Men­tor fights prej­u­dice

Comment News (Gosnells) - - News -

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.

Pic­ture: Bruce Hunt www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d476038

Youth award win­ner Habiba Asim.

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