The week began with the creation of the 'Lend a hand for CAR' poster where every hand donated a £1. Photo by Nasreen Uddin

£20,000 raised for the ‘forgotten people’ of the Central African Republic

KU’S Islamic Society (ISOC) raised a staggering £20,000 for the refugees of the Central African Republic (CAR).

The society estimated that £2,000 was donated each day at the Penrhyn Road campus alone, with an additional £9,000 raised in one day at a charity auction.

Bashir Ibrahim, student affairs officer for the Islamic Society (ISOC), said: “In the current climate where Islamophobia is so rife and negative stories and images are portrayed about Muslims, it’s refreshing to see such a strong and united display with many students demonstrating they care about humanity and mankind and will stand up against injustice wherever it may present itself.

“Not only did I feel proud to be a Muslim this week, I felt proud to be a Kingston University student.”

The money will be donated to the humanitarian aid organisation Muntada Aid who will provide family food packs and water wells to the refugees of the CAR, who have fled overcrowded camps in Chad.

ISOC decided to raise awareness towards the people of the CAR due to the lack of media attention and funding.

The society worked with Muntada Aid to provide funds for humanitarian relief towards the people in the CAR, as they believe they are ‘forgotten people’.

Haitham Al-Hatmi, president of the Islamic Society, said: “It was amazing how the university united for one cause and as a Muslim I was privileged to see all the Muslims at KU come together to show empathy and love towards those suffering in the CAR. The feelings I have experienced during this week are indescribable.

“With so much publicity and such a noticeable presence around KU campuses, people would enquire about the cause we were raising for and time and time again people were shocked to hear what was happening.”

The society raised the money by hosting events including a football tournament, documentary night in collaboration with Kingston’s Amnesty Society, international food day and a charity auction which was the biggest event of the week.

Jamie Wheeler-Roberts, president of the Kingston’s Amnesty International Society, said: “The work ISOC did during charity week is phenomenal and all societies, regardless of their affiliation, should take note of ISOC’s tenacious fundraising efforts, which in the past have been tremendously successful.”

The charity week, which was held last week, saw 90 volunteers help set up the events and raise awareness to inform students about the CAR crisis.

Muntada Aid, which is a global humanitarian movement that operates in some of the world’s most vulnerable places providing assistance, has worked closely with ISOC, providing them with banners, posters and buckets to help the society fundraising during the week.

Sayid Aden Ali, overseas manager at Muntada Aid, said: “We at Muntada Aid are thrilled with the efforts of KU’s ISOC charity week which has over the years raised thousands of pounds to support our vital humanitarian projects around the world. Money that KU’s ISOC charity week has raised has made a huge difference to thousands of lives.”

Al-Hatmi said that the UN has warned that the CAR crisis is one of the most underfunded humanitarian emergencies in the world.

Ali Abdar, MSc Cancer Biology student said: “I feel embarrassed to say I was rather ignorant about the struggles of the people of the CAR. If the Islamic Society didn’t host this Charity Week, I don’t know if the crisis in CAR would ever have come to my attention.”

Muntada Aid is currently in Chad, where there are four refuggee camps, providing emergency assistance to the refugees who have fled from the CAR. They are providing food in the camps and digging wells to provide clean drinking water.

Aden Ali said: “Having met with families who have walked for days and in some cases months to reach the safety of Chad, they described scenes of horrific and barbaric murders they have witnessed. Our biggest concern was for the children who will be forever scared by this conflict.”

ISOC have worked with Muntada Aid for the past three years where they raised £18,000 last year that went towards the Syria Emergency Campaign.

The money was used to set up a camp for women and children in Syria providing shelter, education and a safe environment.

Muntada Aid’s Syria refugee village project was completed last February and host 100 Syrian families said Aden Ali.

“We have worked with Al-Muntada aid during our previous charity weeks and we have built a good relationship over the years,” said Al-Hatmi.

 

About Hanaa Foura

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