Elena Mironenko, the head of the social organization “Maryam”, has received one of the awards of the city competition “Kyivite of the Year”.The award ceremony took place at the Museum of History and the winners in different nominations received awards from Mayor of Kyiv Vitali Klitschko.
“Today we traditionally award our women. The women who have realized themselves and done a lot of important and useful things for our city and its inhabitants,” – says the Mayor.
13 Kyiv women of different professions have received the awards. Among them, there are human rights defenders, crisis managers, public figures, as well as those who are involved in charity work.
Elena Mironenko has received a diploma and an award, becoming the winner in the “Charity” nomination.
“I am just a part of our big family. And it pleases me that our organization was noticed and noted at the city level.It is certainlydifficult for us to evaluate ourwork because no matter how much we have done, it seems that we could have done more.But to receive such an award from the hands of the Mayor is evidence that our activities bring benefit to society. “
It is worth reminding that last year the organization “Maryam” held a number of charity events, including those aimed at combating the pandemic.For example, activists of the organization made and distributed thousands of reusable masks. Moreover, after the opening of the Center for Gender Equality, Prevention and Counteraction to Violence in Kyiv, “Maryam” regularly provides it with food and basic necessities.The activists of the organization also participated in providing assistance to hospitals and other medical institutions, orphanages, families of internally displaced persons, and low-income people.All this work was noted by the city authorities and the Kyiv community.
Activists of Ukrainian Muslimahs’ League (UML) held an event in the heart of Kyiv on the occasion of World Hijab Day. Nazma Khan, an American Bengali, founded the event several years ago. Since then, millions of women around the world celebrate this day every year.
On February 1, UML activists held a photo exhibition about successful Muslim women.
“First of all, we have launched this initiative to show the people that it is Muslim woman’s personal preference of wearing a headscarf,” says Olena Myronenko, one of the event launchers.
In addition to the exhibition, the activists held a workshop on tying the scarf on the head. They offered the passers―-by to try on a hijab and take a photo in a new look. Olena Myronenko said the idea was women who decided to try on the hijab could feel like Muslims at least for a while. And despite the frosty weather there were a lot of those wanted to see how they looked like in hijab.
“It’s sensible and pleasant,” admits Maryna, one of participants in out of the box event held by Muslimahs. — But it’s more than that. I have always wondered how Muslim women tied the headscarf so beautifully. And now I know that there are some secrets. Besides, covering hair is correct both according Muslims and Christianity beliefs.
Another event participant, Olha, has put on a hijab for the first time. She smiles while setting the headscarf:
“I really like it,” the girl says, looking at herself in the mirror. “Firstly, it is very comfortable, and secondly, it is warm, my ears are fine. I would even go around outside like that. I think hijab is also comfortable in summer.
These and similar reviews prevailed among women who took part in the event held by Ukrainian Muslimahs’ League. In activists’ opinion it only went to show that such events were urgently needed:
“This gives us an opportunity to break certain stereotypes about Muslim women,” says Suzanna Islyamova, UML activist. “In addition, we once again emphasized that the hijab is primarily of spiritual significance. This is not just part of Muslim woman’s’ appearance.
Let us recall, that in the next two weeks, Ukrainian Muslimahs’ League are to hold Hijab Days in several other cities of Ukraine.
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.
Vira Fryndak, the first Ukrainian hafizah among women, had a talk about the Quran with the seminar participants, and gave several tutorials on the Holy Book studying.
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.
On 28 August, volunteers of Women’s Social Organisation “Maryam” distributed school supplies they’d bought in terms of a charitable benefit “Ready for School!”. Joint efforts of many people resulted in helping needy families from Kyiv, Zhovti Vody, Yahotyn, Sumy, and Zaporizhzhia, significantly easing their financial burden for three years in a row. Most of such aid is directed to grade-schoolers.
This year, unindifferent people once again didn’t let those families down. One good-doer bought 45 schoolbags and spent another UAH 5,000 on office supplies; another brought UAH 2,000; another UAH 4,000 were donated by many to the charity’s special bank account; someone from Rivne city sent a large box of office supplies — not to mention many people who also bought the office supplies they could afford and personally brought them to Kyiv ICC when attending the mosque.
School bags filled with everything necessary have found their owners. We wish glorious academic records for the schoolchildren, and God’s many blessings for the good-doers!