SWO Articles and Documents
Visit to the San Rafael Canal Ministry
SAN RAFAEL, CA -- Members of the Sufi Women's Organization were welcomed to the San Rafael Canal Ministry by Rev. Carol Hovis, who serves as Community Advocate for the 21-year-old organization. The Ministry serves the very low-income residents of the Canal area in San Rafael, most of whom are immigrants with limited English proficiency. She provided an overview of their programs that include Youth Education and Development, Community Leadership, and Community Advocacy.
The youth education program offers English language classes, homework assistance, service-oriented youth groups, and preparation for college. Carol told us that for the last four years all graduating seniors in their program went on to college with support from the Ministry.
The Sufi Women visited the Middle School Youth Group made up of youngsters from many countries and answered their thoughtful questions about Sufism and Sufi women. We then visited with the Girls Speak Out group, which welcomes sixth through eighth grade girls from many cultures. We were inspired and impressed by their comments. They said that their group was a special place for them to learn about self-protection and how to speak up for themselves, to work on projects together, and to develop friendships and to talk. Each girl introduced herself (sometimes translating for each other) and said what she enjoyed about the group. In turn, each of us from Sufi Women Organization then introduced ourselves and said what we enjoyed about SWO. Many of our comments were similar to the girls' comments: friendship, a sense of belonging, helping each other, working together, and building confidence and self-esteem.
SWO and our hosts from the Canal Ministry then went to a nearby restaurant for dinner and conversation. Our founder, Seyedeh Dr. Nahid Angha, Ph.D. talked about the reasons for founding SWO as a humanitarian and advocacy group for women around the world. We talked about our work in the local jail, our literacy program, the many stories that we have to share from our international connections over the Sufi Women Dialogue, and upcoming events such as the IAS Sufism Symposium in San Jose, from April 30 - May 2.
SWO has an ongoing, supportive relationship with the Ministry and at this meeting we brought donations of homework supplies and snacks for the children. The Steps of Light program, which is a newly developed program by women of International Association of Sufism, donated Spanish language and other books for children in the Canal Ministry program.
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