UMSLV is a not for profit organisation run by Muslim women, that strives to address the needs of the community with an emphasis on educating and celebrating the diversity of the Latrobe Valley. The group has recently been focused on supporting the youth in the area, by working to create a nurturing environment for all children to grow up and develop confident personalities.

With the recent local and international racially motivated incidences such as the Apex gang influence in Melbourne and the Terrorist attacks in Europe, there has been a spike in racial discrimination and intolerant, attitudes and ideas that are magnified by mainstream and social media influences. These quotes from friends and members of UMSLV highlight just how jarring and confronting the everyday occurrences of this problem can be.

No one knows anything about our culture or where we come from…’

‘…After the Paris attacks I noticed some mothers pulling their young daughters away from me…’

‘…Just pour pigs blood on them – that will get rid of them…’

When feelings such as these are directed at young people, they are more likely to question their sense of belonging and become isolated.

Offering a solution to this issue, Kindred Spirits Foundation is partnering with the UMSLV to establish and present the ‘Living Libraries’ program, which is focused on sharing the unique stories of inspirational people that become ‘books’, while their listeners become the ‘readers’. The main difference between real books and readers is in this iteration, the readers can ask the books questions. A similar program, run for adults, proved highly successful with overwhelmingly positive feedback received and anecdotes of empowered readers understanding the importance of the program’s expansion.

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