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Until Next Time

posted by Georgina de Barros

At the most recent Coalition of Muslim Women of KW Women Who Inspire awards gala, KW Counselling was proud to receive their “Friend of CMW” Award. The timing of this Award was partially to commemorate the beginning of a new chapter in our partnership with Coalition of Muslim Women (CMW).

CMW has been housed at KW Counselling Services for the past several years, one of the founding members of a groundbreaking program called “Together is Better”. Approximately seven years ago, with seed funding from Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation and ongoing support from United Way Waterloo Region, we were able to create a community hub in one wing of our building. This no-fee hub has housed several grassroots community groups, and provided them with practical resources as well as organizational support.

When CMW first joined, they were working out of their homes, struggling to meet the demands of their mandate to “strengthen and support the voices of Muslim women” with limited resources. A resource that they haven’t been limited on is people. Over the years we have seen amazing women come through our building to do their work – whether that was doing administration work in the office space, conducting community workshops, holding interviews with the media, or supporting community members one-on-one through their “Hate Crimes Project”. CMW has also been a mentor to some of our other groups in the Together is Better program, inspiring new ideas and connecting to resources.

As the Muslim community has grown in the Region, KW Counselling has often turned to community partners like CMW to inform our practices going forward. Fauzia Mazhar, Ghazala Fauzia, Sarah Shafiq, and the other leaders of the Coalition have been a great example of how to serve a population that is marginalized as homogenous by remembering to treat each member as an individual within that experience. By focusing on the individual strengths of Muslim women, CMW makes the whole community stronger.

This month, we won’t say “good-bye” to the Coalition of Muslim Women as they “graduate” from Together is Better and move to their new home at the Family Centre. We will, however, look forward to the next chapter of our work together with ilá al-liqā – “until next time”.

 

 

Georgina de Barros is a KW Counselling Services’ Intake Resource Consultant and our Multicultural Outreach Worker.