Celebrating Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib's historic election to US congress

We want to take a moment to send our heartfelt congratulations to Somali-American Ilhan Omar and Palestinian-American Rashida Tlaib, who were both elected to US Congress. Both Muslim. Both absolute bosses. Both the role models American Muslim girls (and girls everywhere) need.

While we were wholeheartedly celebrating their win, we learnt that our Salam Sisters has been mentioned alongside this historic achievements of theirs. This of course gave our whole team some more happy news to celebrate.

Earlier this year I read an article about the Salam Sisters, hijab-wearing dolls that come in many of the skintones of the Muslim diaspora, and immediately ordered one for my 7-year-old cousin. Yasmina, a brown-faced beauty wearing a purple removable hijab, arrived at our door. Tucked inside the box was also a sturdy brush for her long, black hair, visible when she chooses to not wear her hijab. It's the doll I wish I had as a kid growing up in New York City in the ‘80s and ‘90s as the proud child of Muslim immigrants, with few Muslim figures in American culture or politics to see myself in. Now my cousin has the Salam Sisters, and we both have Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar.

That's what we're about at Salam Sisters; channelling the achievements of real Muslim women into our dolls' stories & world to inspire our coming generation.

Thank you to Jennifer Chowdhury for this article, it means so much to us to see our mission resonating with like-minded people across the world.

Click here to read the full article.

We're feeling the love

Since our official launch this year, we've been overwhelmed with amazing support from you - our Salam Sisters Family. We're also excited by the amazing media coverage we've received from CNN Arabic, Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, NowThis, Stylus, ABC6, and ABC Arts.

It is humbling to see our Salam Sisters dolls playing a role in the shared recognition of just how important representation is. Thank you to everyone who has shared their comments, photos, and stories with us. Here are some of our favourite comments so far:

"Yasmina is the doll that one of my 6 year old twins want because she loves is "brown like me" and "sooooo pretty just like me too" ❤️❤️ while it's cute it also made me sad that she was sooooo excited to see a doll with the same color skin, it made me realize YES little children DO notice these things and my white privilege has BLINDED me even after having biracial children it's never crossed my mind that kids notice these things" - Jennifer

"I am a Christian clergy woman deeply committed to building the interfaith and multi-religious relationships in the towns and neighborhoods I've served the past 30 years. The Salam Sisters dolls along with the 5Pillars games are the single most creative and innovative idea I've seen to change girls (of every faith and no faith) and their families understanding of Islam throughout the world. Salam Alaikum!" - Rev. Elizabeth Ann King

"I want Maryam for my Maryam! 😊" - Umm Ibrahim

"I am a doll collector and I am so happy to have these two dolls in my collection. I think that your dolls send a positive message about accepting diversity." - Ronda

"It was very hard not to buy them all ... jazakallah kheir for designing such beautiful dolls that truly represent us! As Muslims and an ethnically diverse community! 💕💕💕💕love them!" - Gemma

Questions for deeper conversations with your children

With our children growing up in an increasingly digitised world, it’s important to cultivate genuine connection: in real-time. A face-to-face, un-hurried, patient conversation with an abundance of heartfelt listening. 

Meaningful conversations can help to build trust and a special bond between parent and child, by showing them that you really care and that their experiences are important.

So keep talking with your children; paving the way to deeper discussions as they grow older. Here are some simple conversation starters to get the ball rolling:

 

1. What are three things you want to say alhamdullilah for today?

This one can be pretty powerful. An important one to check in and see what kinds of things your children are grateful for.

 

2. What is your earliest memory and how old do you think you were?

A child’s earliest memories can tell you what they value most. Listen to the way they describe settings, feelings, and the people in the memory. Memories we share can be reflected upon quite differently between you and your little one.

 

3. Which physical games or sports do you enjoy the most?

This is a great way to explore which physical activities your child is excited about, and encourage a healthy mindset toward exercise.

Maybe you can take some inspiration from our Salam Sisters and explore these ideas: going on a bike ride like Nura, horse riding like Yasmina, tennis like Karima, gardening like Layla, or learning to surf like Maryam!

 

4. What is your favourite subject at school and how can we explore it more deeply outside of school?

Learning doesn’t need to stop after the school bell rings. Encourage your child to further explore her favourite subject(s) at home, at the museum, library, local park, Eid fair, or even hospital? Think outside the square. The opportunities are endless. You’ll be surprised at how a love for learning can develop.

 

5. Think about the last time you felt sad. What did you do to feel better?

We all experience sadness throughout life, making it important to have the right skills and tools to help manage the powerful emotion. This question will allow you to explore how your child is currently processing her feelings.

Help your child come up with strategies on how she can lift her mood and spirits. Know that just by having the conversation with her, you're letting her know that you're there for her - which might just be all that she needs. 



6. Remember the last time you felt very responsible and proud of something you did. What was it?

Keep reaching for the stars! It feels good to reflect on accomplishments. Help your child look back on moments that made him feel happy with his actions and encourage him to keep it up!



7. What is your favourite way of showing a loved one you appreciate them? When do you feel most loved?

We often take it for granted that the people we love know it, but we can often do more to express that in clearer ways.

Help your child think about how he enjoys expressing his love and what makes him feel most loved; and share how you feel about it too. For example, your child might really love them two extra seconds in a warm hug before you rush out the door in the morning for work.

This is a great way to brainstorm ideas on thoughtful ways to show others you care about them and they matter to you.



8. If you could bake the best cake in the world, what would it taste like?

Let’s get creative (and silly) with this one! Use your imagination and see what wild sweet concoction your child can come up with as being the best cake on the planet! Yummy! More stardust and unicorn glitter? We won't say no to that :)



9. What is one question that you really want to ask right now? The most difficult question you can think of?

You'll be surprised at what kinds of questions your little one has been holding inside. The key with this one is to be equally curious about the question they come up with and put in the time to research it together — even if you know the answer. 



10. If you could live in your favourite storybook, which one would you choose? Which character would you be and why?

We all have favourite childhood books. Imagine living in one! Allow your child to express her creativity, and stretch her thoughts and ideas. See what type of exciting world she can create in her mind. Using her favourite book as a reference can be a great way to build an analogy for valuable lessons and to gain insight into what your daughter values.

 

If you try one (or more) of these conversation starters, we'd love to hear about how it went! Send us an email at hello@salamsisters.com

Fun DIY Crafts for a Special Eid

Is it just me, or has Ramadan flown by? I can't believe it's almost Eid! With so much to prepare (read: baking, cleaning, buying gifts), I've been wondering if I'll be able to fit in any time for creating Eid decor with my daughter. 

I love making Eid special for my kids by decorating the house together and creating new family traditions. But let's be honest - not all of us have time to sit down with paper and pen creating new things from scratch. 

So I scoured the internet in search of crafty ideas which would make easy yet enjoyable Eid projects. It's fantastic to see talented people from our community creating beautiful DIY resources, making this time of year a bit more special. 

 

Here's a collection of some of our favourites:

Sweet Fajr's Suncatchers

These suncatchers are so vibrant and fun to make with older kids. Add some colour any window and bright space. Try hanging them up by your dining table for the Eid feast!

Click here for full tutorial.

  Photo: Sweet Fajr

Photo: Sweet Fajr

 

Eid Mubarak Garland

If you don't have time to cut fancy shapes but would love to add a fun splash of colour, try this cute Eid Mubarak Garland by Hello Holy Days. It's easy enough to try with your younger kids and would be made in a cinch.

Click here for full tutorial.

  Photo: Hello Holy Days

Photo: Hello Holy Days

 

Paper Bag Mosques

What should I hand out to the kids who visit on Eid day? These fun Paper Bag Mosque goodie bags for kids by Hello Holy Days are just adorable. Made with simple shapes, you can definitely get all your kids involved. Fill them with your favourite stationary and crafty goodies!

Click here for full tutorial.

  Photo: Hello Holy Days

Photo: Hello Holy Days

 

Mini Piñatas

If you'd like to get a little extra crafty, make these super cute Mini Piñata by Sweet Fajr. It's okay to satisfy your sweet tooth for one day - fill these with yummy goodies and treats!  Kids will have a blast trying to break them open. 

Click here for full tutorial.

  Photo: Sweet Fajr

Photo: Sweet Fajr

 

Gift Set Printables

What's Eid without giving gifts to friends and loved ones? These Gift Set Printables by In My Studio are a lifesaver. Simply print out the elegant Eid gift box, gift tags & money packets and you're ready to fill them with meaningful gifts and messages. 

Click here for full tutorial.

  Photo: In My Studio

Photo: In My Studio

 

Eid Money Balloons

Last but not least - Eidi! Or Eid money as most call it. I'm not sure where this originated but it spans across all cultures. And, let's face it, it brings the most joy for kids of all ages. I remember growing up, how much we loved counting our money to see how much we made by the end of Eid! These easy to make Eid Money Balloons by Modern Muslim Home, add an element of surprise and fun for the kids!

Click here for full tutorial.

  Photo: Modern Muslim Home

Photo: Modern Muslim Home

 

Wishing you a blessed Eid!

 

4 Dietician-Approved Suhoor Recipes for Lasting Energy

At the start of Ramadan I always have these high aspirations of eating super healthy, having a wholesome suhoor that ticks all the boxes of being low GI, full of protein, etc. How about you?

This year I even tried cutting out overly processed food and refined sugar for the WHOLE month. Well, that part didn't happen—couldn't say no to dessert after iftar—but I did manage to eat healthy suhoor meals (for the first 5 days at least!)

Now that we're almost halfway through Ramadan, it's a good time to revisit our suhoor strategy. Looking for some inspiration, I reached out to friend and registered dietician Nazima Qureshi.

Read on to find out her professional tips and tricks on the best kinds of food to eat for the pre-dawn meal, so you can make the most of your fasting without feeling (too) drained.  Here's what she had to share...

Do not skip suhoor!

Along with suhoor being a sunnah, it is an opportunity to energise and nourish your body before starting a long fasting day. There are four components to a healthy suhoor meal:

Protein - This will help you feel fuller throughout the day and included foods such as eggs, lentils, and Greek yogurt.

Whole grain carbohydrates - Incorporating whole grain carbohydrates will help stabilise your blood sugars and provide you with a more sustained source of energy. This includes foods such as whole grain bread, oatmeal, and barley.

Healthy fats - Healthy fats will help you feel satisfied and prevent you from overeating other foods. This includes avocado, nuts, chia seeds, and nut butters.

Fruit/Vegetable - Fruit and vegetables provide a variety of nutrients so you are nourished and energized throughout the day. Opt for a variety of colours and hydrating options such as cucumber, lettuce, watermelon, and strawberries.
 

Recipes to help you bring it to the table

So now that we know what we need to eat, the next step is bringing it together in a recipe. Namiza's got us covered with some of her favourites here:
 

1. Strawberry chocolate overnight oats

This is a great suhoor to prepare the night before and is the most filling option - also tastes delicious! Use fresh or frozen strawberries or get creative and change up the fruit, blueberries also go down well. Click here for the full recipe.

 

2. The "I have no time and woke up with 2 minutes to spare" option: Carrot Cake Energy Bites

Another brilliant backup option to prepare in advance, and it's naturally sweetened with dates, a sunnah food we will all likely have in our homes during Ramadan. Click here for the recipe.

 

3. Power Pancakes

Who doesn't love a good pancake? This is a gluten-free, wheat free pancake that comes together in minutes (let us know how long its takes you!). Have it on its own or add your own toppings such as nuts and fruit. Click here for the recipe.

 

4. Wholegrain chocolate chip zucchini muffins

This is a great grab n' go option, especially for those that have a hard time eating suhoor so early in the morning. You'll also get a sneaky dose of veggies without even tasting the zucchini. Click here for the full recipe.

 


4. savoury oatmeal

If you'd prefer a savoury suhoor option, this oatmeal is for you! Click here for the recipe.

 

Ramadan meal planner to help keep you on track


Check out Nazima's brilliant 30 Day Ramadan Meal Plan with healthy suhoor and iftar recipes laid out for you so you don't have to worry about what to cook during Ramadan!

The recipes are designed to keep you energised and includes easy to follow recipes, weekly grocery lists, post-iftar snacks, daily Sunnah tasks checklist, and a highlight of Sunnah foods throughout the recipes.

Nazima also has these free suhoor and iftar printable planners to help you plan out your meals for a week.

 

Enjoy! xx

How do I get a Salam Sisters doll?

You're not the only one asking us! We're beyond excited to share that our dolls are (finally!) available for pre-orders.

If you're in the UK, you'll be among the first in the world to welcome your very own Salam Sister to the family. Based on our current delivery schedule, they will reach your door just in time for Eid al-Adha, inshallah!  

Check out our online store now to pre-order. 

For everyone else outside of the UK, we're working hard behind the scenes to bring our girls to your shores as soon as possible.

Please sign up to our newsletter and let us know where you're located so we can try and get them to you sooner!

Best,

Salam Sisters x

 

 

Celebrating #dayofthegirl

We're supporters of the UN's International Day Of The Girl, with the mission to "help galvanize worldwide enthusiasm for goals to better girls' lives, providing an opportunity for them to show leadership and reach their full potential."

"Show leadership & reach their full potential."

To celebrate, we've put together a list of brilliant young Muslim girls who inspire us with their determination to realise their goals.

 

1. FemSTEM the only all-girls team at a robotics competition, winning best overall performance!

 Image: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Image: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Zaina Siyed founded FemSTEM, a team of Muslim girls between the ages 10 to 14 to compete at the First LEGO League robotics competition; which aims to "(inspire) the science & technology leaders of tomorrow." Through an online campaign, Zaina recruited her team members and funded their team. 

They discovered on the day of the competition that they were the only all-girls team at the competition! They took out the prize for the biggest award of the day — best overall performance. 

 

2. Zymal Umar, social entrepreneur at age 9 with her own startup Zee Bags

 Image: Zee Bee Facebook page

Image: Zee Bee Facebook page

Zymal was inspired to create a solution when she was appalled by the amount of plastic bags littering the streets in Sarghoda, Pakistan - her hometown. Resulting in Zee Bags - an environmentally friendly business which sells paper bags, the income of which is used to help underprivileged kids. 

She has been awarded the TIE Youngest Entrepreneurship Awardreceived a gold medal from the Federal Secretary of Education in Pakistan, and also invited to Saudi Arabia to receive the Prince Abdul Aziz Award for Children Pioneer / Ecopreneur Award.

 

3. Girls from community team designing their own basketball uniforms

 Image: Jim Mone/AP

Image: Jim Mone/AP

The Muslim girls on Cedar Riverside girls’ community basketball team were faced with the challenge of playing basketball while sticking to their choice to dress modestly. So they designed uniforms themselves, allowing them to continue playing the sport they loved in comfort. They got help from the students at the University of Minnesota College of Design and the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport.

 

4. Rayouf Alhumedhi proposing the world's first Hijab emoji

Rayouf Alhumedhi, a 15-year-old high school student living in Berlin, became interested in emoji after trying to find an image to represent her and her friends on her iPhone keyboard. After first writing in on Apple’s website, she finally learned from Mashable’s Snapchat story how to properly submit a proposal to Unicode. Since then, she has expanded her team to help make her mission come into reality. Read more here. 

 

5. Fareeha, the 14 year-old martial arts champion from India

 

6. In Pakistan, 14-year-old Shireen and her brother started a school for street kids.


Do you know an inspiring young girl? We'd love to hear about her efforts and achievements. Click here to let us know.