Maslaha

Pears Foundation has funded us from our early days and was willing to take that initial risk and invest in the potential of what Maslaha could be. In addition to its funding, the Foundation is a trusted partner, a part of our family, to whom we can go for advice, support and a shoulder to moan on, and that really is invaluable.
Raheel Mohammed, Director, Maslaha
We are inspired by Maslaha’s creative, solution-focused approach. By investing over the long term we have been able to help the organisation establish itself and develop a new voice for British Muslims and learned a great deal about key issues affecting Muslim communities in the process.
Sir Trevor Pears CMG

The past few years have seen a heightened focus on Muslim communities and Islam across the UK and abroad, but levels of social deprivation and inequality continue to grow.

Muslims represent the largest minority faith group in the UK and constitute an ethnically diverse population with a young age profile. A significant proportion of this population lives in deprived inner-city areas and Muslims surpass all other faith groups in levels of unemployment, economic inactivity, ill health, educational underachievement, and poor housing conditions.

Maslaha aims to change and challenge the conditions that create social inequalities for Muslim communities. The charity’s unique approach combines creativity with practical work and strategic thinking in areas such as health, education, gender equality and the criminal justice system.

Maslaha aims to have influence across three strategic spheres: practice, policy and public imagination.

Practice: Maslaha works with communities at a grassroots level, creating resources that can be used by local statutory services. Examples include:

  • Talking from the Heart, a health resource to tackle depression and anxiety in Somali, Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities
  • A programme funded by Pears Foundation to tackle the root causes of offending and re-offending among young Muslim men in London and Leicester.

Policy: The local work is then used to achieve influence at a strategic level.

  • The young offenders programme was picked up by the Young Review, a collaborative task-group set up to improve outcomes for young Muslim and black men in the criminal justice system.  As a result, Mashala is now part of a Ministry of Justice advisory group and has been asked to give evidence to various select committees.

Public imagination: Maslaha uses creative tools such as film, photography and music to challenge narratives and develop innovative practical work.

  • Exhibitions such as The Book of Travels and The City Speaks have toured 35 cities in 11 countries.
  • The Muslim Girls Fence project uses the sport of fencing to challenge misconceptions of Muslim girls. A film and exhibition documenting the project was showcased at the WOW festival 2016 at the Southbank Centre.

As one of Maslaha’s earliest funders, Pears Foundation contributed over £200,000 towards Maslaha’s core costs and the young offenders programme. This has enabled the organsation to build its capacity and organisational voice, influence policy and help shape a wider, more positive discourse around Muslim identity in Britain.