CITY student Christine Ngo Souhe convinced charity funders to award her £1,000 to run African dance classes for youngsters in Southampton because she was worried they were growing up not knowing enough about their heritage.

The 21-year-old, who studies at Richard Taunton Sixth Form College, wowed Energise Me, a charity tempowering young people to make creative changes in their communities, with her plans for the classes.

Christine, whose family is from Cameroon, wanted to pass on her love of traditional African dance to youngsters from the ethnic communities near where she lives. She came up with the idea of Cultural Kidz, a weekly Afrobeat dance class using traditional steps, at St Mary’s Primary School for youngsters aged eight and nine and was awarded the money to set it up.

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She said: “I love dancing because you can be as creative as you want. My mum was always dancing when I was small and she used to put on traditional music and dance along and that’s what got me into it.

“I was nervous about it at first because teaching kids can be terrifying but the more we all got used to each other the better it became.

“I love watching them learn every step. I asked them to go home and learn a dance from their own family and the next week they came back and taught it to me and we added it to the routines.

“It’s important because if you don’t know about where you come from you don’t understand the culture and you don’t learn to respect it."

The term ended with a presentation for parents. “It was a beautiful moment seeing them all come together wearing traditional costume and seeing the smiles on their parents’ faces."

The class attracts ten young dancers every Thursday.

The grant was awarded via Energise Me's creative entrepreneurial programme aiming to inspire young people to make social changes.