Tragedy Catalyst for Social Action

This week our UNESCO Aotearoa Youth Leaders reflect on how the events of March 15 have impacted and shaped them. Today, Raiyan Azmi reflects on his journey over the past two years.

“March 15th was a tough day – in fact, one of the toughest. Waleed Aly described it as ‘slaughter by appointment’, and I don’t think I could put it any better.

What became such a dark spot in our history, actioned the realisation of the need for true Muslim representation across society.

Only being 16 at the time, my naivety, paired with genuine motivation to see positive change enabled me to acquire a catalyst. Two years on, social action has become my life.

I’ve gained a mentor who’s done me well.  I’ve reached advisory groups within the Ministry of Education, allowing strong Muslim representation within a sector that can do so much for Muslims. I became my high school’s first Muslim head boy – an awesome opportunity that enabled me to provide input at a management level.

The same Kaupapa has led me to become a UNESCO Aotearoa Youth Leader.  Today I’m studying a conjoint Law and Commerce degree, which gives me great scope to do mahi for the betterment of my community.

In all honesty, it’s been a brutal journey. Nothing comes easy, especially as a first-generation immigrant. But really, we all must work as hard as the next to show our worth and dedication to reap the benefits. If not for us, but for the ones to come after us. It’s to look forward at what’s coming, rather than to look back at what’s happened. Our experiences shape us in the biggest ways possible, but it’s all to be better Muslims and be better prepared for the future.”