Throughout its history, CMW has provided information sessions and workshops that are topical, enlightening, awareness-building and skills-enhancing for both the Muslim and larger communities, and has built bridges and fostered understanding between the two communities in the process.
In addition, the workshops and information sessions have broadened the horizons of all participants while providing Muslim women with opportunities for personal and professional growth, and leadership development.
To date, CMW has presented the following information sessions and workshops:
“Becoming an Active Muslim Member of Canadian Society” (November 19, 2011): Thirty-eight local Muslim women attended this informative and empowering workshop intended to help Muslim women to confidently integrate into and contribute to Canadian society. Geared towards the needs of newcomer Muslim women, the presenters focused on teaching practical skills concerning Canadian culture and practices in the workplace, at school and in neighbourhoods.
“Hate Crimes and Incidents Workshop” (April 25, 2013): All Muslim women living in KW were invited to attend this educational workshop held at Our Place Centre in Kitchener. Participants were urged to empower themselves against hate crimes by learning how to prevent them, report them, and respond and heal from them using community resources. Presenters included Lee Fitzpatrick of the Waterloo Region Police Services, Crisis
Responders from Victim Services of Waterloo Region, and Imam Abu Toman Tarek from Muslim Social Services. Participants were highly encouraged to not suffer in silence, but to report hate crimes and learn how to heal from them.
“Timely Topics With Muslim Women” (April 14, 2015): In keeping with the Coalition's commitment to provide public forums on issues affecting Muslim women, members of the CMW organized and presented the event: “TIMELY TOPICS WITH MUSLIM WOMEN” at the Kitchener Masjid on Tuesday, April 14, 2015 from 7:30 – 9:00 p.m. This informative event offered Muslim women in our community the opportunity to meet
one-to- one with their Members of Parliament, to directly ask questions that were of concern and importance to the Sisters. Over fifty people were in attendance as MP Peter Braid, MP Harold Albrecht and MP Stephen Woodworth offered opening remarks. The MPs then answered timely questions relating to federal policies and practices on immigration and sponsorship, current conflicts in the Middle East, access to public healthcare for refugees,
food shortages affecting our Northern Aboriginal neighbours, Bill C-51 and challenges to Muslim women’s rights to wear the niqab and hijab.
Income Tax Workshop (March 26, 2016): CMW hosted a free educational workshop on income tax at the Kitchener Public Library on March 26, 2016. This informative workshop was open to all women including CMW members and the public. The presenter was CMW member Maryam Raza. The workshop was intended to be a basic introduction to Canada’s income tax system. Maryam presented information about rights and responsibilities as a taxpayer, the tax filing process, employment and taxes, and exploring the income tax return. Participants appreciated the practical information that they received.
Women’s Health Workshops (April 19 – May 24, 2016): CMW partnered with the SHORE Centre (Sexual Health, Options, Resources, Education) and the Kitchener Central Library to offer free educational workshops on women’s physical, sexual and mental health. These workshops were held at the Kitchener Central Library. About thirty Urdu/Hindi and Farsi speaking women registered for the workshop series. Bus tickets, free childcare, light refreshments and interpretation were provided for attendees as requested. The presenter, Jess Crowe from the SHORE Centre covered many topics during the weekly sessions includings female body anatomy, the importance of regular physical check-ups, sexual health, how to protect oneself from sexually transmitted diseases, education about reproduction, menstruation, menopause, family planning, women’s mental health issues and healthy relationships. Information about community resources was provided to participants. Most participants reported an increase in their understanding and awareness of the above-mentioned topics and provided very positive feedback about the information and education they received during these weekly sessions. They expressed their desire to have more workshops available on these specific topics on a regular basis so that more women can benefit from them.
“Time to Talk: End-of Life-Care” (November 16, 2016): CMW presented a fascinating information session at the Kitchener Masjid on Wednesday, November 16, 2016. “Time to Talk: End-of- Life Care” featured discussion about the importance of having end-of- life care conversations with loved ones. The evening was sponsored by CMW, the Time to Talk program of Hospice of Waterloo Region, and the Kitchener Masjid. Fifty people were in attendance as three panellists addressed the topic. Jessica Hutchison of Hospice Waterloo Region spoke about the work of her organization, and stressed the importance of families discussing their wishes for the health care they would like to receive as their lives draw to a close. Sister Hinda Hassan talked about her personal experiences as an Intensive Care Nurse, and presented real life stories about families who experienced trauma as their loved ones reached the end of their lives without a plan in place. Our third respected panellist, Imam Muhammad Abuelezz, spoke about the Islamic perspective on end-of- life care. Following the panel presentations,there was a lively Question and Answer period. It was decided that, because there was considerable continuing interest in the topic, a second session would be held.
“Time to Talk Two: End-of- Life Care (April 7, 2016): The sequel to the original “Time to Talk” information session was held at the Kitchener Masjid on Friday evening, April 7, 2016 with approximately 40 people in attendance. Four panellists shared fascinating information: Dr. Duncan Schwarz, a palliative care physician at Freeport Hospital in Kitchener; Mark Godin, the Director of Client Services at Hospice of Waterloo Region; Reverend John Lougheed, Director of Spiritual Care at Grand River Hospital; and Imam Muhammad Abuelezz, the Imam of the Kitchener Masjid. Those attending the information session had adequate time to ask important questions of the panellists, largely focusing on issues including the differences between palliative and respite care, the Islamic view on the end of life, and when life can truly be determined to be over, from a medical