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I’ve been sharing profiles of many incredible women from Alberta since ringing in 2019 on @the.sisters.project. Check out some of my most recent features from Calgary and Edmonton. Visiting those cities and meeting the folks in them was such a warm and fuzzy part of #thesistersprojectgoesacrosscanada I’ve been sharing profiles of many incredible women from alberta since ringing in 2019 on @the.sisters.project. check out some of my most recent features from calgary and edmonton. visiting those cities and meeting the folks in them was such a warm and fuzzy part of #thesistersprojectgoesacrosscanada
193 2 February 2019
“The best part of riding my motorcycle is when I take off my helmet and people are shocked to see my hijab underneath. It makes me laugh because no one expects hijabis to do something like this. That’s why I want people’s perception of girls who wear hijab to change.”
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Fatima is 16 and a second year Bachelor of Science student at Dalhousie University (Halifax.) Her proudest achievement is finishing her first year of university at just 15 years old and having done well academically. That achievement didn’t come without its challenges. Fatima told me entering university at such a young age was also the most challenging moment in her life because everyone doubted her abilities and thought her being there was a joke. She let me know that people’s doubts in her just makes her work harder and better, which in turn has made her more confident in herself. Besides riding the motorcycle which is something her and her mom love to do, Fatima loves to read and her favourite place to find herself is in a book. When I asked Fatima how she would like to be perceived she told me, “as a proud, hard working, and responsible Muslim woman who loves helping out people in need in anyway she can.”
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#thesistersprojectgoesacrosscanada “the best part of riding my motorcycle is when i take off my helmet and people are shocked to see my hijab underneath. it makes me laugh because no one expects hijabis to do something like this. that’s why i want people’s perception of girls who wear hijab to change.”
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fatima is 16 and a second year bachelor of science student at dalhousie university (halifax.) her proudest achievement is finishing her first year of university at just 15 years old and having done well academically. that achievement didn’t come without its challenges. fatima told me entering university at such a young age was also the most challenging moment in her life because everyone doubted her abilities and thought her being there was a joke. she let me know that people’s doubts in her just makes her work harder and better, which in turn has made her more confident in herself. besides riding the motorcycle which is something her and her mom love to do, fatima loves to read and her favourite place to find herself is in a book. when i asked fatima how she would like to be perceived she told me, “as a proud, hard working, and responsible muslim woman who loves helping out people in need in anyway she can.”
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#thesistersprojectgoesacrosscanada
890 47 September 2018
“Creating and expressing ourselves is a fundamental aspect of being. It is also an opportunity to learn about ourselves and heal some of our inner wounds. “God will not change the condition of a people as long as they do not change their state of goodness themselves”. We must recondition ourselves to love the process and to express ourselves in healthy and effective ways, so we can better understand one another. All of the battles and issues we face begin and end with us. If we can conquer ourselves, we have won the battle. Everything around us is chaos but within art, I find peace.”
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Nada is a self-employed artist and painting instructor. She is pictured in her studio, her safe space, where she can be “creative and messy,” and “where the magic happens.” She has recently transitioned into pursuing her passion full-time in Calgary, AB, leaving her background in Toronto’s corporate sector, and her success in Bahrain’s restaurant business behind. Her proudest achievement is when she moved her whole life from Toronto across the world to Bahrain where she knew almost no one. She added, “I am proud of myself to taking a risk and an opportunity and put myself way out of my comfort zone. Before moving to Bahrain, I gave away the majority of my worldly possessions and every single thing I owned fit in 5-6 boxes. It felt amazing to detach from everything I had been holding on to. I have since adopted a much more minimalist lifestyle that I am also deeply proud of in a world filled with excessive consumerism and almost innate need for things with no limit in sight.” Besides painting which has been a big part of her life since she was a teenager, she loves being outdoors, playing sports, baking, beauty and makeup, reading and listening to motivational talks, and spending time with her family, husband, and friends in intimate settings. Her favourite quality about herself is her “ability to love so deeply with ease. I have a really big heart and can connect easily with people.” What’s most important to Nada is “living a life of service and significance.”
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See more of Nada’s work here: @expressionbynada 
#thesistersprojectgoesacrosscanada “creating and expressing ourselves is a fundamental aspect of being. it is also an opportunity to learn about ourselves and heal some of our inner wounds. “god will not change the condition of a people as long as they do not change their state of goodness themselves”. we must recondition ourselves to love the process and to express ourselves in healthy and effective ways, so we can better understand one another. all of the battles and issues we face begin and end with us. if we can conquer ourselves, we have won the battle. everything around us is chaos but within art, i find peace.”
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nada is a self-employed artist and painting instructor. she is pictured in her studio, her safe space, where she can be “creative and messy,” and “where the magic happens.” she has recently transitioned into pursuing her passion full-time in calgary, ab, leaving her background in toronto’s corporate sector, and her success in bahrain’s restaurant business behind. her proudest achievement is when she moved her whole life from toronto across the world to bahrain where she knew almost no one. she added, “i am proud of myself to taking a risk and an opportunity and put myself way out of my comfort zone. before moving to bahrain, i gave away the majority of my worldly possessions and every single thing i owned fit in 5-6 boxes. it felt amazing to detach from everything i had been holding on to. i have since adopted a much more minimalist lifestyle that i am also deeply proud of in a world filled with excessive consumerism and almost innate need for things with no limit in sight.” besides painting which has been a big part of her life since she was a teenager, she loves being outdoors, playing sports, baking, beauty and makeup, reading and listening to motivational talks, and spending time with her family, husband, and friends in intimate settings. her favourite quality about herself is her “ability to love so deeply with ease. i have a really big heart and can connect easily with people.” what’s most important to nada is “living a life of service and significance.”
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see more of nada’s work here: @expressionbynada
#thesistersprojectgoesacrosscanada
514 29 January 2019
Mount Royal between shoots 💕 #thesistersprojectgoesacrosscanada Mount royal between shoots 💕 #thesistersprojectgoesacrosscanada
187 2 June 2018
My boss lady @aliayphotography flew back to Toronto today. We’re always sad to see her go but excited that she’ll be leading a workshop for @instagram tomorrow on ‘building community online’. We’ve heard @ellecanada will be covering the event on their story, so if you get a chance check it out! 💛
Photo by @asalahyoussef @asalahyphotography 
#ellecanada #instagram #community #toronto #thesistersproject #thesistersprojectgoesacrosscanada My boss lady @aliayphotography flew back to toronto today. we’re always sad to see her go but excited that she’ll be leading a workshop for @instagram tomorrow on ‘building community online’. we’ve heard @ellecanada will be covering the event on their story, so if you get a chance check it out! 💛
photo by @asalahyoussef @asalahyphotography
#ellecanada #instagram #community #toronto #thesistersproject #thesistersprojectgoesacrosscanada
70 1 July 2018
Feel very fortunate to have met @aliayphotography and honoured to have been included in #thesistersproject with all the amazing women Alia has photographed and given us some insight in their lives. Thank you. Follow @the.sisters.project To see them all. Then... the selfie happened. Oops.  #thesistersprojectgoesacrosscanada Feel very fortunate to have met @aliayphotography and honoured to have been included in #thesistersproject with all the amazing women alia has photographed and given us some insight in their lives. thank you. follow @the.sisters.project to see them all. then... the selfie happened. oops. #thesistersprojectgoesacrosscanada
69 2 September 2018
“When I started grade 9, I was the only Muslim girl in the entire school. I did as much research as I could going as far back as the 90’s to see if there had ever been a graduate out of that school in a hijab. There wasn’t. As far as I could tell, I was the first one to even attend the school…Obviously, me being there was a new thing for so many of my classmates, so it was really hard those first two years. Especially in grade 9, a lot of the guys were super intimidated/annoyed of me. I’d heard a terrorist remark going around about me, I’d had guys trying to touch my hijab, I’d heard a couple “Allahu Akbar!”’s in the hallways, etc.”
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Hanan is 20 and a 3rd year statistics student at the University of Victoria. She is passionate about public speaking and comedy, and loves anything that will improve those skills, whether it be watching movies, seeing shows, watching stand-up comedy, or listening to slam poetry. Her favourite quality about herself is her humour, she mentioned, “it’s one of the things I work the hardest to improve upon and expand. I love making people laugh.” Hanan told me, “I really do try to pick up new ways of expressing myself. Things like tone, pitch, speed, and volume can all change the meaning of a sentence. It’s fun trying to figure out how/why each actor made the decisions they did delivering their lines. I think I just really like dialogue. Something witty, or clever, or heartbreaking. I love it. Words are so powerful! After all, it’s not about what you say- it’s about what you mean!”Hanan’s proudest achievement was her nomination speech when she was running for Valedictorian. She told me, “Being valedictorian was something I had wanted since I was 12 years old [when] I won a school-wide speech-a-thon.” She told me considering how she felt in the early years of high school, to see people voting for her to represent them as valedictorian was a win. Hanan continued, “A win for both me and the future (female) Muslim graduates of that school. I was the first, which was enough on it’s own to potentially ease any young girl’s mind about not being accepted in school.
CONTINUED IN COMMENTS⬇️⬇️ “when i started grade 9, i was the only muslim girl in the entire school. i did as much research as i could going as far back as the 90’s to see if there had ever been a graduate out of that school in a hijab. there wasn’t. as far as i could tell, i was the first one to even attend the school…obviously, me being there was a new thing for so many of my classmates, so it was really hard those first two years. especially in grade 9, a lot of the guys were super intimidated/annoyed of me. i’d heard a terrorist remark going around about me, i’d had guys trying to touch my hijab, i’d heard a couple “allahu akbar!”’s in the hallways, etc.”
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hanan is 20 and a 3rd year statistics student at the university of victoria. she is passionate about public speaking and comedy, and loves anything that will improve those skills, whether it be watching movies, seeing shows, watching stand-up comedy, or listening to slam poetry. her favourite quality about herself is her humour, she mentioned, “it’s one of the things i work the hardest to improve upon and expand. i love making people laugh.” hanan told me, “i really do try to pick up new ways of expressing myself. things like tone, pitch, speed, and volume can all change the meaning of a sentence. it’s fun trying to figure out how/why each actor made the decisions they did delivering their lines. i think i just really like dialogue. something witty, or clever, or heartbreaking. i love it. words are so powerful! after all, it’s not about what you say- it’s about what you mean!”hanan’s proudest achievement was her nomination speech when she was running for valedictorian. she told me, “being valedictorian was something i had wanted since i was 12 years old [when] i won a school-wide speech-a-thon.” she told me considering how she felt in the early years of high school, to see people voting for her to represent them as valedictorian was a win. hanan continued, “a win for both me and the future (female) muslim graduates of that school. i was the first, which was enough on it’s own to potentially ease any young girl’s mind about not being accepted in school.
continued in comments⬇️⬇️
339 4 October 2018
“I want to show that I can conquer the world if I want to. My hijab or low vision won’t stop me from doing what I love and want.”
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Komal is 26 and a graphic designer working in Calgary’s Muslim community. When I asked Komal what she is most proud of she told me “it’s the small things that matter.” She listed examples of feeling pride when her design work helps her local community, or after helping organize fundraising events, most notably when she raised funds for the Orphan Sponsorship Program in partnership with Islamic Relief. When Komal is not helping her community, she loves to dive deep into a book, admitting she never leaves the house without her e-reader. Her own favourite quality is her compassion and ability to love. Komal’s biggest hope (and wish) is that one day she’ll be able to drive, despite her low vision. In spite of Komal’s positive energy, when I asked her what her biggest challenge has been, she admitted “every day is a challenge.” When I asked her if she could explain further she listed: “The challenge to be a good Muslim every day. The challenge to go to work and give your best while having the best intentions. The challenge of trying to be a good human being and making sure that no one is hurt because of your words or actions. From morning till midnight, we all face countless challenges. They may be different for different people. They may be big or small, but they are challenges nonetheless and require some sort of courage to deal with.”
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#thesistersprojectgoesacrosscanada “i want to show that i can conquer the world if i want to. my hijab or low vision won’t stop me from doing what i love and want.”
▫️
komal is 26 and a graphic designer working in calgary’s muslim community. when i asked komal what she is most proud of she told me “it’s the small things that matter.” she listed examples of feeling pride when her design work helps her local community, or after helping organize fundraising events, most notably when she raised funds for the orphan sponsorship program in partnership with islamic relief. when komal is not helping her community, she loves to dive deep into a book, admitting she never leaves the house without her e-reader. her own favourite quality is her compassion and ability to love. komal’s biggest hope (and wish) is that one day she’ll be able to drive, despite her low vision. in spite of komal’s positive energy, when i asked her what her biggest challenge has been, she admitted “every day is a challenge.” when i asked her if she could explain further she listed: “the challenge to be a good muslim every day. the challenge to go to work and give your best while having the best intentions. the challenge of trying to be a good human being and making sure that no one is hurt because of your words or actions. from morning till midnight, we all face countless challenges. they may be different for different people. they may be big or small, but they are challenges nonetheless and require some sort of courage to deal with.”
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#thesistersprojectgoesacrosscanada
478 11 January 2019
“My dad is a mechanical engineer, but he had to work as a pizza delivery man during his first years in Canada. My mom is a doctor, but she had to work as a cashier in Tim Hortons. My parents worked so hard to build a life for me and my siblings here; that’s put a lot of pressure on my siblings and myself to succeed and make our parents proud. I’ve been writing diary entries since I was in grade six; I have a decade worth of journals. In the diaries, I always reminded myself of my goal of making my parents proud. I would come home exhausted from school and clean the entire house for my mom. I would shovel the snow outside with my brothers and dad. Being Pakistani, the importance of family is greatly emphasized. There’s no such thing as “family life” in Pakistani culture; your family is your life.”
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Hafsah is 19, a nursing student at the University of Calgary, a social media ambassador for her school, a behavioural aide for a child with autism, and a henna artist. She also volunteers as a photojournalist with “Humans of UCalgary” (inspired by Humans of New York.) She told me “there is an intrinsic need for humans to feel valued and empowered, especially as part of a community, and that’s what I aim to do with the work I do.” When she is not doing all of the above, she loves finding herself alone in a park, watching the birds fly by and the people walk past. It’s the simple things that make her the happiest. When I asked Hafsah what her proudest achievement is she told me, “running for Vice President in high school. I struggled with insecurity for years as a South Asian Muslim. I hid my brown-stained skin, my lunch that smelled like curry, and my arms that were hairer than my peers. I went from hiding my face in hallways to having it plastered on posters in the hallways. This was the first time I truly I felt confident in my identity. It was my first step in presenting myself to the world, in a sense.”
❗️👇CONTINUED IN COMMENTS 👇❗️ “my dad is a mechanical engineer, but he had to work as a pizza delivery man during his first years in canada. my mom is a doctor, but she had to work as a cashier in tim hortons. my parents worked so hard to build a life for me and my siblings here; that’s put a lot of pressure on my siblings and myself to succeed and make our parents proud. i’ve been writing diary entries since i was in grade six; i have a decade worth of journals. in the diaries, i always reminded myself of my goal of making my parents proud. i would come home exhausted from school and clean the entire house for my mom. i would shovel the snow outside with my brothers and dad. being pakistani, the importance of family is greatly emphasized. there’s no such thing as “family life” in pakistani culture; your family is your life.”
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hafsah is 19, a nursing student at the university of calgary, a social media ambassador for her school, a behavioural aide for a child with autism, and a henna artist. she also volunteers as a photojournalist with “humans of ucalgary” (inspired by humans of new york.) she told me “there is an intrinsic need for humans to feel valued and empowered, especially as part of a community, and that’s what i aim to do with the work i do.” when she is not doing all of the above, she loves finding herself alone in a park, watching the birds fly by and the people walk past. it’s the simple things that make her the happiest. when i asked hafsah what her proudest achievement is she told me, “running for vice president in high school. i struggled with insecurity for years as a south asian muslim. i hid my brown-stained skin, my lunch that smelled like curry, and my arms that were hairer than my peers. i went from hiding my face in hallways to having it plastered on posters in the hallways. this was the first time i truly i felt confident in my identity. it was my first step in presenting myself to the world, in a sense.”
❗️👇continued in comments 👇❗️
736 53 January 2019