In recognition of International Women's Day, the banquet hall at the Heim mosque was full of beautifully set tables with colorful tea pots and all the accessories that come with having a tea party. The event took place on Saturday, March 5, 2016 from 2-5pm with over 200 attendees enjoying delicious finger foods with an assortment of exotic teas. Guest speakers talked about the importance of opening a Muslim women’s shelter for abused women and children. RAHAMA, Resources and Help Against Marital Abuse, a non-profit organization sponsored Sereni-Tea to help raise funds to purchase a transitional housing shelter and to help provide the needed services for victims. April Arman, President of RAHAMA spoke about raising funds for a building that will be centrally located and in which they hope to house 6-8 women and children. They seek to provide a faith-based transitional housing shelter which can provide a safe space, halal food, a place to pray, access to Imams, as well as referral to appropriate area agencies in order to help women get back on their feet.
RAHAMA has recently hired a grant writer to help look for grants and are also looking for volunteers that they can call on to “go shopping for food,” to help with marketing and social media, etc. RAHAMA mentioned the need for mentor family for refugees, and Muslim foster families. Through their LaunchGood campaign in November, they raised $17k and were hoping to raise $10k more during their event.
Guest speakers included Mary Travers Murphy of the Family Justice Center who discussed victims of domestic abuse such as Assiya Zubair (her friend) and Angela Moss, both murdered in Orchard Park, New York; a victim of domestic abuse who shared her experiences and who is now happily married and a successful business woman; and finally a Family Court Judge who spoke about the legal rights of abused women. The Judge stated that there is a need for shelter for Muslim women and for interpreters in order to provide for the needs of the immigrant and refugee community. The day concluded with participants taking away gift baskets that were won during a silent auction, a jewelry auction and a dua or prayer for the community, the success of RAHAMA and for the safety of the women and children who they serve.
by Amber Shaikh of WNY Muslims