Spaces was founded by a group of ordinary people – conflicted, flawed, but willing to listen and willing to change.
Co-founder & Director of Development
“My hope for Spaces is to see every individual no matter their, background, shortcomings or disadvantage gain access & thrive.
Through Open Spaces, we hope to remove barriers and promote access for budding entrepreneurs to thrive in entrepreneurship through personal initiative.”
“I have had the privilege of living and working in a range of diverse settings, including slums, refugee rehabilitation and addiction recovery.
In each, I learnt so much from the incredible people I met, from hearing their authentic and unfiltered stories.
They taught me resilience, creativity and most importantly to be kinder. And that very simply is what Spaces means to me – a way for each of us to connect at a human level, be enriched by the stories we hear, and feel empowered to make a positive impact in the world.”
Dr. Benjamin Alfred.
Director of Communications
“Having been a minority in many contexts, my hope for Spaces is that young people who don’t feel like they fit in cause of how they look or are, or the society they live in, can find someone who is similar to them and that THEY may get the courage to stand out and be honest about their journey and experiences. It gets better and there’s so much hope.
Safe Spaces will help those conversations happen and hopefully, change lives.”
Dr. Francis Wamonje.
“I have experienced a lot of good from people who do not look like me and in countries where I have been a minority. Many may not have been so lucky. But that’s not to say it’s always been rosy.
At Spaces International I hope that the good and bad can be discussed in a way that we build each other up and grow to be each other’s keepers. I hope we can have a good laugh afterwards.”
“The allies are a supportive and committed community.
We work together to grow in understanding, to share stories, and to raise awareness of the Spaces initiative.
My aim is to facilitate the allies through our team discussions and weekly challenges, so that we can maximise the impact of Spaces across the world, advocating for more inclusive social structures in our spheres of influence.”
Content & Tech Lead
“My hope for Spaces is for us to come together to really listen to each other as we share our experiences so that we can take steps towards understanding our fellow human beings a lot better.”
“As a white male living in the UK, I’ve become aware of the challenges faced by those excluded from society due to race, gender, addiction and other barriers. My hope for the Spaces movement is to promote discussion between vastly different people in order to make us all appreciate one another’s stories a bit more.
I want us to leave these discussions with a new perspective. It might not be easy. It might be really uncomfortable, in fact. But if we leave a little kinder to our fellow humans, it’ll be worth it. I want to help change society for the better.”
Shortly after we launched, we became aware of the need to clarify what we believe and ‘promote’. While it saddens us that the idea that we would set up Spaces based purely on the premise that listening to others is powerful, would be so unexpected, we also realise the need to address this question.
For clarity, here is what we believe and promote:
- We believe that the human experience in all its complexity is worth listening to.
- We promote intentional steps towards social inclusion.
- We do not promote any specific world-view or belief system because we believe that this must be a personal choice.
- We tell stories of people who all believe different things, because we ourselves realise the need to listen to those who are different from us.
- Spaces will never be a platform to promote a specific belief system or worldview, this is not our purpose.
To conclude, do we promote any specific belief?
Yes. We promote the belief that each individual should have the freedom to choose what they believe and how they practice their beliefs. We share real stories to help inform this decision process but we will never tell people what to believe or conclude from what they hear.
Each of us on the founding team have strong personal beliefs. We have had the luxury of choosing what we believe and live by, and we strongly promote this freedom to choose. For any belief system to work, it must be your choice.