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Celebrating the Dear Lifesaver Podcast this International Podcast Day

It’s safe to say that podcasts have well and truly taken over the world. They’ve launched incredible conversations, ideas, careers, lifestyles and changed many lives, but with now millions to choose from, it’s hard to know a quality listen from some time you’ll never get back!

We believe that there are three crucial components of a great podcast:

  1. You learn something you didn’t before: Whether that’s a piece of information or something beneficial you’ve observed about someone’s character, conduct or experiences.
  2. It helps you think critically: Sometimes unpacking even the most mundane of subjects can lend itself to thought provoking conversations and help you develop the vital skill of critical thinking.
  3. Great chemistry:  Chemistry between hosts and their guests or audience (even if they’re not physically there) is key to a good listen – there’s nothing better than feeling like you’re in the room when these conversations go down!

Islamic Relief had the fantastic opportunity to launch a podcast of our own in 2020, with seven incredible episodes that answer some of your  burning questions about the world of humanitarian aid, such as, “why hasn’t poverty been eradicated yet?”“why does international development take place in only certain parts of the world?” and, “how does Islam factor into all of this?”. Hosts Nabilah and Sara speak to experts in their field to help understand the behind-the-scenes of humanitarian work, and what it truly takes to save and transform lives.

Here’s a breakdown of each of our seven episodes:

Episode #1: The Role of Sacrifice in Transformation

Dr. Wajid is Vice-President of the British Islamic Medical Association and the International Director of FIMA Lifesavers. Amongst his many achievements, he’s the founder of Charity Week, a staggeringly successful annual global initiative that rallies together students across the world to raise millions for orphans and children in need – in the space of just days!

As this episode was released during the sacred month of Dhul Hijjah we spoke to Dr. Wajid on the subject of sacrifice in light of the Hajj period and the significance of Ibrahim’s (AS) own story of sacrifice. We asked Dr. Wajid how to effectively carve out space in our individual lives to benefit others, and what role sacrifice plays in that journey.

Episode #2: The Dangers Of Voluntourism

In this episode, Nabilah and Sara speak with author Pippa Biddle about her 2014 viral essay titled ‘The Problem With Little White Girls, Boys and Voluntourism’.

Pippa shares her experiences with voluntourism and the research she’s acquired to show the detrimental impact it has on vulnerable communities across the world with her new book ‘Ours to Explore: Privilege, Power, and the Paradox of Voluntourism’. Together, we unpack what happens when the tourism industry meets international development, its dangers to your local and global community, and how to engage with volunteer work more meaningfully.

Episode #3: How Safe Spaces Save Lives

Ever heard the saying, ‘charity begins at home’?

The Islamic tradition is rich in its teachings about Sadaqah or charity, and while charity is typically regarded as a monetary donation, Sadaqah is a far-reaching concept of charity that includes more abstract acts such as removing harmful objects from a path, planting a tree or smiling at someone. As a faith based charitable organisation that provides vital medical resources to millions around the world, we felt it was vital to also platform why creating and holding safe spaces is an integral part of what it means to provide charity to those whose conditions aren’t so visible.

We sat down with Director of Muslim Youth Helpline (MYH) Maaria Mahmoud and Hadil Noor. The charity has remained a cornerstone in the Muslim community for over 20 years, providing a safe and confidential space for the Muslim community and beyond to discuss their mental health and wellbeing struggles.

In this episode we discover why more people are seeking help for their mental health from within the Muslim community in particular, as well as the role of faith in mental health, and why safe spaces save lives – something that is paramount to our values here at Islamic Relief UK.

We’d like to make our listeners aware that this episode contains conversations that touch on the subject of mental health and suicide. 

Episode #4: Unpacking Aid; Why Does Poverty Still Exist?

Has poverty always existed? Why hasn’t it been eradicated yet despite the millions raised for those in need?

With a breadth of experience in the third sector, Aaliya Ahmed is well equipped to answer all of your gritty questions about the story of humanitarian aid, why the aid sector still exists, and the role of big charities in eradicating poverty.

Previously Islamic Relief UK’s Global Programmes Coordinator, Aaliya is currently focusing on climate crisis related issues at the Guardian Foundation and is here to share her wealth of insights about the aid sector and its intricacies.

Ep#5: How To ‘Launch Good’ and Carve Your Own Legacy

LaunchGood was started in 2013 to help Muslims around the world platform the causes that are close to their hearts. Since then, the organisation has helped 1.1 million users across the world raise over $355 million for 50,000 projects across 152 countries, SubhanAllah!

We were delighted to get in the room with Co-Founder and COO of LaunchGood, Amany Killawi, to find out more about LaunchGood’s impact and the importance of building a legacy – a key focus for LaunchGood and its users. We spoke to her about how to ‘launch good’ in our own lives and stay motivated.

Ep#6: How To Find Your Purpose

In the hustle and bustle of modern life and its day-to-day hardships, it’s easy to forget our purpose in this life, and the purpose of the things that come our way. It can be challenging to be close to our hardships or the hardships of others and remain patient – at times not understanding why these things happen, especially when they’re sometimes terrible beyond belief.

Yet that innate and great resilience that’s within us as human beings, if not there to help us endure and overcome the challenges of our own lives, can be there to serve and respond to those who are in need.

In this episode Sara and Nabilah speak with director of Islamic Relief UK Tufail Hussain, as he shares how a personal tragedy, his faith and his ‘why’ has helped him cultivate a sense of purpose over the last 16 years of his experience in the humanitarian and development sector.

With his insights, we uncover what it takes to anchor ourselves during our day-to-day and why that’s an essential part of living purposefully.

Ep#7: The Climate Crisis Is Here, What Do We Do Now?

The climate crisis is happening in real time, right now, and endangering some of the most vulnerable communities in the world.

In light of the recent flash-floods that have put 1/3 of the country of Pakistan underwater this past September 2022, this listen that was initially recorded back in 2021, is more poignant than ever.

Sara and Nabilah sat down with climate campaigner Muna Suleiman to help shed light on an issue that continues to polarise communities and dominate the political landscape. We uncover why the climate crisis is a humanitarian crisis, why individual action is the ultimate act of worship, the role of NGOs in the climate crisis and the connection between race and the climate crisis, here in the UK and across the world.

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