Before the end of term, we had a chat with Yasmin Sharif and Seda Bektas, two First Year students who achieved 3rd place in the Barclays Change the World Around You competition. There were over 200 applicants, making their win super impressive! This competition required university students across the UK to submit their idea for one thing they would like to change about the world. This idea was then brought to life by a 3D artist using the Google Tilt Brush app. These were then published on Facebook and the design with the greatest number of “likes” won.

The girls design was based on their passion to “raise awareness to the genuine struggles people are facing” in countries such as Somalia and Turkey. They spoke about how they felt media coverage in the western world regarding problems in these counties, such as the drought in Somalia, seem to be ignored. I don’t think you can blame people themselves for not being aware of bad things happening in these countries. You’re unlikely to search for the drought in Somalia on Google without knowing about it first.”

During our chat with them, they explained how it was difficult to convey their message using just a logo, but their image (see below) received over 70 likes on Facebook. They also told us how they feel that the media tends to fuel negative stereotypes about the Muslim religion which has resulted in violence towards people of this faith. Yasmin said: “Our religion is about respect and respecting other religions. I don’t think that the media portrays it accurately. Some people associate those wearing a Hijab with being a terrorist when it’s not like that.”

Seda added: “Because of Isis and other attacks, people seem to associate Islam with terrorism. I don’t think the news outlines that we are not all like that. Terror is not a part of Islam.” She continued: “I feel like some lives matter more than other lives. This is what we discussed when we were thinking of ideas for our design. When an attack occurs in Europe, everyone seems to know about it and it’s all on social media and on the news. In some parts of the world, there are attacks every day, it’s become the norm, but this doesn’t seem to get much coverage. Don’t the lives matter there as well? People lose their lives daily in these places. Every life should matter.”

The pair won £150 which they donated to 3 families in Somalia. Yasmin explained that this was part of a package donation where £50 went towards 3 different families in Somalia who were effected by the drought. The Union also received £150 which will go towards the Enterprise Fund.

When we asked how they felt about coming third, Seda said: “We were up against more than 200 students and their ideas. That’s why we were really shocked to make it to third place, but we are very pleased!” Congratulations Yasmin and Seda!

Yasmin and Seda got involved with the competition when the Barclays Graduate team visited us on the Redbrick as part of their Change the World campaign earlier this year. Keep an eye out for opportunities and competitions like this when you return in September.

 

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