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 The Beginning: A Promise to My Grandmother

The inception of the Mnisaa Shelter can be traced back to a vow I made to my grandmother. After deciding to pursue nursing in the ninth grade, I committed myself to establish a place where individuals like my grandmother who was treated less than human by her doctor could receive care. This promise later transformed into a vision for a clinic that catered to the unique needs of Muslim women.

My Origin

While studying at Howard University, I noticed the struggles of Muslim women who sought medical care. Despite requesting specific accommodations to maintain their religious beliefs, these women often faced a lack of understanding and compliance from the medical staff. This realization prompted me to create a clinic that provided culturally competent care, mindful of the needs of Muslim women. That’s when I founded Al Nisaa Health Clinic

Combining Dignity and Care

Drawing from the trauma of watching my grandmother, I wanted to ensure that all patients were treated with respect, regardless of their financial status. By creating an environment where everyone was treated equally, I allowed patients to maintain their dignity while receiving the care they needed.

A Turning Point: Encountering Domestic Violence

One day, a Muslim man brought his wife to my clinic for an examination. He insisted on accompanying her during the exam, which I found odd. However, once the examination began, he chose to leave the room, leaving his wife alone with me. For the first time in her adult life, she had someone she could trust, and she confided in me that she was a victim of domestic violence.

At that time, I had limited exposure to domestic violence, especially among Muslims. Unsure of how to help, I did my best to comfort her during her visits to the clinic. I even created a fictional disease to convince her husband that she needed to return for follow-up appointments.

Unexpectedly, I began to see more women experiencing domestic abuse. To provide temporary refuge, I initially offered them a place to stay in the upstairs rooms of the clinic. However, the clinic’s known address posed a risk, as their abusers could easily find them.

Establishing a Shelter for Muslim Women

It became clear to me that a temporary solution was not enough. To make a real difference, I needed to create a safe haven for Muslim women who were victims of domestic violence. This realization led to the establishment of a shelter exclusively for Muslim women, ensuring their safety and providing the support they desperately needed.

While  Mnisaa Shelter has come a long way since its inception, the need still very much exists. What started as a promise to my grandmother evolved into a clinic and eventually a sanctuary for Muslim women in need. Through compassion, understanding, and dedication, we continue to make a difference in the lives of those we serve.


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