PAAMA LAJNA VIRTUAL
PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT WORKSHOP 2020
Saturday, 28th November 2020
The Third Annual Pan-African Ahmadiyya Muslim Association UK Women’s Personal Development Workshop was held on the 28th of November 2020. Due to the restrictions as a result of the global pandemic, the workshop was held virtually for the first time since its inception. The event was conducted over zoom with over 70 participants in attendance. The event kicked off with an Opening prayer and recitation of the Holy Qur’an by Miss Azeemat Durojaye from PAAMA North region with a verse from Surah-Al Mumin’un.
This was followed with a lovely rendition of Qaseeda by Miss Tahira Mensah and some African Songs of Praise from London Region Lajna.
In her welcome address, Mrs. Faosat Sanni, the National President, PAAMA Lajna UK, thanked all the participants for attending and highlighted the circumstance under which the event was happening virtually. She expressed her gratitude to all Lajna who had been making gallant efforts throughout the year in spite of hindrances from the global pandemic. She encouraged all to make the most of their time and the opportunities availed to them in this virtual era. She concluded by championing all to embody the true teachings of Islam and leave up to the exemplary status of women in Islam by improving all aspects of their lives.
The first talk of the day began with Financial Education and Literacy by Brother Kemo Kassama. It was an inspirational teaching about financial stability and freedom. He gave the audience an insight into acquisition of assets, budgeting, property investment, savings and having the right attitude with expenditures. Avenues for professional consultation were shared with Lajna and simple steps that could be implemented in their daily lives was also highlighted.
The next session was led by National Rishta Nata secretary, Mrs Khadija Mensah and National Lajna General Secretary Mrs Fatima Boateng-Dawood on the Importance of Marriage in Islam. This session highlighted the growing concerns of the Institution of marriage within the community and the challenges faced by parents and young girls in finding suitable partners. The presentation outlined the basics of finding a partner as described in the Holy Qur’an as well as the Hadiths of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). Queries on navigating this institution of marriage and the challenges in the modern era were addressed and all participants were advised on avenues of support and encouragement.
The new Rishta Nata online platform recently launched by the Jamaat was also discussed and members were provided with all the details needed to access this platform.
There was a brief recess, which was followed by a talk from an Oncology Registrar at Kings College Hospital, Dr. Lavarniya Rajakumar. Dr Rajakumar engaged participants on Female Cancer Awareness and Health. This talk included updates on NHS guidelines concerning routine screening, signs and symptoms to look out for, risk factors of most common female cancers and general healthy lifestyle approaches. Participants had the opportunity to ask questions and receive information on a variety of female health issues.
The next session was a newly launched addition to the workshop, “Youth Corner” for young girls to share their experiences and opinions on a variety of topics of their choice. The first speaker for this session was Miss Bareera Ghaffar who spoke to participants about her academic journey into Clinical Psychology. She provided young girls with a road map in education including the pitfalls, coping with stress, finding internships and the balance between education and service to jama’at.
The other speaker was Miss Rahmat Bayo, who delivered a presentation on Peer pressure. She highlighted the positive and negative impacts of pressure and the signs to look for in children that might be experiencing it at schools. She urged all parents to support and engage in positive dialogue with their children to ensure emotional and mental wellbeing.
Youth Corner session was followed by a talk by a renowned Educational Specialist and founder of ‘Everything’s Education’, Ms. Elaine C Walker. She spoke on getting the best out of education for your child in the UK. She highlighted the inequities in access to education for immigrants and BAME communities and the need for maximising representation at all levels of education. She outlined the steps that could be taken to ensure bridging of this gap right from exam preparations, school selection and academic support that can propel children to the same level as their global counterparts. She explained the meaning of different acronyms in the education sector in the UK. She left her contact details, in case of further queries or clarifications.
The programme continued with an interactive session with National Sadr Lajna Imaillah UK, Dr. Fariha Khan. In her address, she urged the attendees to implement all they had learnt at the workshop in their lives, families and the society as a whole. She discussed updates on the Lajna Imaillah UK Centenary Project Maternity Hospital in Sierra Leone. She encouraged members to ensure they participate in this blessed project. She took questions and suggestions from the audience on how to improve Lajna Imaillah events/activities across the country. She expressed joy at seeing the youth presentations and how they were able to deliver such fantastic talks to their aunties and encouraged collaborations with PAAMA Lajna at a national level. Specifically, she proposed that it would be good, if PAAMA ladies annual report could be added to the Annual Report of the Lajna Imaillah UK Annual Report, for future reference and records
Dr Khan highlighted the need for integration within jama’at and the commitment of her National amla to enhancing this at all levels from National to local levels. She thanked all participants for attending the event and conveyed her regards to all Lajna and their families.
Participants were thereafter engaged with Kahoot quiz which was based on Islamic and general knowledge.
The discussions ended with an open forum, to give members the opportunity to ask questions and express thoughts, recommendations, and reflections on anything. Discussions came up on experiences and challenges facing black Muslim women in the UK, mental health issues especially during the pandemic, employment opportunities, healthy lifestyle and safety measures, End of year reflections and virtual community engagements were shared. Attendees shared warm sentiments on being able to communicate with their fellow PAAMA sisters on such a platform after a drought of in- person events and conferences due to the government’s guidelines.
The day was crowned with an informal catch-up amongst members followed by a brief Vote of thanks and concluding address by PAAMA Lajna Sadr, Mrs Faosat Sanni. She thanked all participants for taking time out to attend the virtual event and encouraged them to take on board all the outcomes of the discussions. She also urged everyone to be each other’s keeper and increase welfare check on each other to foster good social and mental wellbeing amongst members especially the vulnerable and elderly. The event came to an end with a closing prayer.