Baltimore Nurse Practitioner Opens Health Center and Shelter for Underserved Population
Chaplain Asma Inge-Hanif grew up poor, watching her grandmother die due to lack of access to proper healthcare. This inspired her to become a nurse practitioner and open her own health center where, she volunteers her services to the underserved and uninsured. Chaplain Hanif also provides volunteer health services in public schools.
In addition to her health services, Chaplain Hanif has cared for refugees, trafficking victims and female victims of domestic violence for more than 30 years. In 2007, she opened a home in order to shelter victims of domestic violence.
She is known for hosting four signature volunteer events every year. The Chili Bowl Super Bowl Sunday is one where she serves hot bowls of chili and distributes toiletries to the homeless. She also participates in a local Red Nose Day where she adopts a local inner city school and distributes healthy snacks and gives small gifts to the students on the honor roll.
Chaplain Hanif also holds the annual community outreach programs, Back To School Health Fair for the homeless and uninsured, and the Love Thy Neighbor event where she distributes food pantry items and clothing to those in need.
What inspired you to volunteer?
My grandmother was a maid working for a wealthy doctor. She died of cancer because she didn’t receive the proper healthcare treatment due to her lack of status in society. My mom encouraged me to go to school to be a nurse to care for people like my grandmother who were in need.
Describe your volunteer role with Muslimat Al Nisaa Shelter and Muslimat Al Nisaa Healthy Solutions Wellness Ministry.
I am a nurse practitioner. I established my own health center and provide my health services without a salary. I do not turn away health care services to the uninsured and needy.
I also opened a shelter for refugees, trafficking victims and female victims of domestic abuse. We help keep the women safe and provide a haven to allow them to heal until they are able to live independently.
Why do you think it’s important for others to give back?
I don’t know anybody who has ever accomplished anything in life when somebody didn’t help them. In this life, if you remove random acts of kindness from society, all you have left is selfish, uncaring individuals, and who wants to live in that world?
What’s been the most rewarding part of your work?
During my life, if I can help somebody along the way, than my life hasn’t been in vain. I want to make a difference in the life of others. It is rewarding to pay it forward.
What have you learned through your experiences as a volunteer?
I have learned to be the change you want to see in the world. There will always be people who are in need and there will always be people who can give. I have also learned that in a desire to help others you can become overwhelmed. You need to take into consideration there is only so much you can do. I have learned to admit that I can’t be all things to all people.
Are there any future partnerships, programs, or events that you are excited about?
I have learned that the money raised doesn’t always trickle down to help local inner city kids. Every year, I adopt a school and secure donations. On Red Nose day, I go to the school and distribute healthy snacks and give small gifts to kids on the honor roll as an incentive to work hard.
What do you want people to learn from your story?
A lot of times people think they can’t make a difference. I came from a very poor background. However, it doesn’t matter where you come from – you can follow your dreams. I wouldn’t have thought I could have done these things, but my parents didn’t allow me to be discouraged. It makes you feel good to help others.
Want to make a difference in your community like Asma? Visit All For Good for local volunteer opportunities.
Post written by Karen Cohen.