Honoring Some of Our Inspiring Female Staff This Women’s History Month
This month, Americans are enthusiastic about celebrating the women in their lives—mothers, sisters, daughters, teachers, and renowned historical figures alike. It is also important to remember the women around the world who have fought, often in anonymity, for justice and equality. We have read so many stories of women who have risked their lives to protect the rights of their people and fellow women. We, at ICNA Relief, feel that the women who work so hard to help house homeless women, feed countless numbers of families and individuals, and stand up for the less fortunate are heroes — in their own right. Here are tributes of just a few of the female ICNA Relief staff that have made a difference in the lives of so many they have encountered.
Hala Halabi is the Refugee Services Director at ICNA Relief. She started working for ICNA Relief in 2011 as a volunteer and played a key role in advancing our Dallas food pantry, refugee facilitation, and car donation programs.
Ever since the arrival of Syrian refugee families in the Dallas – Fort Worth area, Hala has worked tirelessly to help them. Through her efforts, all the Syrian families have been successfully settled and integrated into the community. Since then, she has dedicated her time to continuous learning and caring for people in need.
She has 3 beautiful daughters ages 16, 12, and 8.
If you know Malika; then you know she is rarely seen without one of her granddaughters in tow!
Her mantra is, “Strong Women Lift Other Women Up” and it’s something in which she strives to exemplify in her daily life. Passing that on to her granddaughters is extremely important to; especially in today’s world where women still struggle to be seen as equals. However; true success is in the legacy you leave behind and so she is consciously creating hers.
Developing a successful Transitional Housing model for homeless women and children 10 years ago for ICNA Relief was a personal project for her; as 30 years ago, she herself became homeless after leaving an abusive marriage. While she was fortunate to find support; that support was limited. Years later; after embracing Islam it became her mission to support survivors of abuse; often Muslim women were being re-victimized and stigmatized while seeking help. Alhumdulillah, ICNA Relief was revolutionary in creating safe spaces for Muslim women and allowed her to create a model which took into special consideration the unique religious and cultural needs of Muslim women experiencing homelessness. These women; much like Malika herself, had experienced trauma in their lives and were now finding the courage to live again.
For herself; this life has been an amazing journey and she feels blessed to be a part of so many women’s lives by offering a ray of hope in times of darkness. As a Muslim, she states that it is an honor to lift her sister up no matter what faith she subscribes to because our bond as women is universal. However, as a Muslim there is an even greater emphasis on being a leader as we are calling people to the true essence of being female and all the glory it possesses. She is aware that her mere presence in this line of work is breaking glass ceilings and paving the way for future generations.
Dana Mohamed is ICNA Relief’s Pennsylvania Program Manager and Assistant Director of HR for ICNA Relief National. She began her journey with ICNA Relief as an Outreach Coordinator in 2015, opening the Pennsylvania chapter. She has been working passionately on many programs including the annual Back2School Giveaway, the historic Peace at Home Symposium with CAIR Philadelphia, Gift Eid Smiles and various workshops, presentations and fundraisers. She is a case manager for those in need and assists victims of domestic violence.
Dana spearheaded and led the Refugee Services program which successfully resettled over 600 Syrian Refugees in PA under the PA Refugee Task Force, a partnership between ICNA Relief PA and MYCP (Muslim Youth Center of Philadelphia). Most recently, she and the local chapter opened their first facility in the state of PA, SHAMS Clinic (Social Health and Medical Services). Their clinic opened in April 2018 in Northeast Philadelphia and has served over 200 patients in less than a year, which is amazing since it is open only one day per week so far. The clinic team is strong and passionate, whose dedication and passion has contributed greatly to its success. Plans for the expansion of the clinic include an Essentials Pantry, opening soon, as well as providing dental services, in the near future. (https://www.shamsclinic.org). She also has long term plans to open our first ICNA Relief Women’s Transitional House in Pennsylvania.
In her HR role, she is leading the Human Resource efforts within the organization and streamlining processes for our growing organization.
Dr. Reshma Khan
Dr. Reshma Khan is the founder and Executive Director for the Shifa Free Clinic in South Carolina. Dr. Khan is an active participant in various interfaith programs in Charleston and has been an invited speaker at various churches, College of Charleston, 9/11 memorial services and major events including recent Women’s March in Washington.
She has taken leadership roles at the Central Mosque of Charleston, to develop outreach programs between various faiths and is a member of their Board of Trustees. She has been featured in articles and TV shows and was named as Everyday Hero by Count 2 News.
Dr. Khan is also recipient of following awards: Non Profit Leader 2017 from TUW, Leadership in Diversity award by Sisters of Charity Foundation, Mayor’s proclamation of Reshma Khan Day for August 23, 2017, has been honored as one of the ten trail blazers in SC by Women’s Right and Empowerment Network., dedicated community service award by Prevent Cancer Foundation, and Honoree at YWCA luncheon for what women bring. She was also recently was mentioned in American Association of Medical Colleges in premed navigator as women making history in communities.
With over 17 years of volunteering experience to her credit, Niveen is a positive influence in the Triangle-area and consistently demonstrates what it means to serve her community. Her dedication and willingness to go that extra mile for the needy and destitute is second to none.
It all started in her youth when she noticed the lack of services for the needy and a void of volunteers to fulfill them. As she grew into an adult, she was deeply impacted when the ICPC in Paterson, NJ lent a helping hand to her and her daughters at a time when she was struggling. Before she could even stand on her own, her determination to inspire and uplift her community began to take root.
As the Youth Girls Coordinator for the Islamic Association of Raleigh (IAR), Niveen worked tirelessly to create programs for the Muslim youth girls that would ignite their passion to serve especially in terms of sisterhood bonding as well as in light of the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah. Beloved by the Muslim and non-Muslim community alike, her work at IAR helped lay the groundwork for her own initiative “The Neyo Project” which aims to bring volunteers together to fulfill community service projects in the region.
Since joining ICNA Relief, Niveen has hit the ground running and quickly mobilized her team of volunteers to tackle everything from Hurricane Relief to planning a women’s transitional home in the Triangle area and more. For her, every day is a new opportunity to serve the community- “The heart is a strong organ, let’s make sure we exercise it before it fades,” she shares.
Most recently, she was presented with the “Beacon of Light Award” from The Light House Project in recognition of her selflessness and dedication to our friends in need. For Niveen, giving back is as easy as breathing and her enthusiasm for serving our community is inspired by the best example of a leader that ever walked the earth, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who said,
“The parable of the believers in their affection, mercy, and compassion for each other is that of a body. When any limb aches, the whole body reacts with sleeplessness and fever.” (Bukhari)
Salina Imam loves helping people. It is her passion. She has been helping her local community and the refugee community for over a decade. Working with ICNA Relief has given her the opportunity to help more and more people every day. From running food pantries, a women’s transitional home, Back2school Giveaway events to Refugee Programs, Salina has found her true calling.
She is working towards opening a Domestic Violence shelter in Arizona where there is a crucial need for such a facility. She credits her family for supporting her life calling and is especially thankful to her husband, her mother, her sister and her son for inspiring her to continue to change people’s lives for the better.