Sometimes you simply can’t pigeon hole someone because the breadth of their skills, compassion, and understanding is just too varied. Magdalene Adenaike is one such person. Founder and CEO of Music Relief Foundation, Magdalene is an award-winning entrepreneur, musician, inspirational speaker, business mentor and fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Music Relief was born out her own personal experience as a teenage mum. Shunned from the very community she loved, and blocked from participating in the music that made her feel alive, Magdalene has had the desire, drive and determination to ensure that the disadvantaged kids in South London have their own platform—where they can share their stories, be engaged and encouraged through mentoring, music and workshops, to attain life skills and leadership roles not found through conventional routes.
Knife crime is a scourge of our beautiful city right now, and though facilitated workshops and intervention programmes, Magdalene’s is leaving her very own a wonderful legacy. This is Your London Legacy
“The pastor’s wife at the church we were attending at that time saw it fit to come to me as this teenager who was going through these motions, and obviously got these pregnancy hormones going up and down already—to tell me that I was a disgrace.”
Magdalene found herself pregnant as a teen mum after moving from Nigeria, and as an African with pastor parents, she openly says that it seemed she had everything going against her—including being called a “disgrace” by their pastor’s wife. It was Magdalene’s decision to keep the child, even after two appointments at a clinic to terminate her pregnancy—a decision that left her feeling isolated as she wasn’t allowed to sing in the church’s choir publicly as she was “shaming the altar”.
With time, her mother moved on from the idea that Magdalene was disgracing the family after something similar happened to their friend’s who were pastors as well. All of these formative experiences led her to the road of setting up the Music Relief Foundation, and no surprise, began with her desire to help other teen mums.
“It’s now down to the individual learning to say—this is what I’ve learned, how am I going to ensure that learning becomes a part of me and I don’t go down that route.”
The Music Relief Foundation now encompasses a large breadth of programmes to ensure kids 11 years and older can connect with their communities and have a well balanced life. This includes support for pregnant Mums, of course, but also programs such as More than Able—which launched through Parliament in 2017 to help stymie knife crime. These programmes use music as a form of learning, inspiration, and self-expression that gives individuals the tools to succeed moving forward in their lives—while also encouraging students to become ambassadors of the program to help spread awareness.
You can find the wide variety programs Magdalene heads at Music-Relief.com and see how the foundation has become the leading voice on youth training and arts support in the UK.