Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Charity Week for Horn of Africa: Somalia

It's been a long time since I posted. The past few weeks have been busy. What've I been upto? Fundraising! The Islamic Society of the University of Nottingham organised a two day charity event to raise funds for Somalia which has been hit by a double crisis- Conflict and Famine. The funds raised will be channelled through the Islamic Relief Malaysia ( IRM)
The preparations for this started last week, hours were spent brainstorming ideas to raise funds. We had almost-nightouts at the masjid making posters and collages (I can't stand markers or glue or cellophane tape now!) It's only after joining Isoc I realized how much work goes on behind the scenes. Now I truly appreciate  every event as I know how much the person behind it has work. And it's not just one person, of course, it's team work that counts. We have to work as a team to conduct something of this scope. In working as a team, it is inevitable that friction arises , however there is no option but to resolve your issues with others, if any, and to just learn to take the positive criticism and ignore the rest. Afterall, this work we are doing is not for each other, or for even ourselves, but for Allah (Yes, I am paraphrasing what one of the brothers said :D)
(After all the hard work, we had a pretty decent booth! )

Moving to the  event itself, it was on Monday and Tuesday. We had Domino's pizza and Big Apple donuts which were an instant hit with the students and were sold out by the end of the day. Then some of the sisters were kind enough to cook for the event, so we have toffee apple, rice pudding and jelly pudding. May Allah bless them for their efforts and forgive them their sins. On Monday we had a talk in the evening by ZairulShahfuddin , a man who has worked in the Humanitarian Aid field with the IRM for 17 years. He spoke about the current condition in Somalia. I felt ashamed that I didn't know that people were living in such drastic conditions. I knew that there was a famine in Somalia, but I never gave it a second thought. I was content drifting in my own bubble creating imaginary problems. I feel ashamed that I make a mountain out of a molehill, that I am not grateful for what Allah has bless me with.
 I regret each time I said that the cafeteria food is boring. 
My problems used to be- making a choice about what I should eat for each meal- 'should I eat grilled chicken or a sandwich?' What clothes should I wear to class- 'Should I wear my black dress? No I wore it 2 days back..I can't repeat clothes!' All this while in another part of the world people are dying of hunger. Mothers are leaving their children to die, people are swallowing pebbles to fill their stomachs and walking hundreds of miles in hope of finding something-anything- to eat. Every 6 minutes a person is dying there. That means by the time you finish reading this post a person would have died. 

It's sad, yet true. This is the worst drought that Somalia has faced in the last 60 years. Statistics show that 4 million people have been affected by this. That is almost 3 times the population of Kuala Lumpur. Unable to face this people have been fleeing to the neighbouring countries of Kenya and Ethiopia. Of course, that is no perfect solutions as they face trouble finding livelihood in the new country as well. 

What can we do to help them? First, make du'a that Allah helps them get through this disaster and keeps them strong at the face of it. Second- Donate! The amount does not matter, every rupee, every cent is capable of making a difference. As one of the brothers in ISoc said, just donating the money that we usually spend on a can of Coke can feed a family. You can donate through these sites as well- http://www.islamic-relief.org.uk/index.aspx

 What about students? They can't always donate, you may say. Well we can volunteer. There are many organisations which need young, energetic volunteers to assist them. In Malaysia itself, Islamic Relief Malaysia  (http://irmblog.org ) is looking for volunteers.So you can do your bit by just giving a few of your weekends to this instead of movies or malls. 

At the end it all comes back to du'a. it is indeed the weapon of the believer. May Allah help those who are fighting for their lives everyday. May he quench their thirst when they are out in the desert with not a drop to drink. May Allah protect us all and save us from trials like these.

And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient.
Who, when disaster strikes them, say, "Indeed we belong to Allah , and indeed to Him we will return."
Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. And it is those who are the [rightly] guided.
(Qur'an. 2 :155-157)

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