote green party. Because I believe they all just say what the people want to hear and as soon as they get in power they do nothing.
What do you love about London?
Everything. It’s a great city. I was born here. I was bred here. I’m proud of it. I love it. I respect it. Not for the fact, you know, that it is a more developed than most countries. I love London. It’s my home. I love it. I’ve been all over the world. I still missed where I come from.
What do you dislike about London?
The politics. Yeah. But it’s something I have never thought about. I love London. I love my country. I wouldn’t go to war and fight for it, but if it got invaded tomorrow I would be in the resistance.
Is there a cross over between your project and politics? Do you get an opportunity to share your opinions with politicians?
No not really. Because with politicians it’s that they are not passionate, meaning that it’s just a statistics thing behind their projects. For example the government right now is opening up 500 schools like this, to support their election campaign, but they are not thinking about doing boxing education or getting people in and running the place and giving them the opportunity of coming to work with us. We on the other hand have already been doing it five years ago. For example with us if a youth played up we won’t phone the police and get him arrested because we would defeat the object of what we wanna do in the first place, which is to keep them away from trouble with the police and then to involve them again would be contradictory.It was on the news the other day where they arrested a youth at one of the government funded projects and it becomes bad publicity because it shows other youths that if they go there you end up having trouble with the police anyway. So people ain’t really gonna go and feel that they are free and that they are happy there because they are walking on egg shells.But again on the positive side we work with the police in the community now. The police are supporting the project that we do. They realize that the community wants this and it’s not going away. They don’t give us anything yet, but it’s in the pipeline we are having meetings and you know hopefully we can build a good relationships with them and they can come and help our kids.
What happened with the cameras afterwards?
They would come back and share their footage as there was a lot of history involved when the older people that they interviewed told them about the old days. The war days and so the kids get a respect for where they actually come from and realize they are actually lucky to live in a country like this because you know in some other countries they dont care about anything. So yeah that was a really good project actually and from that project every other youth facility in the borrow started doing the same thing. So I’d like to think that we are a bit in front of the system in the way that we do things. For the system it always takes something bad for them to realize that something is needed. Well, with us we want to change it even if nothing bad happened because we want the community to integrate. So trough the boxing we put on shows, invite people, you give the youths a bit of pride through this as they are somebody and don’t have to smash a window or attack the police to have a trophy or a reputation. Through this we are giving them a different sort of reputation that they can respect and people can respect them for.
What is an issue in your community and how would you go about changing it if you where in a position to do so?
Well, it would be community integration. So everybody knows each other and even if they don’t know each other, to have a place to go to and get to know each other. For example we did a project with the lottery and it was all about community integration. Where basically the old people in the area were scared to go to the shops, some of them would turn around and go home when they saw a gang of kids standing at the corner and they wouldn’t go to the shop. And because we realized this problem we thought we are going to run a project where we would give all these young people cameras and they could go into the stores or the local market and sit and get to know the people and capture their experience. This way they would get to know the area and the people differently that they see everyday. The area they have been in for years and the people they never say hello to because that’s just the way this society made it whereas before everybody knew everybody and you’d always know who it was that was causing trouble and things. This is an important issue to me, community integration, by giving people the chance to meet each other through positive rather than negative things.
What is your charity called?
Its called Factory East Community Project.How come that you switched from music and filming to boxing?
Well, boxing was always part of the project. We had a boxing gym in the other place as well where the music and film studio are. We had 6000 sq. ft of space that we took on in that warehouse and then we realised that it was too big for us so we gave 2000 sq. ft back and kept the rest and we made the music studio in one and the boxing in the other. We put a green screen up in the music studio since a lot of the kids were doing music videos and stuff like that.
Who are the other people that are involved as you always refer to ‚we’?
I say we because it is about the community if you know what I mean.So you get good support from the community as well?
Yeah yeah for sure. I mean in this facility now we got ‚mixed concrete’ over there who has given us donations we got Remy Bowling etc. So if I say ‘we’ I am talking about these people really.
Then during the time we lost the building, we became a registered charity and carried on doing our work from everywhere we could: Talking to kids from gangs in parks and trying to educate them, to do something positive, trying to get them into employment, running projects and so on. In August 2014 there was the three year anniversary oft he London riots, not a very nice anniversary, as we know, but so many kids came to us, asking: ‘What are you going to do for us this year. Are we going on trips or could we go there or there?’ But we did not have any funding or anything so what I did was that I took a group of kids out. We took our cameras with us and we went to loads of different facilities and youth clubs in the area to find out on the day what kind of activities were happening at the different facilities. But not one, of the six youth clubs we went to had an activity for the kids, even though three years before they had additional millions of pounds to spend after the riots. Between 2011-2014 statistically, the poverty in this country dropped from 6 million to 5 million because many peoples from corporations obviously pumped a lot of money into the system but that was just wasted because after the riots they developed thousands of mentors and thought that this was the way forward to deal with the youth, but.. anyways.So we went in with the cameras and there was nothing happening and we went to local business man telling them our story and how our kids got nothing to do and one business man, who owned the building we are in today said: ‘Okay I have got a space for you that I would like you to move into’. And because he is an East End boy he is well and he understands and said: ‘I love what you do for the kids so I will give you a space where we want you to carry on your projects’. Since then we have had a lot of other companies and a lot of other people supporting us to get us where we are now.
Jack Ramadan is a proper East-Ender, boxer, founder of ‘Factory East Charity‘ and has a great passion for his community. We met him and his girlfriend Susanne in the newly renovated Boxing Club in Bow. It was great to see what a committed community is able to achieve even without significant financial means. During our visit we encountered first hand what the Boxing Club means for the kids in the area, when three teenage boys came storming in. Tacking on the boxing sacks and wanting to share with Jack what has happened to one of the missing boys who crashed on a stolen motorcycle the same day. It is this mix of acceptance, leadership, love and the opportunity to channel energy that appears to fill a void in the local community. There is much more to come as we see it and we hope to see the charity grow and with it community cohesion, social mobility and peace (The Minks).
What is your full name?
Yeah, my name is Jack Ramadan
Who are you?
I am a local man who lives in Tower Hamlets. I am passionate about my community. For the last seven years I have been working hard, trying to make a difference especially in young people’s lives. But when we opened back in the day it wasn’t only young people and their parents in need of help but old people and people with disabilities as well. A lot of people are feeling lonely. We opened up a facility and lots of people came to use it. Even though it was just boxing. We had a music studio as well and a film studio, making a lot of music and film productions, short films, giving kids cameras to go out into the streets to explore and get to see their communities through different eyes.This was another way of integration. In 2008 when we started the project there was a lot of opression in this area, loads of youth clubs were shut down, there was just gangs. Gangs of kids at every street corner doing nothing. Taking drugs, drinking and causing trouble in the area. And I’ve seen this and thought I am going to do something about it. That was in December 2008 that I took on a warehouse on Farefield Road. It was left for 7 years and no one cared about it really. We went in , done it up and spent a lot of time on in. Got lots of support from other business men, individuals and companies which helped opening it.Then three months after opening, a really bad thing happened in the area, where two 17 years olds murdered a grandmother and her 17 year old grand daughter in a flat in Bethnal Green. It was over a drug deal worth 15 Pounds that someone never paid. Pauline, the lady that was killed went to school with my mum so I have known her my entire life so this was a very bad time. As we were three months into operation I realized even more that this area really needed a change, we can’t rely on the police or the government to bring change. So sometimes it’s down to communities to step in and do something for their own community and I had a word with a few people and we decided that this is what we are going to do.From there we had a bit of a difficulty with the building because we, as a community had to manage it all by ourselves. Then when it was done, loads of kids started to come and join us from all over the country to do with the music and lots of these kids were involved in gangs. So the police thought that we was some sort of a gang or whatever and they did not like it because they were not involved and always tried to find something to be able to shut the place down. But we was never doing anything wrong so that never happened.But then what happened was, that the building owners wanted to develop the property because from the place you could see the Olympic Stadium. So this was at the time when the olympics was getting built. So everyone at that time just wanted to sell their properties. The owners sold the building to developers which got 550 kids and me chucked out to the streets basically and no one cared about them and aehm.. for four years we carried on working with the kids, doing projects to develop kids. History projects of gangs to let kids know how gangs came about and it’s not only just been a recent thing etc. but actually started in the 18th century in London and that it was worse than today. You know just educating really.