In this episode with Sameera Quershi, we discuss the lack of sex education resources in the Muslim community and how her passion for her community lead her to become a sex educator and create much needed curriculum. Sameera then shares some advice on how to keep your business sustainable and on how to become a successful sexuality professional.
Intersections of Islam and Sexual Health
Sameera works at the Intersections of Islam and Sexual Health. She is a Sexual Health Educator, Occupational Therapist and Registered Yoga Teacher. We were lucky enough to have Sameera teach with us at the Sexual Health Alliance in 2020 in a weekend conference for the sex therapy/educator certification program on this much-needed topic. We are excited to sit down again with Sameera in this episode and ask her about her career, her goals and the future of her project, Sexual Health for Muslims.
We first asked which career came first and what’s the story behind the transitions. We discussed how Sameera entered the field of sexual health and also how she became a sexual health educator. Sameera talked about how she is passionate about supporting Muslim survivors and the communities as well as the professionals who serve them.
What motivated Sameera to specialize in this population?
Sameera recently started Sexual Health for Muslims: An initiative that provides accessible and spiritually-grounded sexual health education to Muslims, from the comfort of their home after she transitioned out of HEART in August 2020. Sameera described that the intention of the transition was to find more work-life balance.
She was awarded the 2018 Barbara Seaman Emerging Activist Award by the National Women’s Health Network.
“Statistically, Muslim countries consume more porn than anyone else”
🎙 2:44 What is an Occupational therapist?
🎙 10:50 The most important things when creating a curriculum on sexuality
🎙 26:49 What Muslim spirituality means and how it connects to sexual health
🎙 30:26 Book recommendations to learn more about Islamic spirituality and sexuality
🎙 34:44 How Sameera is keeping her business sustainable
🎙 40:20 Advice for young Muslim professionals who want to work in the sex field
🔗 Sexual Health for Muslims
🔗 Sexcasters Sexuality Professionals Podcast Community
🔗 SHA Certification Trainings where Dr. David Ley is on the advisory board
🔗 Respark Therapy & Coaching for sex therapy and couples therapy in Colorado and Texas
🔗 Practice Outside the Lines
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Meet Sameera Qureshi:
Professionally, Sameera holds a Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from Tufts University in Boston. She started her professional career as a direct service provider in school-based Occupational Therapy in Calgary, Canada, working with children with special needs. In 2008, Sameera was contracted to a mental health capacity building team within the Muslim community, serving Islamic schools and Muslim-led organizations. Her passion for universal and systems-based mental health education led her to transition into the Project Coordinator role in 2011, overseeing a team of four school counselors within twelve schools. From 2011 – 2015, Sameera led this school-based team to develop and facilitate Islamic sexual and mental health curricula in Islamic schools, mosques, community centers, and collaborating agencies.
Sameera joined HEART in 2013 and after six years as the Director of Sexuality Education and Training, she transitioned into a Programming Strategy Director role in the Spring of 2020. HEART is a national non-profit organization dedicated to promoting sexual health and sexual violence awareness in Muslim communities through health education, advocacy, research and training. Sameera is incredibly passionate about integrating the fields of research, Islamic spirituality and sexual health into practical capacity building programs that are accessible to Muslim communities. Aspects of this work that are especially meaningful to her include youth and parent education, working with health-care providers and educators who intersect with Muslim communities, and creating developmentally appropriate and Islam-oriented sexual health curricula.
Sameera’s work has taken her across the United States and Canada to work with Muslim organizations, mosques, Islamic schools, non-profits, and college campuses. She has facilitated professional development workshops at national conferences, and has worked with individual survivors of sexual violence and those needed support with their sexual health. This work has provided Sameera with a wealth of knowledge and experience, which she hopes to offer to interested individuals and communities, through a variety of different offerings.