“I consider myself to be one among the many millions of unsung and often ignored Muslim women in the world. These are women that are strong, liberated, awakened in all senses, exercising their rights, voicing their opinions; they are the leaders, educators, doctors, writers, artist, activists and so on.”
Mrs. Hajjat Khadija Omar Kayanda’s (KO) story
Mrs. Kayanda is a mother, a married woman, and a passionate and aspiring Muslim African, Tanzanian woman. She was born in Tanzania, raised in Kenya, before returning home in Tanzania in her late teenage years to complete her education and pursue career opportunities. Mrs. Kayanda has been working in Logistics, Events and Project Management for more than 14 yrs. She holds qualifications in Project Management, Logistics and Office Management. Her decades long experiences have seen her work with various high profile organisations including AMREF and REPOA. She has consulted and advised on several women empowerment and entrepreneurship initiatives including the Graca Machel Trust’s Women Entrepreneur, as well as served as the National Coordinator for the WAELE (Women Advancement for Economic and Leadership Empowerment) Africa Foundation. In 2018 –2019, she was selected as Tanzania’s ambassador to the Think Tank International’s Young Leaders Initiatives. In recent years, Ms. Kayanda has channeled her energy to promote women-led local community development in Tanzania as founder and one of the coordinators of the hugely successful Pink Hijab Initiative Tanzania. She currently works fulltime as an Events and Partnership Manager with REPOA, a leading policy think tank in Tanzania.
Mrs Kayanda shared what she is most passionate about and why with us. As a fashion-conscious young Muslim woman, she is in love with the colour pink. Pink is her signature, because it symbolized the Islamic values of care, compassion and togetherness, binding women and girls together in common causes similar to how the beautiful flamingoes work in tandem. She draws her inspirations from these virtues and is passionate about instilling positivity. In addition, promoting the rise of young females from the shackles of poverty, marginalization and inequality. Her passion is to inspire young and emerging women to assume leadership in their daily lives, be it in government, business, school or the community at large.
“If we don’t show up for others it will hold us all down. We need to support all women to ensure our feminism is inclusive. Unless we’re all free, none of us is free”
She firmly believes that through peace, love, respect, and mutual understanding, we will be able to provide a helping hand that will empower each woman to reach out like a sister to one another. In today’s world, where our chances of connectivity are much higher, it truly is possible to create a culture of sisterhood and unity. As we share our experiences and voices interactively throughout the globe, we receive the chance not just to bring visibility however, to breathe life into our stories.” Her work is not so much about defining Muslim women, or anyone, but undefining them. About undefining ourselves and connecting to that universal something that exists within all of us.”
Mrs Kayanda shared with us what she does for a living and about her organization Pink Hijab Initiatives TZ (PHIT).
She believes that every year you should be doing better than last year. As such, she has a long list of what she wants and each year she sets goals and intentions for herself. In addition, supporting women to moving up the corporate ladder, turning passion to profit and empowering other women to also reach their potential. She looked through the crowd and noticed such a variety of people there, all with different backgrounds and stories, all different races and different ages. What she thought before she took this initiative was how amazing it is that this one belief could unite so many of people, no matter what differences they had. It was while having this thought that she saw this youth admire what she does. “Purity” was the only word that came to mind when their piercing eyes met hers.
During the holy month of Ramadan, during which many Muslims refrain from food and water from dawn until sunset. They supplied food to 100 widows in Bahi region, they also celebrated Eid al Adha with young women entrepreneurs in Mkuranga by sharing food, cloth, medicine and urging them remain to remain vigilant during these trying moments caused by COVID-19.
Pink Hijab Initiatives TZ (PHIT) is non-for-profit organisation whose primary purpose is to inspire, educate, encourage and increase awareness to women in respect of their rights and responsibilities economically, politically and socially in various sectors in Tanzania. This is a platform to spotlight issues affecting Tanzanians by encouraging dialogue, shaping opinions and policy directions, and practical solutions to key issues that are critical to the development and growth of Tanzania. Our mission is to inspire and equip women with the knowledge and information and to be a driving force of development in Tanzania, as our vision statement of the Organization is to empower and equip women with the knowledge and information necessary to thrive in the socio-economic spheres in Tanzania.
Our Key Objective
It is a chance to network for Muslims, individuals, entrepreneurs, grow their businesses and Stakeholders to acquire new knowledge and message about the thematic area of recognition. It will be a platform, a chance for Muslims to hear out views and improve their faith ready for the Economic Challenge
The core values of the PHIT;
a) Love for your neighbor as thyself;
b) Compassion for those in need;
c) Excellence in the Organization’s work;
d) Integrity in all the Organization’s relationships and activities; and
e) “Can do” and “will do” attitude in all circumstances.
Please connect with PHIT on:
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.pinkhijab.or.tz
Mrs Kayanda shared how the role of patriarchy has impacted Tanzania. She said as a Muslim woman, when it comes to leadership, understanding cultural and religious differences is an important step in making the world a better, more unified place. Considering that Islam is the second largest organized religion in the world, understanding, tolerance, and appreciation of the faith is important – particularly as the implication of the Sustainable Development Goals’ focus on women and girl’s equality.
Mrs Kayanda shared her life changing moment where everything completely changed for the better? That U-TURN moment in her life?
“My upbringing in a rural setting has really shaped me. I grew up in a family with great values over humanity and through strict adherence to religious teachings. It has my energy and dreams work for humanity to increase. I realized that Young Girls when raised up, they are able to achieve their dreams and have confidence in their vision”.
Words of wisdom to the African children on why they should follow their dreams.
“Communication and respect are the foundations for a lasting relationship.
Three things are needed in a relationship — lust, love, faith and shared values.
Never compare yourself to others”.