Jean-Terach (JT) Bavangila is a 25-year-old professional footballer, educator and mentor, public speaker and businessman.
He is a survivor of a civil war back in his home country, The Republic of Congo. He moved to the United Kingdom to seek refuge when he was 5 years old. Since moving, he has been a victim of sexual assault, harassment, racism, ageism, bullying, unconscious bias and more. However, with that being said, he has always known that he was meant for more and that everything he had encountered in his life was for a reason and to him, that reason is simply to help change the course of history for a better tomorrow and to provide knowledge and wisdom.
In 2015 he made a pledge to serve, support and to teach others of the unfortunate issues and situations that we experience but are often overlooked. He was 18 years old at the time. He began by speaking about issues such as mental health and stereotypes in his church in front of a congregation of 500 people, which quickly escalated to 1000 people weekly. In 2017 he founded an organisation called ‘The Art of Survival UK’ (TAS UK). A youth empowerment company focused on emancipating the minds of young people - A sanctuary for young people to talk about the difficult topics, and to become educated on how to handle challenging situations within a working environment or company. In addition, he is an active board member of award-winning youth organisation “Be The Change Youth Project”. An organisation whose mission is: to develop young people and to stir them towards leading and influencing change in society.
In 2019, along with his team, he organised the biggest youth Intervention event in London called ‘What’s Ur Story’ at Wembley (Boxpark) which featured on London Live TV News station. This event gathered all 32 Boroughs of London with the aim of inspiring the youth and making them aware of the opportunities available to them by having successful individuals who have come from the same area/background as them and now work in different industries such as IT, Music, Cooperate, Fashion, Sports and more. These prestige indivisuals also talked about the challenges being faced in their diverse industries and how to prepare for it as a young person.
Since then, JT has worked with various organisations, housing associations, and borough councils in order to plan and facilitate events, deliver workshops on the matters such as: youth integration within a company, ageism (in relation to young people) everyday empowerment, mental health, unconscious bias, cultural change and more. He has worked in different schools and PRU’s as a private consultant through the CIPD.
He has also been seen on and heard on television and the radio notably K2K radio speaking about some of the injustice we face and how we can make all environments welcoming to all peoples. He has also featured on “A tough 45”, a podcast that discusses race and mental health within sports, and the significance of “taking the knee”. In 2020, he released a step-by-step guide online on how to control your mental health during the pandemic, which consequently was viewed by 3,000 people upon its release. In 2021, through his organisation The Art of Survival UK (TAS UK), he facilitated two online events/ workshops. One was pertaining to International Women’s month - woman empowerment. The online workshop event was called “Building Resilience and Confidence” and was hosted by Taraji Rom, an award-winning Life Coach and it featured other successful women international such as Jeanine Muyumba (Germany), founder of Afro-black Community Society “ABCS”, Deborah Kimbuta (USA), Immigration Attorney & Legal Services, Jennifer Opal (Ireland) Neurodivergent DevOps Engineer. Although it was focused on woman empowerment, this was a workshop event that welcomed everyone irrespective of how one identifies, as JT believed that it was a great opportunity for everyone to learn. The second online workshop event was called “Do you really communicate?” A workshop focused not only on becoming better communicators for our children, friends, colleagues, partners, teachers etc.; but also, how to gain the knowledge to better relate to those that communicate differently from us, therefore building a much- improved level of understanding. Both these online workshop events can be viewed online.
His career as a professional footballer has taken him all over the world. He has lived in 4 different countries and 3 different cities. He has met all kinds of different people. He speaks 5 different languages. Whilst living in Gibraltar (2021), he mentored a group of 16 young boys. Coaching them to see life not through ethnicity or race or sexual preference or ability; reassuring them that through discipline, a purpose and consistency, they can achieve everything that they believe they can. Now as a 6-foot 3 black Congolese man living and working in a former owned Spanish country with a population of just 34,000 people, this wasn’t easy for him, and he was met with a lot of challenges. However, he is a survivor, a great young man of values, principle and integrity. His work outside of sports is his purpose. He does not look at his age or his story/background as a barrier but rather a source of motivation. His work has been recognised by the president of the Congo Democratic Republic (Felix Tshisekedi) and he was named Head of Youth Mobilisation for Congolese political party UDPS UK. He has also featured in the Presidents official magazine.