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Volunteer Week Spotlight: Saiam Ahmed

I have been actively volunteering with Islamic Relief since 2012, engaging in a variety of projects and taking on different roles. My journey began during my time at university when I joined the Charity Week project, collaborating with the Queen Mary University Islamic Society to raise funds for orphans and needy children. This initial experience sparked my passion for making a difference and led me to further involvement with Islamic Relief. Today, I work as a Research Fellow and Medical Statistician at University College London. 

As I became more committed to the cause, I joined the London regional team, contributing to the successful execution of Charity Week across various universities, schools, colleges, and community groups in the city. It was during this time that I had the privilege of organising the first-ever international annual dinner, which brought together people from across the country and Canada to celebrate 10 years of Charity Week!  

Recognising the significance of the work and the impact it had on the lives of those in need, I eventually took on the role of UK Vice National Director within the Charity Week project. In this capacity, I provided strategic leadership and oversight to ensure the project’s success across the entire country.

When I initially decided to start volunteering, I was motivated by a desire to contribute my time meaningfully and connect with like-minded individuals. As a student, I found myself blessed with an abundance of time, and I felt it was important to utilise that time in a way that could create a positive impact in society. 

Additionally, I found inspiration in the following Hadith: “Take advantage of five before five: your youth before your old age, your health before your sickness, your wealth before your poverty, your free time before your busyness, and your life before your death.” (Sahih al-Abani)

Volunteering with Islamic Relief has not only allowed me to contribute to meaningful projects and initiatives, but it has also provided me with a sense of purpose and fulfilment. The organisation's commitment to serving those in need aligns with my own values, and being part of a larger movement dedicated to creating positive change has been incredibly rewarding.

During my volunteering experience, I have taken on various duties and responsibilities that have allowed me to make a meaningful impact. One of my significant roles is managing The Cake Campaign in West London, specifically in the UB, TW, and HA postcodes. Working alongside my co-team leader, Zara, we organised and coordinated the campaign, ensuring its smooth execution. 

Ramadan is a sacred time for self-reflection, devotion, and acts of kindness. Dedicating my time to give back to the community during Ramadan had a profound impact on shaping my experience this year. Collaborating with a dedicated team of volunteers, we worked together to raise funds for noble causes. It allowed me to connect with my community on a deeper level, understand their needs, and witness the incredible generosity of donors. It reinforced the values of selflessness, empathy, and compassion that are at the core of Ramadan, while also fostering gratitude and strengthening my spiritual connection. The highlight of my volunteering experience was undoubtedly the pre-Ramadan dinner!

One of the most memorable moments was when donors eagerly raised their hands to make pledges, and I found myself quickly navigating through the room with forms in hand. The flurry of hands and the mission to ensure I reached everyone made it a truly exhilarating experience. 

Volunteering during Ramadan holds a special significance that sets it apart from any other time of the year. One of the remarkable aspects of volunteering during this holy month is the profound sense of unity and belonging within the ummah, the global Muslim community. It is a time when individuals from diverse backgrounds come together, united by a shared purpose and a common goal of striving for the sake of Allah. 

Helping to raise funds for those in need has profoundly impacted my own life in ways I couldn’t have anticipated. It has opened my eyes to the realities faced by people around the world, breaking me out of the bubble of my own struggles and daily concerns. Through this experience, I have gained a broader perspective and a deeper understanding of the challenges and hardships that many individuals face on a daily basis. 

Knowing that my efforts have played a humble part in saving lives and providing support to people I may never meet in this world has instilled a sense of fulfilment and purpose within me. It is a humbling and gratifying feeling to know that I have contributed to making a tangible difference in the lives of others. This realisation has reinforced the significance of empathy and compassion, reminding me of the interconnectedness of humanity and the responsibility we have to extend a helping hand to those in need.  

Whether you’re a student looking to gain valuable skills and experience, a working professional looking to give back to your community, or simply someone who wants to make a positive difference in the world, volunteering with Islamic Relief is a great way to achieve your goals. You will not only be helping others, but you will also be developing yourself personally and professionally.

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