Footsteps Working with schools Introducing Role models for young Muslims
The Grass root reality
The Muslim community in Britain is going through a difficult period. Muslims are regarded by some as a threat to the safety of the country and in turn many Muslim youth are finding it difficult to react to the climate of being regarded as guilty by association. The statistics on educational achievements of Muslim youth have been a matter of concern for a number of years. Lack of confidence and crisis of self identity appear to be contributing factors to the under achievement of our youth.
Footsteps, aims to help in breaking this circle of mistrust, low self esteem & lack of self identity amongst the Muslim teenagers. The Footsteps is directed at teenagers at secondary schools. The project introduces Muslim role models to schools to engage with teenagers in a setting agreed with each school. The role models will we hope improve the perception of young people about the contributions Muslims are making and also encourage young Muslims to participate and react in a constructive manner. Research suggests that role models are an important factor in the development of young thus the project hopes to raise aspiration levels, goals and self confidence of young Muslims.
Any secondary school wishing to participate please contact
If you have been successful in your career and are willing to participate in the Footsteps project please contact
The Project Progress Report
The Footsteps project has visited five schools and is due to visit more schools over the next two months. The Footsteps project is being led by Dr Reefat Drabu chair of SAFA and the project manager is Ahmed Uddin. It is funded by FCBF.
The first school to be visited was Allerton Grange in Leeds on 11th January 2007. The school has a high percentage of ethic minorities the majority of these being Muslims. Role models Daud Abdullah and Ibrahim Hewitt spent half a day talking to the teenage students. There were four students groups who had the opportunity to hear from the role models. The debate was lively and challenging. The students feed back suggests that they valued the experience.
The next school visited was Central Foundation Girls in London on 17.01.07. This time our role models were Ajmal Masroor, Baroness Uddin, Ijaz Akram and Maleiha Malik. This time the school was majority Muslims. The role models gave the students an opportunity to realise that with effort comes reward. Education and participation was important.
Stepney Green in London was visited on 26.01.07. The role models for this school were Asad Ahmad, Dr Abdelwahab El-Affendi, Khadija Elshayyal and Maleiha Malik. Asad Ahmad BBC presenter was immediately recognised and gave the teenagers an insight into how perseverance pays off. Maleiha Malik Law lecturer at Kings College London was inspirational for the budding lawyers. Half a day was spent with different classes.
On 31st January Moseley School in Birmingham had a visit from the Footsteps team. This time Salma Yaqub Tahir Alam and Farrah Dryden gave the students an opportunity to explore their identity. Farrah Dryden's documentary "I'm a Muslim get me out of here" was thought provoking and set the scene for discussing the issues of identity and how we can make changes by participation. Salma Yaqub captivated the teenagers with her ability to engage. Tahir Alam with his breadth of experience was a role model was able to respond to most difficult questions.
Golden Hillock School in Birmingham was visited on 6th February 2007. The school had picked 20 of its more challenging students for our role models. This time Tahir Alam started them with his vision of work and commitment to serving the community. Judge Khurshid Drabu was an inspiration to the teenagers with his cricketing and professional achievements. Farrah Dryden again challenged the teenagers with her documentary.
We are grateful to each school for their co-operation in implementing the project. The welcome we have received has been exceptional. No thank you will be enough for our role models who have given their time freely. May Allah swt reward them for their good deeds.