The month of March celebrates Women’s History Month, a special time focused on honoring, and uplifting women. This year, women of the Detroit Dawoodi Bohras launched their inaugural “Mashtal”, or women’s business expo on Sunday 19th March. The event brought together women in the Bohra community highlighting their talents, celebrating their successes and encouraging them to support one another as they grow personally and professionally.
One of the organizers of Mashtal, Zainab Boxwala, explained the purpose behind this initiative: “These events are important for community building, learning about each other’s talents and interests and meeting new people. The vendors get to share their products and build their customer base amongst friends and community members.”
Although this is the first Mashtal held in Detroit, it was a resounding success with 17 stalls selling items from traditional clothing to children’s activities and food. There was even a pharmacy and a physical therapy business, with three stalls focused on fundraising. One attendee, Sakina Hussain, praised the event as she shared, “It was so nice to come out and relax for an afternoon. As our community keeps growing it is hard to keep up with what other women are doing. I appreciate the organizers making the effort to bring us all together so we can support one another.”
The Dawoodi Bohras of Detroit are a talented community, with over 60 businesses that range from chemical suppliers, IT firms, home healthcare, physical therapists, caterers, accountants, real estate, and retail stores. Bohra women are leading the way, sharing resources and helping each other succeed. In the last year, two businesses have officially become certified as women-owned businesses through the Great Lakes Women Business Council and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. Detroit Dawoodi Bohra, Mariyah Saifuddin, currently serves as President-elect for the National Association of Women Business Owners Greater Detroit Chapter.
The Mashtal expo drew over 120 attendees with Boxwala noting that “we are so grateful for the community support today. We have received great feedback and are already thinking about how we can do this on a bigger scale. We want to turn it into an annual event so that it becomes something that the community looks forward to each year.”
The Dawoodi Bohras of Detroit have demonstrated that when women come together to support one another, great things can be achieved. By hosting events like the Mashtal expo and involving themselves in local business organizations, they are paving the way for a brighter future for women in their community and beyond.