After months of preparation and having to adapt to new regulations as per the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, VOC successfully hosted its very first Pink Hijab Day (PHD) Luncheon on Wednesday. For more than a decade, the event sought to raise much needed awareness around Breast Cancer in the global commemoration month of October.
While hundreds of women usually attend the event, the rules and regulations attached to South Africa’s Level one Lockdown left co-ordinators finding innovative ways of accommodating a limited number of guests. In previous years, more spacious venues had allowed for a variety of activities to take place. Dozens of small business owners would showcase and sell products such as jewellery, ointment, clothing and baked goods, while a photobooth would see women document their presence and support for the cause.
The financial constraints brought on by the pandemic also cut VOC’s budget for the event drastically short, with many generous donors coming to our aid. The co-ordination team had worked vigorously in the days leading up to the event, which included sourcing and collecting the trimmings and contributions.
Despite being downsized from two years ago, which was the biggest event to date, the Victoria Road Masjid hall’s location was central and well-suited to the occasion. Donned in glamourous pink outfits, the ladies presented their pre-booked tickets while having their screening done at the entrance. The pink theme rang true throughout the hall as cherise and soft shades were accompanied by pure white draping at the entrance and interior. Fairy lights danced across the room, which was further bedazzled with vintage-style décor.
A vertical bed of roses in pink gradients acted as this year’s “photobooth”- abandoned due to social distancing protocols put in place to avoid potential contraction of Covid-19. Many of the 180 guests were avid listeners and said they were determined to attend the event another time.
Several speakers had taken to the podium and unpacked issues concerning breast cancer and its impact, with survivors touching the hearts of the audience while detailing their experiences. A host of inspirational and educational talks had the ladies listening attentively as they snacked on individually served savouries and, later, a three-course meal.
Among the speakers in attendance were: Mawaddah Brown, a Speech Therapist by profession, working in health and rehabilitation with adults and children with special need; neurolinguistic practitioner Yusuf Mohammed; Medical officer in oncology under Dr Louis Kathan, at LIFE Vincent Pallotti hospital, Dr Bassaam Najjaar, founding member of Collaboration for Good NPC, Nadia Charles; and CANSA’s Rehana Parke, who spoke about paediatric child awareness and how to detect cancer in children.
Scarf stylist Wajheeha Mehndi also hosted a tutorial of at least three different styles. The Razz-Ma-Tazz Mask competition was also successful, with winners receiving beautiful gifts for their effort into home-made masks. Al Risaala Nasheed group’s melodious salutations on the Prophet (PBUH) meanwhile echoed through the hall during interludes and as the event drew to a close.
An auction of a beautiful cake and bouquet is expected to see at least R2 600 going toward cancer initiatives.
“The event was very nice! From young to old came out today and it was lovely to be with the guests and to meet presenters,” said Pensioner Farieda.
“Everything was perfect! It’s an honour to be here, knowing there are limited seats. The line-up, the speakers were very motivational and inspirational. Even the stories of the survivors… I was blessed to have been sitting next to a cancer survivor (who was) in 2014 diagnosed with cancer, had both breasts put off and now she’s married, alghamdulilah. There is that journey we have to go through, but the support I think is important,” said one guest.
VOC programme manager Rashieda Davids said the challenges had been immense this year, but the team ploughed all their efforts to make it happen.
“A heartfelt shukran to the organizing team, those who assisted, and to all our listeners who came out to show support. We are also in gratitude to our superb sponsors who so generously donated to this year’s initiate. May Allah SWT Reward you all and may your business grow in abundance, Ameen.”