'Young people should be trustees'

Paul Jump hears from Faizaan Ahmed, 18, one of the UK's youngest charity chairs

Faizaan Ahmed, chair, Halimah Trust
Faizaan Ahmed, chair, Halimah Trust

My parents and I set up the Halimah Trust in memory of my sister, who was murdered last November at the age of 19. Her attacker strangled her and hanged himself. She had just started at Nottingham Trent University, studying international relations and global politics. She was always interested in charity work, and whenever there was a natural disaster she would always raise lots of money.

I recruited 10 trustees and we were granted charitable status by 1 March. The trustees are family members and people my parents work with.

We meet once every 10 weeks. We have fundraising events between meetings, such as mountain climbs.

The charity's objects are to advance education and relieve poverty in the developing world. At the moment we are working with another charity called Muslim Hands to build a school for orphan girls in Pakistan. They are organising the project, but we are raising the money. We will move on to working on our own in the future.

I envisage being the chair for a long time. I want to study economics and business, which fits in with the trust because it will involve travelling to other countries. My parents, who are also trustees, can do more when I need to concentrate on other things such as exams. I will take over more in later life.

I would recommend trusteeship to other young people. The experiences and skills you learn are endless, and they could help them get into university or get a job. It also helps you grow up and get used to taking on more responsibility. I have been the captain of my school cricket and football teams for the past four years, so I am used to leadership, but it has still been a steep learning curve.

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