Wreaking havoc on the entire world, the COVID-19 pandemic has posed greater challenges to youth, as many of them found themselves isolated from friends, communities, and broader social networks.
Most of those youth had never experienced real isolation before and thus felt directionless.
To help them during this difficult time, a leading Canadian Muslim group encourages involving them in community activism.
“As the youth director of a national Muslim organization, I can say that during this time, more than ever, is the time to involve our children in pointed and purposeful community activism,” wrote Sarah Attia, the director of the Muslim Association of Canada (MAC) Youth Department.
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According to Attia, MAC engages youth of all ages. Since the eruption of the pandemic, the group has organized “countless virtual learning opportunities, dialogue, and even exercise sessions to keep hundreds of youth properly occupied.”
“We knew that when the virus emptied schools and community centers, this disconnected youth from their friends, communities, and broader social networks creating a vacuum that needed to be filled,” she added.
Moreover, they work on engaging youth in community activism across Canada.
“MAC Give Foodshare national campaign in 9 cities across Canada to combat hunger during the lockdown,” she said.
“We quickly realized that, given their tech-savvy skills, our youth were some of the quickest to self-organize and mobilize, while staying at home. We were surprised at their enthusiasm and even more shocked to witness the results.”
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The new engaging programs have spurred Muslim youth to showcase talents and skills to offer help.
“Youth as young as 14 used their skills to create graphics, videos, and social media content to spread the word, mobilize others, and raise over $125 000 to date,” Attia wrote.
“Within just a few days, they mobilized to help many members of the broader community, including the elderly, homeless, newcomers, and those whose lives have been crippled by the economic downturn.”
The success of the Foodshare national campaign has turned a single campaign into a nationally-recognized food program that connects food suppliers, service organizations, and interfaith community.
“The reality is the community needs our youth just as much as they need the community. It is the job of the wider community to step in to galvanize youth towards a worthy goal to ensure that they come out of the pandemic stronger and with purpose,” Attia added.
The Muslim Association of Canada (MAC) is a Canadian, independent, national, charitable organization, that provides spaces, services and programs for holistic education and personal development for Canadian Muslims.
MAC focuses on building communities and strengthening neighborhoods nation-wide, through services and collaborations with groups from different religious, ethnic, and racial backgrounds.