Bridging the Gaps with the Indigenous and Muslim community, Mahmuda Khan, Active Executive Director, HCI, Ottawa
On February 2nd HCI held, “Bridging the Gaps” a successful fundraiser dinner with members of the Indigenous and Muslim community who trekked through the snow storm in support of indigenous youth. It was a wonderful event led by key note speaker Waneek Horn Miller, a strong Mohawk woman who has overcome discrimination and trauma to emerge as one of North America’s most inspiring activists and Olympians, she empowered our communities with an inspirational talk on overcoming adversity and realising your dreams through perseverance, dedication and hard work. Many in the crowd were informed for the first time about the colonization and aggressive assimilation imposed on the indengnious people.
Additionally HCI honoured Canadian women making a difference with award recipients- Dr.Cindy Blackstock, Nazira Tareen, Dr. Safaa Fouda, Khaija Haffajee, Amira Elghawaby, Iman Ibrahim, Ayan Dualeh and Majeda El Ghaben. These women truly are role models to all aspiring to be leaders in their communities. The evening was spent with individuals from all races, colours, creeds and together fundraised $35,000 with the help of the beloved Imam Zijad Delic. The funds raised will go towards youth empowerment in the indigenous community, which will incorporate youth initiative directives and active community involvement in all issues affecting indigenous youth across Canada. It truly was a memorable night with all who attended feeling motivated and inspired. It is important we as Canadians understand that First Nations communities where basic necessities of life are absent. Running water and indoor plumbing do not exist for most residents. Poverty, crowded substandard housing, gainful employment, food and water security are daily challenges. A lack of an integrated health care system, poor education by provincial standards and a largely absent community infrastructure are uniquely positioned against a backdrop of colonialism, racism, lack of implementation of self-determination and social exclusion. The well-being of future generations can be assured through cultural revitalization in First Nations. Indigenous youth need to know that there is nothing wrong with them – it is the system under which they are controlled that needs to be addressed and all of us need to stand up and confront this injustice.
HCI have also presented award to Local Female Achievers for their high level of contribution to Making Positive Difference. Among the recipients were: Nazira Tareen for her dedication to the community since 1968, Iman Ibrahim for peace-building, multiculturalism and interfaith work, Cindy Blackstock for her 25 years of social work in child protection and indigenous children’s rights. Amira Elghawaby received award for journalism and human right advocacy along with Safa Fouda for being the very first Canadian female recipient of a Ph.D in Engineering devoted to philanthropy and helping vulnerable communities, Khadija Haffajee for humanitarianism and voluntarism. Last but not least Ayan Dualeh received award for her active role for youth empowerment and entrepreneurship and Majeda El-Ghaban for her social service to vulnerable Muslim children and Muslim foster families.
HCI is very excited to share many more prosperous years of working with the local communities to help reach out to those