Why would Rukiya wish January was renamed Merry January?
Rukiya Omar is shown in the middle of this photo at the Muslim Medical Association inaugural conference on Mental Health, held at the U of T St. George's campus. I was a speaker on the intersectionality of chaplaincy and mental health. She was there to receive her copy of my latest book Red Coconut!
Rukiya has been an inspiration to many girls incarcerated. The one on her left is one such example. Kailey is an amazing example of what meaningful reintegration means. Both of them are happily enrolled at the University and work part time. Their education matters. Rukiya being a mom with two beautiful kids is a hardworking and intelligent girl hailing from Somalia. She has spent her free time volunteering in the Jane and Finch area to enable a positive space for young men living through their teenage angst. Ms Omar calls her new project Talk Hadal- a parenting initiative.
Lyla Ali was no exception to hard work and mothering five children after her husband passed away. She spent the rest of her youthful years until she passed at the age of 70 ensuring her children were fed, protected, loved, educated, married, birthed, celebrated, and everything else a mother does for her children and grandchildren.
This award named after her is an inaugural shot at recognizing a successful attempt for a single mom making a dash at education after struggles of a socioeconomic paradigm.
I recently met a successful young man who shared his dream of empowering single moms and struggling mothers with monthly supplementary bursaries. His own father had passed at a very young age and left behind three sons in the care of an enterprising, young, and smart wife who did everything to ensure her children were sustained with dignity. She never remarried for the sake of her children!
His reaction to Rukiya's and the late Lyla's stories was gold! Oh, that is the story of 2 million women in Canada. Shoaib Khan wants to honor this award with a personal check from http://www.oneparent.ca/
Prophet Muhammad, on whom be peace, said: ‘I and the grey-cheeked woman will be like this" – and he indicated his index and middle fingers – ‘on the day of judgment: the woman of high standing and beauty who loses her husband, and devotes herself to raising her children until they either reach adulthood, or die.’ - Narrated by Sunan Abu Dawood