BY: JACQUELINE LAUREAN YATES
(MINNEAPOLIS) — As someone who’s worked in the health care space for more than 10 years, Hilal Ibrahim, 25, noticed a need for hospital-grade hijabs during these unprecedented times.
Based on Ibrahim’s personal experience, she understood the importance of designing a product that would be efficient and beneficial for health care professionals. This led her to create a “health care hijab” in 2019 through her H&H (short for Henna and Hijabs) company, where she designs handmade and organic pieces for Muslim women.
Once the realities of the coronavirus pandemic set in, the Minnesota-based fashion designer took the initiative in finding a way to serve local health care providers.
“With growing concern around having enough PPE material for front-line health care professionals, we knew a critical component around the topic was being missed — accounting for hijabs among the essential materials,” Ibrahim told “GMA.” “Our company decided to take quick action, which resulted in us donating our breakthrough health care hijabs to local area hospitals in Minnesota.”
H&H’s health care hijabs are available in a variety of bright, easy-to-wear colors including a soft pink as well as a powdered blue tone. They also have lightweight breathable material that’s conducive to a health care setting.
“In addition to functionality, we wanted to close a disparity gap in the health care industry,” said Ibrahim.
She explained that when Muslim women in the health care industry don’t have access to products and materials that allow them to practice their faith while doing their job, it makes things difficult.
“That is why we created this health care hijab — to find a solution and fill a need,” said Ibrahim.
Since March, Ibrahim has had the opportunity to partner with leading organizations including HealthPartners and Allina Health to donate nearly 1,000 hijabs.
H&H health care hijabs have also been donated to help meet the needs of the internationally recognized Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, which Ibrahim says helped her further understand just how far this need extended.
“The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Ibrahim. “We have been receiving continuous requests from Muslim women who are doctors, nurses, and other front-line health care employees beyond the facilities we’ve partnered with, asking for help.”
She also recalls a Muslim respiratory therapist at Methodist Hospital in Minneapolis, Yasmin Samatar, saying the donation from Henna & Hijabs will help her focus on providing care to her patients since she knows the hijabs are available and sanitary.
“We hope by donating our hospital hijabs, it will be one less thing our health care heroes have to worry about,” Ibrahim said.
“Our hope is that this will start a conversation amongst health care leaders about how they can continue to value the inclusivity and diversity of the health care system as a whole,” she added. “For our particular community, that means being mindful about providing garments and materials that allow us to focus on our job while we practice our religious values comfortably.”
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