What We Do
At the heart of what we do, and one of the main reasons for our existence is to offer support to the new Muslim community. Ojala Foundation is a pioneer In catering to the Latino Muslims across Illinois. Recognizing the need to create spaces where our brothers and sisters can congregate and feel a sense of belonging. One of the many things that we do is hold yearly Eid celebrations for the entire family to enjoy. Holidays can be lonely for many Muslims who may not have families to celebrate with, this allows us to have a place to enjoy the day of Eid. We also hold iftar gatherings throughout Chicagoland during the month of Ramadan. Breaking bread with each other during the fasting month allows us to feel a greater connection with the community during these blessed days. Classes and lectures are also part of what we do, bringing topics relevant to the convert community. Our events are open to everyone and we encourage new Muslims to bring their families and friends. Many times close relatives of new Muslims are challenged with understanding why someone has accepted a faith that may seem foreign. These events provide a space to ask questions and meet other Muslims that have experienced a similar journey. Our hope is that others can learn about our faith and hold open conversations where they can have their questions answered. All of this and more is offered to provide support and a resource for spiritual growth through education for our community.
Ojala foundation is currently the only organization in the Chicagoland area, giving a voice to the Spanish speaking Muslim Community. Our efforts are to represent the Muslim faith with integrity, speaking from the perspective of a Latino Muslim.
Some of the places We have been featured Include: Univision, Telemundo, Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago history museum, Mas/ICNA conventions, Islamic horizon, Radio Islam, and other media outlets
NEIGHBORLY DEED INITIATIVE
Neighborly Deeds is our humble effort to distribute warm meals and compassion to those in need, on the streets of Chicago. Every Friday Ojala foundation members and volunteers team up to package home-cooked meals and other essentials to distribute to our less fortunate neighbors. The pandemic has not stopped this effort. This is a life-changing experience that we have committed to undertake, every week no matter the weather hot, cold, rain, or pandemic Alhamdulilah we are here to serve.
AN INVITATION TO THINK: DAWAH
Many of us who have accepted this faith feel extremely grateful to that one person who might have said or done something that allowed us to reflect on the concept of God. This is our way to pay it forward. Ojala foundation sets up shop at various locations across Chicago in an effort to invite people to learn about the Muslim faith, it’s followers, and to invite them in reflecting on their own connection with their creator. Literature and material are distributed free of charge. This extends to any individual who requests material through mail or virtual resources. Dawah is the responsibility of every Muslim, our efforts continue to reach people who might have never thought of Islam as an option. We are proof that it could be, we understand the journey because we were once on that journey, we also had questions and doubts. Through dialogue and education, we hope to bring a better understanding of our Faith and build a stronger relationship with the diverse community in Chicago.
Ojala foundation recognizes that the youth is where it’s at. Living in a time where so many young people are looking to represent their faith, we want to give them that space and empower them to lead. Ojala foundation has joined efforts with various youth and youth organizations. The food and essentials distributed through the neighborly deeds initiative are serviced by youth. They arrange, package, and volunteer to distribute packages on a regular basis. They also take leadership roles in volunteering at various other events throughout the year. This includes Eid celebrations, potlucks, lectures... We have organized weekly classes led by a young student of knowledge, and designate space for our Muslim youth to present relevant topics at our yearly, Latino Muslim track held at the mas/ICNA convention. The energy and value of our young Muslims is something we greatly appreciate, we are always open to ways in which we can support our young brothers and sisters.
Latino Muslims are growing in number and presence. For decades, we have made it our mission to build bridges between the Latino and Muslim communities, this is especially relevant to the growth of the convert community and the role Masjid’s and Islamic organizations play in supporting them. For this reason, we regularly team up with different organizations to collaborate on events or projects whenever possible. This allows us to build relationships while developing a better understanding of one another. We have collaborated with various Islamic organizations, and Masjids to hold classes, lectures, Jumah khutbah’s, potlucks, dawah events, and other activities. Ojala foundation had held a weekend track at the mas/ICNA convention in the Spanish language for over a decade. It dedicates one day to the Latino Muslim community and a second day to the larger convert community. Our members have worked with the Chicago history museum to give a voice representing our journey, and we have worked with various media outlets particularly those focused on the Spanish speaking community. Allowing us to voice our presence and represent Islam and Muslims in the Spanish language while coming from a similar background. Our goal is to build and fortify our presence, allowing our Islamic organizations to recognize the importance and needs of the growing convert community.
ANDADO Y LIMPIANDO
This is a yearly event lead by Ojalá Foundation where we organize a neighborhood cleanup. Ojala members and volunteers remove trash from the streets around Humboldt Park, this is followed by hosting a community BBQ where everyone is welcome. The experience has always surpassed expectations. Seeing community members who grew up in these neighborhoods come back as Muslims, giving back to the community, has only brought fruitful conversations and positive engagement.