Posted on August 25th, 2009 No comments
Imagine starting off feeling flushed. The fever gets worse; it doesn’t go away, you feel weak, you lose your appetite, so weak you can’t even move.
Then imagine falling unconscious, and then waking up in a hospital surrounded by other sick people and strangers and you don’t know what’s happened. You’re miles from home, and for the next two weeks you’ll not be able to see your friends or your family, you won’t be able to go to school, play on your video games or watch your favourite TV shows.
And then imagine your nearest hospital is 3 hours away from where you live and your only transport is a bicycle. Imagine this is all because of one mosquito which bit you while you were sleeping, something that could have been avoided but wasn’t because your family couldn’t afford a bed net.
This is the reality faced by millions of young people, the same age as you, across sub-Saharan Africa and many other parts of the world.
Let me tell you about a young person I met in a town called Ifakara in Tanzania. His name is Antony, a dedicated Chelsea football supporter who loves nothing more than to impersonate his hero Drogba on the pitch. Antony lives 2 hours away from the hospital and had what is diagnosed as severe malaria. One afternoon he was found unconscious having fallen ill from it. When I met him in the hospital we asked him if he has a bed net. To that he replied “no, where I live we don’t have mosquitoes.” When I heard this I was shocked and surprised, and asked him how does he think he got malaria if he lived in an area such as this. He said he didn’t know.
Posted on August 24th, 2009 No comments
This is an important extract I took from an article entitled The Women’s Crusade
WHY DO MICROFINANCE organizations usually focus their assistance on women? And why does everyone benefit when women enter the work force and bring home regular pay checks? One reason involves the dirty little secret of global poverty: some of the most wretched suffering is caused not just by low incomes but also by unwise spending by the poor — especially by men. Surprisingly frequently, we’ve come across a mother mourning a child who has just died of malaria for want of a $5 mosquito bed net; the mother says that the family couldn’t afford a bed net and she means it, but then we find the father at a nearby bar. He goes three evenings a week to the bar, spending $5 each week.
Posted on August 23rd, 2009 1 comment
Islam for me is a beautiful religion and way of life and one of the strongest values that I draw from Islam is compassion. This value is what inspires me the most and I take this value with me in all that I do.
I work to alleviate poverty and Islam is what inspires me to do this. Allah says in the Quran in Chapter 5 verse 32, ‘He who saves a single life, it is as if he has saved all of mankind.’ This is a very important verse for me in that God is telling us in all His wisdom the value of saving a single life and that is not a Muslim life but A LIFE regardless of race, gender or religion. To save the life of a Christian, Jew, Hindu or Sikh is just as important as saving a Muslim life.
Posted on August 21st, 2009 No comments
We came to Africa with a goal and that goal was to speak to the communities out here, to hear their stories and to learn about the effects of Malaria. Being here for a week now we understand that the goal is much bigger then what we first anticipated and that malaria is just a smaller part of the bigger picture.
You see the Faiths Act Fellows program and what we are doing here is very unique and pioneering in many ways and if successful I whole heartedly believe that we truly change the world for the better.
Think about the impacts faith based NGOs have both on a grass root level in fundraising, capacity building and raising awareness and then in the field by understanding the cultures and religious observances of the community. From my experiences in working with Muslim faith based NGOs in disaster response situations in Muslim lands such as the Pakistan earthquake and Cyclone Sidr in Bangladesh it was these organizations that were the most effective. It is the faith of these organizations that really infuses the value of giving and compassion from people to the people.
Posted on August 17th, 2009 No comments
We know humanity has failed; has the humanitarian ‘industry’ also failed?
Today I attended Catholic Mass in Ifakara, south central Tanzania. The congregation was huge and the church was full with many at standing at the back of the hall for the entire 2 hour service. I noted how many young, enthusiastic and vibrant people attended the mass in contrast to the services I have attended at home in London. Young people made up a huge portion of the congregation; is this because of the level of community spirit that exists? The shear poverty that people are in that means church is the only hope? Or is it that most of the population don’t make it to be old enough to be considered old? Probably it is all three.
We attended mass today as a group of 10 from all different faiths – Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Sikh and Theists; our message a simple yet complicated one. People of different faiths working together for positive social action. This could be anything from campaigning on climate change, promoting Fair Trade or doing something about the global fight on poverty. For us it is trying to achieve the Millennium Development Goals with special attention to the eradication of deaths caused due to Malaria.
Posted on August 11th, 2009 No comments
One of the greatest achievements that Islam has had is the ability to adapt to and co-exist in communities that traditionally are not Islamic. The early companions of the Prophet (saw) never imposed a new culture into a community but would bring in the beautiful aspects of Islam and live alongside the cultures they found. Now we are not talking about things that compromise the commandments of the Almighty but about becoming active members of the community we live in, showing that Islam is a way of life that is not difficult or a burden on people but beautiful and flourishing.
The same is true today – we are young British Muslims who have an identity of being British and yet hold dearly our beliefs – nothing can show this more so then the blessed month of Ramadan. As the moon is sighted to signify the beginning of Ramadan, our attitudes change and we make more of an effort to concentrate on our spirituality while continuing to get on with our normal British lives; we must go to work and yet we must try and get the most and best out of this month and we can do this like the companions who migrated to cities far from their original homes.
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