Racism, child poverty and debt: Peterborough's Youth MPs to tackle big issues in new roles

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Cultural awareness high on agenda

From tackling racism and child poverty to campaigning for practical work experience and interest-free student loans, Peterborough’s new Youth MPs are full of ideas for a brighter future.

Danielle Daboh, 15, a pupil at Stanground Academy and Pranav Aggarwal, 14, a pupil at The King’s School, were elected to the UK’s Youth Parliament in March and will each serve a two-year term.

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The role involves leading campaigns, participating in meetings and sitting in the House of Commons to debate the issues facing young people once a year.

Peterborough Youth MP's Danielle Daboh and Pranav AggarwalPeterborough Youth MP's Danielle Daboh and Pranav Aggarwal
Peterborough Youth MP's Danielle Daboh and Pranav Aggarwal

The city’s previous representative was Eva Woods: because of Peterborough’s population growth, she’s been replaced by two Youth MPs.

Danielle and Pranav say they want to educate people about cultural differences.

“I really want to raise cultural awareness through events, talks and seminars,” Danielle said.

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She added that she and her friends have experienced racism stemming from ignorance, such as people touching her hair without consent or making comments about cultural food.

Food fairs and dance festivals could “promote different cultures and make people feel welcome in Peterborough”, Pranav added.

Danielle said she wants to set up school uniform swap shops to ease the burden of buying new school uniforms.

Child poverty has “definitely gotten worse with the cost of living”, she said.

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“I have a personal attachment to it because I have a single mum so I understand the stress of money.”

Pranav wants to ease debt accumulating for students in higher education, such as his sister who is a university student.

“I understand student loans can be stressful and affect people’s mental health,” he said.

Danielle says she wants to make work experience easier to find for young people.

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“ I definitely want to make forums where you can find it,” she said. “Something that’s credible, somewhere you’ll be safe and take some enjoyment from it.”

Over summer, she’ll spend a week doing work experience as a case assistant for Peterborough’s MP, Paul Bristow.

Both are excited by the possibility that they could affect real change in their role.

Danielle said she’s looking forward to the moment she’s achieved something “concrete”, which could “change someone’s life for the better”.

Pranav said he’s excited to “listen to people about what they want” and talk to people who “can actually make a difference”.

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