Tuesday 9 February 2010

Muslim Youth Helpline - StarX'd Short Story competition and ARK (Acts of Random Kindness)

Muslim Youth Helpline has been providing helpline services and internet support to UK Muslims with health and personal problems since it's inception in 2001. The charity has 80 volunteers and staff, and its caller numbers are increasing year on year. To date it has dealt with over 20,000 enquiries from young people in distress. It often refers them to mainstream health and social care organisations, helping to integrate people into the UK's existing support systems that would otherwise not access them.

They are currently launching a short story and short video competition called StarX'd in association with the Muslim Writers Award, for which the brief is ‘Reinterpret Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet from the perspective of a young British Muslim in 2010.’ Judges for the competition include David Godwin, literary agent to Arundhati Roy, Kiran Desai and Howard Marks amongst many others, and the prize includes cash and mentoring opportunities from professional writers. The idea is for the competition to encourage young UK Muslims to examine how relationships impact on them in the context of their faith.

A research report will be compiled based on data from the competition and callers to the helpline, and will include best practice guidelines for practitioners and recommendations for policy-makers.

Another initiative of theirs is Acts of Random Kindness, where Muslim Youth Helpline is asking people to make small fund raising efforts by doing simple, but kind things. Examples of this include sponsored silences, readathons, egg and spoon races, or simply get sponsored for doing an Act of Random Kindness i.e. carrying bags for an elderly person or helping mum clean the house, donating something to MYH that they can use for future events or take part in MYH events.

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