On an overcast Monday morning in Barnet, around 30 young women fill a
classroom with excited chatter. Despite their instant rapport, these young women
would have never crossed paths if it weren’t for the “Dream it, Do it” workshop,
coordinated by interfaith charity Faiths Forum for London. Some of the pupils are
from the Al-Khoei School, an Islamic faith school in Brondesbury, and they have
travelled with their teachers to Hasmonean High School, where they are meeting
for the first time in-person with girls from the Jewish faith.
Even though there are many commonalities between the two Abrahamic faiths,
Jewish-Muslim relations in the UK remain strained amidst escalating tensions. This
is the very purpose of the Dream it, Do it campaign – to provide a space for young
people to foster trust and understanding by emphasising similarities, in a bid to
strengthen interfaith cohesion long-term.
FFL’s “Dream it, Do it” campaign connects young women ages 13-14 from the two
schools, and mentors them to plan a local social action initiative. Each team is
working together to prepare a project with graphics, a slideshow and a budget to
present before an expert panel of judges, competing to receive up to £200 to see
their changes enacted in real time.
No more are the similarities between the girls instantly apparent than during the
brainstorming process for their social action project. They are passionate about
tackling online hate, mental health, the environment, and improving access for
people with disabilities. The conversation meanders, and the girls discover a shared
love of fashion and Harry Potter, and trade comparisons about religious festivals,
hobbies, career aspirations and school lessons.
“It was great to see how quickly the girls were getting along, chatting about the
relevant topic and their lives in general. It was very apparent that any differences of
religion or background were irrelevant and they saw each other as equals.” –
Raphael Kessler, Head of Computing at Hasmonean High School
“It was fantastic seeing the girls interact with each other and make interfaith in-
person friendships post-Covid! Their happiness was infectious and I was very proud to be a part of this initiative.” – Meghan Taylor, FFL Mentor
To celebrate Interfaith Week on November 24th, Al-Khoei will host the Hasmonean
students and teachers for the final presentations and judging of the campaigns.