After the project For Me, Us and Everyone has already shown in Leipzig how much potential lies dormant in the local Muslim community, and what this community is able to achieve, we can now speak of a successful project in Dresden.
The implementation was made possible by the Cellex foundation- The foundation, which has kindly sponsored the project. In Dresden, Khurshedai Homid was the project manager. She supported the participants with words and actions during the whole project and always had an open ear for them. She planned and accompanied the initial workshops and helped wherever help was needed. Just how effective the help was, is evident from the number of projects that were created in the five months. After all, they are seven projects. The goal was four.
The range of the projects that were created is wide: one deals with clothing donations, one organises short-term childcare and another a regular reading-aloud-afternoon for children. The projects that were developed also include an online cooking course and help for migrant women, who have questions about jobs and job applications, as well as a sports course for women.
In an interview, Khurshedai told us about her work, what she enjoyed doing, but also what hurdles she encountered and how the individual projects will continue.
“What were your duties in the project For me, us and everyone?”
“I was the leader of the project For Me, Us and Everyone in Dresden. I supported the women and gave suggestions. I accompanied them in the individual steps of their projects and translated for them when language difficulties arose. I also organised the workshops in which the women were explained the basics of project management.”
“What did you particularly like about the work? What did you enjoy doing?”
“I really enjoyed the work a lot. I’ve only been in Germany for three years myself and at the beginning it’s always difficult with the new language, the country and the people. I volunteered and wanted to share this experience with others. The women are often insecure and cautious in the beginning. I wanted to offer them security and make it possible for them to make new contacts. It was nice to see the women getting involved and learning new things, seeing them working on themselves. The core of the project is to use the potential of the women and give them a chance to realise their ideas. So I asked: “What do you want to do? What is your wish? Where do your talents lie?” Seeing how they worked together and implemented their projects was a lot of fun.”
Of course, we also talked about hurdles and problems that appeared during the project. Khurshedai answered quite openly and honestly:
“One challenge was definitely the fact that each of the women has several children, which made the meetings more difficult. When I invited the women, I also had to provide childcare. We immediately started this together as a project. So, childcare came about quite naturally, because the need for it existed.”
Khurshedai named the Corona crisis as a further challenge. Despite the limitations and the revised launch date of the project, many project ideas were identified and finally implemented. “We made the most of it and designed the projects in such a way that none of the participants were exposed to any risks. We kept our distance and went outside into the park instead of meeting in the office,” Khurshedai explained. With some wistfulness, she added that without the limited opportunities through Corona, more people would have probably participated and got involved in the individual projects.
However, there were not only hurdles, but also beautiful moments and surprises. Khurshedai reported that the husbands of the women involved in the project also gradually became involved and supported their wives in their work, for example, by helping to set up and operate the technology for the online services.
A goal of the project For me, for us and for everyone was also to reach the people living in the district with the resulting projects. Here too, Corona was an obstacle, but not a knockout blow. Especially the project “Open Air reading for kids” was well received and rightly used by the neighbourhood. The project is expected to continue in autumn and winter: “We are looking for solutions, so that we can implement the projects in the colder months as well. We are planning an excursion to an apple juice factory. In winter, we want to go to the Christmas market and read stories on the topic.” The project “Pass on good things”, in which donations of clothes are collected and passed on, has also proved successful and will definitely be continued. Contact has already been established with voluntary initiatives that are also active in the field of clothing donations and will link up with the project.
On the last question, Khurshedai had to think for a moment, but then answered enthusiastically:
“What did you personally take away from your work in the project For Me, Us and Everyone?”
“In the beginning, the women were very skeptical whether their projects would run or not. In the end, they did and achieved more than they had expected. They gained more self-confidence and realised that they are part of the community in their neighbourhood and can do something for the society. They have realised that they are not a parallel community. Seeing this development has pleased me very much and shown me how important this project is.”
Despite the limited opportunities in some cases due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the changes in the schedule, the project was a complete success. The women became empowered and realised what they could do, and that it does not always have to be difficult to get something going.
It also became clear that the needs still exist, as there are already requests from other women who also want to implement their own projects.