Domestic violence is an abhorrent problem that affects families from all ethnic, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds. On January 25, 2014, more than 250 members of the North Texas Muslim community came together to stand up against domestic violence at Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation’s ninth annual fundraiser.
The event featured Imam Yaseen Shaik as keynote speaker. Imam Yaseen was the imam at the Islamic Association of Collin County in Plano, and recently became the resident scholar at the Islamic Society of Baltimore. The much beloved religious leader returned to North Texas to speak out against domestic violence and ask men in the Muslim community to adopt a zero tolerance policy toward domestic violence. He was joined by honorary guest Imam Abdel Malik Mujahed, several imams from the mosque shuras in North Texas, and the young men of Alif Laam Meem, America’s first Muslim fraternity, to recommit to a 2011 pledge against domestic violence.
Proceeds from the event supported Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation’s Peace in the Home initiatives, including the Peaceful Oasis shelter, the first and only domestic violence shelter in North Texas to serve the specific needs of Muslim victims of domestic violence. Since opening in December 2012, the Peaceful Oasis shelter has served 122 women, nearly double the number initially estimated. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters at the annual fundraiser, we will be able to continue providing outreach, shelter and counseling to domestic violence victims.
In 2013, Hind Jarrah, our Executive Director at Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation, was asked to serve as a mentor for the Women’s Initiative Fellowship, a signature program of the George W. Bush Institute. The Fellowship is a yearlong program designed to enhance the leadership skills of women around the world, and pairs each Fellow with a prominent female American mentor.
For the past year, Hind has mentored an Egyptian woman, Shaima Tantawy. Shaima is the executive manager and treasurer of a start-up NGO that helps educate destitute women and children living in the slums of Cairo.
“Our mission at Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation is to empower women, to help them identify their needs and discover ways to meet those needs. The Women’s Initiative Fellowship is a tremendous opportunity for women to learn from each other. Like our mission, it emphasizes the powerful role women can have when they receive the tools and training to achieve their dreams,” said Hind.
In September 2013, a group of Dallas-based foundations, including the Harold Simmons Foundation, Boone Family Foundation, Embrey Family Foundation and Dallas Women’s Foundation, created a donor-advised fund to invest in the sustainability of Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation.
“To have the continued support of these four well-respected foundations is a tremendous endorsement of our work to empower women in our community,” said Hind Jarrah, executive director of Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation. “We are grateful for the opportunity to build an organization that will have a positive impact in North Texas for many years to come.”
The fund, which is distributed over the course of two years, will allow Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation to enhance our infrastructure and ensure the longevity of our programs. The fund has enabled us to create and fill the chief philanthropy officer position so that we can attract more charitable contributions and community partners to support the foundation’s future growth.
Domestic violence survivors often struggle with clinical depression, anxiety and, in some cases, post-traumatic stress syndrome. To help reduce the effects of these conditions, Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation offers regular yoga classes to women at the Peaceful Oasis Shelter domestic violence shelter.
Led by a certified yoga instructor, who is also a licensed professional counselor, these yoga classes uniquely combine power yoga with group therapy. Body movement, breathing and meditation techniques clear away physical stress, while guided imagery and visualization exercises help survivors find their strength. In this unique form of yoga, each posture represents a conflict in their lives.
By incorporating these techniques into their daily lives, survivors are able to overcome the challenges of depression and anxiety as well as balance energy and mood. The rewards of yoga – physical strength combined with self-acceptance and discipline – help them regain a sense of wellness in mind, body and spirit.