Growing up with a sibling with severe learning difficulties as a result of microcephaly, I could see first-hand the struggles my parents faced in accessing madrasah education in a mainstream setting. I vowed to myself at an early age that I would one day do something about this and with the grace of The Almighty my dream came to fruition in 2007 in the form of an after school club at Newfield – a school catering for children with special educational needs, where I was on placement during my teacher training. A handpicked team of enthused undergraduates joined me in my mission to deliver a fun filled and engaging hour of activities to meet the religious and cultural needs of students in our care, through a holistic approach. It was an instant success and we had a huge amount of fun along the journey – from bringing the hajj to life (re-enactment with ehrams and all!) to a trip to the central mosque where students were given their very own grand tour and a special party afterwards. For some students, particularly those that were wheelchair users this was their first ever visit to a masjid and my team and I were honoured to be a part of it!
Since its inception in 2007 much has changed at Tuyoorul Jannah; our original hand-picked team are no longer undergraduates, the number of learners we cater for is no longer just six, and our remit extends far beyond just delivering madrasah education. However, our vision and enthusiasm remains the same, that we work to empower the individuals we serve to achieve their full potential in every aspect of their lives (and we definitely still have just as much fun!)