•Be a tree that bears fruits even if stones are thrown at you, Orolu Balogun charges
The executive Director, Bounties Charity Initiative Dr Fadilah Jimoh, has said the organization would continue to strive towards eradicating the stereotypes and divisions among Muslim women and liberate them from poverty and ignorance; just as other Muslim professionals charged Muslim women to always be good ambassadors by impacting positively in the society.
Speaking exclusively to Vanguard at the Conference and Exhibitions tagged “Muslimah Impact’ held at The Vantage Point, Ikeja, Lagos, last Sunday, Dr Jimoh, one of the founders of Bounties Charity said Bountis as an organization that has several charity organisations as members do not give fish but train and give you the basic knowledge and guidance on how to fish.
“Muslimah Impact is a concept being powered by Bountiis Charity Initiative. It is one of its kind because it is a charity initiative that is not based on membership of a particular organization. It is also not based on sects, neither is it based on financial status nor any class distinction.
Irrespective of who you are or where from, as long as you are a Muslimah, you can benefit from Bountiis Charity. It is rare to find an organization that umbrellas several other Muslimah charity organisations.
“So, we’re able to put together sisters from different organizations coming together to look at their commonality and ignore their differences. At Bountiis, we believe we can rise above all our challenges. We no longer want division.
“Imagine somebody putting on a full veil, would see a sister in jeans and cap and say “astagfirullah” NO. We also do not want a situation where a sister in a small hijab would see another sister fully covered and feel bad. We want to eradicate this stereotype and whole divisions that cover the Muslimah ecosystem. We are erasing these and bringing everybody together in order to solve our common challenges. We don’t judge your physical appearances, we believe everybody has a part to play in the life of others. Muslimah in the country particularly the South West, Muslimah are going through a lot, and we just need to drop our differences and tackle our challenges.
“In Bountiis, we don’t give fish, we train you how to fish. We don’t give money, but we have different platforms where you can become financially liberated. We bring professionals in different areas to donate their knowledge, we allow communication, sharing, and networking among the professionals and the vulnerable and by doing so, we liberate some women from poverty and ignorance.
“It is like a knowledge platform and not like a money distributing platform. In fact, whenever we do entrepreneurship training, we give them a coach that sees them for the next two to three years to ensure that the training is manifested. These are what we do backstage that is not in the media.
“In terms of success, it is wholesome. We had five co-founders of Bountiis, one died and out of the five left, I am the only one in the country at the moment. One is in the US, another in Ireland, Scotland and another in England. We decided to have this organization and at a time, I was relocating back to Nigeria.
“People felt for this kind of organization to thrive, you must have a big name and lots of money. But we felt all we needed was sincerity. We have sincere intentions and are ready to fight this stereotype. Have you ever seen any Muslimah conference that has been powered like this with an exhibition up to international standard? We want to show that we are not illiterates, we are not backstage and that is why the success has been wholesome.
“Whenever we have a training of say 15, we would pick from over hundred applicants, give priority to the widows, divorcees and other vulnerable people. This particular event is powering 1000 Muslimah both within and outside Lagos.
“For me, Almighty Allah has accepted sincerity. We are not really in the media because we feel, if you put us in the media, it might affect our sincerity and Imaan. We just love and are happy to be at the backstage.
On the vision of the organization, Dr. Jimoh who obtained her Masters and Ph.D in England and worked with European Union on Science and Technology before relocating to the country a few years ago said: “We are erasing the stereotype so that our girls would realize that you don’t need to push too hard to be accepted by the society, you don’t need to drop your values and ethics before you are being accepted as Muslimah. Mutiat Orolu Balogun, a Legal practitioner and Executive Director, Hijab Rights Advocacy Initiative, who was one of the panelist, said in being a good ambassador of Islam, Muslim women must strive to impact more in the society and environment she lives.She added that despite the hostility as a result of Hijab, a Muslim should strive to be a tree that bears fruits even if stones are thrown at it.“This forum brings Muslim women from all walks of life together, teaching Muslim women to be positive impactors in the society. What we are saying is that, it is not enough you are a Muslim woman, if you are ambassador of Islam and heeding to the commandments of Allah, you will know that that our impact in the society should be felt more.
“That is what the conference is all about to attain. The panel spoke about the Identity as Muslimah. “In a society where they are still hostile to hijab, how can we still thrive that is not well receptive to us and become positive, not negative and bitter; how can we be the tree that bears fruits even if stones are thrown at it,” she said.Another speaker at the event, Ola Olabimpe, the founder of Sister Chillin, urged every Muslimah wearing hijab and facing harassment not to relent.
“You are doing the right thing, and keep doing it. Rather, try to educate others, If you go to a workplace and they don’t accept you, move on to another place, If Allah doesn’t not want a job for you, you will not have it even if you go naked. Don’t be forced to drop your values and rights.
“The event themed ‘Rising Beyond Challenges and Distractions in Today’s World Socials’ was a platform to sharing ideas, business and professional networking with a view to liberating vulnerable Muslim women. It also featured Interactive Sessions, business and professional classes with several notable professionals giving motivational messages and career and business ideas to participants. “