In a two-part series to mark International Women’s Day, guest writer Amena Matcheswala – a Senior at Athens Drive Magnet High School in Raleigh and Editor In Chief of the school newspaper the Athens Oracle – speaks to women in her community about how their faith has helped them to succeed in their chosen paths.
On another continent, Rashida Abdulali faced her own journey, this time from Nairobi, Kenya. She spent her time there raising her three children while her husband worked at a tin shop before the family moved to the United States. Here, they found educational and work opportunities they couldn’t pass up. However, with the new country and a small community came a change.
“It was not the same as in Africa,” said Abdulali. “There, they had friends when going to the religious gatherings, but it was a new normal here. I tried to teach them at home whatever I knew but if they had been there back in Africa they would have gone to a school or religious classes and it would have been a bit different and easier.”
As the family’s community environment shifted ceaselessly around them among four moves within the United States, there were pieces of their lives they simply couldn’t change. The importance of religion, community and the teachings her posterity could hold on to. In a new western society, Abdulali anchored her family to the Raleigh community of Dawoodi Bohras.
After years of staying at home to take care of her children, Abdulali now had to balance her care for her family with the new strains of running a restaurant with her husband. She had to see to it that her children pursued the educational opportunities that came with the family’s relocation to the United States. Among all this, she successfully instilled into them an understanding of the Bohra Faith that still stands strong within them. Today, her children and grandchildren are part of Bohra communities in Canada and the USA. However, the roots of their love for their community will always tell the tales of the Raleigh community of Dawoodi Bohras.