In the last days of 2020, Ukrainian Muslimahs’ League (UML) held the personal growth training for teenage girls in Kyiv.
“We have long understood that Muslim girls, especially teenagers, need such trainings,” says Olha Fryndak, UML deputy head. “Such events let us reach several goals at once. First, teenage girls from different cities of Ukraine have the opportunity to meet each other; secondly, we are scrupulous about the educational part of the seminar, teach the girls with certain practical skills; thirdly, we organize their joint recreational activities, encourage a teamwork feeling.
The training brought together 35 young Muslimahs from Odesa, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Kyiv and Kyiv oblast. Due to quarantine restrictions, participants from several other cities couldn’t come. UML used to hold the trainings on personal growth twice a year, but this year there was no such opportunity.
“Therefore, we decided to expand the training program to three days,” says Olha Fryndak, “so that we could share more information with our teenagers and make more time together. In addition, we were to give them a tour on the third day”.
The schedule was very busy indeed. Sheikh Haider al-Haj, a Hafiz from Kyiv ICC, taught the lesson on Muslims’ moral and ethical values. The lesson was based on the example of Maryam, prophet Isa’s mother (peace be upon him).
Sheikh Tariq Sarkhan’s lecture focused on the proof of God’s existence. The way the lecturer presented the information was out-of-the-box: Sheikh Tariq suggested thinking about the answer to the question: “If the Almighty is the Creator, then who has created Him?” A part of his speech was devoted to the peculiarities of the inviting to Islam in our day.
There was also a workshop for girls on the basic graphic design principles. Marharyta Bodretska, the tutor, talked about the design basics, free applications to help you start learning this field, showed examples of how to choose the styles properly, what tools to use when creating pictures and graphic presentations.
“Within such trainings, we usually raise some hot issues that bother teenagers. We are trying to talk it over with them, help them confide in and find a solution together. This is very important when you are a teenager,” says Olha Fryndak. “In previous years, we came up with different formats, involved specialists, psychologists. This year we decided to hold some kind of informal discussions “Between us girls.”
Anastasia Radovelyuk, the Master of Sharia Law, was the main moderator of the informal conversation. The key topic was haram and halal: the participants discussed the issues of allowed or forbidden things, welcomed or undesirable according to Sharia. First of all, of course, they touched upon the issues the teenage girls regularly face as they grow up.
The participants not only shared their thoughts, but also held debates. Divided into two teams, they tried to defend opposing points of view on the topics raised: about the fascination with social networks, negative developments among the youth, including drinking alcoholic beverages, smoking, etc.
The last day was about useful and educational activities. The girls visited Kyiv Museum of Science. During their two hours tour, they went on a quest which the museum guides had prepared especially for them, then went through the halls and explored by their own the exhibits with audio and video stories.
According to Olga Fryndak, up to 50 participants used to come to these trainings from all over the country in previous years:
“Of course, this year the quarantine forced us to adjust our plans. Nevertheless, we are pleased to have held this training, because online cannot replace live communication itself. Talking eye to eye with these girls is important for us, likewise seeing and hearing us in the same way are important for them.”
The participants confirm the words of the organizers by saying that the seminar has given them an opportunity to discuss the issues they were worried about, and has become a good round up of the “lockdown” year.