Mentor fights prejudice
WHEN Habiba Asim was bullied at school for wearing a hijab, it fuelled a fire in her to fight prejudice at every opportunity.
The Huntingdale resident, who recently won the Positive Achievement Award at the WA Youth Awards, is dedicated to mentoring youths and battling inequality.
Ms Asim has worked with Save the Children (with whom she was a national youth ambassador), Gosnells Youth Advisory Council, the Youth Affairs Council of WA and the Cities of Belmont and Stirling.
The former Canning Vale College head girl, who is a Muslim, said she wanted to tackle prejudice after she wore a hijab to school and was met with vitriol.
“I was very young and was trying different things. I put it on to go to school and it wasn’t a good experience,” she said.
“That was a point where this rage and anger started building up inside me and my helping other young people and the community is a way of channelling that anger in a positive way.
“The experience has made me stronger, but is something I’m still trying to cope with.”
Ms Asim said other incidents involving friends who wear hijabs have made her determined to fight prejudice.
“I can notice a difference in staff in a retail store and they won’t say hello or won’t approach them,” she said.
“At first I thought it was just me being paranoid, but after a while, every single shop we went to, no one was coming up to us.”
Rather than let the anger consume her, Ms Asim has instead channelled her energy into helping youths overcome the same stigma and prejudice she faced.
Youth award winner Habiba Asim.