First Muslim Youth Council Launched in Waterloo to Tackle Mental Health Gaps

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Eight enthusiastic young people of diverse cultural and racial backgrounds have come together to launch the first Muslim youth council in Waterloo region which focuses on bridging mental health gaps for Muslims.

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The Muslim Youth Council of Waterloo Region comes under the Coalition of Muslim Women of KW’s Youth Leaders 4 Change program.

This youth council hopes to create a safe space for Muslim youth to voice their opinions freely and empower each other. It will also explore how racism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia might create a need for mental health supports.

First Muslim Youth Council Launched in Waterloo to Tackle Mental Health Gaps - About Islam

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“Living in a racialized Muslim household allowed me to see how (our community) views mental health,” said Abdul Haseeb, a Grade 12 student at Southwood Secondary School in Cambridge, Waterloo Region Record reported.

“It’s something that we don’t see a lot of support toward, which is why the council wants to work toward identifying gaps that exist.”

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The youth council, made possible through a Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation racial equity $20,000 grant, will operate through 2022. 

It is part of a larger push by the coalition to help foster leadership among young Muslims and allow them to tackle issues that they themselves have faced or witnessed, said Fauzia Mazhar, the coalition’s executive director.

The project also hopes to impart to the youth a sense of belonging and inclusivity, as well as empowerment as they take the lead and bring about a change.

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