A new transitional home will soon provide a safe place for Muslim and refugee women in Windsor who are fleeing domestic violence, struggling with poverty or seeking asylum.
Mahwish Ayub will act as the project manager for Nisa Homes when it opens a local site in August. She said she discovered the need for a place of refuge after working with the Windsor Islamic Association and seeing how many women were searching for help.
“Sometimes they don’t have anywhere to go,” she explained. “Sometimes they’re looking for somebody so they can open up and I feel like if we have a home set up for them they’ll have an option to just reach out when they really need it.”
The home will be set up at a secret location to protect the privacy of the women who live there and will be able to cater to the cultural needs of Muslim women.
“Our goal is to empower these women to give them resources to make them empowered, self-sufficient women,” said Ayub.
Lady Laforet from the Welcome Center Shelter for Women said it’s difficult to calculate how many Muslim women use shelters in the area because religion and culture are not something staff typically ask about.
She estimates the center sees about 10 Muslim women a year, but added that number represents just a small portion of those looking for assistance.
Lady Laforet from the Welcome Center Shelter for Women said it’s difficult to calculate how many Muslim women use shelters in the area because religion and culture are not something staff typically ask about. (Meg Roberts/CBC)
“I think it’s small compared to what the need is,” she said. “That speaks to the stigma of reaching out and accessing services.”
Laforet added that a home tailored to Muslim women will be able to meet needs other shelters can’t and that a smaller, more residential style setup will make them more comfortable.
Nisa Homes already has locations in Surrey BC and Mississauga, but Ayub said she hopes the organization will continue to grow.
“I think the need is everywhere,” she said. “It’s not just in Windsor, but all over Canada.”