The Young Muslim Donors (YMD) is engaged in charity work. Two weeks ago, the group donated items to Muslim inmates at Chichiri and Zomba prisons. James Chimpweya talked to chairman of the group Yunus Karoila on the role of the youths in society.
Why did you form this group?
The group, called Young Muslim Donors, was formed in August, 2010, by young people from Limbe [Blantyre] with the aim of assisting less privileged people. One day, I went to Zomba Maximum Prison just for a visit to see what happens there. Then, the authorities briefed me on the projects being undertaken there. Apart from this, they took me around the cells and I saw inmates busy with carpentry, class work, tailoring and gardening. I was very impressed to see that every inmate was free to worship because there is a mosque next to a church. Then I was doing my secondary education at Central High and when I came back I told my friends about my trip to Zomba. We agreed to form a group that would be assisting prisoners regardless of their religious backgrounds.
Where do you get support for your work?
We opened a big box where we put second-hand clothes that we do not use. When parents gave us pocket money, we used it to contribute some to the project. When we have a big project, we ask our elders, companies and well wishers for assistance. We have been encouraged by our elders to continue engaging in charitable work. Our vision is to see united youths in the country who will be doing things together regardless of our religious backgrounds.
In your opinion, what risks do the youths face today?
The biggest danger the youths face today is too much dependence on technology to get the answers to their questions instead of using their heads.
Where should the youths focus their energies for the future?
The first challenge facing the youths in school is peer pressure, meaning that friends will do or wear a certain brand, buy a certain phone. Then they will encounter peer pressure that leads to smoking, then drugs, alcohol and clubbing. Time is valuable and opportunities only come once in a life time. We should never let it go. The youths should take these opportunities before time leaves them behind.