Malikah is a US-based grassroots organization advocating against gender and hate-based violence through self-defense training, healing justice, economic empowerment, and community organizing. Malikah started as a self-defense class taught by founder, Rana Abdelhamid, at her local mosque in a working-class, Muslim immigrant community in Queens. Today, thousands of women around the globe participate in and contribute to Malikah’s vision of power, safety, and healing. Malikah utilizes a train-the-trainer methodology, where volunteers, many of whom are Muslim women, are trained by Malikah to host, lead, and facilitate events in their communities. Volunteers who participate in Malikah-organized train-the-trainer programs pay a program fee, which Malikah values at $8,000 USD, but to ensure access and affordability for all who want to participate, Malikah offers participants the option to pay on a sliding scale, anywhere from as little as $350 USD up to the full program cost; the decision on how much to pay is completely honor-based. Malikah also generates a small amount of revenue from annual membership fees ($25 USD), sales of branded merchandise, corporate training fees, and crowdfunded donations on its website.
Theory of Change
Training on self-defense, economic justice, and healing justice helps to empower women, promote safety, build community, and dismantle systems of oppression.
Malikah’s suite of trainings addresses a wide range of topics and issues related to women’s security and empowerment. Malikah’s self-defense training covers verbal de-escalation, physical de-escalation, and bystander intervention; the healing justice training addresses self care, breathing and visioning, and trauma-informed discussion; the anti-oppression training defines gender-based violence, reflects on power and privilege, and distinguishes between micro and macroaggresions; the organizing training introduces campaign strategy, types of change-making, and base building; and, finally, the economic justice/financial literacy training teaches budgeting, calculating income, and saving strategies. All trainings are taught by either Malikah staff or by Malikah-trained volunteers. In addition to trainings, Malikah organizes and hosts programs focused on minority women groups. Through these programs, Malikah organizes community events, disseminates resources through social media and newsletters, and develops a network of concerned and engaged community members. One such program, Solidarity in Struggle: South Asians for Black Lives, aims to dismantle anti-Blackness and Indophobia through education and awareness. The Annual National Women’s Leadership Summit is another program that is a partnership with Harvard University in which Harvard students from multidisciplinary backgrounds organize and host a summit bringing together Muslim women from across the U.S. for training and organizing. In May 2023, Malikah opened the Malikah Center in Queens, New York, a first-of-its-kind space which serves as a physical hub for the organization’s programming. In addition to serving as an event hosting space, Malikah Centers aims to offer refuge for survivors of domestic violence and provide affordable housing for immigrant woman survivors.
Since 2010, Malikah facilitated over 800 workshops, training 20,000 women and girls in 34 cities across the globe. Malikah has worked with over 200 global, national and grassroots partners who have participated in events and supported the organization’s mission. Malikha’s self-defense starter kit, available on the web, has been accessed by over 1 million people. The Malikah Center in Queens is the first all-in-one community hub for Muslim women in New York City.