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Toilets for South Africa’s Most Vulnerable

Pit toilets are still a reality in South Africa and many schools are still using this system due to a lack of resources. Use of these toilets has resulted in physical injury, illness and in a few cases, the deaths of learners.

According to statistics from the Department of Basic Education briefing on the 7th of November 2018, out of the country’s 23 334 active schools, 3 898 still had pit latrines as the only form of sanitation.

The Jamiatul Ulama South Africa partnered with the Gift of the Givers and launched a campaign to eradicate pit toilets from South African schools. The President of the country himself, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, called upon the private sector and other stakeholders to join forces with the government to eradicate this problem.

In term two, Qurtuba Islamic Academy embarked on a fund-raising initiative to assist their brothers and sisters in education. Their aim was to help make a difference by providing six cubicle toilets to a school in urgent need, by providing an environment where learners are educated with dignity.

Juluka Ndoda Primary School in the Kwadudela area of Howick, has for years been subjected to toilet facilities which were in an appalling state. Juluka Ndoda is a top performing school with more than 700 pupils attending from Grade R to Grade 7, but with toilet facilities that were no longer fit for use. The KwaZulu Natal Department of Public Works, which is responsible for the school’s buildings had conducted site visits and deemed the facilities unfit.

On the 12th of September 2019, the Jamiatul Ulama South Africa together with Qurtuba Islamic Academy and Gift of the Givers handed over newly built toilet cubicles to the school. The pupils also received little gift packs of sweets and stationery, and were given important advice on hygiene and academic excellence.

Learners and teachers at Juluka Ndoda Primary School have expressed their gratitude for the 12 toilet cubicles that will now allow them to concentrate on the important work of learning.

Follow Qurtuba Islamic Academy to see the work they are doing:

Instagram – @qurtubaislamicacademy

Facebook – @qurtubaislamicacademy

Twitter – @QurtubaIA

 

How can you help?

By donating towards this life changing project.

For more information or to contribute:
Contact Ml Asad Pandor – apandor@jamiatsa.org

or

make a deposit into their account:

Name: Jamiatul Ulama South Africa Relief

Bank: Nedbank Fordsburg

Branch code: 198 765

Account Number: 1953 285 937

Reference: Your name/Toilets 4 schools

Lillah and Sadaqah applicable

CWF Kids Read to Raise Funds for Special-Needs Children

“Sometimes, superheroes reside in the hearts of small children fighting big battles.”

There’s nothing more heartbreaking than witnessing young children being diagnosed with a terminal or chronic illness. On the other hand, there’s nothing more heartwarming than attesting to the great strength and unbreakable spirit that these kids demonstrate.

Zayn Cajee is one such child – a courageous little warrior, a mighty soldier and an effervescent toddler who was diagnosed with a rare disease at just a few months old. Now aged three, Zayn is a signifier of strength, faith and hope. Fortunately, he has had access to exceptional healthcare and assistive devices, which have made his condition somewhat more manageable. There are many children with similar conditions who are unable to acquire or afford specialised resources and medical treatment.

Realising how much of a difference good health facilities and therapeutics can make, Zayn’s parents were inspired to start a fund in order to assist those who are less fortunate, and provide assistance to children who require mobility, hearing, visual, learning or communication aids.

CWF Kids showed their support of the Zayn Cajee Children’s Warrior Fund, and aimed to raise money and awareness towards the provision of assistive devices to children who can’t afford them. CWF Kids takes on two projects per year, and in 2018, their hearts were drawn to campaigning for Zayn Cajee’s project.

At the end of last year, kids around the country did their part in raising money for this worthy cause. The primary aim of this most recent fundraising project was to encourage children to read, and so, a read-a-thon was suggested. Getting the youth to improve their literacy skills, while collecting funds for other children with special health needs is an insightful and beneficial idea! 

From August 2018 to January 2019, children throughout the country devoured as many new books as they could, bookmarked pages, shared stories, and enriched their own lives, as well as those of the CWF Kids. The children and area representatives did a sterling job nationwide and were able to collect a grand total of R70 000. The money raised is dedicated to making a change and improving the lives of children that are in desperate need of assistive devices.

This touching campaign is more than just a fundraising initiative, it teaches children from an early age that the gift of giving is far more valuable than receiving, and that, although they may be young of age, they have the power and ability to make a difference. We’d love to see ‘reading with a purpose’ become the foundation for more youth-led fundraising projects.

Read more about Zayn’s incredible journey on his blog, which is run by his parents.

For more information on the CWF Kids, contact Nousheen on 082 545 2888 or email info@cwfkids.org.za

Salaamedia Launches #Pens4Peace Campaign

In the words of the Malala Yousafzai, “One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.”

If there’s anything we’ve learnt from this remarkable humanitarian and activist, it’s that the advancement of human beings through educational tools is far superior to weapons aimed at death and destruction. The power of the pen and written word exceeds the pointless desolation of metal warfare.

With a string of negative news from almost every corner of the world, it becomes so important for a voice of positivity and hope to emerge. In a cacophony of senseless strife and conflict, Salaamedia raises its emblematic voice for peace and justice.

This October, the humanitarian-based organisation launched their #Pens4Peace campaign, drawing on the power of the pen, the piercing strength of the pencil, the clarity of art brushes and paint, the laughter of colour pencils and crayons, and the soothing feel of paper on fingertips. They aim to channel innovation and use creativity as a form of protest and activism for a better world.

The campaign is a global call for peace, and focuses on hostility-ridden regions in Somalia, the Central African Republic, Palestine, Syria, Kashmir and Myanmar (the latter focusing on the Rohingya crisis).

The #Pens4Peace campaign was implemented in these ways:

1. The Salaam Foundation team embarked on a walk between Sharpeville in the Vaal to Pretoria. The team’s route was scheduled from 7-12 October and spanned different areas in Johannesburg:

  • 7 October – Sharpeville Mosque to Sharpeville Memorial Site
  • 8 October – Lenasia South to the Trade Route Mall
  • 9 October – Lenasia Muslim School, Little Folks Nursery School and Masjid Ashraf (ext 11B).
  • 10 October – Kliptown, Soweto, Ridgway Muslim School and Auckland Park.
  • 11 October – Houghton, Kelvin and Marlboro.
  • 12 October – Pretoria

2. Young people and adults were encouraged to visit Trade Route Mall in Lenasia and either drop off a drawing, painting or poem linked to a call for peace related to one of the target zones above, or, alternatively they could go into the mall and use the paper, paint and colours provided there to create a work of art. The artworks were displayed in the #Pens4Peace Art Gallery, situated in the mall, from 28 September 2018 to 19 October 2018. A minimum participation fee of R20 per artwork was requested.

3. Symbolic #Pens4Peace went on sale for R30 each. These pens will be delivered to individuals, schools and institutions that wish to contribute to the campaign, and funds raised will ultimately assist the victims of war. The pens can also be re-donated and delivered to children in South Africa struggling with educational resources.

All proceeds collected from this inspired campaign will benefit Salaam Foundation projects in Africa and other areas of the world, including Bangladesh and Syrian refugees in Turkey.

Salaamedia wishes to acknowledge the hard work of Ali Kandulu, an employee who has been the core member of the walking team. His silent dedication to the project has been outstanding.

We hope that the #Pens4Peace project will become a regular occurrence across the country, as we all have our own creativity to share and it’s more merited when aimed at such an excellent cause.

To make your contribution to the #Pens4Peace campaign, contact Salaamedia and Salaam Foundation:

The Teddy Bear Foundation Fundraiser with CineCentre

The life of every child should be valued and protected, and they should each be entitled to a childhood that is carefree, safe and most importantly, happy. Sadly, this is not the case for so many young South African kids. Every day we read about horrific acts of violence against children in the media, however this is just the tip of the iceberg, as the number of cases reported are suspected to be much lower than actual incidence rates. The most prevalent forms of violence include sexual abuse and rape, physical violence and homicide, corporal punishment, emotional abuse, neglect, bullying and gang violence.

The Teddy Bear Foundation addresses these disquieting matters with the utmost dignity, clemency and care, by providing a safe haven for young victims of abuse. The foundation, established in 1986, continually tries to raise funds for the rehabilitation and healing of mistreated kids.

On Friday, 3 August 2018, 52 children from the Muslim Aids Program (MAP) and Nkosi’s Haven – along with their caregivers – were given the opportunity to watch a movie at CineCentre in Killarney Mall, Johannesburg. Their tickets to see Goodbye Christopher Robin were sponsored by generous donations from the public. This lighthearted movie outing was the perfect fundraising idea, as it allowed the orphans to enjoy a fun and anxiety-free activity and be treated to delicious snacks.

The project also aimed to raise funds for The Teddy Bear Foundation and create awareness of the services they offer. Money raised above the sponsorship of the children’s movie tickets will be used to provide them with services, including medical examinations, forensic assessments, counselling, psychological testing, and also be allotted to programmes such as SPARC (Support Programme for Abuse Reactive Children) and SAFE (Safe and Friendly Environment).

The Teddy Bear Foundation currently provides these ministrations at no cost to all those who need it, and any funds raised make these vital services unreservedly available to everyone.

The foundation is grateful to Aneesa Adam, Noori Moti, Ayesha Omar, Sumaya Paruk and Fatima Omar for their assistance in making this event a success and memorable occasion for the children. Farha Moosa of CineCentre kindly hosted the enjoyable afternoon event, where the youth and young at heart enjoyed laughter and entertainment. “It’s amazing to see children together from all walks of life enjoying time together with no boundaries,” said Dalene Bishop, who is the Donor Liaison at The Teddy Bear Foundation.

An incredible amount of R35 000 was raised which will be used towards providing services to abused children. This wonderful experience was cherished by the young attendees, adding much-needed joy to their lives and creating fond memories which will always put smiles on their faces.

To find out how you can help, contact Dr Shaheda Omar on 083 557 3720 or email shahedao@ttbc.org.za

Visit their website to learn more.

Muslim Hands hosts ‘Ladies 5 Dams Hiking Challenge’

Sociologist and civil-rights activist, W.E.B. Dubois once said: “There is no force equal to a woman determined to rise.”

The ladies of Muslim Hands prove this to be true, always finding creative ways to assist their community in times of need. The recent water crisis in Cape Town spurred them on an exciting and charitable adventure, combining fitness with fundraising.

On 8 April 2018, 26 outdoor-loving women participated in the ‘Ladies 5 Dams Hiking Challenge’, organised by Muslim Hands and led by avid hiker, Fatima Sait. The ladies challenged themselves to hike around five dams in the Cape Town area, hoping to raise enough money to build well-points, in response to the local drought.

Each participant was encouraged to raise money for the well-points in order to participate in the challenge. There was also a registration fee that supplemented the cause. Non-potable water helps to take the strain off the municipality grid and the water is channelled through to toilets, gardens and mosques.

These five dams can be found behind the majestic Table Mountain, and include: Alexandra Dam, Victoria Dam, De Villiers Reservoir, Woodhead Dam and Hely-Hutchinson. Along with the spectacular views and an unforgettable experience, the ladies were also enlightened on the history surrounding the dams which were built between 1896 and 1907, in order to service the water needs of Cape Town.

The NGO has already completed six well-points since November 2017 and intends on completing six more by June 2018. The hiking challenge is yet another way that Muslim Hands strives to assist with the water shortage. The ladies successfully raised enough money to build another well-point, which will be installed in the chosen location after the fasting month of Ramadaan.

We salute their athleticism and generous efforts which will benefit thousands in the area.

For more information on this project, please contact Zakiyah Ebrahim on 021 633 6413 or email zakiyah.ebrahim@muslimhands.org.za

DaruShifa Elders’ Care Facility – A Haven for the Aged

To care for those who once had taken care of us is one of the greatest and most significant honours in life. Our elderly are the foundation of society, with a vast history and knowledge which runs through their veins, and we are privileged to spend time with them.

The DaruShifa non-profit organisation was established 4 years ago by members of the local community who saw a need to assist families with caring for their elderly loved ones. DaruShifa is also in partnership with Awqaf SA, together attempting to bring about a movement regarding elderly care in South Africa.

DaruShifa hopes to raise enough funds to purchase the elder care facility pictured above.

The most recent project DaruShifa has embarked on is ‘Assisted Living’. ‘Assisted Living’ is a lifestyle choice for an elderly person who needs a helping hand with daily activities, but doesn’t necessarily require frail care or a nursing home. To this end, DaruShifa is renting a block of flats with an option to purchase in the near future, if sufficient funds can be raised. This elderly care facility, situated in Lenasia, officially opened its doors on 1 April 2018 and is one of those compassionate places that provides a home for the aged and ailing.

The building consists of six units; each one has three bedrooms with an open-plan lounge, kitchen and dining area. Each unit can house up to five ladies and will be fully furnished for their comfort. At full capacity, they will be equipped to assist elderly 25 women. Operationally, it costs R6000 per month to house one senior patient and they readily accept sponsorships for women who cannot afford this payment. To make ends meets, DaruShifa welcomes offers of zakaat as well as monthly debit order donations.

A bedroom inside the care facility

Professionally-trained female caregivers are on site 24/7 to assist the senior inhabitants with bathing, personal grooming, medication management, massages and all caregiving-related services. The centre has additional staff to ensure it maintains a high standard of hygiene and tidiness. All meals and snacks are provided, and these have been specifically selected to be as nutritional as possible. Security is a top priority; CCTV cameras are installed, security guards are on duty around the clock, and the centre is surrounded by high walls with electric fencing.

On Friday, 13 April 2018, a pledge line was held on ITV Networks to raise the R5 million required by DaruShifa to purchase the building. With immense gratitude to the charitable public, they were able to raise R1.2 million.

Naseega Botha, vice-chairperson of DaruShifa mentioned, “We are overwhelmed by the response that we have received from the community and various businesses that has come forward thus far. The names are too many to mention. We would like to take the opportunity to thank each of them. May they be rewarded abundantly, InshaAllah, for the difference they are making to the lives of the elderly – our foundation and pillars of strength.”

The living area where the senior ladies can relax

DaruShifa is described as ‘an abode of love, care and healing’. The institution strives to provide care services for the older generations of Lenasia and greater Gauteng, making the golden years of their lives easier and more comfortable. Accommodating the aged with love and dignity, DaruShifa is an open organisation that serves all of humanity based on an Islamic ethos of kindness, goodwill and generosity.

DaruShifa provides these services:

  • Home-based care with trained caregivers to assist elderly patients recuperate from ill health and cope with daily living needs within the comfort and familiarity of their own homes.

  • Assisting elderly patients with the healing process after an operation. This temporary care service can be provided at home or in future, at their care centre. The recovery period ranges from 6-8 weeks, and is dependent on the patient and procedure performed.

  • Provision of accredited training in home-based care as a profession, conducted in partnership with St Johns Academy. This course also serves to upskill and educate members of the community who care for an elderly person at home.

  • Advice on helpful house modifications to support the mobility of the elderly person at home.

  • Counselling sessions for family members and caregivers. Debriefing is essential to maintain a healthy emotional and psychological state of being when dealing with a frail and ill loved one.

If you would like to assist DaruShifa financially in attaining their worthy goal of purchasing the elder care facility or to sponsor the care of an elderly lady, please contact Naseega Botha on 083 817 8494 or email darushifa.lenasia@awqafsa.org.za

Cycling for Success – The #Riding4SAeducation Campaign 2018

According to a 2016 study published in the South African Early Childhood Review, around 63% of young South African children live in poverty. This translates to a shocking 3 969 000 impoverished children around the country, with the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo having the highest rates.

Salaamedia and Salaam Foundation make South African education their main priority, seeking to empower young learners and equip them with proper care, academic tools and facilities. Due to the success of their #Riding4SAeducation campaign in 2017, the organisation rallied the support of like-minded NGO’s and individuals to partake in the cycling-based project this year.

The 2018 effort brought several organisations together, including Africa Muslims Agency, Islamic Relief SA, Nyota Collections and Al Ihya Foundation, for the common cause of highlighting the plight of South African learners.

Starting their journey on the 12 of February 2018 in Polokwane, the group of riders visited destitute schools along their route through various towns in the Limpopo and North West provinces. They also took assessments of the different needs within the schools and plan to strategise on if and how they will be able to assist.

One of the most dilapidated schools they visited was Stinkhout Primary, just outside Zeerust in the North West. “The walls of the prefabricated classrooms were rotting. The school’s pit toilets have not been cleaned since late last year, the borehole is non-functional,” said Azhar Vadi of Salaam Foundation. Up to 80 learners were cramped into the classrooms, which also had sagging floors.

The Muslim community of Zeerust has been trying for some time to supply bottles of water to the school, which is situated 15km outside the town. This has however come to an end and the learners are now dependent on a supply from neighbouring farms.

In Lichtenburg, the team visited a school that had an average of 120 learners per classroom. “Situations like this are simply unacceptable. The Department of Education needs to seriously look into what it is doing to ensure that the future of South Africa is secured through the provision of quality education,” said Vadi. “While we can raise some funding through the various towns we pass through, ultimately this is a government function. We need to add pressure on the provincial and national departments to ensure that adequate funding reaches the children of South Africa.”

This year the incredible journey spanned 1160km and ended in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg, on the 25 February 2018 with a mountain bike race and family outdoor market.

Salaam Foundation coordinator, Fatima Sookharia, said the event was a great success. “We wanted more people to participate in #Riding4SAeducation. So we hosted the MTB event and despite the rain, we had cyclists, young and old, taking to the hills around Lenasia. As the weather cleared we had a fantastic day all in aid of education in South Africa.”

This remarkable event is now expected to become an annual occurrence, bringing much-needed attention to struggling schools and poverty-stricken learners. We commend all the riders involved, whose long journey has brought hope, care and love to these children, reminding them that they have not been forgotten.

*Special thanks to Azhar Vadi for his collaboration on this article.

For more information or to get involved, please contact Salaamedia on 011 680 0355/081 706 4622 or email info@salaamedia.com

Alternatively, make a donation towards SA education:

Account: Salaam Foundation
Bank: FNB
Account no: 62669147665
Branch: 250737
Reference: Education (lillah/zakaah)

 

Muslim Hands SA Stationery Drive 2018 benefits Cape Flats kids

The start of the new school year is always an exciting time for young children. The idea of seeing friends again after the long summer holiday, exploring a new classroom, meeting teachers and of course, acquiring more knowledge. 

While public schools do supply learning material for students, most don’t provide any stationery. As we know from experience, both these types of academic materials go hand in hand, and learning is impossible without the use of a pen and paper. Stationery costs are annually inflated which makes even the most basic of supplies too expensive for many less fortunate families. 

 

Muslim Hands SA understands the value of education and strives to support young learners from low-income homes in any way possible. They held a stationery drive in January 2018, calling upon the local Capetonian community to donate funds in aid of underprivileged school kids. Donors were more than happy to contribute to this worthy cause and an astounding R80 000 was collected through the Muslim Hands Stationery Drive.

On 21 January 2018, stationery packs were distributed to financially disadvantaged children from the Cape Flats. 500 young beneficiaries began their 2018 school year on the right path, stocked with the required stationery and eager to learn. For many of these bright minds, this will be the only new set of stationery they will receive this year.

The stationery pack for each child included writing books, scissors, a glue stick, flip files, pens, a pencil, ruler and eraser, as well as sellotape.

Items in these handy stationery packs were carefully selected to suit both primary and high school students.

There are few things more heartwarming than seeing the smile of child who is given something this practical – and often taken for granted – and yet they treat it like a luxury.

 

Thanks to the Muslim Hands SA team for continuing to fuel academic opportunities for our country’s youth.

 

For more information on how you can contribute, contact Muslims Hands SA on 021 633 6413 or send an email to mail@muslimhands.org.za

QIA and Salaamedia join forces to #WalkforSomalia and #WalkforRohingya

Kept concealed from mainstream media, the famine crisis in Somalia has reached inconceivable proportions, while on the other side of the world, Muslims in Rohingya are being subjected to unfathomable atrocities. We may live thousands of kilometers away from our fellow brothers and sisters in need, but that didn’t prevent Qurtuba Islamic Academy (QIA) and Salaamedia from teaming up to show their solidarity and support.

On 7 September 2017, Salaamedia held a #WalkforSomalia and #WalkforRohingya campaign to raise funds for these conflict-ridden areas. This significant walk saw participants cover a distance of 120km in Johannesburg and surrounding areas. Salaamedia made a pit stop at the Qurtuba Islamic Academy (QIA) where the students and school staff joined the walk. The QIA staff also prepared a delicious breakfast for the avid volunteers to ‘recharge their batteries’.

QIA was able to raise R8500 for their part of the walk which will assist the Arafaat Paediatric Hospital in Baidoa, Somalia, as well as provide emergency relief for fleeing Rohingya Muslims in Burma.

A valuable cause such as this one brings much-needed attention to the devastating plight of Somalians, some of whom walk up to 150km to reach towns where humanitarian and medical aid is made available. In Myanmar, Rohingya Muslims – including innocent children – are being brutally killed, tortured and driven from their homes. Now is as good a time as ever for us to stand together and unite against the affliction against them. 

QIA continues to be a school with a purpose, and is always at the forefront of local humanitarian and community work.

For more information, please call the Qurtuba Islamic Academy on 011 608 0527 or email info@qurtuba.co.za

 

Qurtuba Islamic Academy donates grocery hampers in the spirit of Ramadaan

With Ramadaan coming to a close, most of us have been fortunate enough to begin and end each day of fasting with an abundance of wholesome and delicious food. To truly acknowledge the spirit of the month of fasting, we have to put ourselves in the shoes of those who can’t enjoy the luxury of having a spread of food on their tables each iftaar (time of breaking fast).

QIA students hard at work packing hampers

Staff and students at Qurtuba Islamic Academy were conscious of this need among the less privileged members of the Muslim community. During May 2017 before Ramadaan began, these kind-hearted benefactors began raising funds for iftaar hampers. Funds were collected from QIA students, as well as members of the Linbro Park Muslim community.

A wide selection of groceries were packed in each hamper

Groceries were purchased through the Jamiatul Ulama South Africa, and included a variety of useful food products; sugar, flour, tin foods, oil, mealie meal, oats, rice, spices, eggs, tea, coffee and much more. The hampers also included essential household products like soap, washing powder and toothpaste. Once the groceries were purchased, Qurtuba Islamic Academy learners spent their first Saturday in Ramadaan hard at work packing individual hampers for distribution. This served as a learning experience for the children and allowed them the opportunity to consider the plight of the less fortunate.

60 hampers packed and ready to be distributed

60 Hampers were donated in total; 10 to deserving individuals in the Linbro Park community and 50 hampers were handed over to the Jamiatul-Ulama South Africa, who distributed them to widows and other worthy recipients. The hampers, valued at approximately R850 each, were filled to the brim with indispensable supplies, intended to sustain each family for the entire month of fasting. This project was made a reality thanks to Moulana Asad Pandor of the Jamiatul Ulama of South Africa.

Beneficiaries receiving their grocery hampers

Qurtuba Islamic Academy can be proud that while they broke each fast with a feast this Ramadaan, their hamper recipients also experienced the joy of having good food on the table.

For more information about the academy and their initiatives, please call the Qurtuba Islamic Academy on 011 608 0527 or email info@qurtuba.co.za