Osoul Taha is a 22-year-old Palestinian-American Muslim Nursing Student who is an activist and works with a number of organizations. She was born in Ramallah, Palestine and moved to New Jersey at the age of seven. She is a senior in the nursing program at her school and works as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). She also works with Smile for Charity, a non-profit organization that helps members of the community. “We work with everyone from Syrian refugees, to domestic violence victims, to widowed mothers and wives. With so much going on around the world, with all these atrocities happening each and every day, being able to help those in need and give hope to those around us is what keeps me grounded.”
What made you want to pursue nursing?
To touch lives. To be a part of the healing process. To be able to give someone hope again, to help someone recover and be at their best. It is so rewarding. Usually when people walk into a hospital, they can’t wait to walk out, but for me, it’s home. I never felt like I belonged like I do when I’m in a hospital.
Given the fact that we live in a Patriarchal and now Islamophobic society, as a Muslim woman, have you faced any obstacles or discrimination for pursuing nursing?
Have I faced discrimination for being a Muslim woman? Of course, countless times unfortunately. However, I have never faced any discrimination or any obstacles when it came to wanting to be a nurse, or working in a medical field.
You work with various community organizations, how did you get involved with them?
I honestly have many active friends and I always tell them to keep me in mind whenever they hear of an open position or whenever they need an extra hand. I make sure to keep an eye out for new volunteer positions or organizations that might need help. As cliché as it sounds, volunteering and giving back gives me purpose and I can sleep at night knowing that at least I am trying to help in every way possible, in my own community and maybe one day I can travel and help around the world.
What would you say is the most rewarding aspect of giving back to your community?
Being a part of someone’s story. Being the reason someone smiles again, being the reason someone has hope again. It is so rewarding and so unparalleled. Nothing can compare to seeing the smile on someone’s face when they regain hope because of your efforts and your help.
You chose a very well known verse from the Qur’an. It reads, “Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear” How has it helped you in your life?
This verse has been my favorite since I was in high school. I have gone through a lot since I was in high school and I have had my dark days but at the end of the day I always remind myself that no matter how hard it gets, no matter how difficult and impossible the situation may seem, I cannot succumb to it, I cannot let it drag me down because I am strong enough to endure whatever obstacle (God) Allah (swt) throws my way. I am strong enough to handle it and even stronger and wiser after I get out of it. After all, Allah (swt) does not burden you with anything you cannot handle.