Anna Hussain

I have been on a wonderful journey this year with The Cares Family. The organisation  ‘brings people together across generations, backgrounds and experiences to build community and connection.’ Their vision is of ‘socially connected communities in which people feel less lonely, more united and that they belong.’

I was selected for their Multiplier Programme  which was designed to invest in people and networks that are tackling these broader social disconnections at the root, bringing people from different backgrounds and experiences together to build empathy.

Nisa-Nashim is such a project bringing women together from the two communities to make a difference. Our groups, which run across the UK, create better understanding and bridge divides across the Muslim and Jewish communities. We have an action focused approach about meaningful and impactful relationships between women and welcome women who may want to set up their own group locally.

My own journey from my upbringing as an Orthodox Jew to converting to Islam 15 years ago inspired me to join Nisa-Nashim. My life experiences took me far away from Judaism but after the death of my mum five years ago, I began reuniting with the Jewish community for the first time in 30 years and realised that my connection to my community and family grief knew no boundaries.

I feel connected to both the Jewish and Muslim community and feel that my place at Nisa-Nashim was destined for me. I am  driven to empower people to drive for change in their communities. I look after aspects of the Nisa-Nashim groups nationally and support women co-chairs who are striving to bring people together to feel supported, nurtured, connected, and less isolated in their leadership journeys.

Our Jewish and Muslim co-chairs vary from aged 29-93 and voluntary lead groups of women around the country to create positive relationships and social cohesion. Often female leaders from marginalised groups can experience isolation and societal challenges. Nisa-Nashim is there to bring people together and support people on their social change journeys.

Nisa-Nashim wants to tackle gender imbalance across community leadership, empower women to have agency, improve confidence, nurture wellbeing and challenge prejudice against minority communities. We have groups running all over the country, from Manchester, Birmingham, London, Bournemouth and the North East. We have book clubs, lawyers, teachers, police officers and councillors groups which support women to come together in a safe and inclusive space.

I applied for the multiplier programme because I wanted to enhance my ability to create grass-root change. I wanted to connect with other local leaders and create a sense of belonging across the UK. I was selected for the Multiplier because of the meaningful bridge building work I am doing across the Jewish and Muslim communities to create connections understand and celebrate differences. I continue to strive to uplift voices and create agency in our Jewish and Muslim communities across the UK.