Taken for Granted
Homelessness is a big issue all year round, but it is particularly problematic during the winter. No-one wants to be on the streets at any time of year, but during winter, when the weather is cold and the nights are long and dark, it can be a very dangerous place to be.
It might surprise you to learn that there is no real way of knowing for sure how many people are homeless across the UK. Many homeless people go under the radar and do not show up on officially recorded statistics at all. The number of homeless people and those living on the streets is constantly fluctuating, meaning it is almost impossible to record accurate numbers. Sadly, this means there are many people who go without the help they desperately need.
Helping the Elderly
All of this means that it can be very difficult to help those who are homeless – especially those who are most in need, such as the elderly. Charities and shelters do all that they can to help these people, from offering shelter and hot meals to providing support through the opportunity for homeless people to try and get themselves out of the vicious cycle of homelessness and poverty. But many of the elderly citizens socially isolate themselves and avoid asking for help, especially during the colder months.
So many of our elders often feel neglected and socially isolated – many of them afraid or too proud to ask for help. The seniors amongst us are those who helped to build our yesterdays and shape our tomorrow, so let’s not forget our elders in their time of need today.
More often than not, we take those around us for granted because what we fail to realise is what and who we have today, may not be around tomorrow. Pay attention to the elderly in your life, they may need your help or simply just your company but probably don’t want to trouble you for it.
The Homeless Across the World
Within the UK, there are specialist shelters and centres for the homeless set up and organised by charities and campaign groups, specifically to help during the winter and over the festive period. They provide a much-needed meal and roof over their heads, helping to ward off the winter chill and keep vulnerable people safe during the winter months.
Now, spare a thought for the homeless people of much more disadvantaged countries. This winter, vulnerable people in countries across the world are being put at risk by the threat of homelessness.
A 2015 survey in England reported that there were 3,569 people sleeping rough on a single night - to put that into perspective, according to the 2011 census in India, there were 1.77 million homeless people. Charities like Muslim Aid do all that we can to alleviate the numbers of homeless people both in the UK and in developing countries; doing our best to improve the quality of life for those who are living on the streets.
But when the scale of the issue is so large, it takes an incredible amount of resource and funding to tackle the matter effectively. Projects such as the Global Winter Campaign can really help to make a difference to the quality of life of these vulnerable people, but in order to support as many homeless people as possible, we need your help.
The best way to address the ongoing issue of homelessness is to start on an individual level. Share the love this winter and tackle the situation from the ground upwards – even managing to help just one homeless person– whether in a developing country or right on your own doorstep - should be seen as a triumph.
For more information on helping the elderly or our Warm Hearts Winter Campaign, give our team at Muslim Aid call on 020 7377 4200.
One year on from the Rohingya crisis, Kawsar Zaman visits Myanmar to witness life for the Rohingya children left behind.
This Saturday 25 August marks 1 year on from the start of the mass exodus of the Rohingya people who fled violence in Rakhine State, Myanmar, across the border to Bangladesh. The refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, now home to more than 900,000 people, have been constantly in the international news. However, there are still half a million Rohingya people remaining in camp-like situations in Kachin, Kayan, Shan and Rakhine states. So, what is life like for the Rohingya left behind?
Kawsar Zaman, a lawyer in the City of London and a Trustee for the charity Muslim Aid, has just returned from Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine State, Myanmar. Kawsar grew up in a council home, in the East End of London. As the youngest of seven siblings, he was the first in his family to go to university, ending up graduating from LSE, Oxford and Harvard Law School. Following his recent visit, Kawsar gives us an insight into life for Rohingya children still inside Myanmar.
I have just returned from Myanmar on a visit to camps which are home to displaced Rohingya people in Rakhine State, Myanmar – a people described by the United Nations as “most persecuted minority in the world”. Since the outbreak of communal violence in 2012, over a million of the Rohingya community have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh with a 200,000 remaining in Rakhine State; confined to makeshift camps they have called home for six years.
It was my first visit to the heart of a crisis and I walked along improvised streets beaten by the monsoon rain and lined with tents. For me, the most harrowing experience of all was the sight of children walking bare feet, without any clothes, looking for something to do. And yet, these are children who should be at school. This conflict was not the making or the result of their doing but they now suffer the fate of no access to education and in turn, the prospect of a life in a vicious circle of poverty.
I met Abdullah in a camp we visited. He was only 10 years old; but looked much older, perhaps brought on by the stresses and strain of living in the camp. His father had passed away and he was left alone with his younger sibling to support his mother. He had no education and was not in school. However, Abdullah told me he wanted to be a doctor when he grew up.
I grew up in disadvantage – in a council home, in the East End of London. As the youngest of seven siblings, I was the first in my family to go to university. I ended up graduating from LSE, Oxford and Harvard Law School. Today, as a lawyer practicing in the City of London, as a governor at a secondary state comprehensive school in Bethnal Green and a trustee of Toynbee Hall, I know the power of schooling to transform lives. Education is the greatest liberating force of our generation.
According to data published by the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 263 million children and youth worldwide are missing out on the chance to go to school, with conflict being a major barrier to education. Globally, 35% of all out-of-school children of primary age (22 million), 25% of all out-of-school adolescents of lower secondary age (15 million), and 18% of all out-of-school youth of upper secondary age live in conflict-affected areas (26 million).
I became a trustee of Muslim Aid UK nine months ago. At 28, I believe I am the youngest trustee of any major British INGO. I live a fairly comfortable life as a lawyer so it was an opportunity I felt I had to take up - to give back to others and share my own experiences having grown up in disadvantage. The power and opportunity to be part of a team operating in 30 countries across the world is incredible - but most importantly for me, driven by a strong sense of faith based giving, I’m proud to be part of Muslim Aid UK which supports all peoples irrespective of ones’ race, religion, colour, or creed.
Muslim Aid is one of only a handful of international aid agencies operating on the ground in Myanmar. It has built a hospital, provided shelter to 720 people, trained people in livelihood skills from helping them set up their own businesses – including masonry and handicraft – with a particular focus on helping vulnerable women.
A key focus for Muslim Aid Myanmar is on education with a vision to improve access and equality for both girls and boys in 300 learning centres and in seven temporary learning schools they have constructed, benefiting 3,250 children. Prior to these projects, most children were completely illiterate. Now many of them have school uniform, made by girls trained to sew at a Muslim Aid project, and access to toilets, showers and water when they go to school.
As I reflect on my visit, I cannot help but struggle with the thought of how our lives are such lotteries. Where we are born will dictate our lives and our life chances – irrespective of how hardworking or intelligent we may be. Born as a Rohingya child in Rakhine State, Myanmar in the centre of a conflict there is little prospect of you leaving a refugee camp let alone go to school. Born in London – and, you have the prospect of a good education and the opportunities to thrive at will. Globally, we have a duty to do more to eradicate child poverty and give every child the chance to go to school; for education is the greatest liberating force of our generation. It is quite frankly, the very least we can do.
As a parent, it is a lifelong duty to ensure your family is resilient and united. The leadership role that you play is important to teach and help children understand significant values of life.
Qurbani is a very important time to educate your children about in order to raise their awareness of the act of giving. Sacrificing livestock has substantial meaning in Islam as the sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim is what marks the very reason we sacrifice during Qurbani.
If you are embarking on the Hajj pilgrimage this year, it is likely you already have all your travel documents in order and know when you will be arriving in Mecca. However, we thought it would be a good idea to provide a list of important dates in order to give an insight into how the Hajj pilgrimage generally plays out over the months.
For some people the Hajj pilgrimage starts months before it ‘technically' does. Since around 3 million pilgrims undertake this pilgrimage every year, there is a conscious need to moderate the flow of Haji's in and out of the country. For that the country adapts a ‘first come, first serve' principle. The first batch to arrive is also the first one to leave after Eid ul Adha. With that in mind, below is a dated outline of how Hajj will unfold this year. We'd like to mention that these dates have been provided by the Ministry of Hajj in Saudi Arabia.
9th Dhul-Hijjah 1436 (approximately Sunday, August 19th 2018)
Yes, the meat is approved by the Halaal Monitoring Committee (HMC)
Sheep/mutton weighing approx 17/18kg.
Delivery will be made to the donor and beneficiary either on 3rd or 4th September 2017.
Yes, delivery is included in the price of £150
Delivery will be placed in a strong cool-box which prevents the meat from spoiling and protects it from any knocks. Independent tests have shown that the unique travel packs keep your order chilled during transit between 24 and 48 hours.
Our clients are credible local partners and organisations who work with the most poorest and vulnerable people in the UK. Our beneficiaries are people from single parent families on a low income, the homeless, individuals or families who have applied for Zakat due to financial hardships and people who have been referred to access local food banks.
Yes, the donor will receive 2/3rds of the meat and 1/3rd will be send to a poor, needy or homeless beneficiary in the UK.
HMC use a green alcohol free meat marking ink which sometimes stains the meat, it is totally safe and doesn’t change the quality of the meat in anyway.
Hajj is no doubt an amazing spiritual journey that every Muslim aspires to embark on. There is an enormous amount of information associated with Hajj; most is critical to ensure that Hajj is performed not only in the best intentions but also in the correct manner. With that being said there is a ton of information related to Hajj including important Hajj facts that all Muslims should be aware of. Here we will outline a few very important details for our readers in order to get them further acquainted with this immensely important and complex ritual.
The above mentioned Hajj facts outline some of the most noteworthy and important aspects of the pilgrimage. May Allah SWT give all Muslims the opportunity to perform Hajj and all those who are embarking on Hajj this year have a safe stay and swift journey home.