Nargis Naqvi and MY Voice Canada: “Let’s All Work Together to Give Youth a Voice.”

Artist name: Nargis Naqvi and MY Voice Canada

Featured Work 1: MY Voice YouTube promo video

MY Voice Canada is a non-profit media initiative founded by Nargis Naqvi, which  provides Muslim youth with empowering opportunities for self-expression in written, visual, video, performance and multi-media formats.

This largely youth-run organization strives to create a safe, supportive and innovative space for Muslim youth. They have a stated mission of elevating “the voices of young Canadian Muslims and [facilitating] dialogue on issues that matter to them.” We interviewed founder, artist, business woman and mother Nargis Naqvi about MY Voice’s vital work promoting creative expression, connection, tolerance and understanding.

Other Featured Works: various My Voice images:

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5 Questions for the Magazine Founder:

1. What is a magazine to you?

A magazine is an opportunity to have a voice. The thinker writes it out; the photographer captures it; the illustrator puts life into stories. A magazine, despite the popular belief that it’s a dying piece of literature, is still an exciting way to read short articles and stories. It is what passes time at waiting areas; it feels good to the hand and is a way to reach masses with your thoughts. It is also an exciting way to bring together a few different forms of art in one publications, [like] photography, illustration, design and written expression.

2. What did you make in the past and why?

I love to write out my feelings. I also love to paint on canvas using colors to depict what I feel. When I saw our Muslim youth struggling to find an identity, toggling between being Canadian, being from their parent’s countries of wherever they migrated from and also being Muslim, I gave them a magazine. They were free to write, design, edit, illustrate, and use it however way they wished to tackle the voices within them. They finally had a voice and that is why they chose to call it MY Voice. The high school and university youth have full freedom to choose their quarterly theme and using the sections in the magazine, they write a variety of articles on a variety of topics. I mentor them as an adult should but I never dictate what they write.

3. What are you making now and why?

It has been 3.5 years since our launch. After distributing 70,000 magazines for free, I am now trying to find ways to not only grow it as a Vlog so those that like to talk, act, etc. can have that form of expression, as well along with having a girl’s drama club that can act out important issues in a play format to the community. The girls at MY Voice have proven to have great talent in creating and acting out important lessons for their own community to learn from and now I feel we need to get more volunteers and start a formal group for this artistic form as well. There are so many ways to express. I want our youth to bring their talents and use them for the good of those around them to bring positive change.

4. What are your hopes for the future?

At this point, raising funds for printing the magazine and distributing it is a hard task. Being the only adult is tough and a lot of fundraising and getting sponsors falls on my shoulders. I would like more adults with our vision to join us and help us without any attachments. I want this purely done for the cause it is serving. We are hoping to get our own youth center where we can have a video studio, a design/illustration room and a place to hang out; network; take classes and more. We want to be in every city in North America and we feel that in today’s world where Muslims are being targeted due to ignorance, we want the reader to understand what goes on in the lives and minds of our youth to understand our communities better. Many have found that we are not any different from any other culture or religion. The media is not doing justice to us or to our youth and we want to use our magazine to spread awareness and goodness in the world.

5. What else would you like to say?

I would like to say this to our readers: No matter what the world does and how it reacts, our own actions are what we are responsible for. Make sure they are always for the good of humanity. Let God take care of the rest.

The magazine is also open to non-Muslim Youth. They are encouraged to gain experience by designing, planning, illustrating and even writing under our given themes. Let’s all work together to give youth a voice.

To support our cause, I urge readers to subscribe to our magazine. Please support us by liking our Facebook page and following us on Twitter and Instagram: @myvoicecanada

Magazine Founder Supplied Background:

Nargis Naqvi, the founder of MY Voiceis a mother of three teenagers. With a Business degree from Minnesota along with experience as a photographer, graphic designer, interior designer and artist, she felt that youth in our community could bring all their talents together and find their identities on their own without being dictated to by adults.

MY Voice Canada was launched in 2013, for Muslim youth to have an independent voice in their communities. Youth came together from all over Canada to use their respective talents as writers, editors, photographers, designers and illustrators, to fulfill this need. International youth from a variety of countries submitted articles and got published as well.

The board for MY Voice is run by youth 15 and up and has been putting together plays, fundraising Galas, along with distributing 20,000 copies yearly in the GTA with a Chapter in Vancouver B.C as well. A yearly Award Ceremony recognizes the rising talents and encourages the youth to polish their skills and take their work seriously. Nargis is their mentor and adviser and is pictured with some of the executive members of the organization below.

On May 7, 2017, they will be hosting a fundraising gala and entertainment night specifically for women and girls, called “Unity: It’s Vital for Humanity.”

Screenshot 2016-12-23 10.53.21

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5 Questions for the Artist, © Julia Travers

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