By Saadiya Ramjan
While young Muslims have broken away from traditional career choices and are pursuing many exciting fields of study, sadly fewer of them have entered the challenging field of journalism.
Recognising and identifying this trend, Al Qalam has embarked on an initiative to provide funding for key students in this sector. This initiative was built on the idea of promoting good quality journalists and researchers within the Muslim community, which gave birth to the Al Qalam Bursary and Research Fund.
The fund is aimed at supporting and providing financial assistance to deserving and aspiring journalists and researchers. With the daily negative portrayal of Muslims and Islam, investing in the education of quality Muslim journalists is vital for equipping young journalists to enter the national and international conversation in an empowered way.
The Al Qalam Bursary and Research Fund was launched on June 1, 2007 at the NMJ Hall in Durban. Some of speakers at the function were the current Editor of Al Qalam newspaper Imraan Buccus, former editor Naeem Jeenah and veteran journalist Shafiq Morton. Cheques for the fund were presented by representatives from Al Baraka Bank and Oasis Asset Management.
Recent beneficiaries that were aided by the fund were Saajida Francis and Amukena Ahmed Muhammad Mukalabai. Saajida Francis obtained an Honours in Digital Media at Rhodes University. She currently holds a Digital Youth Officer position for Independent Media. Her most recent project is “The Young Independents” which was launched on July 27. This platform is for young, inspiring South Africans that are challenging and changing the business world, one action at a time.
The second recipient of the fund, Amukena Ahmed Muhammad Mukalabai, is currently completing his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communication Science at the University of South Africa. Muhammed identified his passion for media at a young age and intends on writing for Dawah publications on completion.