During the discussion in the classroom, they realised something needed to be done to combat prejudice and religious intolerance. The rise in Islamaphobia in the world was to be expected, as a response to the attack. What was more shocking was the rise in fundamentalism, racism and prejudice, that we are faced with today.
Pam takes up the story - "I soon realised that our local community had not escaped the aftermath of September 11th. Islamaphobia and racist taunts had become common place in our school. Members of the local Muslim community had experienced extreme abuse. The mosque suffered a racist attack and one man had died from a heart attack probably brought on by the stress suffered during this shameful incident. Within the same year, the synagogue in Swansea was desecrated. It was one of the worst attacks on a synagogue in the whole of Britain.
I was appalled. I realised that something had to be done to combat the racism, religious intolerance, ignorance and lack of respect shown to certain members of our community.
I thought of something simple but effective that would engage the minds of young people; a symbolic bracelet, loaded with messages, that would be fun to make and wear.
The Peace Mala double rainbow bracelet soon attracted the attention of my students who declared it a brilliant idea. Members of faith communities across South Wales welcomed it as a positive move in the right direction to encourage respect and harmony in the community.
With this encouragement, my students and I applied for a Prince's Trust Millennium Award which we were granted in October 2002. We were awarded the best part of £15,000. This gave us what we needed to set up a wonderful youth project that could promote peace, tolerance, respect and religious harmony in our local community.
Imran Sheikh, a Muslim student of mine who had experienced racist taunts, became one of the leaders of the Youth Team.
Since its launch, the Peace Mala has gone from strength to strength. To date it has been praised by the local County Council of Carmarthenshire, The Co-op Community Dividend Award and ChildLine Cymru. Many spiritual leaders and celebrities continue to endorse the Peace Mala. My students and I are thrilled with its growing success."