On 26th February 2023, a group of nine young people that we work with had the opportunity to gain paid work experience at the London Muslim Shopping Festival. Known for being the ‘World’s Biggest Pre-Ramadan Shopping Experience’, the festival has been running for the last seven years in London and has grown each year with stalls selling fashion, food, and lifestyle goods.
Held in the Excel Centre in East London, the young people taking part in the work experience worked across two areas of the festival - a group of four young women worked on the ‘Modest Fashion’ Live Runway Show and five young people worked on ‘WAW Creative Arts’ Kid’s Zone and Performance Area.
‘Modest Fashion’ has been showcasing ‘the best and latest in modest fashion’ to audiences around the world since 2016 as part of ‘London Muslim Shopping Festival’ with this year’s catwalk showcasing twenty designers. The four young people worked in three different job roles as part of the event, Tasnim worked as the ‘Fashion Show Photographer’, Isha worked as ‘Fashion Show Assistant’ and Zara and Ayma both worked as a ‘Backstage Assistant/Dresser’.
Photograph taken by Tasnim of a model showcasing a design by 'Yans Creations'
Working backstage at a fashion event is a fast-paced environment which the group took to well - Isha, Ayma and Zara took on key backstage roles, steaming clothing, getting models ready for the runway by assembling their outfits and helping with dressing. The young people found working with the professional models challenging at first, they needed to work harder than other more experienced members of staff to prove themselves and show they could perform in this professional setting. Isha, the youngest team member, impressed the Fashion Runway Director, Mirza Miah, with her passion for the industry and commitment to her role which resulted in her working closely with him throughout the day. Tasnim was tasked with taking photos as models came down the catwalk, capturing the looks and editing the photos afterwards.
'Good pressure, great opportunity and I would recommend it to those looking for a challenge. I would definitely be happy to do something like that again.' - Zara
Photograph taken by Tasnim of a model at 'London Muslim Shopping Festival 2023'
Known for being the ‘World’s First Muslim Creative Arts School’ for children, ‘WAW Creative Arts’ aims to ‘develop positivity, self-confidence and pride in the Muslim identity through the creative arts’. They run regular creative arts classes across East London in Ilford and in Streets of Growth’s Creative Hub in Aldgate throughout the school term. The group of five young people working with ‘WAW Creative Arts’ took on the role of ‘Customer Service Representative’.
Sadia, Sara, Nazifa, Ikraam, and Jannah all worked hard throughout the day talking to customers who were interested in the Kid’s Zone, promoting the classes and programme of ‘WAW’ by leafleting and informing passersby of upcoming performances and helping with any queries. For the younger members of the group, working from 9.30 am to 6 pm with only a short lunch break was challenging for them, but the experience was helpful in understanding what is required for these roles and whether they would be interested in working in a similar role in the future.
'I really enjoyed helping the kids with the activities and speaking to parents about the workshop. It was a fun and joyful experience overall.' - Sara
A group of the young people who took part in work experience on stage with 'WAW Creative Arts'
As a work experience opportunity coordinated by Streets of Growth, the young people were supported by two of our Frontline Team, Lucky, our Programme Director, and Majeda, our Senior Intervention Worker and Team Leader. Lucky and Majeda supported the young people in understanding their job roles, getting consent from their schools to take part in this activity and offering emotional support if they were feeling anxious about the experience. They checked in with them in the run-up to the event to make sure they were prepared, that they knew where to travel, and what time to be there. All this coaching supports the young people involved to build their confidence and equips them with the life skills they need to be able to take part in these experiences and gain meaningful employment opportunities on their own.
'It was a great day, I got to experience my first Muslim festival which I think there needs to be more of because it was such great vibes and I would definitely do it again' - Ibrahim
Overall, the work experience was a real success for the young people involved. They received positive and encouraging feedback from both ‘WAW Creative Arts’ and ‘Modest Fashion’ and through discussions after the event, the young people are aiming to develop their own ‘Events Team’. The ‘Events Team’ would work in-house at Streets of Growth’s events and could be booked for external events with partners and local businesses providing more work experience and opportunities for leadership development for other young people in the future.
This work experience is part of our HeadStart programme, HeadStart Action is delivered by London Youth and Family Action as part of the Mayor of London's 'New Deal for Young People'.