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Tag: Kadiatou Balde and Zainab Koli

Kadiatou Balde and Zainab Koli

Ramadan Mubarak!

As the Muslim community embarks on one of the holiest months in their faith, Ramadan, we’d like to showcase two Muslim women who founded an organization that blends faith and environmental sustainability through education, activism and entrepreneurship.

Kadiatou Balde and Zainab Koli launched Faithfully Sustainable. This organization engages with an online community of more than 2,500 members through social media posts, talks and fellowships. Across spaces of minority narratives, they encourage members to understand and adopt sustainable practices.

Kadiatou Balde’s passion for environmentalism came from lived experience. She was born in the Bronx, New York, Lenape territory. However, she spent much of her childhood in Guinea, West Africa, which informed Balde on environmental injustice.

Zainab Koli is an Indian American Muslim woman born and raised in Queens, New York, occupied land of the Matinecock tribe, a division of the Algonquin Nation and Lenape people. Community is at the center of everything Koli does. 

Koli and Balde graduated from schools in the State University of New York system and received awards in their senior years. They met at the awards ceremony in Albany, New York, in a chance encounter that Balde calls fate. As Koli said, “When two hijabis see each other at an event, they say hi.”

When starting Faithfully Sustainable, Koli and Balde embarked on a journey to learn more about the connection between sustainability and their Islamic faith. They both cite the book “Green Deen: What Islam Teaches about Protecting the Planet” by Ibrahim Abdul-Matin as integral to their understanding of sustainability and environmental justice.

Their largest campaign to date is the No Eid Shopping campaign, which encourages community members to reduce consumption by wearing clothes they already own for Eid. They also encouraged their community members to donate the money they would have used for clothes to worthy causes, such as the Black Lives Matter movement.

Eid takes place at the end of Ramadan. The name “Eid al-Fitr” translates as “the festival of the breaking of the fast.” This year, Eid al-Fitr will begin the evening of Friday, April 21, 2023.

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