During the last 12 months we have been thrown into a situation that was beyond belief. Something none of us could have ever anticipated or could have made up in our wildest dreams. The unimaginable; locked up at home for our safety, not allowed to go out, not allowed to see others. Not from humans or war but because of a virus none of us had the power to contain. This last year has been extremely difficult for everyone. Here at MSA we tried to provide help and stay connected to our participants. This was done mainly online. We continued some of our usual sports activities online. We organised a Couch to 5k companion/mentoring programme to pair women up to run together and encourage each other in a safe way and when it was permissible. In addition to this we continued our Positive Minds workshops.
We could no longer sit in cafes and drink tea together, but we kept a platform open for women to still feel connected and supported. Isolation is not natural for us; humans need interactions and women in particular need other women.
Before the pandemic we met sisters in coffee shops and shared experiences with a cup of tea. We reached out to so many women in our community. Women have attended each week with their burdens but left feeling enlightened and uplifted. When the pandemic hit, and we were unable to meet in person we did not let this stop us.
Our sessions became more amazing. We delivered sessions such as anger management, sisterhood, art therapy, prophet stories, and many more. We tried to cater our sessions, so they were relevant to the circumstances around us. We discussed the Pandemic and how to minimise anxiety as well as dealing with it in a spiritual way.
Each week we tried to organise different speakers to facilitate the sessions. Some weeks we delivered the sessions ourselves, but we are not experts so other times we managed to book in experts to open various avenues of help for our participants. We have currently delivered 55 sessions online. We have also gone one step further and organised some short courses for our participants too. Recently we delivered a Parental workshop, aimed at mothers of teenagers. We have delivered sessions to help our women gain life skills like IT skills, as they were forced to use more technology due to the pandemic. We wanted them to feel comfortable and confident. Furthermore, there was a demand for a book club, so we did not create one, but two book clubs to cater for their needs. We hold one during the day and the other in the evenings.
The most amazing part was that we can see the transformation in our participants. How these sessions have helped their mental wellbeing, it has given them a platform to share their stories and gain advice. A safe space with like-minded sisters. Many women have told us their confidence has increased. This has enabled them to speak publicly or return to education or work. At MSA we have empowered women through sports but now that empowerment is deeper. MSA have now moved into the next phase of empowerment and now want to inspire a vision to create HERstory.
As the pandemic situation changes for the better, we hope to continue the great work we do. We look forward to resuming sessions physically, but we will definitely be incorporating more online sessions to connect with more women and for those unable to meet us.