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Denise helps teens patch up their lives
Tuesday, 06 September 2011
A FASHION house for disadvantaged children is thriving thanks to a determined woman who threw herself into helping others after patching up her own life.
Kicked out of home at the age of 16, Denise Oyedeji was forced to fend for herself on the streets of Brixton until she was taken in by a kindly pub landlord who found her work and gave her a roof over her head.
Passionate about fashion, she taught herself to sew at the age of 23, and went on to found Liberty For Fashion, helping teenagers design their own clothes from the Liberty Christian Fellowship church in Cottage Green, Camberwell.
Denise, who funds and runs the group in her spare time, will host a fashion show tomorrow to raise money to take the young people on holiday because most of them rarely leave London.
The Elephant & Castle resident has been nominated for an Our Heroes Award as part of this paper’s campaign to recognise the incredible achievements of people in South London.
She said: “I had a vision of doing this four years ago.
“I wanted to help young people in the community and I have always loved fashion, but didn’t want to go to college to learn.
I just wanted to do it, so I bought myself a sewing machine and taught myself how to sew.
“Someone helped me out years ago when I was on the streets with two friends and we were taking drugs.
“We used to go to this pub asking for money, and eventually the landlord took us in and helped me get a job in Argos and it completely changed my life.
“So I want to give other young people a chance.”
The sewing sessions for six teenage girls and one boy, aged between 13 and 18, are held during school holidays.
Denise hopes to raise enough money to take them to Wales or Scotland for a week, as well as buying more equipment and fabric.
She said: “Now I have known them for three years, I have got a relationship with them. They are opening up.
“Most don’t go on holiday, they just stay at home. Some have real family difficulties.
“As well as taking them away, we want to raise money to buy more equipment and show people they are serious about this – this is no joke.
“The clothes they have made are really amazing. They are very creative.”
Denise said one day she would love to take the young people to a real fashion show and give them a chance to meet designers and see how clothes are made by the professionals.
The Our Heroes Awards ceremony will be held on November 15 at the home of sponsors Shell at their South Bank headquarters.
Copyright Tindle Newspapers Ltd Wednesday, 19 June 2013
Other Our Heroes Awards 2011:
Sir Ray Tindle
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