Author Archives: Asiyo Ali

Charities: through the eyes of a chugger

It’s undeniable that if you’re reading this, then you’re enjoying some sort of privilege. Be that through a phone, tablet or classic desktop. To say that we all can’t solve the world’s problems by ourselves is an obvious cliché, yet that doesn’t excuse the decrease in interest or urgency we seem to be showing charities.

The numbers of people who give to charities has been steadily dropping in recent years. Namely in the past three years, which were marked by Oxfam’s mistreatment of Haitian citizens and Save the children’s sexual harassment and leadership dramas among others. These don’t exactly sound like projects that need the public’s full support.

The Charities Aid Foundation has conducted several surveys and collected other relevant data that indicates a decrease in public trust and or interest in charities. 40 per of people say that charities are trustworthy with those in the opposite camp have risen by 21% (everyone else is on the fence). Even amongst the elderly who remain today the most charitable group only 46% would agree that most charities are to be trusted. As Mrs Pinkney the CAF’s head of research puts it “If people lack trust, that means they worry that their hard-earned money is not being well spent when donated to charities”.

So, considering all that, what’s happened to those who work for these large organisations? Chuggers are by no means a rare site nowadays. For must of us, the prospect of spending hours in uniform, speaking to strangers that would much rather ignore you doesn’t sound appealing. Especially when you compound that with the commission-based pay in most cases which is not only in secure because your pay check is determined by how many customers you attract. But also, by the fear of losing your job, thanks to not signing up enough people.

If all that sounds like the worst deal you could imagine, then you must be wondering, why on earth would someone agree to work for these organisations like this?

Jerome, a friendly chugger on great Portland street, who works for Crisis was kind enough to speak to us. He explained that “You need to find what drives you and your reason for doing it. I came from foster care and so I know what it’s like to be in that position”. Jerome himself has been in this line of work for over a year now, though I’m sure you can agree that Jerome’s honourable motivations for braving the public’s apathy are probably a rarity amongst chugger kind.

Instead of pouring some decent change into marketing, more companies are now focusing on their existing patrons and keeping them accounted for. Which doesn’t sound like the worst long-term strategy, as the public seems to be tuning out of the songs that flash on the telly every now and then. People are allegedly providing smaller sums in donations and according to the CAF, fewer people were approached on the street for donations. It doesn’t seem like sunshine and rainbows are ahead for our friendly neighbourhood chuggers.

 

 

Sources

https://www.cafonline.org/about-us/publications/2018-publications/uk-giving-report-2018

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/may/07/fewer-britons-donate-charities-after-scandals-erode-trust

All English final: fans face difficult travel options

English football is experiencing a monumental moment in their history. Liverpool will face Tottenham in Madrid for the champions league final, whilst Arsenal will face Chelsea in the Europa league final.

The all-English final sheds light on the question: Is it necessary for fans to travel to Madrid, Spain and Baku, Azerbaijan when the finals could be played at home? This question is brought up as fans face difficult travel options to watch the all-English finals.

However, there are a lot of factors involved such as both league competitions being designated for potential finalists to play at a particular destination. The destination for the finalists are decided by UEFA Stadium Infrastructure Regulations, prior to the start of the competition. And stadiums are selected by categories depending on the maximum capacity.

With fans of all four English clubs trying to get the cheapest possible tickets, flights and hotel costs are increasing due to high demand. The 67,000 capacity at Wanda Metropolitano means Liverpool and Tottenham fans will have to spend a lot of money to get the best seats in the house – tickets would set fans back over £500.

The 68,700 capacity at Baku, Azerbaijan means that Chelsea and Arsenal fans will have to spend just as much money to witness which club qualifies for the champions league next season. As fans will have to travel more than 2,468 miles to watch the game, there are no flights scheduled between London and Baku on the week of the final. 

There are alternative ways of getting to Azerbaijan. This includes public transport such as trains. But that would take more than four days as you will pass through seven countries. Another way of getting there is driving, but that would take more than 58 hours. Fans face a dilemma of not being able to see the Londoners live due to chaotic travel.

Arsenal posted on their website that UEFA will give both clubs an allocation of just 6,000 tickets each for the match. However, the limited tickets and travel puts fans in a difficult position. Arsenal are currently working with Thomas Cook to offer fans seats on an aircraft, but there is limited availability due the final being during half term week and after bank holiday.

Nevertheless, we are approaching the Europa League final on the 29th this month, and the Champions League final on the 1st of June. Fans of all clubs are quickly buying tickets, hotel rooms, and are saving up for what will be one of the most glorious weeks in English football. The premier league race is also on, who will take the trophy: Liverpool or Manchester City?

Featured image source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/aerial-photography-of-stadium-2039938/

 

Powerful cyclone hits eastern India coast

The most severe storm in two decades has hit the Indian subcontinent. Fani, which translates to ‘hood of snake’ in Bengali is no stranger to the eastern state of Odisha. The last cyclone that hit the poor state was in 1999 and killed more than 15,000 people. But as wind speeds are up to 175km/h, Indian authorities have responded quicker by evacuating more than 1 million people, deploying emergency, humanitarian aid and putting rescue workers in place.

  • Cyclone Fani is the fourth storm to the hit the country’s east coast in the last three decades.
  • Long-term power outages and water shortages could possibly last for weeks to a few months.
  • Schools and universities have been closed.
  • At least two people have died after a cyclone made landfall at around 9:30 am.
Infographic explaining how the tropical cyclones in India are affecting civilians.

Sources:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/02/tropical-cyclone-fani-india-evacuates-800000-people

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-india-48121606

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/cyclone-fani-six-things-you-should-know/articleshow/69151302.cms

https://edition.cnn.com/india/live-news/cyclone-fani-live-updates-wxc-intl/index.html

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/05/03/asia/india-landfall-cyclone-fani-wxc-intl/index.html

Creative courses: can you get a job out of it?

Students who take creative courses such as Interior design, photography, art, music and dance are often asked this question: can you get a job out of it? I wanted to explore the negative connotations surrounding this question and how it makes creative students feel when they are constantly asked it.

The first student I interviewed is named Amaal, and she studies international business. Although she does not do a creative course, she has a passion for art and chose not to take a course on it at university. I chose to interview her and she mentioned taking a creative course is something she always saw herself pursuing, but due to reasons she changed her mind and took business instead. As I am researching creative courses and the jobs you can get out of it, I asked her why she decided to not take art.

You mentioned that you have a passion for art and judging by your images, you’re amazing at it. Is there a reason why you didn’t take a course on it at University?

There are many reasons why I didn’t take art as a course. Main reason being that my parents want me to get a degree that would guarantee me that I’ll have a job in the future. At first I was mad at them for saying that but after I understood the importance of stability and having future career plans. Having a degree in international business gives me a higher chance of having a career compared to art. So with the in put of my family and listening to my heart, I decided to take business. However art is still a passion of mine and as a hobby I draw and paint in my free time, so who knows perhaps in the future I can show off my work and do it full time.

Another student I had the pleasure of interviewing is Fatima. Fatima studies interior design at Kingston University and gave her thoughts on this question in this audio interview.

I asked her about her future career plans, how university is prepping her for life after graduation and whether studying interior design was something she has always wanted. With her perspective on this subject, perhaps most creative students share the same views.

Images of Fatima’s recent project that involved ergonomics.
A shot from a site trip Fatima that she describes as an “interesting shot”.

Diversity And Inclusion in TV and Film.

Diversity in film and television is a topic that is constantly discussed. In recent years we have seen more diversity on our screens than ever. From marvel’s “Black Panther” and ”Captain America” to Netflix originals, it is clear that inclusion has been a main goal for networks. UCLA’s Hollywood Diversity Report highlighted that it is still not enough. Despite representation in film improving more than the previous reports, people of colour and women are still underrepresented. Below is an info-graphic detailing the report’s findings.

In order for me to get an audience members’ opinions on the TV and films industry’s progress with diversity, I spoke to Letterboxd user Yumna. Letterboxd is a social network for film lovers and critics to share their opinions on the latest movies.

Do you think there’s more of an effort to have representation in Film compared to TV in recent years?

“I think overall there’s definitely a greater effort to have representation in film and TV. I feel the need for representation has grown tremendously, if not exponentially, over the past few years. Much of this could be attributed to the ‘Netflix generation’ and the huge demand this and other streaming services face due to its majority young/teenage viewers. I would say personally I’ve found greater representation in TV. Due to its longevity, viewers tend to build a greater relationship with characters and identify with some more than others. Series such “On My Block” and it’s BME/Latinx representation as well “One Day At A Time” for its LGBTQ representation are good examples. With film, I feel like there has been a greater urge to create films that represent and that are not made or centered around race such as “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” starring a WOC lead, Lana Condor. Recently, there is conversation around Jordan Peele’s “Us”, and how having a black family as the lead should not be considered a film about race, as opposed to “Get Out”.

Yet, sometimes I actually question the intentions of these producers and the effort to increase representation. Do they really want representation and diversity or is it just so that they don’t get ‘cancelled’? Nevertheless, representation has come a long way. However, I feel like there’s still a way to go and room for improvement for both film and TV.

If you had the chance to talk to film/tv producers, what would you suggest is the best way to include diversity and representation in their products?

“I think the best way to include diversity and representation is to move away from the stereotypes and even caricatures of certain personalities and identities. Too many times I’ve found that, for example, Muslim characters are always at one extreme or the other, quite literally. You have the extremist fundamentalist Muslim girl brought up in a strict family and then you have the liberal on-and-off hijabi who partakes in activities that go against her religion in the name of ‘freedom’. Others include the effeminate gay, the loud/aggressive black woman, the chola Latina woman and more. While it can be can be a form of satire/parody, it can make it difficult to identify with characters who simply don’t represent who we really are.

The best way to ensure diversity and representation is to hire a team that essentially represents the characters. If there were more LGBTQ, BAME, disabled etc. producers, editors, directors and writers, then undoubtedly there would be less of the stereotypes. Representation is not limited to what is portrayed on the screen. This includes the people behind the scenes.”

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We never freeze. #BlackPanther @EntertainmentWeekly

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Cast of Marvel’s Black Panther broke records and set the tone for the need to have more diverse films in all categories.

Whilst diversity is being displayed on the big screens and popular shows, that doesn’t mean it is enough representation. Audiences want to see themselves represented on screens and TV /film creators have a job to fulfill that. Overall Progress has been slow, often signalling people to create their own craft instead of having to relying on TV/film executives to profit from their ideas. Lack of diversity affects opportunity, prompting attentive consumers to demand for more minorities and women on our screens.


Meet Naima Ali, the editor hoping to inspire Muslim women through SAKINA magazine.

How many magazines for Muslim women that have gone mainstream do we know? Not enough. I spoke to the editor of SAKINA magazine, Naima Ali, who stated that growing up with magazines like Vogue, ELLE and Seventeen- “you, yourself, feel as if you don’t belong because you’re not represented on those platforms”. Therefore the creation of SAKINA Magazine was in hopes to give young Muslim women more of a platform for expression, a place to discuss their personal issues and inner thoughts.

SAKINA Magazine spring issue.

Naima Ali grew up in London, England and now resides in Malmö, Sweden. She’s a student studying international relations at Malmö University. Naima and her fellow editors started from scratch and came up with a vision. The creation of SAKINA magazine is a way of taking a proactive approach in what they believe it. Instead of dwelling on the past and questioning why mainstream magazines don’t feature Muslim women, they decided to create their own space for Muslim women. SAKINA is a word derived from the Quran and means “spirit of tranquility” and peace. With a compelling word like that as the name of the magazine, it invokes readers to understand what the concept of the magazine it.

Naima Ali holding up SAKINA Magazine.

The creation of the first issue took a lot of time and planning. Naima insisted that the magazine should be published differently from others. So instead of using a website or a blog, the group launched their magazine on a site called “ISSUU”. This is a interactive platform where you can upload magazines and flip through the pages as if it was a hard copy- exposing yourself to online communities. Anyone can access it. Naima describes the experience- “we thought that was really cool but it did take a lot planning, In-design and Photoshop. But regardless it was a fun experience. We would obviously want to try other things instead of limiting our issues to online.”

For the editors of the magazine, starting it from scratch not only meant needing skills required for different softwares but deeply thinking about what content to include. Therefore there was trials and tribulations to overcome in order to have a successful first issue. Learning the rudiments of a magazine meant understanding your audience and what they would like to read. Naima explained to me over the phone that the team wanted to make sure “it wasn’t a religious magazine” instead saying that “we wanted to give our viewpoints on various topics from a Islamic perspective”. That includes dividing the magazines into five categories: beauty, lifestyle: mental health, entertainment: arts and culture, fashion as well as interviewing influential people. Therefore the basis of the magazine is valued by what their consumers want to read.

Naima says that her and her team think to themselves “if we had the magazine growing up, what would we want it to include?” So that’s how they determine the content of the magazine. By touching upon topics that young Muslim women would want to know about so they can look at it and say “yes this is me, and i need this”. Overall it is important to “take inspiration from our audience and craft something that is as realistic as possible”. Currently the magazine only has one issue but the team said they would like to have a theme behind each issue in the future. Already drawing upon new ideas.

I asked Naima what makes SAKINA different from other upcoming magazines on the market. She replied that the main difference is that it is “entirely for Muslim women and we are sticking to a specific age group: 18 to 25”. As well as the demographic being for young women, Naima stressed on the importance of giving more representation to Muslim women of colour, especially black Muslim women. Saying “that is not to exclude anybody else, but we know in the media black Muslim women get the least amount of coverage”. This is essential as the magazine gives the readers a voice. Naima describes SAKINA magazine for their audience as a “safe space”, adding on that it’s “something that can make Muslim women feel like they belong considering most of the time they don’t feel included in society”. That being so, SAKINA is something that can “unite us all”.

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Happy muslim women’s day💕 photo: @ikramianism

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So what’s the next mission for the team behind the magazine? Personally for Naima, she writes in the mental health column and her goal is help their readers speak out about issues – “I want them to know that if they feel like they can’t get the help they need because of stigmas in their community, here in SAKINA we know what you’re going through, we understand so don’t hesitate to reach out to us”. For the magazine as a whole, the main goal is to continue making Muslim women feel great about themselves. So instead of feeling like young girls/women have to pick out a bigger mainstream magazines, they can pick out SAKINA instead and see that it caters towards them.