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Black History Month: #ProudToBe South African

Islamic Relief has been a household name around the world since 1984. During that time, we’ve been working with communities to lift people out of poverty and help transform the lives of millions by providing them with their basic rights.

None of it would be possible without the support of our generous donors around the world, and the thousands of our colleagues globally who have committed their lives to doing this incredible work.

An integral part of the legacy we’ve been able to build over these 37 years, has been our amazing people on the ground who have joined us for this journey.

So, we’re reaching out to our colleagues in the field to ask them about what inspires them to do the work that they do, how they came to join what is now a global humanitarian organisation and what makes them proud to be a part of the communities at the heart of their work.

Part of ensuring that the team we’ve built genuinely works to serve those in need, is making certain that our colleagues in the field are local experts, who understand how best to serve the communities they themselves are part of. It is guaranteeing, that when aid is provided, the dignity of our sisters and brothers around the world is sustained and that we’re able to provide the best of care.

Localisation is essential to our life-saving work, and these are just some of our incredible colleagues in South Africa who make it possible. Sharing what makes her #proudtobe from South Africa, is Sindiswa Msesiwe:

Sindiswa Msesiwe, staff at Islamic Relief South AfricaAssalaamu ‘Alaykum!

Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself Sindiswa?

Sindiswa Msesiwe:

Assalamu ‘Alaykum, my name is Sindiswa Msesiwe. I come from Eastern Cape South Africa, and I’m a single mother of two beautiful girls.


Q: How did you come to work at Islamic Relief?

Sindiswa Msesiwe:

I started to work at Islamic Relief in 2007 as a cleaner. I was just doing the cleaning around the office, and I’m now employed to help with programmes department.


Q: What inspired you to work in the humanitarian sector and do the work you do? 

Sindiswa Msesiwe:

I like to help with the programmes department because I grew up in an orphanage, and it was hard for me.

My parents passed away when I was 10 years old, and it was so hard for us because there was no one was providing for us. When I go to the field, it’s like I see myself.

I’d like to thank Islamic Relief, because it’s so hard to grow up without parents, without anyone next to you to provide food or anything for you. Sometimes you end up going to sleep without any food to put in your mouth, and you need to wake up in the morning and go to school.


Q: What makes you #proudtobe a part of the community you’re helping to uplift?

Sindiswa Msesiwe:

I am of the Xhosa tribe, and I am proud to be a descendant of the Xhosa clan because Nelson Mandela is from the same tribe, and he showed the true quality of the Xhosa people during the days of his struggle and his fight for freedom and justice.

I am proud to be South African because we came from a difficult past and we fought for freedom to now live in a South Africa where all races are equal and free.

The rural communities we serve in KwaZulu Natal are very special, the people work together to help make their communities a better place. They share in each other’s joys and play an active role in maintaining their heritage by teaching children their societal norms. The communities are poor and together they fight poverty by happily participating in projects that help them as a collective.


Q: What parts of your work are you most proud of?

Sindiswa Msesiwe:

Islamic Relief are so good. Every month, they are providing food for orphans and when they go back to school they’re providing the uniform, the stationary, and they close that gap, making them feel so special and so comfortable, like they have their parents.


Save a child’s life today by donating to our Orphans and Children appeal here.

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