A dozen years ago, several Muslim women in Milwaukee decided to become more involved in their community. Today, this small group has evolved into an active organization called Milwaukee Muslim Women's Coalition. Group members focus on public service and public perceptions of Muslim women and their faith.
Insherah Farhoud is a pediatric nurse practitioner at the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. She is one of the founding members of Milwaukee Muslim Women's Coalition. One of the group's early goals, she recalls, was helping Muslim women find jobs so they would be "better, productive citizens in the community and better role models for their children."
The Coalition initiated a medical assistant training program to help Muslim women gain financial independence. "We've had dozens of women graduate from this program," says president Janan Najeeb.
She explains that many women who took part in the program had no opportunity for employment before. "Some of them, for example, are widowed or divorced, or they come from low income families," Najeeb says. "I would say 80 percent of the women who graduated from our program have found wonderful jobs and now have full insurance for themselves and their families."
The program was so successful, says Insherah Farhoud, the Coalition expanded it to train people from the community at large. "They were not all Muslims or all Arabs," she says. "Our program helps them get the skills and build their confidence so they can get in the health care system."
For more than 10 years, Farhoud says, the Coalition has also reached out to Milwaukee's under-served families with health care services. (READ MORE)