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Empowering Divorced and Widowed Women with the 'Fund Her Future' Program
Community
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Oct 24, 2021
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3 MIN READ
Hakeemah Cummings
contributing writer
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Left to Right: Saman Quraeshi, Program Director of Ikram Foundation, Hakeemah Cummings, Outreach and Partnerships Coordinator of A Continuous Charity, and Somayyah Ghariani, Executive Director of Ikram Foundation
Hakeemah Cummings
contributing writer
Imagine that you are a recently married woman, a newcomer to the U.S. and pregnant with your first child. At first the marriage is going relatively well, but progressively it’s becoming more and more difficult to manage as the tides begin to change from festive to tense, then violent and abusive. You are now a new mother of a young son who finds herself without strong connections to a new community and no financial means to provide for yourself in the case of divorce.
All the while you are living under the threat of violence at the hands of your spouse on a regular basis.
This is the situation Fatoumata Niang found herself in. She ended up getting divorced from her abusive husband and in a quest to find a means to support herself and her young son, she found the Fund Her Future program. It literally changed her life.
Fatoumata Niang, one of the recipients of the Fund Her Future 2020 campaign.
The Fund Her Future program is a partnership effort between A Continuous Charity (ACC) and Ikram Foundation to provide financial support for divorced and widowed Muslim women seeking education to empower themselves and independently lead their families. Ikram Foundation seeks to help divorced and widowed women increase their earning potential by providing educational grants and scholarships as well as supporting the pursuit of employment. ACC’s mission is to alleviate the burden of interest-bearing student loans on Muslims in America by providing interest-free student loans.
The partnership serves a clear purpose: Divorced and widowed Muslim women deserve our collective help. The two organizations, through their combined efforts, are providing interest-free student loans particularly for these women through the Fund Her Future program.
Fatoumata had reached a point of hopelessness when she heard about Fund Her Future; she reached out to Ikram Foundation and received a loan, enrolled in school, and found the support and motivation she needed to be able to stand on her own feet as a woman, a mother and a survivor. She is one of three women who were given Fund Her Future loans last year; this year, ACC and Ikram aim to add many more women to that list.
Watch Fatoumata's story, in her own words.
The Fund Her Future theme of 2021 is “We are all Auliya’ to One Another,” inspired by the verse in the Quran that says, “the believers, men and women, are auliya’ to one another.” [9:71] What does it mean to be auliya’? It means we should support, advocate, uplift and rush to the aid of one another. It is a comprehensive word that means so much more than being an ally – it means being each other’s safety and security in every sense of the word.
When Muslim women report that they are uniquely challenged with stigmas associated with divorce and widowship, that their voices are unheard and the support is absent in the communities in which they reside, we know that we are collectively not living up to this verse. The Fund Her Future program is a step in the right direction.
If you would like to be better auliya’ to divorced or widowed Muslim women, click here to donate to the Fund Her Future 2021 campaign. The support for the 2021 campaign has been phenomenal – check out our hashtag #FundHerFuture on Instagram to see all the support the program has been receiving, Alhamdullilah! You can join! The campaign runs throughout October.
For more information about the program and how you can be involved, please email me at hcummings@acceducate.org.
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