A Muslim Aid team donned their running shoes for a half marathon in Marrakech at the weekend to raise funds for Yemen which faces the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
Over 8,000 starters were greeted with good running conditions -- drizzle and low cloud -- on the 21-kilometer course that wound its way around the Moroccan capital.
“It was a great atmosphere with so many charities participating for all sorts of causes. This was the first time ever I had ran since my school days,” said Rashda Mahmood of the 11-strong Muslim Aid contingent.
“I was probably the eldest one in the team! I had done a little walking as training and felt a little nervous at the start! But the spectators that lined the streets spurred me on,” said Rashda, who teamed up with her sister and 22-year-old daughter, and is the organisation’s major gifts manager in London.
The funds raised will go toward clean water provision and emergency food in Yemen, where some 17,000 people have been killed or injured in the three-year conflict. Some 22 million people, or 75% of the population, need emergency aid. Muslim Aid has been working through local partners since 2016 providing assistance.
“The only time I really struggled was the last three kilometres. I thought my legs were about to give up. But once the finishing line loomed, I found more strength,” said Rashda.
She finished in an amazing 3 hours and 59 minutes. “I believe I couldn't run to save my life” said Rashda. “But I was really so glad I did it to help others.”
Muslim Aid staff will expend lots more energy (and calories!) on future runs to raise money for those in the greatest need. The annual London Marathon is on 21 April, and the Vitality Big Half Marathon, also in the capital, runs on 10 March.
For more information on Muslim Aid’s work in Yemen, click here.
Team Muslim Aid Run for Yemen
18 October 2018
Muslim Aid pledges to safeguarding commitments at DFID hosted international summit to tackle sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment in the aid sector
Muslim Aid today renewed its pledge to protect the vulnerable people it supports, their wider communities and any vulnerable staff members.
The Department of International Development’s safeguarding summit today was an opportunity for Muslim Aid to focus on its commitment to safeguarding and determination to fight abuse and exploitation in the international aid sector.
In the wake of the international charity safeguarding crisis which blew up in February 2018, the Charity Commission and safeguarding experts pledged to improve safeguarding standards across the sector.
DFID reached out to Muslim Aid as part of a sector wide process to provide information on a number of safeguarding issues it had dealt with over the years. Chief Executive Officer Jehangir Malik OBE attended a previous safeguarding summit on 5 March 2018, which led to today’s official commitments.
Muslim Aid is one of the 400 members of Bond, the UK membership body for non-governmental organisations working in international development. Since the Oxfam aid scandal, Bond’s members have worked to improve their safeguarding policies and practices, modelled on the best examples from the aid and the UK domestic sector.
Along with fellow Bond members, Muslim Aid is focusing on the safety and wellbeing of children and adults, especially in vulnerable situations. Muslim Aid will not tolerate sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment and will put the voices, rights and safety of whistle-blowers, victims and survivors first.
Muslim Aid is engaged and committed to safeguarding the vulnerable. We have:
The details announced today is the result of this work, which demonstrates how the NGO sector will drive forwards consistency and leadership on safeguarding.
The 12 commitments demonstrate that the sector is serious about improving the quality and consistency of its safeguarding practice.
The details of the 12 commitments can be found here
‘They gathered together, praying for those who’d just been pulled from the rubble.’
Muslim Aid’s Madiha Raza has just returned from the Palu city on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, epicentre of the recent tsunami, where she spent time with local people and saw how their faith inspires their resilience.
‘I was on an aid mission in Syria on September 28th when the 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck the island of Sulawesi. Reports of entire villages being flattened, followed by the terrifying 18 foot high waves flooded in. I knew I had to get there and see how we could assist. I’ve worked in a number of disaster zones, including Iraq, but was nervous about what I was going to witness.
“Just a few days later I got off the plane in Palu, one of the epicentres of the quake. As we drove through the city, the scenes were devastating. Entire sections of the city had been flattened, like a steam roller had run right over them. We stopped next to what looked like a huge rubbish tip with mounds of crushed houses. I walked through broken streets, wondering what people had been doing in their homes when the earthquake struck, and they had to run with their children for their lives. All around me I saw shreds of ordinary family life…… torn school books, broken cooking utensils, toys, and rags of clothes. I wondered what became of these people.
“I looked up and saw some military men carrying a body bag past me, the smell was unbearable and the reality that hundreds of people must be trapped under the mud and rubble still was all too real.
“Our team drove to the village of Balaroa, which had been destroyed by the tsunami. When we arrived, it was like an apocalypse: entire houses had been swallowed up by the ground, there was masses of debris everywhere. Locals gathered together, praying for those who’d just been pulled from the rubble. Further on, I saw people searching through rubble where their homes had stood, trying to recover anything that left. A young couple, 29 year old Hilda and Rahim, 30, told me ‘We were terrified when the earthquake struck and fled from our house. We have lost our parents and a sister, and now we’re looking for anything we can salvage [from the rubble].’
“That night, we camped next to the house of a local family, who said they were too scared to sleep inside their home, and shared their yard with us. It was a difficult night, and a reminder that all those we were serving would be living in these conditions for months to come, without proper shelter, sanitation facilities or food.
“The next day we headed to our food distribution in a displaced peoples’ camp in Donggala district. Muslim Aid distributed food packs of rice, oil, chickpeas and sardines as well as cartons of long life milk. Muslim Aid is also distributing clean drinking water, temporary shelters, hygiene kits, and installing latrines. We had an opportunity to play with the children in the camp who seemed happy to be distracted from the difficulties they’d been through. Their endearing laughs and smiles illustrated their resilience. We met Lewi Kai, 44, who was desperately hoping for news of his wife, who had been working in a restaurant destroyed by the quake. ‘I have a 21 year old son, and I told him to pray. What else can we do?’
“Muslim Aid has been working in Indonesia since 2004, we are specialists in Disaster Risk Management and are supporting great national partner NGOs on the ground. We will continue working in Indonesia, supporting communities in need and I’m proud we have been able to respond so quickly to this disaster.
“The tsunami death toll has now climbed to over 2,000, with another 10,600 injured. Around 5,000 people are still reported missing, and an estimated 75,400 have been internally displaced.
“Though I’ve travelled to various conflict and natural disaster zones previously, what struck me most about this situation was how accepting people were of their fate. I was taken aback by how calm and collected the survivors appeared, despite so many of them having lost numerous members of their families, their homes and their entire livelihoods. It seemed their faith had a huge part to play, many told me, ‘everything that happens comes from God, and we thank him that we are alive at least’. Their words, composure and positivity was a lesson I leant, and will never forget. If you look closely enough, you can find the stars shining even on the darkest nights. “
Please help us to support these people in desperate need. Donate today www.muslimaid.org
Muslim Aid’s Fadlullah Wilmot and Sahedul Islam have just returned from Palu to the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, where they continue supporting Muslim Aid’s national partner, YKMI (The Indonesian Muslim Humanitarian Foundation) and another local NGO, PKPU, to distribute life-saving food parcels and water to some of the most difficult to reach communities affected by the quake.
The water purification system is used to provide clean drinking water to internally displaced communities in the three affected districts of Palu, Donggala and Sigi. The system provides displaced adults and children access to 3 gallons of filtered water per minute or 14,400 litres per day, reducing chances of water-borne diseases amongst the densely packed communities living in tents and under tarpaulins.
‘We are very proud to have supported this initial emergency distribution through our national partner, so quickly’ says Wilmot, who is Muslim Aid’s temporary Indonesia Head of Mission. ‘This is the initial phase of our emergency response. We are looking at how to support some of the around 350,000 people whose homes and livelihoods have been destroyed over the longer term’ he adds. ‘People currently staying with relatives or friends need to rebuild their lives and homes." In addition, transitional shelters will be provided, so that the affected people can live in dignity while rebuilding their homes and livelihoods.
When Wilmot, who worked with Muslim Aid during the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami and earthquake as well as the Yogyakara earthquakes in 2006, first arrived in Donggala and Palu, he saw ruined houses lining the shore and entire villages destroyed. He was in the disaster area providing support to local partners, and witnessed several aftershocks that saw people running ‘helter skelter’ to escape. The quake death toll has now climbed to almost 2,000, with around 1,000 people reported missing and another 10,600 injured. The latest figure of internally displaced is 75,400.
Asif Sherazi, Muslim Aid’s Global Head of Humanitarian Programmes, emphasises Muslim Aid’s commitment to supporting Indonesians through its national partner. ‘Our country office will do everything possible to support, through our national and local partners, those who urgently need food, water, medicines, clothing, soap and other hygiene products’ he says.
Indonesia was the first country in the world to enact legislation enshrining in law the right of citizens to be protected from natural disasters and to be provided with support and relief afterwards. The national disaster agency, and the Indonesian Red Cross, sprang into action after the recent disaster and Muslim Aid is coordinating its response through YKMI.
Muslim Aid is specialised in disaster recovery and disaster risk reduction and has been working in Indonesia for more than 14 years, originally directly and now through YKMI.
Muslim Aid's Fadlullah Wilmot and Sahedul Islam have flown to Sulawesi, Indonesia to assess the damage caused by the tsunami which struck the island on Friday 29 September.
Over 844 are reported dead and thousands are predicted to be injured. The tsunami was triggered by a magnitude 7.4 earthquake and resulted in 20 foot high waves crashing onto the coast destroying thousands of homes and causing devastation all around.
Fadullulah Wilmot and Sahedul Islam have only recently returned from the island of Lombok, Indonesia where they were at the sharp end of earthquake chaos. They are now en route to Palu on the island of Sulawesi to assess the needs of people caught up in the tsunami and to plan the response work.
“I don’t have words for what the people of Indonesia have suffered since the series of earthquakes hit Lombok this Summer,” says Wilmot, who is Muslim Aid’s temporary Indonesia Head of Mission, as he boarded the plane the day after the disaster struck.
“We were on the scene immediately after the quakes in August, but I didn’t expect to be returning to Indonesia so soon for another emergency, and one so terrifying.”
In Lombok Muslim Aid immediately provided tarpaulins, mats and blankets for people made homeless by the quakes as well as food, water, nappies and sanitary towels. They are continuing to support the communities by building temporary shelters.
Wilmot continues: “In Sulawesi Muslim Aid’s partner on the ground will now immediately assess needs for the most vulnerable people hit by the tsunami. We will do everything we can to support them.”
A car bomb which rammed into a district government office on Monday 10 September in Mogadishu, Somalia, and killed six people, also damaged the clinic next door run by Muslim Aid, hampering important humanitarian work.
Muslim Aid’s clinic, Ayan MTBU in Hodan district, Mogadishu, which treats patients with tuberculosis (TB), has been badly damaged and a nurse Shamsa, working for Muslim Aid, was hurt by flying glass when the building collapsed.
Ahmed Abdi, Country Director for Muslim Aid Somalia said: “It was a huge blast – our clinic building collapsed and windows were shattered.
“Normally we treat over 100 patients every day for TB, but we have had to immediately suspend operations while the clinic is being repaired. Our ten staff and volunteers are very frightened and we have sent them home. Fortunately none of our patients were harmed and our nurse Shamsa has only minor injuries.”
Muslim Aid has closed the clinic and is now working to repair the damage. It hopes to reopen the clinic in a week. Patients being treated for TB will now need to receive a week’s medication to take independently. Muslim Aid has a total of 20 health clinics in Somalia, 14 of these clinics are working to eradicate tuberculosis.
Muslim Aid currently works across Somalia with 300,000 people. Muslim Aid’s projects work to eradicate TB, prevent malaria, improve the health of women and children and provide shelter and livelihood training for women who have escaped violence.