HCI Opens Women’s Shelter with Sakeenah

In November, Human Concern International partnered with Sakeenah Homes to open a women’s shelter in Ottawa, ON. At the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, our Executive Director, Mahmuda Khan delivered a speech.

Salam and Peace Be Upon You

Distinguished guests and respected leaders/members of our community.  I am extremely honoured and humbled to be able to share this platform with all the wonderful people here for such a really important event and a great cause. 

I remember the day the CEO and Ottawa lead of Sakeenah Homes met with us at our Office, we felt right away that we have to help in any way possible. It was not a decision of “should we” or “should we not”, it was a responsibility, a duty to our fellow sisters and children that we had to carry out. That meeting made  me recall a very personal experience I once had with a little girl who had to spend one month in a women’s shelter.  This girl, with her mother and two sisters, was tremendously lost and scared at the time. Until today, the family is not comfortable talking about this experience. Maybe that trauma left a lifelong impact in their lives. Inshallah they find their way back to peace, Ameen.

From my own perspective and personal experiences, Canada is the best Nation for immigrants, including refugees. It is a land of hope and opportunity for all of us. We are so blessed to have good and fair systems which continue to improve. However with such a big journey, the first few years for immigrants is not easy. There is a transitional period with a new  language, new people, different ways of living, such a diverse culture, and different religions and beliefs. All of this  takes time to adapt to.  Imagine during this immensely difficult transition period, that you are a young mother with young children, and you desperately need help and support. You need a community and a network to help you and your family survive, and help you build your dream of becoming a contributing part of this new community you are in. This is the goal of the Sakeenah Home. This project was undertaken to build a resource for our Muslim sisters and children in need, and to help provide them with a safe home, where they have the support to rehabilitate and integrate into society.

When I see the list of the guests here today, we have representatives from two Honourable Ministers who are women, a Member of Parliament who is a woman, the CEO and Ottawa Lead of Sakeenah another successful woman, and I myself am the first female Executive Director of our Organization. We are seeing so many headlines of “first female” or “one of few females” in important roles, and this is amazing.  But I wonder, would we have made it to where we are now, if we didn’t have the support from our families, the direction and guidance from our teachers/coaches, the inspiration from our communities and peers, and help from our colleagues.  What’s happening now, all the positive changes and improvements we are making, are a result of our ability to come together and dream of a united vision for our generations to come. 

We must continue to join our hands for our people, have discussions, share ideas, bring forth actions, and put in our best efforts. With our continuous collaborative work, the Sakeenah Home, and all other shelters/transitional homes that are doing great work, will change lives and give women the ability to do amazing things, step into leadership roles, and live the most fulfilling lives.

Once again thank you all for joining us today, and for your immense support of Sakeenah’s work. I humbly ask you to continue supporting local organizations like Sakeenah who are making a lasting impact. 

And God Willing, you’ll always find HCI standing shoulder to shoulder with these organizations, as we fulfill our mission of moving people from crisis to sustainability.

You can watch the entire event here.

HCI has been proudly serving the Muslim community for 40 years, and through your generosity and support, our programs are continuously improving the lives of many vulnerable people. Each donation made enables us to further the mission of taking impoverished people from crisis to sustainability.

November 10, 2020

Human Concern International


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