Mercy Mission launches hotline for Muslim womenWritten by Massey Hoveyda
Help may soon be just a phone call away for Muslim women in distress.
1-888-315-NISA, the first toll-free anonymous phone counseling service for Canadian Muslimahs, is being launched this month by Mercy Mission, a non-profit Islamic organization.
The helpline, a project of Mercy Mission's Women's Resource Centre, is designed to answer questions and provide references and advice to Muslim women across the country seeking support, guidance or even a listening ear.
“The aim was to create a helpline for Muslim women by Muslim women [”“ where one has access to] a sister on the other end of the line who is knowledgeable about Islamic culture” says Sabah Kazmi who heads the Women's Resource Centre.
The goal, Ms. Kazmi says, is to cultivate an atmosphere where Muslim women in crisis feel comfortable calling in to discuss their problems privately with someone they can relate to, and who understands the cultural and religious issues they might be facing.
According to the organisers this helpline will be similar to crisis lines created by other faith groups in the community, and will help address culturally sensitive issues.
A dedicated group of 15 Muslim female volunteers were selected through an application process to run the helpline. These volunteers have backgrounds in counseling and Islamic culture, and have also received training on a variety of subjects, including depression, anxiety, suicide prevention, family conflict, etc.
“No matter how great or small the issue, there will be support there for the sisters who call in,” Ms. Kazmi says. “Our goal is to one day insha allah (God willing) have the line accessible to Muslim sisters across North America”
In order to preserve the anonymity of the operators and callers, and maintain safety of all involved, the location of the office located in Mississauga is not identified.
Initially, the facility will operate Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, from 7 to 9 p.m. and Thursday and Friday mornings, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
The helpline number is 1-888-315-NISA and can be reached by anyone across Canada.
Ms. Kazmi says that the response to the project from the community has been very encouraging.
For anyone who is interested in becoming involved, donating or supporting this local non-profit can visit Mercy Mission'
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