The skills development program established by the Jamiatul Ulama KZN is an empowerment program that strives towards providing a holistic experience in positively developing women.
The program runs over a 6-month period, Monday to Friday between 9am and 3pm and consists of various types of skills training such as:
- Culinary skills
- Arts & Craft
- Time management
- Social & Communication skills
Alhamdulillah, the second course for the 2016 year began in July with 10 students. This being our third group of students, which came from different backgrounds and areas, namely Umlazi, Marianhill and Central Durban. There was also a student originally from Somalia who currently resides in Durban Central.
The initial few days were slightly strained for these ten women as they had all come from different backgrounds and various lifestyles to acquire a single objective and a mutual purpose. These women understood that this was going to be their new environment and classmates for the upcoming 6 months, which left them feeling nervous and apprehensive.
Through the grace of Almighty Allah, by the second week into the course, these women had developed an amazing spirit and great enthusiasm, which was evident by the way in which they bonded with each other and the unity in which they managed their chores.
Students were offered counselling services from which great benefit was acquired once they had developed confidence and trust in the Skills Workshop coordinator. This positively affected their practical performance as it now became a shared burden or in the cases where solutions were found, a burden lifted off them. Counselling is also provided to welfare recipients and the public.
The daily routine of the class consisted of an opening Dua and Fazaile Amaal. It was noticed that these students had immense thirst for Deeni knowledge because they would use every opportunity to ask Deeni related questions. This is probably the result of having an “amazing” madressa Apa who taught students with sincerity, patience and care. To narrate an incident, there is a student who was in a relationship with a Muslim male for 14 years and had 3 kids with him. She was clueless that such actions were forbidden in Islam. After being told that this was not allowed and being made aware of the severity of such actions, she replied “Maaf Apa, I did not know this”. Alhamdulillah she made Nikah within a week of being informed. From this incident, the lack of Deeni knowledge was apparent amongst the students and therefore madressa would always surpass the allocated class time. Islamic education was continuous throughout the day. However the scheduled routine was broken up into two portions: skills development during the morning, and madressa classes during the afternoon.
Bus fares and sandwiches were provided to learners on a daily basis by the Jamiatul Ulama KZN.
Two weeks into the course, an assessment was conducted and it was determined that the students were more inclined towards sewing and therefore 70% of the time was allocated to sewing classes.
Each student was provided with a new sewing machine that they were individually responsible for. This positively influenced the overall performance of each student, as they knew that they alone were solely responsible for any damage to the machine and could not pass the blame on to others. It also taught them to take responsibility for their actions.
The sewing facilitator was a very kind and patient soul that was very understanding and had a very skillful method of passing on practical sewing knowledge. Therefore, students were able to enjoy these lessons, as there was no fear of being reprimanded. They were able to master the art of sewing many items, which would assist them in generating income for themselves in the future.
During culinary classes, students were amazed at how they could prepare a good meal whilst working within a budget. Initially they did want not to cook sweet potato and butternut as this was their staple diet. They were then taught them how to make a variety of dishes with these very same vegetables. This changed their opinions of the “sad butternut and sweet potato” and instilled within them creativity in the kitchen. Another item that they had learnt to make which brought about a great sense of achievement was roti.
The students showed great enthusiasm for the culinary skills taught to them and were extremely satisfied and grateful that they were able to enjoy the food that they themselves had cooked and take some home to their families.
As the course progressed, students expressed that they were happier here than in their home environment. They added that the time spent in class granted them some respite and at the same time gave them encouragement to face their daily challenges. These individuals were now realizing the potential within them and were on the road to striving towards success.
Having now equipped themselves with these new skills is all well and good, but lacking time management skills can negatively affect the practice and running of their daily lives. Time management was a major issue amongst the students. But, Alhamdulillah we managed to assist students in this regard and inform them of the importance of punctuality and the positive impact it can have in their lives. The greatest sense of achievement felt by the facilitators, was hearing the students say that the most important lesson they had learnt was the importance of performing Salaah within its fixed hour.
THIRD GRADUATION JALSA:
It brings about a great feeling of satisfaction and joy to know that we, the Jamiatul Ulama, the facilitators, and volunteers have achieved success throughout our endeavors. This success was acknowledged at our Third Graduation Jalsa. Again, by the guidance of Almighty Allah, we held a very successful Jalsa on the 12th December 2016. Each student was given the opportunity to share with the audience their experiences during the six month course. A common feeling mentioned by every student was their appreciation for the feeling of love and belonging that they had experienced over the past 6 months. One student mentioned that she had felt “the power of Ubuntu”.
The sincerity and the akhlaaq of the students captivated the audience and brought tears to many.
Many that attended the Jalsa were impressed with the outfits that the students wore to the Jalsa and were amazed that these outfits were products of a 6-month training course. Other items made by the students were displayed and sold at the Jalsa.
Each student who completed the course was handed a certificate and the sewing machine which they had used during the course as a gift for their hard work and dedication. Those volunteers who had accompanied these students though this six month journey and developed a strong bond of love and friendship, also gave them gifts from their own side.
Guests that attended the Jalsa commended the Jamiatul Ulama KZN on their productive efforts and conveyed many good wishes for future endeavors. Guests have pledged support and voluntary assistance to the skills development program but expressed fear and concern about coming to the current premises. An appeal for premises in the Overport area was made to the guests who showed great enthusiasm in assisting in this regard.
Jazakallah Khair to our very efficient and accommodating PROJECT H.E.L.P. team of the Jamiatul Ulama KZN, volunteers, and individuals that have been a part of this successful empowerment program. May Allah (SWT) accept everyone’s efforts, grant us all sincerity, acceptance and guide us all to eternal success Insha’Allah.
For donations towards this noble initiative, kindly deposit funds into the following bank account:
Jamiatul Ulama KZN (Lillah Projects)
FNB Umgeni Junction (200913)
Account Number: 5089 1141 828
Lillah or Sadaqah ONLY! Strictly NO ZAKAAT!