Change really does start at home and by providing effective emotional, financial and social support, communities can grow and strengthen to be more inclusive, protective and fulfilling to meet the needs of all its members.

Deaf World: Young Leadership Programme

Young people with hearing impairments face many specific challenges throughout their lives, such as accessing the right educational support, ongoing social isolation and a higher risk of depression and anxiety.

With very few opportunities to socialise and limited access to specialist services, aspirations of young people with hearing impairments (HI) are low. Over 40% of young people with HI are economically inactive, whilst a quarter have no formal education. With minimal opportunities to communicate, grow and socialise, many of these young people are therefore left isolated and excluded. As a result, young people with hearing impairments are 15% more likely to struggle with their mental health compared to their peers.

For hearing impaired youth within Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities in particular, there are major gaps in opportunities for social and personal development. With low levels of confidence, these youngsters are facing an ongoing struggle to develop into successful, confident, high-achieving adults.

At Islamic Relief, we believe that everyone should have the means and support to thrive and build a bright future. That’s why we’ve partnered with Deaf World to support their dedicated youth leadership programme.

Facilitated by youth workers and deaf facilitators together with qualified interpreters, the project supports young people’s personal development by providing leadership training specifically for hearing impaired young people. With dedicated sessions aimed at increasing participants’ communication skills, students on the programme are encouraged to become youth leaders and mobilise their own peers by delivering presentations, organising fundraising events and managing meetings for peer groups of up to 25 people.

This programme is critically helping young people to increase their own sense of self-esteem and tackle social isolation by increasing their opportunities to make friends. It’s also crucially helping participants to build communication skills and develop a strong sense of leadership, whilst simultaneously helping even more other individuals within the hearing-impaired community:

My experience so far with Deaf World has been amazing… I learnt so much… Deaf World gives young people lots of opportunities…” (Gavin, Deaf World Support Worker and previous Leadership Programme participant and volunteer)

The leadership training really helped boost my confidencein [knowing] how to communicate with people. Communication isn’t always easy for deaf people…” (Sami, Deaf World – Leadership Programme participant)

Deaf World is giving people lots of opportunities. Deaf people are isolated at home and have nobody to communicate with. Deaf World is open to young people to come and make new friends…. We’ve had people who’ve suffered with their mental health… Their self-esteem was very low and you can actually see… how they’ve progressed…“ (Ahmed, Deaf World – Leadership Programme participant)

Thanks to the programmes at Deaf World, young people with hearing impairments are fighting social isolation, increasing in confidence and gaining critical skills. Alhamdulillah!

The Bike Project: Supporting Local Refugees

Government legislation prohibits individuals seeking asylum in the UK from working. UK-based asylum seekers instead receive cover for some living expenses whilst their cases are being processed. However, after their transport costs are deducted, some are left with as little as £2 a day to cover the cost of food and other expenditure.

This is why we’re supporting The Bike Project, an innovative project which works to provide financial assistance to asylum seekers living in London. The project runs weekly volunteering sessions where several refugees volunteer regularly to:

  • Help fix bikes for other refugees and provide asylum seekers with bicycles – helping them to save £1,000 per year on transport costs
  • Supporting refugees to learn new skills – helping them to find work later on
  • Creating a warm atmosphere where they are included and treated with dignity and respect

The project has provided bikes to 1,700 refugees over the past three years and has also launched a hugely successful project to teach refugee women to cycle. In addition, by setting up links a range of children’s charities and putting together a specific children’s programme, the Bike Project has been able to address the complex needs of refugee children.

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