The Journey Continues
The new Madressa ("SIM") year coincides with the commencement of the new Islamic year, 1430. Whilst the rest of the world welcomes the New Year with parties, fireworks and joy our approach is solemn with the commemoration of the martyrdom of Imam Hussayn. It is the lessons from this epic journey of our Imam that I would like to use for the continuation of our journey for this organisation. The success of this institution is attributed to the teachers, helpers, administrators, volunteers, students, parents and the continued support of the Hujjat Executive Committee. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you. Special gratitude should go to the outgoing Principal, Br Shafique Govani, for steering this establishment over the last three years to its current level of success.
We have achieved a significant milestone for SIM and 2009 will be its 25th Anniversary. We look forward to celebrating the silver jubilee. We will keep you informed about our plans and would welcome participation from all members of our community.
The SIM population has grown exponentially over the last several years and we have just enrolled another 150 students over the first three weeks of our opening which takes our total to approximately 900 students. We also have over 150 teachers, helpers, administrators and volunteers. We are continuing to work with the Hujjat EC in facilitating these numbers and they have been very cooperative in this matter. With these numbers comes congestion into our centre which I am sure all of you are experiencing. With this in mind we have introduced the shuttle service and encourage all parents to use it to make their journeys easier and safer. I would like to extend my thanks to parents for their cooperation and patience with our car park volunteers.
I am sure most of you are aware SIM provides various faculties, the core being the four main subjects of Akhlaq, Fiqh, Quran and Tareekh to the students from ages four to 15 years. We also have a dedicated team to support those who require special assistance. In addition, there are Arabic and Farsi classes for older children and adults; GCSE Islamic Studies; Professional, Personal Development and Mentoring for the senior students; Muslim Mum's Magazine and the most recent addition to our collection is a workshop for parents.
The e-age is high on our agenda with the launch in September 2008 of our online collaboration virtual learning platform (SIMOSS). We are continuing to enhance the functionalities available to enable us to stay in touch with our students outside Madressa hours.
With this in mind let us all work together and take our community organisation forward and follow the lessons that we have learnt from our Imam in his journey of salvation.
Salaams and duas
Principal of SIM
Muharram / Ashura Letter to schools
As part of SIM's external relations, we aim to maintain ongoing communication with the schools in order to generate and increase understanding of our faith. Over the past few years we have sent communiqués about Mahe Ramadhan, informing them about what some of their pupils may be experiencing in this Holy month and to provide them with some information about why we Muslims fast.
This year, we prepared a communiqué informing them about the events and concepts about Mahe Muharram. The letter also included a request to all schools to accommodate a day off for our students on the day of Ashura. A copy of this letter can be found on the SIM website (www.madressa.net)
Muslim Mums – Issue 5
The fifth issue of Muslim Mums magazine was distributed during the month of Muharram. As the world celebrated the start of the New Year with a mixture of joy and trepidation as to what 2009 holds for us, we welcomed 1430 AH with the clothes of mourning, our heavy hearts and our tearful eyes. The Holy Prophet has said:
O Fatimah! Every eye shall be weeping on the day of judgement except the eye which has shed tears over the tragedy of Husayn (a.s.).
In this issue there are numerous features covering:
- Book Review
- Spiritual Parenting
- Hajj without children
- A Father's discipline
- Growing Feet
- Keeping up with the Jones'
- Kids Competition
The 5th issue can be found on the SIM website (link)
Best Practice in the Development of our Teenagers
SIM kicked of 2009 with arranging a workshop targeted towards mothers and fathers with children in their teens. The objective was to provide a platform to share best practice in the interaction between parents and their teenage children.
The interactive workshops, spread over 2 weekends, attracted great interest and more than 50 parents attended each of the two 1-hour sessions.
Comments from Parents:
"The sessions were really good, it should not stop after only 2 sessions, please keep it going with more sessions to enlighten the parents."
"In the next session, can we please request for some role plays, the speakers can act out a scenario where the answer to an issue is best resolved."
"Very informative and thought provoking. Can we please establish a forum to share experiences and ideas?"
The objective of the first session was to examine the possible problems. They were given tips during the teen years and through this roadmap, find their way through in these years. This was to be followed by much more targeted solutions, with an explanation on how to "stay involved in our teen's life", how to react and pick up the situation from "now" and see "where to go".
A more detailed report will follow in the next edition. We would like to thank the facilitators and the participants without which this event would not have been successful.
Presentation Day 2008
To celebrate the end of the academic year, SIM holds a special event, bringing together students, parents and teachers. This is to acknowledge and celebrate the excellent achievements of the students. Last year the event took place on the 14th of December 2008,
The programme commenced with recitation from the Holy Quran followed by an introduction by Br Shafique Govani, the outgoing Principal, who served SIM for a three year term. This followed the introduction of the new principal, Br Zeeshan Kanji, for the term 2009-2011. The president of Hujjat, Br Kamrudin Khakhi also said a few words of appreciation.
Students, teachers, parents and guests witnessed a lively and informative debate session held by students from the senior boys and girls classes of SIM. Whilst the senior boys debated the motion " Muslims have only made a limited contribution to modern Britain, the senior girls deliberated on differences in religion from the perspective from Shias as opposed to the Ahle Sunnah. The participants and their teachers had invested a lot of time and effort in their preparation, which was self-evident, and the resultant presentations were excellent in their delivery and content. At the end of the debate the participants were probed by questions from the panel of judges and from the public, to which they responded well. The judges suggested that we should have more regular platforms for our youths to engage in public speaking and also develop their debating skills.
Words from one of the participants of the debate – "A special thanks goes to our mentors, for their endless commitment, not only in making this debate possible but also for their insightful lessons over the past three terms. All in all, the debate proved to be an enjoyable end to what has been an invaluable term."
Our young ones had an entertainer which kept them engaged during the day.
The programme was followed by the presentation of trophies. Nearly 250 trophies were presented to boys and girls from the ages 5 to 15 years in the various subjects, including the recognition of students for their efforts in keeping up with Salaat and Quran recitation. This was followed by Salaat and a delicious lunch.
SIM would like to take note of the attendance and extend appreciation to Br Abdul Hussain Takim, the first ever SIM principal, who also blessed the award ceremony by presenting some of the trophies.
SIM's new IT platform is now up and running from September 2008 to facilitate a virtual learning environment in order to support and enhance the current SIM portfolio. With SIMOSS, SIM can now provide further improved and wider facilities, benefits and communication.
Furthermore, this platform enables SIM to strengthen the crucial triangular relationship between students, parents and teachers outside Madressa hours.
SIMOSS can now be used to record online Salaat and Quran charts, submit online Fiqh assignments, and access online collaboration such as announcements, tasks, calendar, document sharing and alerts to parents, students and teachers. Each student and teacher has a unique access to the system.
SIMOSS is constantly being enhanced to improve its user friendliness and additional functionality. Current projects in progress are:
- Student report module where the site will show year on year progress of the students.
- Student feedback module that will enable SIM to record Internal and External feedback of a student and deliver to parents.
- Online lessons - A project to digitalise our notes. This will enable teachers to use it to prepare for lessons; students can view it in advance or as a follow up; to reach out to communities across the globe and assist them in disseminating knowledge.
2009 Dates for your diary
Sunday 8th February - Madressa closed for Ashra-e-Zainabia
Sunday 15th February - Madressa closed for Ashra-e-Zainabia
Sunday 22nd February – Madressa resumes
Sunday 12th April – Easter Sunday Madressa closed
Sunday 7th June – Madressa Parents Day