Twenty thousand Facebook likes. A group of contributors across the world. And one young adult determined to make a difference in the world. This makes up Maverick Youth, a youth run and youth led organization based in the United Arab Emirates that strives to inform and empower other young adults towards change. I was able to talk with Bassim Eledath recently, the founder of Maverick Youth, and I asked him to elaborate on his past successes, his future goals for the organization, and much more. Here’s what he had to say.
What is Maverick Youth, and what was your inspiration for starting it?
Maverick Youth (MY) is a large body of like-minded young people who want their voices heard. Although we began as an open publication, we are now evolving into a full-fledged community. I started MY because I saw no other equivalent. Websites that served to publish pieces written by teenagers only did so selectively. So I got a group of friends and together we laid the foundation for an open publication that is accepting of all opinions and views as long as they refrain from plagiarism, profanity and religious extremism.
What do you see for the future of Maverick Youth and why?
As of now, we have more than 70 staff members spread across 5 continents. I see MY continually expanding its international influence in the future. We are innovating constantly by introducing new features to our website. The IT Head and I are redesigning the website to optimize the reader experience so that readers read what they want. The new section – ‘Ask a Maverick’ – where we interview influential young people will be up soon. We also plan on conducting international competitions and online discussions where we will be debating pressing matters pertinent to the youth. Like I said before, we are trying to evolve from being a publication to being a community.
How has Maverick Youth worked to empower Middle Eastern youth?
Well we don’t give Middle Eastern youth any special consideration compared to other young people. But we do understand the ‘media censorship’ crisis that prevails in the Middle East. So we have made an ‘anonymous account’ on our website which students in the Middle East can utilize if they want to talk about sensitive issues that concern them.
I’ve seen that Maverick Youth has built an international base of support. In an increasingly globalized world, why is it so important to promote meaningful dialogue between those of different races and backgrounds?
Since we are ever so connected, we are also ever so dependent. Our actions, no matter how small they may be, are universal and binding. Whatever we do or say has the potential of impacting another person on the other side of the planet. That is why we need a framework conducive to healthy dialogue between different races and backgrounds. We may be diverse but we must be united in action.
What are some of the issues that Maverick Youth is trying to address at the moment?
The biggest issue that MY wishes to overcome is the freedom to speak out. On our website our writers address several issues such as gender inequality, wage gaps, pollution, discrimination – you name it. We give the platform for young people to empower themselves – to help their voices reach a wider audience. Apart from that, as an organisation, MY has also begun engaging in charitable pursuits. We are nearly done with our ‘apparel for charity’ campaign. All proceeds will be going to a special needs school in India.
How can those who are interested get involved with your site?
If you just want to browse through our content – maverickyouth.com
If you want to join our global staff go here – http://www.maverickyouth.com/work/
Or you may message us on Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/TheMaverickYouth
Interview By: Sam Gorman