On January 18th the annual Go Girl event was held at the Chestermere Recreational Community Centre. This is event which is coordinated and run by the Chestermere Regional Community Association in partnership with Mental Health services and Synergy. It is an award winning one day program of fun filled activities for girls ages 10 – 16. Participants were exposed to new and different activities during the day to help girls become more confident, while developing a healthy lifestyle in an encouraging environment. The event began at 8:30 am and ran through to 5:00pm and had approximately 60 participants.
During lunch break from 12:00pm to 1:30pm there was a Resource Fair, where several different local organisations and businesses were invited to set up their booths to help promote community openness and togetherness. A group of four ladies from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Womens Association, set up an attractive and interactive booth where they had free Henna application, free Hijab Demo and literature. It is important to note that Islam teaches peace and Muslims are practitioners of peace. One of the many ways to illustrate true peace is for Muslims to integrate into society and to connect with communities and be supportive of its members, like the participants at the Go Girl event.
Participants were introduced to the concept of Hijaab, as a representation of faith, cultivation of modesty and a way of self-empowerment. Participants got to choose and try on Hijabs, after which they were asked how they felt. The girls expressed an assortment of feelings from it being strange to wonderful and one girl even compared it to wearing armour, as a form of protection. Another aspect of our booth was application of Henna. It was supremely popular, so much so that our two volunteers graciously stayed an hour late in order to accommodate for the demand. (The participants were thrilled with their tattoos that adorned their hands and were very grateful) The participants were thrilled to experience the application of Henna and were pleased with the Henna patterns that adorned their hands. One girl remarked that she will remember our warmth and kindness whenever she sees Henna art.
It was a very successful event that helped us dispel the stereotypes that media regularly enforces and clear up misconceptions of Islam. That Islam is not a radical extremist religion but rather a religion that purports peaceful beliefs. Volunteers from Ahmadiyya Muslim Womens Association are grateful for the opportunity that the Go Girl organizers gave them to be part of such a valuable occasion. This event was a clear depiction of peace where people of different backgrounds, ethnicities and beliefs came together to collaboratively support and help young girls to feel treasured, worthy and confident, who in turn will pay it forward and become standard bearers for those who display and propagate mutual love, affection and peace.