Students join Blair interfaith project

Two Jewish students have been selected to take part in a Tony Blair Faith Foundation leadership programme tackling malaria.

Natasha Steele, from Edgware, and Stanmore-based Zac Newman will join eight other Faiths Act Fellows from Britain on the 10-month scheme.

They will undergo training in Africa and the United States with fellows from Canada and the US, before returning to the UK where they will work in interfaith pairs educating religious communities about the dangers of the disease.

In Africa, many people have more regular contact with church leaders than with medical staff or hospitals, meaning places of worship are the quickest way to build networks and inform communities.

Ms Steele, 21, studying archaeology and ancient history at Birmingham University, said: “I feel very lucky to have been selected. I want to go into international development and eventually set up my own charity, so this is one step on my journey, hopefully.”

Twenty-two-year-old Mr Newman is a Nottingham University history graduate.

They will be based at the offices of charity Tzedek, at the Jewish Social Action Hub in West Hampstead, north west London.

Mr Blair, who set up the foundation in May last year to promote understanding between religions, said: “I am delighted we have been able to select such an outstanding and admirable group of young people from the hundreds who applied for a position in the Fellowship.

“I am certain they will accomplish a tremendous amount.”

    Last updated: 6:37pm, April 22 2009