Pink Hijab day to support Breast Cancer Awareness

Pink Hijab Day is based on a global breast cancer awareness campaign, which started in America in 1994. It only really got off the ground in South Africa when Humairah Jassat took up the project in reaction to her aunt’s cancer.

“My aunt had cancer and I could see that she was ashamed to lose her hair,” founder Humairah said in an interview. “That year four women in my community passed away because of breast cancer.”

On Pink Hijab Day, Muslim women wear a pink scarf in solidarity with breast cancer sufferers and survivors, to show support to those suffering with breast cancer globally.

Humairah created the Breast Cancer Awareness Pink Hijab Day campaign to raise awareness about breast cancer and to encourage clearer understanding of Muslim women. This has raised cancer awareness in the rural community, raised money for the Cancer Association of SA and built solidarity among people.

In 2010, at age 20, Humairah was recognised for her initiative in raising awareness about breast cancer and won the first ever South African Leadership Academy Innovation Prize.

In the first year of the project, Humairah got over 10,000 people across South Africa to wear pink scarves. “I was trying to make a selfish generation grow up,” she explained.

According to Humairah there are lots of misconceptions with regards to breast cancer, especially in the rural communities.

“Many think it is witchcraft. Many even think it’s contagious. This is the main reason why I targeted rural areas, to break this barrier down.”

She continues to explain that education is key! “Education changes mindsets and early detection definitely saves lives.”

This year Pink Hijab Day will fall on Wednesday, 28 October 2015. Humairah will join the humanitarian organisation, Purple Bandage, in Roshnee (near Vereeniging) for a high tea event. A special ladies programme will be hosted, as well as a fundraiser conducted in support of cancer awareness based NGOs.

Event goers will also be urged to make financial donations, which will be donated to the various cancer relief groups. Humairah urges participants to “renew their intentions” and encourages “donating to a cancer foundation, helping others understand Muslim women, getting screened, and participating in projects that make your community better.”

Those seeking to get involved in raising awareness via social media can do so via the hashtag #pinkhijabday and #humairahjassat. For more information on the Pink Hijab Day initiative, contact Humairah Jassat at 072 861 7614. Humairah still regularly visits government hospitals,with or without other volunteers, donating scarves and trying to lift cancer survivors’ spirits with a cupcake and a smile.

Her message to women from all walks of life is: Don’t be afraid – breast cancer is just a word, not a death sentence. Don’t wait before it’s too late – value the life God has given you by doing your daily checks!”Humairah recently lost a very close and dear family member due to metastatic breast cancer.

This article is dedicated to and written in memory of her – Shaida banu Mohamed.

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