Interfaith Youth Circle is a ground-up initiative aimed at planting seeds that foster discourse around faith and beliefs
To explore high-quality engagements and create a safe space for challenging and potentially controversial issues within faith communities (intrafaith) and between other faith and non-faith communities (interfaith).
To create and connect youth interfaith leaders of various faith groups, so that they may lead their communities in making religion a bridge and not a barrier – inspiring each other for the common good.
To transform public consciousness - the way religions / beliefs are understood and related to today.
To promote a deeper understanding of the role that faith groups can play in a complexly religious yet secular world.
Borne out of the need to mitigate misinformation and widespread ignorance around religion and beliefs
Interfaith Youth Circle (IYC) was founded in 2015 by two women, Dhaniah Wijaya and Noor Mastura.
Started during a period of Islamophobia
During the climate then, it was worrying that Islam and Muslims were getting harsh criticism due to negative global attention. This flak was mostly unfounded, and based on misinformation and widespread ignorance.
A safe space to have crucial conversations
Dhaniah and Noor realised that they faced the same problem - not being able to find a space where they could safely and freely talk about controversial topics whenever race and religion were concerned. Moreover, they were unable to access in-depth interfaith discourses, as these events were usually closed-door or extended to academics only.
They also realised that many other people from other faith and non-faith communities suffered the same consequences as a result of misinformation and a lack of interaction between societal groups.
There was only one way to make things happen. In June 2015, IYC was established.
As of 2019, Noor decided to carry on her interfaith work outside of the banner of IYC.
We got the ball rolling, and are growing along this meaningful journey
Dhaniah Wijaya, Founder
Dhaniah has worn several hats throughout her career. A psychology graduate, she has been a teacher in the public school system, as well as a media industry professional as a producer, researcher and scriptwriter, focusing on educational programmes for children as well as faith issues.
Her keen interest in interfaith work was first sparked when she encountered the book ‘Beyond Tolerance’ by Gustav Niebuhr in 2011. As the founder of IYC, she wishes to continue to establish ties between communities that can bond people together in faith and goodness. She is certain that today’s youths will lead the way to that future.
Haider Amir, Head of Council
Haider works closely with the committee members.
He has a career in senior leadership for business development. He is currently working in an organization providing services to companies in Employee Health & Well-being.
He spends his free time exercising, drawing and immersing himself in reading and collecting comics. He also enjoys board games and table-top RPG games like Dungeons and Dragons.
Andrew Cheong, Council Member
Andrew started out in IYC as a participant, and was attracted to the frank, thoughtful and wide-ranging conversations. He now facilitates Scriptural Reasoning and organises interfaith events in IYC, and hopes to be a part of fostering strong and genuine relationships across race and religion.
During his time as a student, Andrew studied Arabic, and spent some time in the Middle East learning the language. He has fond memories drinking mint tea at local haunts on the hillside while talking about faith, hope and dreams in a mix of broken Arabic and English.
Paulo Caperig, Facilitator
Paulo is a follower of Jesus, and serves as the Worship Director at a Methodist Church. When he's not singing and playing guitar there, he'd be playing board games with the youths.
Paulo was introduced into the interfaith circle through a curious whim, but since then has grown into facilitating conversations, conferences, and even interfaith makan sessions.
He'll find every excuse to tune into the lives of those who exercise faith, and he works towards moving spiritual conversations from being awkward to being a norm.
Darlina Wijaya, Funding Coordinator
Darlina assists with IYC’s funding and budgeting aspects. By day, and some nights, she bakes cakes. Previously, she had also graduated from the school of media.
She volunteered for IYC because she felt compelled to lend her skills to give a helping hand, and fulfil the need to become a part of something bigger outside of her regular routine (work and home).
Agatha Wong, Marketing Designer
Agatha has been in the social service sector for many years; since she started volunteering in her primary school days through her neighbourhood and school library (outside of CCA). Eventually, she got more involved in volunteering in schools (secondary, ITE, polytechnic) and church: as a main committee member for a school community event, support as a sub-main committee member in different areas, as camp facilitator in school and church, a mentor etc.
She got to know IYC through a church friend who invited her to attend an SR session, themed 'Our Planet Earth', that happened in Feb 2020. She felt very heartened to see people from different cultures, backgrounds and faiths coming together to share what they learned and knew. This led her to become more interested in IYC events. She feels very blessed to be able to help out in some small way by creating / designing marketing materials for IYC.
Kimberley Oliveiro, Volunteer Manager
Kimberley is a lover of the unknown ~ things such as spirituality, the occult, mysticism and mythology. They allow her to have a better understanding of the world and its people, to be curious, and to be inspired. Joining SR sessions was only natural, as she has always been open to all faiths and strongly believes that all faiths share the same fundamental values. She spends her evenings hosting fireside conversations and attending Ruhi lessons every Sunday conducted by the Baháʼí faith. She’s also an illustrator and runs her own creative home studio.