Following six-weeks of grueling planning, VOC concluded National Breast Cancer Awareness Month with its annual Pink Hijab Day. The event, which VOC has marked for the past eight years, highlights the impact of cancer within the Cape Town community, as one in four South Africans knows at least one person who has been diagnosed with the disease. As with all community-based entities, the bond between staff members played a vital role in keeping the tradition alive, where renowned VOC presenter, Munadia Karaan, succumbed to the disease.
For the past three years, the event has been hosted at Masjid al-Quds, coinciding with the House Wives Forum, which is hosted weekly by the imam of the masjid, Shaykh Aburahman Alexander.
As an event that was initiated in Missouri, in the United States of America, by Hend El-Buri and a group of high school students, it began as an experiment to break stereotypes about Muslim women. More pertinently, the donning of pink hijab encouraged Muslim women to be a voice for a disease that equally impacts the broader Muslim community.
As a day that is marked across the globe, this year VOC collaborated with Palestinian-based organization Dunya Women’s Cancer Center, which is situated the West Bank.
VOC programming manager, Rashieda Davids, explains that given the stigma attached to the disease, the station decided to take an active role in increasing awareness around breast cancer, the number one form of cancer with which South Africa women are diagnosed.
“We wanted to inspire people and encourage them to have themselves screened, because the disease impacts everyone.”
Describing the feedback from the community as overwhelming, Davids says that people have responded positively and over years and that the numbers of attendees has increased.
Inspiring VOC to continue its quest to raise awareness, one community member sponsored two consecutive Pink Hijab Day events following the passing of his wife who had suffered from the disease. His wife was diagnosed with breast cancer after being positively screened at the VOC event in a previous year.
“He had t-shirts printed for us in her memory, because she was diagnosed at one of our events, so it really had far reaching effects. The feedback that we get from our community, it really tells us that it is something that we cannot do enough of,” Davids added.
As the event is also directed toward encouraging individuals to take a proactive stance and be screened, at this year’s event guests were quickly assisted by three organizations; Pink Drive, Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) and the Islamic Medical Association (IMA).
Over the years, a number of individuals were positively screened, where at our 2016 event at least four guests was positively screened for lumps.
“What really also stands out is that people came out in droves and everybody latches onto it and asking if there is anything that they can sponsor. It’s always heart-warming to see how people go out of their way to assist.”
Davids warmly thanked VOC staff, who worked tirelessly to ensure that the event was a success and that those impacted by the disease were granted a dignified space in which to share their experiences.
“From a personal point of view, the manner in which the staff pulled together to ensure that the message gets conveyed was so heart-warming.”
Having garnered considerable support, this year VOC Pink Hijab Day received R12 000 that will be donated to the Dunya Women’s Cancer Center, for which donations will be collected throughout the month of November as the dialogue on cancer’s impacting men begins.
VOC wishes to thank the following individuals and Businesses who made the event possible:
- Shaykh Alexander and the Committee of Masjidul al-Quds – Venue
- AK Roomaney Hardware and Juices – Juices
- Aunty Saeeda Daniels – Cupcakes
- CANSA – Breast screening ladies
- Classice Bakery – Cupcakes
- Covered Pearls – Scarves
- Elite Cash and carry – Cold drinks
- Elegant Muslimah – Our white thoubs
- Islamic Medical Association of S.A.
- Johnson Fruiters- Watermelon and Sweet Melon
- Masjied Committee
- Masjidul Quds – Womens Forum
- Origin Spar- Vouchers
- OH WOW EVENTS – photo Booth and candy cart
- Pink Drive – Breast Screening
- Pick n Pay Vouchers
- Primrose Hiring – Décor
- Plastic Pack, Packaging
- Thaabiet Community Projects – Green Blankets
- Truda Snacks
- Tokyo – Pink Lip Balms
- Towel Company Briekfield road
- Spar Care Bags
- Nazley Ramjam – breast cancer bracelets
- Stark Ayres- seeds, plants and vouchers
- Digital Express – Banner Affirmation tags
- Ruwayda Davids- Cakes
- Winners Cash and Carry- Tooth paste
- Aziza Arnold- Cakes
- Media Mafia- Videography
- AK Wholesalers – Scarves