Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Muslim Aid's Children's Night of Empowerment

Muslim Aid raises over 300,000 Pound Sterling
at its Children’s Night of Empowerment

Dr. Mozammel Haque

Muslim Aid raised over £300,000 at last weekend of February, 2011 at its Children’s Night of Empowerment Fundraising Dinners held on the 25th, 26th and 27th February in London, Manchester and Birmingham respectively. The fundraising dinners were part of Muslim Aid’s 25th anniversary initiative to raise awareness and support for disadvantaged children around the world.

The keynote speaker included internationally acclaimed academic, Professor Tariq Ramadan at the Children’s Night of Empowerment Fundraising Dinner held at Porchester Hall, London, on Friday, 25th of February, 2011.

Muslim Aid’s Chairman
Sir Iqbal Sacranie’s Address
In his address of welcome, the Chairman of Muslim Aid, Sir Iqbal Sacranie, greatly appreciated and thanked the remarkable support given by the community to Muslim Aid’s call for empowering children. Highlighting dismal statistics of global child poverty, he said: “22,000 children under five die every day due to lack of basic healthcare According to the UN about 70 per cent of these deaths occur in the first year of a child’s life.”

Sir Iqbal also mentioned, “1 in 7 children in the world is a child labourer. That equates to 218 million children are child labourers; and they have to work to help their families survive. How can we expect to change the condition that these children currently face if a major portion of their life is overtaken by having to fend for themselves and their families?”

“In Africa, only 62% of kids go to school, complete primary education in Africa alone; this is compared to an average completion rate of 94% in some western countries. And according to the UN Millennium Project, children whose mothers have five years of primary school education have a survival rate 40 percent higher than children of mothers with no education. These statistics point to serious global problems in the provision of healthcare, and more worryingly the provision of education. This is the plight of our world’s children” said Sir Iqbal and added, “Muslim Aid is determined to help eradicate this problem with Allah’s help and this is why one of our key strategic goals for the next 5 years is to extend our formal and non-formal education programmes worldwide both at primary and secondary level.”

Speaking about the various programme of the Muslim Aid, Sir Iqbal referred to the healthcare programme of Muslim Aid in Sudan in 2010. “Muslim Aid was able to employ skilled healthcare professionals to treat over 800 pregnant women at the Wagar Clinic ensuring both mother and child were given the best start in life. This programme and others have contributed directly to the Fifth Millennium Development Goal namely to reduce by three quarters the maternal mortality ratio and increase the proportion of births attended by skilled health personnel.”

Guest Speaker at London Event
Professor Tariq Ramadan
The Children’s Night of Empowerment was started with the recitation of the verse of Surah Ad-Doha from the Holy Qur’an. Referring to that verse, Professor Tariq Ramadan said, “We have to think about the very essence of our religion. We have values; we have to follow him (Prophet peace be upon him) and all his life. Never forget the poor; there is no spirituality; there is no Islam; there is no values if you only talk to the rich and forget the poor and the children. The prophet (peace be upon him) was showing in every piece of his Mission this kind of care specially for the children. This is not only to send the message to the people; this is also to send the message for everyone; show solidarity to humanity; to all the people around you,” mentioned Professor Ramadan.

“This is the way the Prophet (peace be upon him) himself educated his daughter Fatema (may Allah be please be with her); the way she was with the poor people around the mosque. He used to come to her and taught her: never forget the poor,” mentioned Professor Tariq Ramadan and said, “So the closer you are to the last one the closer you are to the ONLY ONE. This is our religion.”

Referring to the recent tragedy in Pakistan, Professor Ramadan said, “I am sure it is our responsibility to be there as much as to be in all the non-Muslim majority countries; everywhere; as Muslims we don’t ask about the religion of the people. We care for the dignity of the being. This means you are like a doctor when you are conscious of the solidarity. You don’t ask the religion; you do the job; you save lives, you educate people you invest in the present and in the future and this is the very essence of our religion.”

Professor Ramadan also said, “Remain Muslims; show the name Islam; show Muslims are for everybody; though the opposite people expected. People think that you only care for Muslims. We practice Islam but we care about all the people; all the human beings, because this is the very essence of being a Muslim and this is what we do according to our religion and according to our principle.”

“We are investing, we are giving the means to the people to be free, to help them to be equipped in the future to be able to see any injustice; any lack of dignity. We are here to change the world to be better. This is our message; this is our contribution,” said Professor Ramadan.

Professor Tariq Ramadan also said: “It is an Islamic and human obligation to support the poor and be involved with the education and future of children not only with our money but also with our hearts. I am extremely pleased that Muslim Aid is not just involved with helping Muslim communities but, as an aid agency, is serving humanity.”

At Manchester Event
At the Manchester event, Sarah Joseph said: “Charity is not only an act of worship and a way to personal righteousness; it helps to bring justice to the world. It is an honour for me to acknowledge Muslim Aid’s work through local community, as well as its inspiring global activities."

In Birmingham
In Birmingham, the Head of Gatton School, Rifat Batool said: “The grim statistics of child mortality in the developing countries is heart rendering. If each one of us gives as little as £3 a month we can make a huge difference to save lives and give children a bright future. Muslim Aid is helping us to make a direct intervention to change this grim reality.”

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