Assalamu’alaykum! My name is Salha, one of the team leaders at Nawawi Center’s Hawaa Girls group. You might have noticed that we’ve had an increased number of events lately – there’s a good reason for that!
Since March 15, we’ve been working closely with both Shaystah & Zeenah, clinical psychologists from Wellington, who already have a relationship with the girls from January’s Hawaa Girls camp. Yes, these are the same ladies who ran our wellbeing workshops from the camp!
Dr Shaystah leads a mindfulness exercise at the Hawaa Girls Camp, Jan 2019
Two weeks after the attack, Shaystah & Zeenah sat down with our girls (and boys) as well as our mentors, to have an open discussion about how they were feeling and coping. Within our small youth groups, we have lost friends & family, and the young ones shared with us how sad & distressed they were. They shared some advice on coping, and committed to being there for them. There were a lot of tears, but there were also hugs and smiles as we shared a birthday cake for two of our young ones.
Clinical psychologist Zeenah Adam shares some helpful tips about self-care, March 2019
Getting together like this, is an extremely important part of healing, especially for our young Muslims. But we might take it for granted or not consider it as important as psychological treatment. In fact, Shaystah & Zeenah emphasized that social connections is one of THE most important factors!
So we took their advice….
A few weeks later, we gathered to sight the new moon of Ramadan on top of the Gondola – a really special treat (even though we didn’t get to sight it!)
Jasim Adam from the Hilal Committee presents on the importance of sighting the moon in Islam, May 2019
And then, in Ramadan we ran weekly youth iftars to provide a safe space for them to be with friends in this special month.
“Healing After Loss”
In April, we had our first “Healing After Loss” workshop, where Muslim Psychologists from around New Zealand sat with mentors and youth to provide helpful guidance around dealing with grief and loss.
“Healing After Loss” workshop participants after a mindfulness exercise on the beach, Apr 2019
Now, we plan to run monthly social events for the girls as part of our “Healing After Loss” series – Nawawi Center’s mental health initiative in conjunction with the NZ Muslim Psychology Collective.
We plan to have some fun activities, from trampolining to ice skating, to hiking or a games night! These kinds of events provide a safe space for the girls to share their worries, find support and friendship and grow into awesome, confident Muslim women together.
Dr Shaystah & Zeenah have a debrief with girls before trampolining, June 2019
At these monthly events, Shaystah and/or Zeenah will be there, to check in with the girls and see how they are doing. We also plan to have more group debriefs, as well as wellbeing exercises. The girls will know that they have someone to reach out to if they need help.
We Need Your Support!
Our team are working extremely hard to make things happen, but most importantly, we need your support and understanding.
We want you to feel like a part of our events (we have some ideas for parents sessions as well!) and need your support, trust, and endorsement. It’s important for us that our parents understand the reasoning behind our “fun” social media posts and marketing strategies. But we also want to bridge the generational gap for you!
Here are some ways you can help.
Spread the word! Talking to other parents, or sharing/endorsing our events will help build trust and encourage parents to bring their children too.
Attend our events! Encourage your girl/s and their friends to come to our monthly events. The #1 reason for cancelling is not having a ride! So make it easier for them by giving them and their friends a ride.
Donate! We plan to subsidize most of the costs for our youth events. That means we rely heavily on funding, donations and sponsorships. If you want to contribute, you can transfer directly to our bank account:
Nawawi Center: 02-0810-0101188-000 (Ref: Hawaa)
We have a bunch of plans underway, from a membership model to a girls camp, so please follow us on social media, or sign up to our mailing list, to be the first to know.
Together, we can make being Muslim special for our girls!