Soraya is recognised for community upliftment

Principal of IPSA Shaykh Ighsaan Taliep, left, with Soraya Salie.

Soraya Salie, the founder of the Bonteheuwel Walking Ladies (BWL), received the 2016 Women in Islam-Women in South Africa (WIWISA) award at the International Peace College South Africa (IPSA) on Saturday October 29.

This was the third annual WIWISA symposium held at the IPSA campus in Rylands.

IPSA deals with various gender and gender justice issues within the South African Muslim community.

IPSA honoured Ms Salie for empowering women and showing them how to deal with life’s challenges while keeping them motivated and rejuvenating them both physically and spiritually.

The mother of two sons, said that after undergoing surgery to remove a brain tumour in 2006, she realised she had not been living a purposeful life and that had motivated her to do more.

IPSA spokeswoman Ridhwaana Baradien said this year’s symposium had looked at how violence, and its links to poverty, racism and terror, affected women. It had “recognised South African women’s lived experiences beyond victimhood” and sought ways to “shift the discourse” to justice, peace and healing.

Ms Salie, 56, said she was overwhelmed by the award.

“I do the things I do because it is my passion, not for the rewards. I work with women to empower them and to teach mothers about how to handle today’s generation who are using their freedom without responsibility.

“The classes I’ve been going for after I received the award will equip me to do more workshops in the community and teach them about how to handle chronic diseases as well,” she said.

The BWL has 75 members. They hold workshops on parenting, substance abuse, HIV/Aids counselling and cancer awareness.

Ms Salie also teaches men and women to read the Qur’an.

In July, she was appointed as a peace ambassador for the International Women’s Peace Group in recognition of her voluntary work and endeavours to build a peaceful world for future generations.