Reach High 2 study support helped young people to get funding and lead an educational visit to Spain to discover the rich Muslim and Christian heritage of the region. On the 28th July, eight young people and four adults left Burngreave for 6 days stay in Granada, Spain. Here the young people talk about their experience…
We wanted to achieve a greater understanding of different cultures and expand our knowledge about different religions and people. Hasseena – Age 16
Day 1 – Alhambra and Palace Gardens
Overlooking the city of Granada stands the Alhambra palace: the best example of Moorish (Muslim) architecture, built by various Muslim rulers between 711 and 1084. The slender asymmetrical columns, light reflecting water basins and exquisite calligraphy are romantic, spiritual and a sheer indulgence for the human eye. Alongside the Palaces were gardens fitting the Quranic description of paradise. Volunteer T
The trip to the Alhambra Palace and Gardens made me realise the significance of an Islamic heritage I didn’t know existed and helped me visualise the living styles of the ‘khalifs’ (religious leaders) many years ago. In all rooms of ‘The Alhambra’ there was amazing Islamic calligraphy engraved in the walls; one thing that really caught my eye was the breath-taking wall with the ninety-nine names of Allah (the glorified and exalted). Hilaal – Age 15
Day 2 – Mosque Tour and Munira Art Demo
After the mosque tour, we went to Munira’s studio for an art demonstration. I was amazed how she put beautiful calligraphy designs onto a piece of leather, it was extraordinary. I enjoyed watching and learning. Overall, the day was fantastic and thoroughly enjoyable. Sabrina – Age 14.
One of my best experiences in Granada was visiting the mosque to pray ‘Maghrib’ (sunset) prayer. The mosque was indescribable, the beauty and feeling that I acknowledged whilst there was unbelievable. I didn’t realize how much Islamic heritage there was in Spain with a Muslim Community. Visiting the mosque at ‘Maghrib’ was incredible as you could see the sun-set from the cliff top and directly opposite from the courtyard stood ‘The Alhambra’, looking stunning in the night with a beautiful red glow. Hilaal
Day 3 – Córdoba (Mesquita)
I thought the cathedral, originally a mosque, was extremely beautiful. I was really shocked that crusaders converted the mosque into a cathedral and changed everything inside.
There are some remaining features, in particular the minbar (step on which imam stands to deliver prayer) but everything else from the calligraphy to religious symbols had been erased. Sabrina.
Day 4 – Bookshop and Spanish Meal
The bookshop had really good books on Spain, to improve my knowledge of the area and help me put together a reading list for our report. I also liked the meal because it gave an insight into Spanish culture. The pasta was gorgeous and the fresh orange juice was refreshing and well worth the wait. Nazmeen – Age 13
It was an extraordinary experience and opportunity to see a different culture. The group leader Nasira handled it professionally, from group dynamics to itinerary changes. Hats off to her! I would like say thank you to Nasira for enabling me to be a part of this. Volunteer Habiba On reflection, every aspect of this visit to Spain was an amazing experience; in terms of how communities co-exist today, it has encouraged me to learn more about multi-cultural community cohesion.
In Muslim Spain, Arab scholars preserved and built upon earlier knowledge; their encyclopedias, translated throughout Europe, enabled a flourishing multicultural society to take root. I feel it is not only a glimpse of a great past but also a view into a future where people and religions can co-exist and learn from one another, surely inspiration for all societies. Volunteer T
I was honoured to lead this educational visit, which showed Asian young women can achieve outside their normal surroundings, and after school study support prepares them to take on new challenges, skills and independency.
Thank you to the volunteers for their support, and congratulations to the girls for their achievement. Well done! For many women these visits are rare. Thank you to Youth Opportunity Fund for giving us the opportunity. Nasira (Visit Leader/Reach High 2 Co-ordinator)
If you want to be involved in Reach High 2 study support, contact Nasira on 244 9099, or for more details see this month's Study Support article.