Based in Islamabad and Lahore, Youth Club is an organization comprising self-driven young people in a quest to engage other youth in constructive activities. Raja Zia, Ameer of Youth Club, speaks to “Hiba” about this unique platform, enabling the youth to utilize their time, skills and energies in a positive direction.
1) When and how was Youth Club formed?
Youth Club was the brainchild of a group of very dedicated sisters (in Islam), who were committed to ‘inspire positive change’. Allah (swt) put a lot of Barakah in their efforts, and the club grew to become a non-profit organization, calling people towards the Deen of Allah (swt) and helping them find productive ways of utilizing their energies.
The core team of Youth Club includes people from well-educated backgrounds, having a wide range of expertise. They bring a lot of talent, flavour and energy to the organization, which is one of the reasons why it is easy for us to connect with the youth.
Currently, Youth Club has branches in two major cities: Islamabad and Lahore. Both teams manage various events and activities on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis to keep people engaged and craving for more!
2) What is your vision for Youth Club?
The Youth Club’s vision is to educate people: we aim to eradicate slavery to the creation and bringing people closer to their true purpose in life – to find peace and tranquility through submission to the will of their Creator (swt).
3) What were the initial challenges that you faced? How did you overcome them?
We faced numerous challenges on both individual and organizational levels right at the onset of this project. We had to deal with friends, family members and relatives, who said this couldn’t be done, as well as with those who claimed that many ‘Maulvis’ had tried this before without much impact on society. Alhumdulillah, the individuals that make up the team have high resolve and constant focus on the objectives. By the mercy of Allah (swt), this has kept us going, come hail, come storm!
Then, there were challenges in terms of getting the team to gel together, to be on the same page and to realize the common goal and the enormity of the mission at hand. This was achieved through regular trainings and workshops, as well as collective participation in monthly events. And though there are some disagreements or differences at times, Youth Club still remains one big happy family that is expanding fast, much like an average Pakistani family!
But the battles are far from over. With the financial crunch still in our rear view mirror, some of the current challenges include maintaining a constant stream of funding for our various Dawah projects spread across Lahore and the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi.
4) Can you broadly categorize the activities you plan for the youth and describe the ways you execute them?
When we first started, our team was high on enthusiasm, yet often times lost sight of the ‘big picture’. Recently, however, we have had some major organizational changes, after an extensive series of workshops with an industry expert, helping us to define our role within society, our mission and our plan of action. This has led us to formulate the following areas:
- Street Dawah
A select group of Youth Club brothers gather together (usually on Saturday nights), setting up Dawah stalls at popular commercial areas for discussing the Deen of Allah (swt) with public. This gives us an excellent opportunity to feel the pulse of the nation, remove any misconceptions, address prevailing issues and simply give good advice in light of the Quran and the Sunnah.
A variety of workshops are conducted at regular intervals by experts, from time management and team building to purpose of life. The workshops typically come with interactive sessions, live broadcast, online quizzes and certificates upon successful completion.
- Super Troopers
Youth Club is also doing Dawah for our young brothers and sisters in schools. Groups of three to four team members carry out fun, entertaining and interactive sessions for kids, helping them to understand and implement Islamic morals, manners and ethics, encouraging them to become better students and even better human beings!
- Weekly Halaqahs
Various weekly Halaqahs (study circles), Quran Tafseer classes, etc., are held throughout the week for the general public.
Ever so often, the team has Nashta (breakfast) and tea meetings, where apart from engaging in our mutual love for fine cuisine, we get to know each other, benefit from righteous company and just develop that ‘o so beautiful’ feeling of love, respect and brotherhood. A much needed ingredient for that perfect teamwork recipe!
- University/College Lectures
Some of our team members regularly tour colleges and universities, delivering lectures on subject relevant to the youth. So far, we have had an amazing response, and we find that more and more institutes are joining the bandwagon to invite our guest speakers over for a motivational session for their students.
- Annual Conference/Tour
The highlight of all Youth Club’s activities is an annual conference or tour, which is usually conducted in the first quarter of the year – we invite to Pakistan renowned speakers from abroad and take them on a tour across various parts of the country. All this is done in an attempt to energize the youth and bring the timeless teachings of Islam back into their hearts.
Through such events, we have developed special strategic ties with the Islamic Education and Research Academy (iERA) in the UK, resulting in an annual tour under the name of the “Winds of Change”, which has gained unprecedented popularity among the youth.
5) What has been the response? Do you require people to join the club formally or can they take part off and on in the activities?
By the mercy of Allah (swt), we are constantly receiving great feedback. People want to join and participate in the work that we do. For this we have designed membership forms that can be obtained and filled out online. A short-cut way of joining the team is that we give the opportunity to appropriately skilled people to join a project at hand on trial basis. Later, after considering a particular person’s trial performance, he or she may be moved into the core team.
6) Any plans for a Youth Club branch in Karachi?
Alhamdulillah, “Live Deen” is already doing a great job in Karachi. If we ever get enough manpower, we would love to have a team there as well and support them in their efforts. However, this can only happen once the working models have been fine-tuned in Islamabad and Lahore.
7) How can other brothers and sisters be a part of this? Can elder individuals volunteer their time or expertise as well?
People are welcome to help and support us in whatever way they can. Apart from the young, the young at heart will also do, Insha’Allah! We also advertise (usually via social media), if we need people for a particular assignment or task. So look out for that, too!