Alhamdo-Lillah, through the Grace of Allah Ta’ala our second group of sisters successfully completed the Jamiat KZN comprehensive skills empowerment and training course. In honour of the students that completed, the Jamiat KZN PROJECT H.E.L.P. team organised its second graduation Jalsa, which was held on 21st July 2016 at the IMA Baytul Nur Centre. This was a female’s only event. It served to give the students a sense of achievement and acknowledgment of their efforts, to conscientise the audience to the plight of these students and to highlight the work undertaken by the Jamiat KZN.
The event began with a show performed by the students, which gave a humorous insight into a typical day in the skills classroom and brought some lighthearted cheer to the event. It emphasized that they were not just learning and being empowered but also had fun and enjoyed what and how they were being taught. The cloaks worn by the students were self- made, to highlight their newfound skills and self-reliance. Much of what was made during the semester was also showcased at the Jalsa. Many from the audience were so impressed that they purchased some of the products and gave future orders.
The personal, heartrending testimonials of the students was by far the highlight of the day. The students spoke of their challenges within their families as well as their communities, sincerely expressing how this class has become a refuge for them and how the skills program and the Deeni classes have benefitted them as Muslims and as human beings. The students’ narratives highlighted the stark reality of the plight of refugees and female reverts to Islam, in an honest and sincere way.
They spoke about their experiences of hunger, abuse, pain and loneliness with no one to turn to for help, guidance or comfort. One learner originally from Burundi, was so emotional that she found it difficult to give voice to her gratitude to the Jamiat KZN, which had helped turn her life around. She cried throughout her touching speech that was filled with gratitude and hope.
A revert sister from Umlazi spoke about the total rejection she experiences from her family since she had accepted Islam. With tears in her eyes, she said that her soul had come alive when for the first time in her life she made dua and was able to say “Aameen”. She had never been able to do so as a Christian when she was made to pray. Although she had very little in the material sense, she was satisfied that through the Jamiat KZN skills workshop she had discovered what it is to be a Muslim and to be amongst caring people. The learners all expressed how they felt a sense of sisterhood with each other, the volunteers and the skills coordinator.
This had a great emotional impact on the audience, many of whom were literally reduced to tears. This emphasized the importance of the Jamiat KZN program as well as the need for greater efforts in this neglected field. The interaction between students and the audience was endearing and proved beneficial to both parties.
An opportunity was given to the audience to ask questions to the program coordinator.
Many wanted to know how to volunteer, the type of expertise the program required and expressed their desire to volunteer their time and expertise to the program in the near future. Insha-Allah.
They asked if there was any follow up course with the students that have completed, which is currently in place where ex-students still attend advanced classes once a week.
Certificates and gifts were presented to the learners.
The Jamiat KZN PROJECT H.E.L.P. team once again gave each of the students a gift of a brand-new sewing machine, which was proudly sponsored by the woman’s group, Circle of Care Association. One particular learner who excelled in cooking was given a gift of a brand-new food processor, which was sponsored by Maytex Industries.
The turnout of guests was most heart-warming with over 70 women in attendance, which consisted mainly of the students, their families, donors, supporters, well-wishers, PROJECT H.E.L.P. sister volunteers and representatives from various women’s groups and organisations including Circle of Care Association. The event was also attended by students from the Association for the Physically Challenged, Newlands East Senior Citizens Group and residents from the Kenilworth Respite Centre.
At the end of the Jalsa the Jamiat KZN PROJECT H.E.L.P. team treated everyone to a freshly prepared lunch followed by tea and biscuits.
A very special thanks and appreciation is extended to the IMA Baytul Nur Centre for making available their venue, to all volunteers who assisted in setting up the event and to all who attended. A special appreciation and acknowledgement definitely needs to go to our skills coordinator, Apa Sheida Kader, for her dedication, commitment and remarkable achievements with the learners. Finally yet importantly, we once again extend our heartfelt appreciation to Apa Nasreen Cotwal for her invaluable assistance. May Allah Ta’ala grant everyone the best of rewards in this world and the Aakhirah.
We request everyone to make dua for all our learners that Allah Ta’ala removes all their difficulties and strengthen them in their Deen through their Dunya. Aameen.
We make dua that Allah Ta’ala accepts our humble efforts, especially the contributions of our donors and the efforts of all involved, Aameen.
If you wish to donate towards this worthy project, kindly note our banking details below:
Jamiatul Ulama KZN (Lillah Projects)
FNB Umgeni Junction (200913)
Account Number: 5089 1141 828
Reference: Skills Project
Lillah or Sadaqah! Strictly NO ZAKAAT!