Henna Hands Are Helping Hands

Look Mom, I got a tattoo! It was for a good cause, I swear…

Students lined up outside the cafeteria during the last week of school before the holidays to get tatted up, and to pay up. In support of the Syrian refugee family being sponsored by WCI, the Muslim Students Association (MSA) organized the school’s very first Henna tattoo fundraiser.

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“We knew we wanted to do some kind of charity or fundraiser anyways, and so when this came up, we thought it would be perfect. Henna is cheap to buy, and everyone loves it,” said Nooran A., head of MSA at WCI.

Tattoos were $2.50 for a small design and $5.00 for a larger design.

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Nooran is a self taught henna tattoo artist. Born and raised in Dubai, with her roots being in Palestine, Nooran said, “I am Middle Eastern, so we’re used to hearing news of wars and refugees. It’s not a shock, but it definitely hurts to know that there are so many people suffering, even more so than they were before.”

Henna tattoos are originally from India, but the tradition has since spread through the Middle East. Designs vary based on place of origin. Henna is made from the dried leaves of a flowering plant that are ground into a paste. The paste is applied to the skin and is to be left on for approximately three hours in order to stain the skin; the paste dries and cracks or flakes off of the skin, leaving behind a semi-permanent tattoo, often orange in colour.

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The proceeds from the henna fundraiser are just one of many initiatives at the school supporting the Syrian family anticipated to join us. When asked what exactly the school will be funding for the family, Nooran said she assumes the money will go “where there is the most need,” whether it be food, clothing, or shelter, no one is quite sure yet.

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Information about WCI’s fundraising efforts can be found on FJORD’s refugee support page.

Photography: Luke Sarazin

Article: Monica Marczuk