My name is Yaseen Poonah, I have co-founded an organization called Naseeha – Muslim Youth Helpline back in 2007. The helpline is aimed at providing peer to peer counselling and support Muslim youth all across North America.
As not only the founder but as a counsellor as well, I’ve had the chance to see firsthand the types of calls we receive. Contrary to popular belief, the Muslim youth do not call about the typical “Muslim problems” many think like missing fajr or accidentally breaking one’s fast. In fact, the calls we receive are from youth aged 14-30 years old about:
- Mental Health
- Pre-marital sex
- Physical Abuse
- Relationship Problems (Familial and Spouse)
- Drug Abuse
- Pornography Addiction
- Sexual Orientation
- Spirituality (including agnosticism)
I wish these topics were the exception, but in reality these are the majority of the calls we receive. YES, these issues are real and exists in our Muslim community and in most cases, a Naseeha peer-counsellor is the ONLY Muslim these callers will speak to regarding their personal struggles, as they’ve most likely been isolated from their families and communities. As you can tell, the need for a support service like Naseeha is very real, now more than ever. I want to make sure that this service is well funded and recognized so that the day our own child needs resources, you were part of making this happen.
I have learned so much from being a peer counsellor. Most of all, I have learned that Naseeha possesses the potential to be a top professional Muslim organization in the West if we collectively choose for it to be so. I ask you to please join me in investing in this organization and in turn investing in the potential of our Muslim Ummah in North America. Many of you already contribute on a monthly basis and I thank you for it, but in Ramadan, should you want to donate towards our Ramadan Goal or even share this campaign with your network and make them recognize the importance to support such an organization that effects not only our youth, but also in our society first hand!
Just as little as $20 is enough to fund ONE 30 minute phone call. Please consider donating what you can this Ramadan, and even more so: sharing this campaign with your personal networks. Your donations will be used to recruit, train and retain top of the line Muslim peer-counsellors.
We average about 600 calls a month ranging from Hawaii, Florida to Nunavut and Halifax, however, we only answer about 36% of them due to limited resources. We plan to fix this though this campaign by:
- Increase our hours of operations. At the moment we are only Mon – Fri 6pm to 9pm EST
- Expand our training to our counsellors to every 6 weeks and bring in special speakers that focuses on specific issues
- Improve our telephone infrastructure so that not only more than 2 counsellors can take calls at the same time, but to also have a queuing system so that the caller will never hear a busy signal
- Introduce our chatting portal that is in beta at the moment
- A intensive teachers training program to teachers and principals in the GTA that is open for Islamic and Public Schools
- Massive marketing program that finds distribution of marketing materials all across N.America
To find out more information or to donate, visit: http://www.gofundme.com/NaseehaRamadan
Thank you so much. May Allah (SWT) bless you and your families immensely this Ramadan.