Project Sakinah: 2011 Reflections and 2012 Plans for Stopping Domestic Violence.
1/4/2012 1:26 AM
As we enter into 2012, we reflect upon the past year with mixed feelings. On one hand, our hearts are heavy with the memory of Nazish Noorani and many others who have been victimized by their own spouses in 2011. On the other hand, the level of our community’s engagement with us, and with other efforts dedicated to stopping violence within our families over the course of the year gives us hope and encouragement to continue the struggle.
Our main focus during 2011 was on collaborating with existing organizations and upon launching our multi-faceted campaign. Here are our major achievements for 2011, along with future plans for 2012:
Collaboration: Project Sakinah’s policy is to work together with national, local, and regional organizations on the opportunity to stop domestic violence. In the year 2011, we were able to collaborate with several organizations to set up a booth at the annual ISNA convention in Chicago, IL. Later on in October, we collaborated with more local organizations in Chicago and Columbus, OH. The list of our new collaborators for 2011 includes ISNA and SoundVision at the national platform; Turning Point for Women and Families in New York; the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, Hamdard Center, Apna Ghar, Islamic Foundation at Villa Park, Arab-American Family Services, Islamic Society of Northern Suburbs, American Islamic Association in Chicagoland; Islamic Society of Greater Columbus, Muslim Family Services of Ohio, Muslim Student Association at Ohio State University and Muslim American Society’s Columbus chapter in Ohio; Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation in Texas; and Muslim Men Against Domestic Violence in Atlanta. We continued working together with long-time collaborators Altmuslimah, the Peaceful Families Project, and the Islamic Social Services Association of the USA.
Campaigns: We launched the “Gathering Community To Stop Domestic Violence” campaign in 2011. We plan to continue the campaign during 2012 as well. Under this campaign, we are engaging people from all walks of life to do whatever they can to stop domestic violence within their community.
One important part of this campaign is a khutbah drive in which we are encouraging community members all over the country that they ask their imams to address domestic violence in Friday sermons.
Another campaign that we will be launching in 2012 is “1001 Actions against Domestic Violence.” The goal of this campaign is encouraging community members to take various actions against domestic violence at personal, family, and community levels whenever possible. We are currently generating a list of those actions, and we welcome all community members to help us through contributing action ideas to place on the list.
Team Building: No campaign can succeed without a dedicated team to work at grassroots levels. Project Sakinah aims to work with local volunteers to build teams wherever community members can step forward and commit to sustained effort. Teams formed in Chicago and Columbus last year. These teams are now assessing their communities and taking various actions to engage their community members.
Capacity Building: The assessment of the community leads us to working to build the community’s capacity to deal with the issue. When the needs of a community become clearer to us and their willingness to act becomes known, we can suggest how to build on those foundations. Toward that end, we are preparing, various training workshops, seminars and programs to meet the needs of various sectors of the community. These packages include programs for both youth and adults. The scope of the programs ranges from anger management workshops to couplehood training sessions. We are collaborating with several service providers in various cities to make them as beneficial, efficient and cost-effective as possible.
Website: Project Sakinah’s website has been our main tool since the conception of the project. As we grow, our website is also growing. By the grace of Allah, almighty, we are already working on major changes on our website. InshaAllah, we will be launching a renovated website with more tools in a month or so.
Media: We were able to produce and launch 9 new awareness videos in 2011. We hope to produce even more in 2012, by the will of God.
Money Matters: Project Sakinah is an initiative of Dar al Islam, a New Mexico based Islamic organization known for outstanding projects and results for more than thirty years in North America. In the past three years, it has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on Project Sakinah. Services of professionals have been hired for the project and Dar al Islam stays committed to do whatever is still needed for the core establishment of the project. But as we stretch ourselves into various cities and towns, it is clear to us that we cannot sustain this growth without the support of the community itself.
Project Sakinah is a community project and it is only natural for the community to support it physically, morally, and financially. None of the above-mentioned work can continue without direct monetary support from the community at this point. We hope and pray that more community members will wake up and appreciate the work being done under the banner of Project Sakinah, and volunteer their time and money to help us expand our services for those in need. May God bless us all and keep us safe and on the straight path, Ameen.
Research: Assessment of the community is vital to our work. In 2011, we collaborated with Peaceful Families Project to conduct a nationwide survey: “Attitude of Muslim Men and Women Toward Domestic Violence.” Over 800 Muslim men and women from America and Canada participated in the survey. The results of this survey will be published soon. This survey is only the first one of a series of surveys and polls that our researchers are lining up to assess our community’s resources, needs, interests, attitudes, demographic, challenges, etc.