As CEO of Human Appeal, I am lucky enough to speak to lots of young people, both in the UK and all across the world. Whether it’s conflict ravaging Syria or a drought devastating parts of Africa, the damage won’t just affect today, it will affect tomorrow. It will be the next generation who has to pay the debt left behind by our crises.
At Human Appeal, we work to make a better today and a brighter tomorrow for future generations. It can be too easy to tell young people that we know what’s best for their future, but without actually engaging in dialogue with them first, we are just guessing at what is needed to make the world they inherit a better one. If we don’t understand their current problems, how on earth do we expect to know what issues will affect them in the future?
Prior to my role at Human Appeal, I was the Muslim Chaplain at Nottingham University and the President of the Federation of Student Islamic Studies. This is where I found my passion for mentoring. This is where I realised that we must speak to and listen to young people to help them effect change in their own lives.
Mentoring isn’t just beneficial for the pupil, it’s a hugely fulfilling and important experience for the mentor. It may seem clichéd, but I found that by mentoring young people, they really did teach me as much as I taught them. Mentoring helps the young people recognise their strength and give them a sense of direction. It can truly shape and change lives.
Over Christmas I was privileged to speak to students in Pakistan. What I found when I was there surprised me greatly. I asked the students there about their engagement with the outside world and they told me that they only usually interact with their own friendship groups and social circles. In the age of social media, they operated in silos, never reading the papers and rarely speaking to new people!
I encouraged them to try it. I encouraged them to share a few Human Appeal videos about how we are changing lives and how we can all change lives, and – before you knew it – we had reached 30,000 new people. By helping one person directly, you could end up helping a generation.
Whether it was in Pakistan or Nottingham, the skills I learned through mentoring young people have helped me endlessly in the field of international development. At Human Appeal I see the difference we make every day - we don’t just feed people and provide essential aid; we provide long term solutions. We educate people, we help them develop skills so they can liberate themselves and their families from poverty and dependency and free them up to work for a better life.
By supporting Mosaic and getting involved, you can help guide young people towards a better future, and you can help them build a tomorrow for themselves, their families and their societies.
All it takes is one mentor.