The Healthy Muslim Families Office has opened in Winkler, to provide support and a variety of services to over 200 Muslim families making their home in the Pembina Valley.  

New Program Director Shaista Zahid Zehri is pleased to be part of extending services to this hub from the organization that originated in Winnipeg. 

"They thought I've been in the community is a long time, especially the local community, and our Muslim community. I said, 'Ok yeah, I would love to work voluntarily with the different organizations already, with the Regional Connections and Central Station. It's a good opportunity for me to serve more with the title as well and I'm so glad I can do something to better and for the good of whatever people needs are." 

According to the Healthy Muslim Families website, in 2010, the organization began with volunteers meeting the needs of Muslim families in Winnipeg. In 2020, the organization incorporated and is now a non-profit organization working to fill the gaps in services to support the growing Muslim community.  

Zehri is excited about what this means for Muslims making their home in the region, giving them access to employment and mental health supports, legal support, and financial empowerment support, closer to home. 

Winkler Mayor Henry Siemens took a tour of the HMF officeWinkler Mayor Henry Siemens took a tour of the HMF office

She said there are plans in the works for programming for women and youth. 

"They are doing youth skills and leadership. They're doing art and culture, which is I'm so excited about because, my daughters, they are really amazing at art and things. So, I thought it was a good opportunity for other kids. They can come and use their skills and stuff, especially if they may have a couple of summer programs. I especially love the supporting women, because women are always a little hesitant to open up, so it's hard to talk to them and being open with whatever their problems and needs are, which is what I'd like to help with." 

The need is growing and through her past volunteering, Zehri knows this office will be busy.  

"Right now, so many newcomers are coming, and newcomers always need help from the start, from basic. Some people know already, but some people don't know. They can come and when they need help with every place; they need rides, they need food, and basic things. So, it's a good thing to network with them. This is also the reason we do what we do is for Islamic art and Islamic culture also. Which is good for the Winkler community to know more about Islam and Muslim values also."  

While Zehri is here to coordinate the programs and support in Winkler, she is not working alone, she has the support of the HMF in Winnipeg who was on hand on Friday to share the many ways people can access the programming and supports they need.

Morden Mayor Nancy Penner took time to learn about the HMF officeMorden Mayor Nancy Penner took time to learn about the HMF office


Zehri is excited to get to work, adding there are other areas of service available.  

"The other thing is public educational awareness, which is like health, immigration, civic engagement, literacy, they offer all those programs, which is amazing. So, I like to be a part of that team." 

The new office is in the same building as the Mosque at 2-385 Mountain Ave in Winkler, South of the MCC building. 

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