Mastering the Art of the Hijab
When you’re supporting refugees, you learn that if a lady asks if you can get her a hijab, you need to be flexible.
Last week I got a request from a woman refugee at a hotel, so I grabbed a few of my own spare ones, plus a selection of scarves. I guessed correctly that people might be shy about asking, but when they saw that we could help with them, several would come forward; by the end I had given out all the ones I took.
But I still hadn’t sorted out the lady who first asked. She was hoping for one that was stitched into shape, rather than one that needed pinning – often you find that busy mums prefer these because arranging and pinning them while making sure your hair is covered can be tricky and time consuming.
Not everyone realises that there are different kinds, different lengths, and different amounts of coverage. Women wear them in different ways and at different times depending on their personal beliefs, interpretation of their religion, and their culture. Personally, I wear mine just for prayer.
As Care4Calais volunteers, we try to create a friendly, easy-going atmosphere where people can be open about their specific needs. We do specific hijab distributions, but we have the same approach to all clothing. We try to ask people what they need rather than just handing things out, and when we ask people for their size, we try to bear in mind whether they wear loose-fitting clothes, and avoid fitted things.
We found the lady the kind of hijab she needed in the end, and she was so pleased to receive it. It was all a reminder that clothes are such an important part of our identity, and they can give all of us, men and women, a feeling of control over our lives and ourselves, so it’s important.
Today is #WorldHijabDay, so we’re sharing this story to show how important it is that people are free to choose what they wear.
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