Well, it’s been a strange year hasn’t it?
With a global pandemic, we’ve had to acclimatise to lockdowns, social distancing and working from home.
For many of us, this was definitely a first! However, what hasn’t changed is your continued support.
Despite the physical, emotional and financial challenges of Covid-19, you’ve been with us every step of the way. Which has been ever more crucial as already vulnerable individuals and families at home and abroad have been hit the hardest by the pandemic.
Thanks to you, we’ve been able to carry on our critical work and save lives across the globe.
So, as we welcome the New Year and look forward to some “normality” in the not too distant future, here are seven top ways you kept up the lifesaving spirit this year.
Check them out!
1. You joined us to celebrate Black History Month
During Black History Month, Islamic Relief UK stood in solidarity with the Black community in this painful yet hopeful time.
We have a duty to support our Black staff, volunteers and supporters; a duty to be loud and proud allies of our Black sisters and brothers.
That’s why we teamed up with Ilm Feed and host Mustafa Briggs to bring you a series of inspiring live content celebrating Islamic Black history once a week throughout the month of October.
A graduate in Arabic and International Relations from the University of Westminster, Mustafa rose to international acclaim for his “Beyond Bilal: Black History in Islam” lecture series which saw him explore and uncover the deep-rooted relationship between Islam and Black History.
We’re of course delighted to say that it was a great success. Thank you for joining us! Click here to watch three fantastic episodes.
Take a look also at this piece written by our CEO Naser Haghamed – one of the few black CEOs in the international development sector in the UK.
2. You stood up for women’s rights worldwide
Gender inequality continues to plague communities both here in the UK and across the globe. From human trafficking/modern slavery, Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C), forced/early marriage and domestic abuse, the challenges faced by women and girls are monumental.
That’s why we’re continuing to work with affected communities, policymakers and the general public to affect decision making, change cultural habits, raise awareness and empower women and girls worldwide emotionally, physically and financially.
Last March, to mark International Women’s Day (8th March), Islamic Relief was awarded a stall at the Women of the World (WOW) festival. This provided a great opportunity for hundreds of people to learn about the Islamic Gender Justice Declaration and our work fighting gender inequality.
The stall was visited by Islamic Relief campaigners who also took part in the Care International UK March for Women. Alhamdulillah, we’re delighted to say that the turnout of campaigners and staff was the largest to-date!
3. You tuned in from across the globe for our Ramadan quiz!
During Ramadan, we hosted the first-ever National Ramadan Quiz Show live on the Islam Channel. Alhamdulillah, over 1,200 of you took part from here in the UK and all over the world.
Answering questions on general knowledge, Islam and various other trivia, you really got into the quiz spirit! In fact, it was such a success that we then launched an Eid special with cash prizes on offer.
Well, if something’s good, it’s worth repeating, right?
4. You created another fantastic Charity Week!
SubhanAllah! Each and every year, you amaze us with your incredible fundraising efforts for Charity Week. And even with the added challenges of Covid-19, you still rose to the challenge!
This year, 200 individuals and over 100 schools, universities, businesses, mosques, scout and community groups signed up to Charity Week to support orphans and children in need in some of the poorest countries in the world.
While the options for putting on fundraising events were a little limited this year due to lockdown and restrictions, this didn’t stop you from coming up with creative ways to raise funds!
Many of you participated in our 2020 Challenge: coming up with 20 unusual things to do for 20 days; some of you went carb and sugar-free and even vegan for 20 days. Some of you skipped, cycled and worked out to raise money.
One fundraiser even acted like her cat for the day. Purrfect fun we say!
Finally, as per usual, you astounded us with your crazy auctions, with loo roll selling for £1,000 and hand sanitiser for a whopping £600!
Alhamdulillah! All these great efforts raised a staggering £878,715 in the UK alone with a global Charity Week total of £1.4 million! Wow!
5. You supported communities in crisis here at home
With poverty on the rise here in the UK, we’ve been supporting vulnerable communities at home as well as abroad.
And of course, this has been made possible thanks to your generous support.
Alhamdulillah, this year we invested over £840,000 to help individuals and families here in the UK. This included a widespread response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
We’ve been working with a wide range of local and national partners such as the National Zakat Foundation, CW Plus (the official charity of Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation), Sufra NW London, Give a Gift and FareShare.
This has enabled us to provide critical assistance during the pandemic including:
- Food packages/vouchers and hot meals
- Hardship grants
- Support for Muslim burial services
- Medical equipment.
We’re continuing to support vulnerable communities across the UK in 2021 and beyond.
6. You challenged the global climate crisis
Climate change continues to affect each and every one us. Sadly, the most vulnerable are those already struggling with poverty as climate-induced disaster causes mass displacement, failed livelihoods, famine and insecure futures.
That’s why it’s critical that we take action to reduce the impact on the planet and population. This year – despite the challenges of Covid-19 – we continued to fight against climate change – and you joined us!
Hundreds of people got together for the first ever virtual mass lobby for the climate organised by The Climate Coalition. This included Islamic Relief campaign volunteers, who also managed to obtain meetings with their local MPs in order to demand action on climate change.
Many of you also helped to tackle the crisis by cutting back on meat and dairy consumption; cutting back on food waste; re-using, recycling or repairing items; and praying for the protection of God’s great Earth.
Impressive work – thank you, you lifesavers!
7. You gave families in Malawi a home
Families in Malawi are struggling to survive. Over 70% of the population live on less than £1.40 a day.
That’s less than the cost of a takeaway coffee…
With 80% of Malawi’s economy relying upon produce from smallholder farmers, any climate-induced event such as floods and droughts can mean disaster for the country and its population.
High inflation and food prices mean many families are struggling to make ends meet. The cost of a safe home is therefore out of reach for many.
We were therefore delighted to launch a £250,000 housing project in Malawi in partnership with the Malawi Asian Organisation to provide families with their own home.
Our CEO, Naser Haghamed, and our UK Director, Tufail Hussain, attended the opening ceremony where the keys to the first 50 houses were handed over to local families. Alhamdulillah!
Thank you for your incredible support. You truly are lifesavers! Here’s to a healthy, happy and hopefully safe 2020.
From everyone at Islamic Relief, Happy New Year!