INKSTER — When Najah Bazzy, a transcultural nurse specialist, visited a refugee family with a terminally ill child in 1996, there was no furniture whatsoever in the house.
The baby was lying in a laundry basket atop folded white towels. The parents heated the child's formula on a portable stove and used a Styrofoam cooler as a refrigerator. Bazzy knew the dire situation of this family was reflective of the circumstances of a large underprivileged population of refugees in Metro Detroit.
"I had to compose myself," Bazzy said as she recalled her visit to the family, and choked back tears. "I was angry that this kind of poverty exists, but I felt compelled to do something about it."
Working with religious and community groups, Bazzy started securing food, clothing and furniture for needy families. Over the years, her efforts grew into Zaman International, a charitable organization with 17 employees, more than 3,000 volunteers and numerous programs that answer to the needs of thousands of families.
Zaman was officially registered as a non-profit in 2004. Now the organization is moving its headquarters from Dearborn to a 40,000-square-foot-center in Inkster that will be a "one stop shop for marginalized women and their children", according to Bazzy.
The organization's founder and president was visibly enthused and overjoyed as she walked The Arab American News through the vast facility, which she expects will be open next month. She pointed to areas in the building and explained her vision for the services that will be offered in each spot. Zaman will offer English and sewing classes to women at the new center.
"We want to stabilize families and offer sustainability through education," Bazzy said.
The center will have a culinary section, with food offered all day long. The new building will have offices set up at an upper level and a space for volunteers. Aisles of clothes and furniture are already established in the center, which used to be an industrial facility before Zaman bought it.
Bazzy said it is important that families will be able to come in and choose the clothes and furniture they like.
"Choice is very powerful; God gave us choice," she added.
Excerpt from The Arab American News article (Friday, 12.19.2014)