Interview with Nor Nasib (Secretary and Treasurer) and Hannan Amer (Chair and Founder)
Why was Amal set up?
Amal is a feminist organisation and we believe in the power of women to fundamentally shape and change the future of Ireland and in the power of Muslim women as agents of change.
We recognise that our voices and our needs are under-represented in Ireland and that is why we originally set up Amal to platform and assist the needs of Muslim women across the island.
Amal means hope or aspiration. We are a Muslim women-led organisation working to meet the needs of all women with a connection to our respective faiths and cultures. You don’t need to be religious, you don’t need to be born into the faith but we are deeply focused on this community because it’s one we know, understand and live in.
What impact has Rethink Ireland had on Amal?
Rethink Ireland has had an immeasurable impact on our organisation.
Through Rethink Ireland funding and consultations, we have been able to structure our organisation, plan long-term and and continue to serve Muslim women. We were able to employ our first staff to assist in setting up an operation plan and a new strategic plan within our organisation. We now stand our own two feet and serve with confidence.
You make me feel that I am not alone – Quote from a participant
What are your plans for the future?
We hope to expand our community outreach programme, by employing and training more staff in order to assist in looking after each case. Our cases are increasing every day and we aim to assist those people effectively.
What advice would you give to budding social innovators?
You need to get the trust of the community first. We do this by way of our weekly social events such as our coffee mornings, activity classes and youth projects. This has allowed us to gain trust in the community and has provided a space for women to comfortably speak to us.
What is your best experience with Amal?
We always look forward to visiting Direct Provision centres. We distribute essential food, clothing and toy packs to Muslim families during the holy Islamic month of Ramadan or during our Islamic festival, Eid. Nothing compares to the smiles on faces of the children and families that receive our packs. Our funniest moment is when one of our volunteers dressed up in a costume for the children. Let’s just say…it wasn’t the finest moment for that volunteer, but the children loved it and that’s all that matters!
Amal has brought hope and positivity to my life. I came here two months ago and everything was new to me. Amal made me believe that Allah brings great, wonderful people to brighten your way and the world – Quote from a participant