A poetry competition for young people inspired by an aid worker killed by ISIS is now open to entrants.

Global Acts of Unity has launched an inaugural poetry competition and is asking young people (aged 11-18) to enter by expressing what ‘unity’ means to them for a chance to win £100 vouchers and £500 worth of supplies for their school.

In 2014, Daesh kidnapped David Haines, a humanitarian aid worker and held him captive for 18 months before he was publicly executed for the world to see.

Daesh used footage of his murder to try and sow division and fear.

In response, Mike Haines OBE created Global Acts of Unity to honour his brother and defy the terrorist’s aims.

Mike Haines OBE, founder of Global Acts of Unity said: “I’ve been inspired by many young people on my journey but I want to hear from many more. That’s why we have created Words of Unity to invite young people, as the leaders of tomorrow, to add their powerful and unique voices to this call for unity, acceptance, and understanding.”

“There is always a very powerful reaction from young people when I tell my family’s story. In one particular school recently a young student approached me after my presentation. She had written me a poem – and it was a moving message of hope and unity.

“That poem inspired me to create this Words of Unity poetry competition. I want to encourage as many young people across the country to think about what unity means to them, how they might bring people together, and what examples there are of unity in their school and community. I know these poems will inspire people across generations and would encourage anyone aged 11-18 to enter.”

The competition is open until February 28, and written poetry as well as spoken word performances are being accepted covering everything from haikus, to limericks, to rap.

Open to all schools in London, a winner will be selected from each borough. Their entry will then be pitted against other regional winners, before an overall winner is chosen in March 2020.

All young people age 11-18 can enter the Words of Unity poetry competition at: https://mikehaines.globalactsofunity.com/poetry-competition/