Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said “The similitude of believers in regard to mutual love, affection, and empathy is that of one body; when any limb of it aches, the whole body aches.” OPPC has taken one huge step closer to that way of thinking. Using our collaboration and certification with Muhsen, this Eid Al-Fitr marked our very first special needs childcare during our Eid Prayer. This accommodation that we provided for special needs families brought in three kids: Ahmed, Serena, and Joelle. While this might seem like a low number, it had a huge impact on the families. The children that came in got the chance of feeling included on their own holiday, just as any kid should. They deserve that inclusion within their own communities, as do their families. Serena’s mother sent an email to our Muhsen facilitator expressing just how much the daycare affected her family. She stated, “Thank you for allowing me to participate in this past Eid Salah. My 19-year-old daughter has never once been able to attend and I have never been able to participate, only if she was in school. Our normal routine would be to drop our family off and find something to do for an hour, until Salah was done.”
No family should ever have to worry about not being able to participate in a holiday tradition. Without this childcare that was offered, entire families would have felt excluded within our community. There is no way our ummah can function as one body without the vital organs that are our special needs families. In an attempt to keep all families feeling included, OPPC has launched a support group run by a professional social worker for caregivers to meet other caregivers and share their experiences and hardships. For the special needs children, OPPC wants and needs them to feel accepted. In an attempt to achieve that, we have a buddy program going on within all of our youth programs. Any child that needs it will have a personal buddy assigned to him/her that will be in charge of making sure the child is included and has an altered activity for them any time it is needed. The picture above displays Ahmed and his buddy, Aiman Farhan, at our Eid Special Needs Care Program.
Contact OPPC’s Muhsen facilitator, Aiman Farhan, at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions about our programs or any other accommodations you or someone you know may need. May Allah (swt) put His barakah into our Muhsen initiative and make our community one that operates as one body.
By Aydah Nofal