Ayan Omer Shere believes everybody has an important role to play in society but she hasn’t stopped at one.
The 27-year-old completed a Bachelor of Nursing at LaTrobe University but she works part-time because she’s busy being passionate about achieving positive change in society.
Although she can’t signpost the turning point in her life where she decided to become a youth leader, Ayan said it was a series of smaller events which led her to where she is today.
“ I am extremely fortunate to have had multiple opportunities that aligned with my passions present themselves to me,” she said.
Ayan, who has a Somali background and moved to Australia from New Zealand when she was 13, is a distribution manager for the National Zakat Foundation, is undertaking a mentorship with Federal Australian Labour Party MP Maria Vamvakinou, is an active member of housing and food coalitions and was an Islamic Council of Victoria executive board member in 2016.
She also participated in the Muslim Youth Delegation to a policy roundtable in Canberra at Parliament. But for her, the highlight of her community work has been her involvement with the National Zakat Foundation.
“I work with an amazing bunch of people and it is such a privilege to share the journey with them of laying down the foundation of an organisation that is designed to uplift the pillar of zakat and empower the local community,” she said.
Listing identity and a sense of belonging , disconnection from community and unemployment as some of the major challenges facing Muslim youths today, Ayan hopes for a more united community.
“It’s hard enough growing up as it is, but to have these issues on top of it can be extremely overwhelming and effect youths sense of identity, belonging and engagement with community,” she said.
“The Muslim community can help address these issues by providing more supportive and open environments.”
Ayan believes Muslim youths are valuable members of society and wishes more of them would become active members of their communities.
“Muslim youth all have a voice to be heard and a positive contribution to make. I want to see Muslim youth in the forefront of society being leaders and making change not only within the Muslim community but in the wider context as well,” she said.