As a young Muslim woman interested in health and education I was drawn to HEART’s culturally sensitive approach. From my experience, not only do our Muslim communities lack institutions to manage issues of sexual violence, abortion, sexuality, gender relations, and family planning but even starting smaller conversations regarding mental-well being and physical health is met with opposition or apprehension.
HEART has recognized conversations about identity, intimacy, mental and reproductive health are important steps to empowering young women to make healthy choices. What makes the organization unique is that they are conscious of the cultural barriers that complicate initiating these conversations. They are currently working on developing toolkits for professionals who provide health education to faith-based communities in effort to provide culturally competent care to a diverse Muslim population.
– Alia Azmat, Naperville, IL
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.
I also think we all need a healthy dose of sensitivity training just to be allowed to communicate with others. Great event!
– Zainab Lakhani, Boston, MA
“I’ve never actually sat in a learning environment and saw how much everyone wanted to learn, teach, and simply speak without hesitance.”
– Asiya, 15 years old, Chicago, IL
“I believe I have a better understanding of my faith through this program. I spent 6 weeks with people who I learned had similar values to mine, but were of different faiths. And it made me feel like I wasn’t alone because there are others who have the same struggles as me…it helped me re-think my idea of faith and help me determine a better lifestyle and better choices for myself, and determine what’s healthy for me.”
– Lily, 17 years old, Chicago, IL