What is the Salam Project?
The Salam Project is a BME youth and community initiative (and social enterprise) that aims to challenge issues of BME Youth unemployment, gang crime, extremism & radicalisation
Why did you start the project?
Due to my nephew and close friends getting stabbed, getting imprisoned and someone tried to recruit them to a so called extremist gang. Then when asked to give a talk in a prison and I saw many Black youths present –

What motives you to serve the community?
From starting of self funded from my salary and investment from Rakin from Save Our Boys it has made me see there is a need in the community. I was sick of seeing Black men come to Islam then they would forget about their own community. I believe that Black people who are Christian, Muslim, Rasta, Hebrew, Pan Africanist etc need to find a way to work together to benefit our youth and community as a whole.

You do a lot of community projects why?
Some projects We do independently as The SalamProject but then I’m asked to work in partnership with other great organisations like Community Calling, Save Our Boys, Moss Side Community Association, Faiths Forum For London, Khizra Foundation, Mother & Child Welfare Organisation, ZM Trust, Feltham Chaplaincy Trust so some are my projects and some are in partnership with other projects. I have great colleagues like Manni Ibrahim, Rashid Nix, Daniel Muhammad, Kyle, Fozia and Aisha Hutchinson. They like to do and don’t talk much they put in the work.

Who is Lea South?
I was born Lea South and when I converted/reverted to Islam and I adopted the name Ismael. So to keep my family cool so I decided to rename myself Ismael Lea South.

What empowers and motivates Lea South?
When I see young people from my community achieving, seeing people who have made a change to better themselves, my wife, my family, Les Brown and working in collaboration

Why do you support thinktank720?
Caroline, the founder, is a very inspirational person. I believe that working with a collaboration of different organisations from different school of thoughts is the only way forward. Seeing people like Nana from Access UK and Jude from BBIG involved has given me hope for bigger things to come. The potential is huge.

Who are your mentors?
My mentors include my parents, all the Prophets (peace be upon them all) Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King, Mandela, Ambrose Mendy, Dr Lez Henry, Trevor Hakim, Rashid Nix, Khaja, Pastor Michael Francis, Shaykh Babikir, Shaykh Ibrahim Osie Effa, Shaykh Muhammad Zakaria, Mustafa Field, Omewale Rupert, Dr Cecil Gutzmore, Lee Jasper, Shabazz Lubumba & Professor Danjuma

Why prison work?
My nephew and some childhood friends got imprisoned – that got me first involved. When I went to see them and saw the excess and disproportionate amount of Black youths inside – I just had to get involved

Any advice for young people?
Stay positive, don’t be a statistic and understand you can achieve anything you want with setting goals and hard work. The world is yours. Living in the U.K. please understand you have opportunities galore. Finally when you achieve- give back