The Dawoodi Bohra community of Vancouver yesterday hosted a virtual conference entitled #ChooseToChallenge to mark International Women’s Day. Around 50 local Bohras from a range of professions gathered to celebrate and honor women, while acknowledging that every woman faces her own unique set of challenges. The speakers included:
- Zarina Dairkee, a talented crocheter who donates her hats, scarves and gloves during winter.
- Alifiya Vasi, a registered physiotherapist and exercise guru.
- Nafisa Rehmanji, a Montessori & Early Childhood educator.
- Tahani Mutahar-Nezar, who grew up in Yemen and became a successful entrepreneur in Canada.
- Tasnim Murtaza, a dietitian and baker.
- Jumana Khambati, a biochemist and former research scientist at the University of Calgary.
The Dawood Bohras are a worldwide community that believes strongly in female empowerment. Mrs Tasneem Huzeifa Hamid, a representative of the Dawoodi Bohras of Vancouver, said, “Women and girls of the Bohra faith play an equal role in pursuing education, and are strongly encouraged to pursue fulfilling careers in industries such as healthcare, IT, academia and business, as well as public service. However, we have all faced challenges within wider society along the way, and it is comforting and inspiring to come together on International Women’s Day to discuss the need to raise awareness of bias and the ongoing battle for equality.”
The Dawoodi Bohras of Vancouver also operate a community kitchen that delivers every Bohra family with at least one meal per day. The FMB program, as it is known, was set up partly to ensure that nobody goes to bed hungry, but also to reduce – for women in particular – the time spent every day in food preparation, thus freeing them to pursue other productive activities.
The Dawoodi Bohras of Vancouver have lived and worked peacefully in and around the city for decades. The 90 families congregate at the community centre, in Surrey.