Christmas comes early for local youth

Zahra Smith received a certificate from Lismore mayor Merv King on Tuesday after she was successful in obtaining funding to teach young people to record their own hip hop CDs.

As a young teenager Zahra Smith used to learn the lyrics of American rap artists until she realised she actually had something to say herself.

Now 22, Zahra said she found hip hop to be the perfect outlet to express herself and heal after the death of her father four years ago.

Zahra is now focussed on sharing that experience with other young people and of course having fun through dancing and MCing. On Tuesday she accepted a $2500 funding boost from Lismore City Councils Youth Activities Fund to help get her UnderCurrents CD project off the ground. She said young people will learn to write their own hip hop lyrics and then perform and record their songs in a studio to produce a CD.

Zahra said young people often felt too self-conscious to express themselves through protesting at a rally.

But if you get up and speak through the mike you can find your own voice and find your own way of protesting, she said. Me and my sister started rhyming a lot together after my dad died. It helped us so much empowering us. Things about yourself, your story, you can just get up and let them out through the microphone.

Zahras group, the Creative Peoples Collective, was just one of 13 youth projects to benefit from over $30,000 in funding from Lismore City Councils Youth Activities Fund.

Other successful applicants included NORPA, which will produce a monthly youth page in conjunction with The Northern Rivers Echo; the all-Aboriginal cricket team the Lismore Boomerangs, who will start up a junior side; and the YWCA to run holiday activity programs for children in Goonellabah. Other recipients were The Channon Youth Group, YOWI, Ngamahl Goori Youth Group, Dubays Dubajines Healing, The Centre Against Child Sexual Assault In Safe Hands, Sanctuary Northern Rivers, the Dunoon Scouts, Lismore PCYC and the All 4 Paul Oztag Team.

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