Saima Bhutta has been an activist for over 25 years. As an immigrant from Pakistan, she became increasingly involved in the community after 9/11 when anti-muslim sentiment grew. She discovered her passion for helping people through providing aid to those in her community. In 2014 Bhutta helped found the Muslim Federation of South Jersey. She led clothing and supply donation drives through this organization to help hundreds of Afghan refugees relocate to New Jersey. As an activist, she is passionate about racial injustice and social justice issues. As a volunteer for many years, she has participated in soup kitchens, overseen public school clubs, taught Sunday school, distributed personal protective equipment during the coronavirus pandemic, and tried to communicate understanding and peace between different faith groups in South Jersey.
As a professional, Saima is in the healthcare field and works as a physician’s assistant in Hammonton, New Jersey. In 2006 Bhutta was awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Medal for providing health care services to the homeless in Camden County through the H.O.P.E. project. In honor of Women’s history month in 2021, she was a featured panelist on a webinar hosted by Governor Phil Murphy and was appointed a member of Governor Murphy’s A.A.P.I. commission. In addition, Bhutta was recognized for her commitment to diversity and inclusion during Burlington County’s 2021 Outstanding Women of Burlington County Awards Reception.
Bellano, Anthony. “Moorestown Woman to Be Recognized for Diveristy, Inclusion Work.” Moorestown, NJ Patch. Patch, September 10, 2021. https://patch.com/new-jersey/moorestown/moorestown-woman-be-recognized-diveristy-inclusion-work.
Bellano, Anthony. “NJ Woman Found Passion to Combat Islamophobia after 9/11 Attacks.” Moorestown, NJ Patch. Patch, September 10, 2021. https://patch.com/new-jersey/moorestown/moorestown-woman-found-passion-help-after-9-11-attacks.
Harkinson, Christine. “Moorestown Resident Reaches Communities In Need.” The Sun Newspapers, May 5, 2022. https://thesunpapers.com/2022/05/05/moorestown-resident-reaches-communities-in-need/.
Questions to Explore
How did Bhutta get into her profession as a healthcare provider?
How has Bhutta built understanding between different faith groups in South Jersey? What methods and techniques has she utilized to build mutual understanding and respect?
How has volunteering influenced Bhutta’s outlook on life and her community? How can you incorporate volunteerism into your life?
“Governor Murphy Announces Appointments to New Jersey Asian American and Pacific Islander Commission.” Office of the Governor | State of New Jersey. Accessed March 24, 2023. https://www.nj.gov/governor/news/news/562022/20220518b.shtml.