My passion for working with an organization like NISA dates back to my early childhood. My father, a pediatrician at Kabul hospital, passed away unexpectedly a few months after my birth. This left my mother to care for me and my four siblings. Soon after, the Russian invaded Afghanistan and we were forced to escape to the United States as refugees. Watching my beloved mother, a single mother, overcome financial, cultural, and language barriers in a new country instilled a strong desire within me to commit myself to serve underserved communities; women and children in particular.
Growing up I didn’t quite know how to put into words the intense emotions that surfaced within me when I witnessed others facing difficulties and oppression. After 16 years of working with NISA clients and seeing these women overcome great hardships, I can now verbalize my thoughts and feelings and take a strong stance against oppression by supporting survivors.
Before securing a position at NISA I myself spent sleepless nights due to financial difficulties. I worried about having taken the decision to be a stay-at-home mom to my two daughters who were 3 and 1 at the time. I knew it would be difficult to secure employment with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a gap in my resume, leave alone finding something flexible enough for my family’s needs. I remember doing istikhara about a position that I was considering. Minutes after completing my prayer, I received a call from a dear friend who introduced me to NISA. She had attended a NISA event and suggested that I start volunteering to gain some experience. She thought I would be a perfect fit for the organization. I will never forget the day I called NISA. I was about to become a volunteer when the person on the other end immediately asked, “oh Bayti, are you calling about the job?” I automatically said “Yes!”. I scheduled an interview for the next morning and started my employment the following week. I was working from home, had the flexibility to care of my precious girls, earn an income, and work in a field that I was passionate about. As fate has it, a NISA co-founder later told me that my appearance had been a huge blessing. It turns out that the NISA Board was on the verge of discontinuing NISA services due to their difficulty in finding the right employee. A few individuals had left the position due to the fact that the work was emotionally draining. AllahumduleAllah – I landed the perfect job!
I do not consider my work at NISA as a job, but rather a calling, based on my experiences in childhood. It has been a true honor to serve the community beside legendary community activists such as Sabiha aunty (Siddiqui), Dr. Rajabally, Manzoor Ghori, Imam Tahir, and other amazing leaders.
I thank the NISA founders, current Executive Board Members, and community donors for allowing me the opportunity to fulfill my purpose in life, and pray that Allah accepts my service and forgives me for any shortcomings along the way.
I am currently working as a Resident Coordinator at NISA. Although I have been working at this job fairly briefly, I have been volunteering with NISA since 2019. The first time I came to know about NISA was actually at the MCA Women’s Conference in 2008. Being at my first-ever Muslim Women’s Conference and learning about an organization that supported women who were struggling physically and emotionally just grabbed my attention and was implanted in the back of my mind.
At that time I was a Certified Public Accountant, a new Mom and recent immigrant to this country, who was also aspiring to homeschool kids, trying to be a jane-of-all-trades. In the meantime, I had the opportunity to dedicate my time and efforts to various other organizations where I would eventually lead varied women’s empowerment projects and youth development programs. But NISA’s cause remained very close to my heart. So after almost 10 years, I finally came over to their office and requested for an opportunity to serve this community.
I believe that every person has a right to dignity and amity, and that is what NISA aims at providing its clients – a chance at building respect for themselves and creating a life of peace and self-reliance. What I love about this job is that it gives me the opportunity to connect with people and offer them strength, compassion, and understanding. I saw NISA making a difference in the lives of its clients and that motivated me to join hands with them to do the same. But the best part of this job is that working with NISA clients has also changed my perspective on humanity as well as the world – that is, I have learned to approach most problems in a non-judgmental way and develop gratitude for life.