We are excited to announce our Community Investment Project with Nisa Homes! Alhumdulillah, we are now in a position to respond to the needs of our local community and are undertaking this investment project as part of our Corporate Social Responsibility. In the next year, you’ll see opportunities to help us invest in our community through Nisa Homes through in-shop events, in-kind donations, and more.
The following blog is by Zena Chaudhry of Nisa Homes, and describes some of the work the organization does for women in our community.
Homelessness. Poverty. Food insecurity. Domestic violence. These are just a few of the issues I deal with on a daily basis as a House Operator for Nisa Homes. Being situated in the Greater Toronto Area means that I see women and children from every ethnicity and every corner of the globe.
When I joined Nisa Homes in April, I could never imagine that this many Muslim women and children could be left without shelter or food. I’ve worked with women who have been physically, sexually, emotionally, and psychologically abused and have had their children witness these acts of violence. I’ve also worked with refugee women and children who do not have a cent to their name and have escaped violence in Syria and Iraq. These women have left everything and everyone they know and have moved to a country where they are given little to no support.
I was born and raised in the GTA and I could never have imagined the hardships that women and children in my own community face. Coming from a middle-class, Muslim, South Asian family, I was blessed with a roof over my head and food on my plate. My parents sheltered us from the aspect of worrying about finances, paying bills, worrying about where our next meal was coming from, or being exposed to many of the difficulties others face. It was always a foreign concept framed as “we have to help the poor and less fortunate because we’re blessed with a comfortable life.” We rarely explored why that single mother needed assistance every month to buy food for her four children, or why that father was on welfare, or why that family of ten lived in a two-bedroom apartment. When I began volunteering with various organizations and then became a House Operator, I realized how much poverty we could eliminate if we worked together and removed the stigma around welfare and homelessness in our community.
I also realized that the women that came to Nisa Homes weren’t raised on the streets. They weren’t from “broken homes” and they didn’t make bad decisions that caused them to end up in this situation. They were often from regular middle-class families like my own – but when things turned south, everything fell apart because they were never taught how to plan for a rainy day; how to handle finances, bills, debt, housing and employment insecurity.
Now that I’m part of Nisa Homes I look forward to removing the stigma around these issues. I will be at the Salam Shop Paint Night this Friday to answer questions you may have about our organization, the issues in our community, and how we can work together to educate our community about homelessness, poverty, food insecurity, and domestic violence.