SAYIT 2023: Sisterhood and Solidarity

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Term 1 ‘Welcoming Ramadan’ 

The 2023 SAYIT year began with the SAYIT participants recharging and preparing their mind, body and soul for the most blessed month of Ramadan. Creating and increasing their bonds of sisterhood was a success. SAYIT participants were provided with a ‘Ramadan Guidebook’, to further enhance their experience as they prepare to gain the most out of Ramadan. Creating their own dua books, gift sets containing their own artworks, discussions about key actions and concepts to explore throughout the month. 

One participant said that they “met new people and did fun activities” and another mentioned, “It got me to prepare spiritually”. The girls worked towards creating their own Ramadan gift sets, made by the participants throughout the term.    

Allowing the girls to express their creativity through decorating their own sadaqah boxes and a personalised Ramadan countdown calendar. SAYIT girls gained insight into the meaning behind giving charity, different forms of charity and ensuring acts of charity are sincere. 

Term 2 SAYIT ‘My Self in Society’ 

The second SAYIT term explored ways for the participants to reflect on themselves in this ever-changing society. Increasing their awareness by completing activities about owning their space and being a confident Muslim woman. Creating their ideal world, the skills they bring to this world, expressing themselves through the decorations of a cupcake, and thinking about issues relevant to what they have seen around them. The sessions in this term were wrapped around the concept of the life cycle of a butterfly. 

This theme unlocked an opportunity for young Muslim women to be confident in owning their space as well as diving into the ways women in Islam had different purposes and influenced us today. The girls interacted and engaged in a discussion on the various women in Islam and what we can learn from each of them. Understanding that they all had a different purpose in what they brought to the religion. One participant shared “I realised how I can change myself and make me a better person and what qualities I need to have to be able to represent Islam”. 

Overall, this SAYIT term allowed the girls to use their confidence and skills as they participated in self-development or self-identity-related activities. It was highly effective to connect aspects of this SAYIT term to the butterfly life cycle. The SAYIT team are proud of the way the girls engaged through the term as they became more aware of themselves in this changing society. 

Term 3 ‘Baking it Easy!’ 

The term 3 SAYIT program had a culinary focus where the SAYIT girls explored the processes to undertake when creating simple bakes in the kitchen. This term was the largest group of participants, with over 40 girls. The SAYIT girls participated in a jam-packed session as they created delicious treats whilst enjoying their time together. Through this engagement, the girls learnt about some of the processes that need to be experienced when they are in the kitchen, through this, the girls developed and built their individual skills in a confident space. The participants were provided with a recipe book template to fill in their creations throughout the term. SAYIT has created the opportunity for young girls to strengthen bonds of sisterhood and to get messy in the kitchen!    

Each participant walked away from each session having created delicious treats. These included – pies, pasta, pizza scrolls and cookies in a jar. Some kitchen creations were prepared during the session, and the SAYIT participants then finished preparing and making these dishes at home.  

Throughout the term, with each session the participants were given a ‘Recipe Book’, this booklet allowed the SAYIT girls to write the recipes of what they created in the session. Amongst many skills gained as a result of this term, communication and listening were key skills. One participant shared that ‘the session was a really fun process’. 

Term 4 ‘Connecting with Country’ 

The SAYIT year ended with a first-time focus on connecting with Country, increasing our knowledge about Aboriginal Australian history. The focus of this term was on establishing an authentic connection to people and history, which required an inviting and smaller space to allow the participants to share their perspectives and engage with the tasks at hand. Respect was shown with every session as the participants listened to anecdotes about Aboriginal peoples’ ways of life and stories from a 1948 Nakba Survivor, reflecting on their own knowledge regarding these two important topics. 

One participant shared “I felt like I was in 1948’, another said this kind of information is important to learn about and ‘I love stepping into another person’s shoes and listening about what had happened’. 

This term had a successful and heartfelt way of unpacking two very important parts of history. The first two sessions had an Aboriginal Indigenous Focus whilst the last two sessions had a Palestinian Indigenous Focus. With an overarching theme of coming together in solidarity to acknowledge the first peoples of two sacred lands.  

Reflecting upon the SAYIT term, this term provided our SAYIT girls with a different perspective and opened up an opportunity to engage themselves in a different kind of knowledge as we unpacked the history of our indigenous brothers and sisters, both our Aboriginal brothers and sisters and our Palestinian brothers and sisters. 

MYAC and Volunteers 

SAYIT 2023 also saw a progression with the role that MYAC (MWA Youth Advisory Committee) plays alongside SAYIT. This year saw 10 MYAC members transition onto the volunteer team. After many years of guiding, empowering, training and building on their skills, these members have been valuable in guiding the creation of SAYIT sessions. Gaining insight into the preparation of the program and taking some roles in facilitating certain aspects of the program, these opportunities have allowed them to develop and build upon their skills. 

The SAYIT sessions are primarily created based on providing a platform for young Muslim women to build their own confidence, increase their skills, engage through Islamic values and ultimately, build their self-growth with each session that comes. These foundational goals will remain a guide in SAYIT sessions to come. These key goals are achieved through creative, engaging and thought-provoking activities. 

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