By: Cilmi Eldho
As a Christian, I’ve never worn the Muslim headscarf, Hijab, as it’s not part of my culture.
However, for my last month working at Amina MWRC, I decided to wear it hijab to raise money for our Hardship Fund. This fund allows women in desperate need to access money, for example, if they have no recourse to public funding or nowhere to stay and they need a taxi to get to their new home.
At first, I was excited as I was trying something new, but also apprehensive as I didn’t know what to expect. I was a little worried I would be a target of hate crime.
My Muslim colleagues gave me scarves to wear. This was very kind and made me feel like part of the team in a new way. Some colleagues and volunteers showed me how to style my hijab which meant I then felt a little more confident.
I got lots of encouragement from service-users, volunteers and staff members during my work hours. Some of my friends outside of work were surprised, as we’re Christians and we don’t usually wear hijab in our culture. It gave me some insight into how people make comments to hijabi women about their clothing choices. I didn’t feel it was any of their concern what I would choose to wear.
Some friends asked why I was wearing the hijab and when I explained, they donated to my cause, which was amazing. We’re now at the end of the month and I’ve raised nearly £200 so far.
I’ve realised that it isn’t always the wealthy people who donate to good causes. It’s often people who have been through struggle who can relate to the problems of the women we work with and open their hearts and their purses.
Wearing hijab for a month was long enough for me to get over my apprehension and for it to become part of my daily routine. I believe women who wear hijab are resilient and must surely gain confidence through their experience of wearing hijab and overcoming the worry about being singled out as a visible Muslim. I want people to know hijab does not make you oppressed or depressed. I wore it out of my free choice and the women I spoke to shared that they also chose freely to wear it.