ST PAUL, Minn. — For the past few year, fighting COVID has been the priority for both Yasmin Samatar and Firaoli Adam.
"It's been quite a journey especially going into COVID and being frontline workers, as respiratory therapists," Samatar said.
As healthcare workers who wear hijabs, they continuously ran into problems at work.
"When it falls off and you're doing compressions, there's blood everywhere," Samatar explained. "Now you have to go next door to your next patient--what do you do?"
"We wore the same thing we're wearing right now," Adam said. "So we helped each other out, make sure it's tucked into our other gowns, so we helped each other out in the moment when it was needed, and that's how we put on a temporary bandage."
Tired of finding solutions on a whim, the two women took on another battle to fight underrepresentation...by inventing hygienic hijabs.
"Our purpose lies with bringing more cultural inclusivity in the hospitals and making sure Muslim women feel that their presence is valued and that they have a seat at the table," Samatar said.
And the hijabs aren't just for healthcare workers either.
"You'll see more patient satisfaction when the patient is feeling like at the hospital, 'I have something that's provided for me, geared towards my cultural and religious needs.'"
"We were trying to fit in with a system but when the system is not made for you or thought about you, you have to let everybody know, 'hey we have this problem,' we are telling you as healthcare workers, and as Muslim Hijabis and once we let everyone know people are more aware right now," Adam said.
Both Samatar and Adam said this is at least one barrier down, for future Muslim healthcare workers.
"I didn't want any one that looked like me to shy away from going into healthcare," Samatar said. "Just being a Black Muslim woman in healthcare, just knowing that you're represented in the healthcare field, gives you that self confidence and self boost."
Necessity may be the mother of invention, but by facing adversity, they said they hope to inspire a next generation of problem solvers.
"I don't want you to worry about this," Adam said. "I went through it, there's no reason the next generation should go through it. We need to improve this while we're in this world to help each other in any way we can."
"We need everyone to work on things that's going around, and make life easier for us," Adam continued. "Life is already hard as it is."
The Hygienic Hijabs are available for purchase on www.usmawadda.com. Both Samatar and Adam said they are currently working with hospitals on procurement, with the hopes that the hijabs would be available anytime a healthcare worker or a patient needs it.
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