About Us

Our Story

Beginnings

How we created a Muslim women’s group using the internet

Our group was formed in 2020 with the aftermath of the incidents related to the Easter Attacks in Sri Lanka. Muslim women came under a microscope and extreme scrutiny for decisions based on their lives, bodies, clothing etc. 

This sparked a need for a space for Muslim women to come together through a viral video posted on social media. This has led to the formation of our group – Sisterhood Initiative. Even though most of our work is around SL Muslim women’s issues, we do this with the support of our non-Muslim friends because solidarity is important.

Team

NABEELA IQBAL

Head of operations and founder

Nabeela Iqbal is an activist with experience in peacebuilding. In the year 2020, she was recognized for her work by Amnesty International and the UN Office of the Secretary General’s Envoy on Youth as a young human rights defender in the face of the pandemic. She is the Founder and Operations Lead for Sisterhood Initiative.

ANGELA FORMAN

Head of Finance and Administration

Angela is a final year student in both Psychology and Business Management. She has volunteering experience with youth organizations in women’s rights and she is a recipient of the President's Guide Award.

At SI, Angela manages all finance and administrative work including volunteer relations and project administration.

AMNA RIFKY

ADMIN AND FINANCE COORDINATOR

Amna has a degree in chemical engineering and she has built a career around innovations and project management. When she is not on the field with voluntary work, she is always traveling and seeking new adventures.

At SI, she is the Coordinator for Finance and Administration and assists in overseeing volunteer relations at SI.

SA'DIYA HASSEN

Communications Strategist

Sa’diya is an engineer with experience as a Health and Safety professional and is not a stranger to breaking glass ceilings in a male dominated field. She is also a member of the TARA women’s network. Previously, she used to head Communications at SI and now shares her expertise as Content Strategist with the team.

FAWZUL HIMAYA HAREED

Head of Communications

Fawzul Himaya is from Kandy and is completing her BSc in Psychology. She has been writing since twelve years old and has bylines in The Affinity Magazine, Reclamation Magazine, 9 Mag and Medium. She is skilled in design and website development and oversees our social media and online campaigns as Head of Communications.

SAFA HAROON

Communications Member

Safa is the youngest member at SI and is passionate about young women’s representation. She runs a youth-led group working towards reducing food insecurity and has represented young people on global forums including programmes led by the UN. Safa is a member of the Communications team and works in designing and developing social media campaigns.

MUQADDASA WAHID

PROGRAMS LEAD

Muqaddasa is a freelance journalist at Daily Mirror with bylines in Frontline by The Hindu and Sunday Times. She writes about human rights issues, women’s rights, environment and health. She has editorial experience heading media teams at national model united nations conferences.

Currently she is the Co-Programmes Coordinator at SI.

SAKINA MANSOORALLY

PROGRAMMES AND MEDIA COORDINATOR

Sakina is a digital marketing specialist and has past experience volunteering in community and grassroots level initiatives. At SI, she has assisted the Communications team with her expertise in social media; Currently she coordinates events and campaigns as Co-Programmes Coordinator alongside Muqaddasa.

ANNA PETER

Organizer

Anna works as a legal apprentice and is also a freelance journalist for the Daily Mirror on social justice issues. During her time as a law student, she engaged in alternative dispute resolution (ADR) by participating in international arbitration moot competitions. Locally she has conducted workshops in mediation for universities through ‘Udecide’ and developed coursework on arbitration and mooting for law undergraduates with the Moot Court Bench.

At Sisterhood Initiative Anna is the Co-Volunteer Executive and oversees the membership and engagement of the participants.

PIYUMI WATTUHEWA

ORGANIZER

Piyumi is studying Development Studies and Law, and holds a Diploma in International Relations. She is one of the twenty from Asia and the US to be selected for LeadNext: Ambassadors for a Global Future fellowship by the Asia Foundation. At SI, Piyumi is an Organizer and helps in coordinating and facilitating events.

Samiha Muhsin

Organizer

Samiha Muhsin is a counseling psychologist at the Women's Development Center in Kandy. She holds a Diploma and HND in Psychology and is currently reading her BSc in Psychology and Counseling. She is a mentee at the Commonwealth of Learning, Canada.

At SI, she is an Organizer for the Kandy regional team.

Akeedha Banu

organizer

Akeedha is from Kandy and studies as an undergraduate at the University of Peradeniya. She is passionate about creating content on social justice issues for young women in Tamil medium.

At Sisterhood Initiative she volunteers as our Media Representative in Tamil and is a valuable translator in the Media and Communications Team.

Shifa Najumudeen

Legal Advisor

Shifa is a lawyer from Matale where she co-founded a grassroots community organization called The Girl Effect for young female entrepreneurs. She is currently working in Qatar as a lawyer.

At SI, she leads the Support Team where she provides legal counseling and support to young women facing discrimination in their own homes and family courts.

Mentors

Here are the amazing people who are guiding us on our journey!

Razni Razick

Social Activist

Razni Razick is a social activist and an advocate for marginalized and vulnerable families and co-founder of CareStation (NGO), with over 13 years of experience working with children and families in a variety of settings. She has extensive knowledge of offering advice, support, rehabilitation and guidance to clients who have experienced trauma or hardship.

In addition to individual case-work experience, she is working with street-bound children, homeless families, orphans and the destitute within statutory frameworks. Razni was bestowed the coveted Ten Outstanding Young Persons (TOYP) of Sri Lanka award by the Junior Chamber International, in recognition of her contribution towards children, world peace and human rights.

Hyshyama Hamin

ACTIVIST AND RESEARCHER

Hyshyama Hamin is an activist and researcher on family laws in Sri Lanka and other Muslim contexts. She is the co-founder of Muslim Personal Law Reform Action Group (MPLRAG) and the co-author of the study 'Unequal Citizens - Muslim women's struggle for justice and equality in Sri Lanka.'

Hyshyama is also the Coordinator for the global Campaign for Justice in Muslim Family Laws at Musawah. As a Fulbright scholar and Sie Fellow, she obtained her MA in International Human Rights at Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver.

Zahrah Rizwan

Researcher

Zahrah Rizwan holds a PGDip in Gender & Women’s Studies from University of Colombo, a BA(Hons) from University of Colombo, a Bachelors in Business from Edith Cowan, Australia and is currently reading for her Masters in Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Colombo.

She currently represents Sri Lanka in the Advisory Committee of FRIDA, the Feminist Fund and acts as a mentor to Sisterhood Initiative and the Resources Mobilization Lead at Hashtag Generation. Her research areas focus on female and transgender sex workers, Muslim women and other under-researched groups in Sri Lanka.

Hafsa Mazahim

Lecturer, Mental Health Professional and writer

Hafsa Mazahim is a Lecturer, Mental Health Professional, Writer and Youth Advocate with over 10 years of experience in the field. Her experience in working in the mental health field is both in independent practice and community engagement, and teaching children with special needs and learning disabilities.

She is also a Youth Advocate for Peace and Development and is trained to work with youth on leadership training, reconciliation, community and peace building. Her previous engagements have been at renowned organizations such as, Sri Lanka Unites, Office for National Unity and Reconciliation, Global Unites, CAFS and Theme Institute.

Questions?

Frequently Asked Questions

Ever since the pandemic, our registration and membership process works online. 

This is the link you can access to register with our group - tinyurl.com/RegisterForSI

When applying, make sure to describe your answers as much as possible because this will help our volunteers looking at the applications. 

If you are selected, one of our volunteers will inform you about this and include you into the relevant online groups that we use for communication. Here you will receive the latest updates and opportunities to engage in discussions.

Usually the application process takes a few weeks to complete from our end. If you still haven’t heard back it is possible that your application was not sufficient or meeting the criteria for selection. 

You can always REAPPLY and make sure to elaborate your answers. 

Even if you are not part of the group, you are still invited to join our discussions. 

Stay tuned for the updates we post on social media and join us anytime.

Currently we don't accept donations for our work, however you can always support our work by dropping us an email to sisterhoodinitiativelk@gmail.com where we can discuss what kind of resources can be shared and collaborations are possible. 

Sisterhood Initiative is not a faith-based or religious group; By definition we are a non-profit, non-political & non-religious discussion and volunteer group dedicated to understanding and addressing issues faced by Muslim women in the country.

A lot of our discussion points touch on faith and religion, because it is impossible to separate these identities, however it is not the main objective in our work as we try to create safe spaces for young Sri Lankan women and girls to engage in intra-faith and inter-faith discussions. 

Even though most of out discussions revolve around issues faced by Muslim women, we also work in solidarity with our non Muslim volunteers. 

An example of this is our Core Team which comprises volunteers from all faith groups.  

We believe that working together is the only way to achieve meaningful understanding and impact. 

Our group is made up of young women and girls belonging to all faith groups in Sri Lanka. 

 

The decision making is done within the core group which comprises 10 volunteers under the age of thirty. 

 

Our core team is divided into three heads of departments (operations, media and finance) while the entire team engages in discussion towards the decisions. 

 

We also have members of the past core group (alumni) and mentors who assist and support our work. 

You can always follow our work online!  

We update our discussions on our online platforms, so feel free to stay connected with us through our social media to follow up on our work:

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/sisterhood.initiativeLK

Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/sisterhood.initiative/

Twitter : https://twitter.com/SisterhoodInLK?s=20