The MYH Advocacy Department seeks to facilitate the empowerment and engagement of young Muslims and help them to influence policy that affects their lives. Through the production of research, information and training, the Advocacy Department aims to build the capacity of other service providers to ensure they are able to meet the faith and culturally sensitive needs of Muslim youth. The Advocacy Department runs www.muslimyouth.net, an award winning peer support site for young people.
Launched on 6th October 2004, muslimyouth.net is designed and managed entirely by young people who reflect the diversity of Muslim communities in the UK. It gives young Muslims a platform from which they can express their views and concerns as well as develop peer support networks.
By profiling the real experiences of Muslim youth in a public forum, muslimyouth.net aims to confront the cultural stigma attached to common social issues such as mental illness, substance abuse and sexuality. The forum and chat rooms allow young Muslims to talk openly and anonymously about the issues that affect them without fear or community reprisal.
Over the past 10 years muslimyouth.net has run a series of campaigns on a number of issues that are of concern to young British Muslims. Below are a few highlights of some of our favourite projects to date...
Behind Bars: The Prison Campaign
The Prison Campaign was launched in 2004 on muslimyouth.net and was called ‘Behind Bars’. After the huge success of the initial campaign it was adopted by MYH as an annual campaign. Every year MYH sends out thousands of Eid gift packs to Muslim prisoners in youth offending institutes and prisons across the country. In February 2006 MYH was awarded with the CSV Award for the ‘Most Heart Warming Project’ of its kind.
Doing a Runner: Homeless Campaign
In 2005 muslimyouth.net launched its ‘Doing a Runner’ campaign to raise awareness within the community of the many young Muslims who run away from home, and may at various times in their life find themselves vulnerable, alone and homeless. The campaign concluded with ‘2 Dayz of Street Life’, an event involving members of the public who stayed in shelters and on the streets for two days to experience what a homeless person may go through.
Youth Voices: The Hearing Campaign
In March 2005 a talented group of young people made their way down to Belsize Park to audition for the muslimyouth.net Youth Voices Campaign was born. Over eight weekends the group received expert tuition, learnt valuable skills and made those all-important contacts with well-respected members of the music industry. They end product was an album that they wrote and produced, reflecting with the social concerns of Muslim youth in today’s society.
EnAble: Deaf Awareness Campaign
Disabilities in the Muslim community, whether mental or physical, tend to be swept under the carpet. They are very rarely debated and discussed in an open and frank manner. This is due to a number of reasons, the most prevalent one being the perceived stigma and shame that is attached to admitting to having a disability either personally or within the family unit.
muslimyouth.net ran a campaign that explored some of these issues and hosted a one day introduction to sign language course, which aimed to break down the barriers of communication between the hearing and deaf community.
Reelhood: Political Engagement Campaign
Reelhood is a three part documentary created, edited, produced and directed by a group of young Muslims looking at barriers to political engagement. Muslim youth and their social engagement with British society is a widely debated and contentious issue in today’s current political climate. The Reelhood Campaign aimed to explore the main issues concerning young British Muslims and the reasons behind their lack of political engagement. The three documentaries reflected the interests of young people in local, national or global issues. The DVD was launched in June 2008 at the House of Commons to an audience of over 100 people.
Aspire Higher: Entrepreneurship Campaign
The Aspire Higher Campaign was launched to give budding entrepreneurs across the community the opportunity to take part in a series of workshops to teach them the basics of launching and running their own business. Following the workshops in November 2012 a talented and motivated group of young people pitched their innovative business ideas to a panel of investors and one lucky winner won a £5,000 investment into her business.