When I began these sessions, it was in the spirit of providing our girls with open and safe spaces to discuss, explore, and express themselves through Arts, learn through Deen, and develop strong leadership skills.
As a mother of three, I am proud to have initiated the girls only monthly sessions. Three years ago, I began this program from my home and involved friends of my daughters from our immediate circle. Just after three months, our small circle of six girls grew to fifteen. As a monthly gathering of girls with no men allowed in the house, the girls had my entire living room and family room to themselves which was fascinating to them with the freedom to be just girls!
After two and a half years and with much reluctance, I presented the idea to the MomLinks Mississauga group and we decided to move the sessions out of my house as an initiative from the organization. Since the sessions conducted at my house were free of cost, I was worried about moving the sessions but surprisingly, the response I received was amazing. Our first community session had 42 girls registered and participation is steadily increasing each month.
So, here we are today, under the umbrella of MomLinks Mississauga and Empowered Muslim Moms Network, our sessions are on their way to the next level with more stories to cherish, more confidence to be celebrated, and more friendships to be nourished. As the mentor of these young, beautiful and bright souls, I feel accomplished, satisfied, and concerned at the same time.
The purpose of these all girl sessions is to provide our Muslim girls a forum to build their leadership skills in a fun and educational environment. Based on our research and community stats, mental health problems amongst our youth are increasing. Often, they do not have safe spaces to discuss, explore, and voice their opinions. “You see, not all families go to Masajid and not all girls find Masajid a friendly place for energetic children,” one of the mothers shared, “and these sessions provide that middle ground where you don’t judge our girls and adopt a subtle approach to teach them the basics.”
As a Muslim mom, I believe this is our collective responsibility to support our girls together and this small effort is showing the results. Girls look forward to these sessions each month. They are not only building relationships but they are also building valuable leadership skills by leading Salah/ Jamat and group activities. Twelve of the girls began wearing hijab through peer inspiration during the past two years, including two of mine.
Our children, especially our girls, are facing more challenges than ever before. The issues they face can be unimaginable for us as parents. They don’t always share their pain of being bullied, they don’t always ask the tough questions, and more than often, they are stuck between two cultures and life styles (at home and in mainstream society). A lot of these issues are due to the lack of opportunities and sometimes little attention from parents – for many different reasons. We thought providing an opportunity to meet and socialize twice a month will not only help develop friendships in their own community circles but will also help them build leadership skills as well.
Our job as parents is to provide our children with a safe environment and avenues to discuss, explore, and learn about their identity, self-respect, and respect for their parents through mentors you can trust.
We are currently addressing the issues of bullying, the disconnect between parents and girls, and self-identity issues. Please support your young girls, pre-teens, and teens by sending them to our sessions. Our sessions are more refined now and are scheduled on every first and last Saturday of the month at various community locations. May Allah (SWT) protect our children from evil and may Allah (SWT) make them the coolness of our eyes.
If you would like to be on our email list for upcoming session announcements, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org