Amaan was awarded the Diana Award in 2017 for his work supporting labourers in the UAE. Here he explains why it is important to build social harmony and how we can all do our bit to build harmony in our everyday lives.  

Picture this. The world is in shambles. Buildings blasted into rubble, gunshots heard in the distance, brother turning on brother. This image may actually play out very soon if we don’t do anything about it. But we, the youth of the 21st century, can do quite a lot to create a better world.

My name is Amaan Iqbal Ibrahim. I’m almost 18 years old. And I live in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E).

During the month of Ramadan, the festival of Onam and Christmas, I gather a group of friends to visit labour camps across the U.A.E to distribute food packets to labourers. Many people thought that our goal was to feed those who couldn’t afford meals, but it was much deeper than that. It was to bring home and comfort to those that don’t have it.

“That is what it’s all about – changing the world, and leaving it at least a bit better than it was when we inherited it.”

But what I have done pales in comparison to what we, Generation Z, can achieve if we work together, as even a small task like volunteering at a labour camp is a step forward in the direction of social harmony.

Some of our great-great-great-grandfathers invaded countries and destroyed places of worship, persecuted people in the name of religion, caused partition of communities that lived together for years. We cannot ignore history, but we also cannot live in the past and use these incidents to spread hatred and intolerance. By doing that you become a part of the problem, not the solution.

This was the principle behind the labour camp initiative – spreading the message that although we may speak different tongues, don different garbs, pray to different deities, eat different foods and have different skin colours, deep down, we are all still one great race.

This is why we made sure that we went to the labour camps not just during Ramadan, but during the Onam festival and Christmas as well. We so dubbed ourselves the “Budding Humans”, drawing inspiration from the likes of Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, Abraham Lincoln and the many individuals who changed the world as we knew it – the original Change_Makers, if you may. And we took it upon ourselves to make a plan to achieve social harmony.

Amaan (second from the left) works with a team to support labourers in the UAE

Through my work, I believe there are three steps to maintaining social harmony. I wish to share these in the hope that one day, others will pass it on and our goal shall be achieved.

The Theory of Dual Sidedness 

This is a theory based on a formula I made to ensure that in a discussion between people of opposing views, a favorable situation can be achieved. It goes like this:

Situation – Ego (yours) + Mindset (opponents) + Foresight of possible outcomes

= Favourable situation

So, all you have to do is think of a situation you may have, remove your ego or your prejudices, try to think in the position of the “opponent” and how they may react to your suggestion. Once you do this, the anger or brashness with which one refutes another is reduced bringing peace between the two individuals.

Vocalise your intentions

One of the main reasons why hatred and intolerance is widespread in our world is because of the inability some people have to understand. So how do we tackle this? Ensure that whatever you do, and whenever you do it, you make sure that the people involved know the values you hold. This can be done through social media. Don’t consider it as bragging, but rather informing others about your work to achieve harmony.

Get governments going

Once people know what you’re trying to do, it’s possible you will have an equal number of skeptics as supporters. And how do you ensure that the goal is achieved without the tampering of your values? Take it to a national level. Get in touch with governments and spread your message far and wide. Go the extra mile and to seek the help of those in charge.

Amaan receiving the Sharjah Volunteer Award in 2017 from the Government of Sharjah in UAE

Once you have done these steps, rest assured your community and eventually your country, will evolve for the better.

Often you may find yourselves in the dark, confused about your standing in the grand scheme of things. But believe me when I say, that as long as you remain true to your mission, the sun that shines on the new day will be brighter beyond compare. And that, is of course, what it’s all about – changing the world, and leaving it at least a bit better than it was when we inherited it.


© 2020 The Diana Award. The Diana Award is a registered charity (1117288 / SC041916) and a company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales number 5739137.