2019 – Moments, Reflections and Milestones
I can’t believe I didn’t write about my trip to Budapest on the blog earlier in the year. This post is especially close to my heart because the organisers of the programme are some of the best people I’ve ever met! So let’s start at the beginning.
I saw the Reclaim Your Narrative session on Instagram a good month before the deadline but I almost didn’t apply for two reasons:
- I didn’t think I was good enough to take part (imposter syndrome rearing its head again).
- I was struggling with my intentions! My intentions felt all over the place and the funny thing with me is, if I don’t feel like my intentions are in the right place, I struggle with things that should be easy e.g. writing an application. I’m laughing to myself as I type this, because I remember doing an intention exercise which you can see below before I finally submitted the application a day before the deadline.
Call it divine inspiration but God clearly wanted me to apply!
So lesson number one: Put your utmost trust in Allah when you are presented with opportunities, connect your intentions back to Him and go for it! I sincerely believe that as long as our intentions are directed to Allah, we can never fail. As I’ve come to see it,
“No is just an opportunity to learn, retry or redirect my efforts.”Tweet
Adding to that, so many of us (particularly women) struggle with imposter syndrome and it’s really important that we go for opportunities regardless of our fears. Imagine if I never applied, I wouldn’t have known I could have gotten in and the opportunity for such a wonderful experience would have passed by. Next year, promise yourself you will apply for things even if you don’t feel fully qualified. Shoot your shot!
What I Loved About The Experience
To tell you a little bit about the programme first, ReclaimYourNarrative was a study session organised by FEMYSO in co-operation with the Council of Europe. The 5 day programme aimed to empower young Muslims to reclaim our narrative in the media and learn the tools to make our voices heard.
It was held at the European Youth Center in Budapest (nice accommodation space by the way!) with 38 participants from 16 European countries. The cultural night where everyone spoke about their countries and brought food was definitely a highlight.
The best part of the programme hands down was how interactive it was. There was rarely a dull moment and that’s why I said earlier that the facilitators were genuinely some of the best people I have ever met. A lot of thought was put into the sessions and it was little things like the evening feedback sessions that set it apart from other programmes I’ve attended.
Other fond memories are the evening and night walks exploring the city (which was right up my lane), having to watch late comers sing their national anthem and my feeble attempt at learning Turkish from Rabia.
I did struggle at some points during the week. If you’ve never met me, I am on the far end of the introverted scale which means that I tend to feel overwhelmed/anxious when I’m around a large group of people for a long stretch of time. It’s something I noticed when I did the two week residential Young Muslim Leadership programme at Oxford. It’ll be interesting going forward how I develop coping strategies because I do want to make the best of these experiences but not feel mentally drained.
Also in the spirit of honesty and vulnerability – because we love that over here at Myrihla- there was an occasion where I felt so disappointed with how I responded to someone in the heat of the moment. It was the night before our presentation and we were all sleep deprived and someone in my team asked me a question and my response was a bit passive aggressive and I instantly wished I could take it back. I am an over thinker so I still squirm every time I think about that moment. Don’t be like me! Clear communication is always better.
Biggest Lessons From The Week
Listen: There was a session we had at the beginning of the week that I absolutely loved! It was one of those exercises where you have a moral dilemma scenario and you have to rate people’s actions. The takeaway from that session was understanding the importance of listening to people’s point of view. Yes you may have a commonality with others, e.g. faith but it’s important to have it in mind that our different life experiences and values affect how we interpret the world and the decisions we make.
Collaborate: From film making, photography, writing to public speaking, Masha Allah we had such a talented group! Bringing us together to think about our strengths and issues we were passionate about, hammered the point that by collaborating and supporting each other with our resources, skills and time, we can be a stronger unit. If we’re going to reclaim our narrative and organise effectively, we have to lean on each other’s strengths. In that spirit, do check out my friend Valbona’s blog here.
Be Authentic: It’s safe to say one of our favourite sessions was delivered by Shehroze Khan, an awarding winning director and all round inspiration. Hearing him share his journey and show us his work over the years for me was an expression of the power of authenticity and the incredible way personal stories allow us to connect to each other.
In summary when I think of the week and everyone I met these are the words that come to mind: Generosity of Spirit, Optimism, Fun, Commitment and Change makers.
2020’s Advocacy Study Session is happening in Strasbourg and applications are open till 3rd January 2020. I would encourage you to apply. All travel, accommodation and food costs are covered. Click here to apply and for more information.
I pray that you benefited from this post and I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section. Subscribe via email for exclusive content and new post notifications. Listen to my podcast Bookversations here.