+ Do I have to be Singaporean to participate?
- No, you don’t have to be Singaporean! We do prefer that you’re based in Singapore, so that we will have a better opportunity to nurture our relationships with our participants.
+ Do I have to be of a certain ethnicity to participate?
- No, of course not! Muslim-raised people of all ethnicities are welcome!
+ Do I have to pay to attend your support group?
- No, it’s free for the community!
+ In your signup forms, participants have to agree that they don’t need “immediate crisis care” when participating in Penawar. What do you mean by “immediate crisis care”?
- By “immediate crisis care”, we mean an emergency that poses a direct threat to your physical or emotional wellbeing. None of us are mental health professionals trained in crisis care. Thus, we’re not able to provide you professional-level support. We strongly encourage you to seek professional help and care. You may have a look at our list of support services and see which may be helpful to you.
+ I’m pretty shy around people I don’t know and I don’t have a friend to go with. How do I work up the courage to attend Penawar?
- Come for a session and see how you feel about Penawar!
+ I’m not very chatty. Do I have to talk?
- We encourage everyone to share, but there’s no pressure to open up. We understand that it may take some time getting used to new spaces and a new community of people!
+ My friend is keen to attend a Penawar session. Would it be ok to accompany them?
- Yes, it’s great to receive support from friends! We do, however, only allow Muslim-raised women and non-men to participate in our support sessions. So, your friends would have to be 1) Muslim-raised (it’s totally okay if they’re no longer Muslim) and 2) women and/or non-men.
+ I’m really keen to attend a Penawar support session! But, I feel like I wouldn’t have much to say about the theme or topic.
- It’s okay to feel like you don’t have anything to say! Sometimes, coming down to listen to others and showing support that way is already very helpful for our collective healing! However, people often times told us that when they attend and listen to others, they also realise that they too can relate and thus have things to share. So, just come with an open heart and mind, and not worry too much about having to say something :)
+ I can’t find a babysitter in time! Can I bring along my kids?
- Of course! We want mothers and people with children to be able to participate in our support group. Do let us know that you would like a childminder via the sign up form, so that we assign a childminder for you.
+ Why should I attend Penawar’s support group sessions? Wouldn’t following Penawar on social media or reading the resources and participant quotes enough?
- We believe that human interaction, bonding and physical presence is also as crucial, if not more, than just sharing information and resources online. Which is why we decided to create the support group to begin with. There is something very therapeutic about making and holding space for other people, and to see and listen to people resonate with us (through verbal and non-verbal gestures) when we share our experiences with them.
+ I just found out about Penawar and missed a session that I would really want to attend! Will you do a rehash of that theme/topic?
- We do not normally do a rehash of the same topic, but we do bring up recurring themes in different sessions, such as mental health, sexuality and identity.
+ Will you include men in your support group?
- No, the community we provide support to is our Muslim-raised women and non-men.
+ What about women and non-men who were not raised Muslims?
- At this stage, we still want to focus on the specific experiences of those who were raised in the Muslim community because that is our aim, which is to address cultural and intergenerational traumas of those who grew up in said community. We are not ready to open up to those who weren’t raised in the Muslim community as of now.
+ Who else do you engage besides Muslim-raised women and non-men?
- At the moment, no one yet. Even this category is broad enough, and we’re still looking for more of such people to join our space.
+ Why do you use the term “non-men”?
- We are committed to being a queer-affirming space, and we affirm multiple genders which do not fall into the male-female binary.
+ Why does the support group curriculum go by topics and themes? Why not let it flow organically?
- We want to ensure that our discussions are comprehensive and inclusive enough for people of diverse backgrounds. We don’t want to end up in a situation where certain people dominate the conversation, or that others feel like it’s not the space for them to share. Our discussions are directed and structured to ensure that everyone who attends knows what they’re in for, and if it’s the right space for them to share their experiences.
+ Why do you need to screen people first and not let anyone walk in?
- This is to ensure the safety of the participants (which is of utmost importance to us) and to make sure that everyone there is ready and willing to share and listen to others, and not to tell others how to live their lives or understand Islam. We maintain a policy of non-hierarchy, which is why we also have to make sure that everyone comes as an individual, not a trained professional in fields such as counselling and social work.
+ Why does your care persons check-in on the participants for only one (1) week?
- Our care persons are not substitutes for professional help, and neither are they remunerated for the work they do. We want to ensure that the emotional boundaries are maintained and for the care person to also be able to do some self-care after the support sessions.
+ Do you only hold support groups?
- In the meantime, yes, we only hold support group sessions that are peer-led. We are open to holding dialogues and collaborations with other groups, e.g. to organise public discussions on relevant topics. We are also making zines and looking into craft-making as collaborative and solidarity-building projects.
+ Why form a support group for Muslim-raised women and non-men?
- This is borne out of a sense of necessity from the core members ourselves, which is to create a safe space for women and non-men who grew up in the Muslim community to discuss issues pertaining to our mental health, trauma and identities (gender, sexuality, class, religion, ethnicity). We felt that there is no such space where women, regardless of their relationship with Islam and the Muslim community, can feel safe enough to share their experiences and to feel solidarity with other women. We believe that healing from cultural and intergenerational traumas is not an individual burden, but a collective work to be shared with others in the community. So this support group is also an act of community and solidarity building.
+ Why don’t you put human faces on your social media and website?
- The focus shouldn’t be on individual personalities, but the community. It is also to maintain the safety of our members, which is also why we choose to remain anonymous.
+ I’m keen to sit in a Penawar session because I want to write or cover about the issues Muslim-raised women and non-men face. Is that okay with Penawar?
- As we have promised confidentiality to our participants, it will be unethical and exploitative, on our part, to source them out. That is not what a support group is for.
+ What is the Penawar zine for?
- To document how the community benefits from such spaces, self-care which is a huge component, a glimpse into the issues that our Muslim-raised women and non-men face that we, as a community, should care about. We also share quotes and testimonials from our support sessions and participants, to share with the community the importance of creating such support spaces and the reality of our experiences, good and bad.
+ Why do you charge for your zines?
- Our support session are free for the community. So, this is Penawar’s fundraising effort to sustain our support activities.
+ Where are you selling the Penawar zines?
- We are selling them online for $10 with free local shipping in Singapore. We ship worldwide too. Get yours here.
+ Alright, I’m in! Where can I find updates on your activities if I’m not on social media?
- We put up a notice or announcement on our Contact page, check our Schedule page, or subscribe to our newsletters if you prefer staying in the know via emails.