"This is where my journey to independence began -- New Chardon Street Family Shelter (Boston, MA). The road to healing started when I walked through their doors in 1986 after leaving my abuser. Today, walking through these doors once again was very emotional to say the least. I was flooded with memories and more so of how long in fact my journey has been.
Like yesterday, I can recall the phone call I received from my now ex-husband, who called to inform me he was on his way home to kill me. From the intensity of the beatings I’d experienced in the past by his hand, I had plenty of reason to believe his threat. Leaving with my two young sons and the clothes we could carry, we fled in the middle of the night, sleeping in our car overnight in Franklin Park in Dorchester, MA.
I found myself homeless but safe, alone with two small children. Determined to remain safe, I found my way to the New Chardon Street Shelter which gave me the opportunity, at such a low point in my life, to find some stability and begin to heal. It was a blessing to have shelter in my time of need.
Fast forward to some 28 years later, it's an even greater blessing to be able to return to the shelter, Alhumdilillah, in a position to give back. Today, as the Director of ICNA Relief MA, I delivered new winter coats, hats, gloves and scarves to the homeless women and their children who live where I once lived. It is truly through the Mercy of Allah that I am able to be in this position to help others. Being one who experienced abuse and homelessness in my own life, I am extremely passionate about the needs of others and ensuring that the under-served receive the same opportunities that I have in my life InshaAllah."
-- Sr. Malika MacDonald-Rushdan, Dir. ICNA Relief MA/Women's Shelters
University of Illinois Students Travel to New York To Participate in ICNA Relief's Brooklyn Rebuild
Even two years after Hurricane Sandy, many homeowners still don’t have their lives back together because the damage to their homes was so extensive that they’re still rebuilding.
Earlier this year, ICNA Relief held a New York Rebuild on Long Island along with Nechama, the Jewish disaster response agency, to repair Sandy-damaged homes on Long Island.
This November, ICNA Relief is holding another rebuild in Brooklyn, NY in collaboration with Resurrection Brooklyn and Rebuilding Together NYC to repair homes Sandy damaged in Sheepshead Bay. The former is network of Presbyterian churches currently on a mission to provide resources and assistance to homeowners rebuilding homes destroyed by Sandy.
Rebuilding Together NYC, is a non-profit housing organization that "provide[s] free critical home repairs for low-income homeowners, primarily those who are elderly, disabled, and veterans with help from volunteers."
Forty students from the Muslim Student Association of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign came out from more than 800 miles away to volunteer with ICNA Relief USA. For two days, the students with guidance from experts from Resurrection Brooklyn and Rebuilding Together NYC have been mudding and taping drywall in three houses across Sheepshead Bay.
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