by Nadiah Mohajir
This past weekend, HEART Women & Girls had the pleasure of co-presenting at the 14th Annual Diversity Challenge: Racial or Ethnic Discrimination across the Lifespan at Boston College. The 90-minute workshop had three goals:
- To understand the disparities and challenges in providing mental and sexual health services to American Muslim girls & women
- To understand the critical link between mental and sexual health
- To explore innovative strategies and solutions to address these disparities
The workshop was led by HEART co-founder Nadiah Mohajir and Founder of Muslim Wellness Foundation Kameelah Rashad. About ten individuals attended and stayed afterward to share their work, their overwhelmingly positive feedback and invite the presenters to their respective schools and organizations. We are excited to see what partnerships and collaborations result from this experience.
Later that evening, HEART facilitators Nadiah Mohajir and Sameera Qureshi, who flew in from Calgary, Canada, trained over thirty Muslim college women at Tufts University. A collaborative event between Tufts, Harvard and MIT, the workshop focused on facilitating a discussion that explored the sexual and reproductive needs of Muslim women and girls, the barriers to feeling emotionally and culturally safe when seeking and processing sexual health information, and strategies that we can all start employing to create safer communities.
The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, and the experience has planted the seeds for continued conversation in the Boston community. In the words of one of our participants, “I just wanted to say that the idea of creating safe spaces for women is brilliant. Not only just for women who need a safe space but for other women to awaken and realize that there is a need for it. Thank you so much for (in my eyes) beginning this type of movement. It is very necessary for a group of women who are very much in the minority to first begin to welcome each other and be each other’s support before we can go out in the world and be empowered.”