Project Bilal has been set up to meet this need for after-school activities, as well as to act as an information and advice service about the provision and services already available for parents and children to access.
A little history – and a lot of Inspiration!
The journey to the establishment of Project Bilal dates back to 2000, when our founder, Shahid Alhadad, was in his last years of an Islamic Studies qualification in Bury, Lancashire. It all began when he made contact with a local family who had a child with severe hearing loss, and Shahid began learning British Sign Language in order to communicate with the young man.
One of his teachers at the Islamic College, Hadhrat Moulana Bilal Bawa, encouraged him to pursue this interest as far as he could, in order to reach out to deprived and marginalized Muslim children in Lancashire with hearing loss and other special needs, as well as to children in the wider community.
Shahid was inspired by this advice, and after completing his Islamic Studies qualification, he undertook a degree level course in BSL and English at Preston University. Returning to his hometown of Leicester in 2005, he then embarked on a teaching career, and was soon specializing in Special Needs provision. He was appointed as Special Needs Co-ordinator at Madani Schools Federation in 2007, and completed a Masters level certificate in Special Education from Edge Hill University in 2012.
His work at Madani Schools Federation has given him the opportunity to work closely with children with a wide range of physical and learning disabilities, including Downs Syndrome, autism/ASD, hearing impairment, visual impairment, muscular dystrophy, and cerebral palsy, among others. In addition, he has gained a thorough knowledge of the local agencies and services available both locally and nationally for young people with disabilities, and has made links with many of these through his work.
Since working in a school is as much about working with families as with the individual children, Shahid has become acutely aware of the need felt by many parents of children with disabilities for more properly supervised and creatively planned after-school provision and activities.