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Volunteers’ Week: Our LifeSavers share their Ramadan experiences

This week marks Volunteers’ Week here in the UK, where all over the country we celebrate the fantastic contributions of volunteers across the charity sector.

Of course, here at Islamic Relief, we know just how important volunteers are.

We’re proud to say that we benefit from the support of around 3,000 volunteers in the UK and many more around the world. These dedicated volunteers give their time and energy to help with events, fundraising, social media management, campaigning on the ground and many other areas of work.

Their contribution is invaluable and of course highly appreciated. We couldn’t do everything we do without them!

With Ramadan being our busiest period of the year, volunteer support during this time is especially important. However, this year we had to work a little differently.

As the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting how we fundraise and advocate on the ground, this had an effect on our volunteers’ invaluable work.

Find out how through the stories and experiences of four of our lovely volunteers. It’s inspiring stuff!

Zalika (Birmingham)

I’ve been an active volunteer with Islamic Relief for four years now. I volunteer as the regional social media coordinator within the West Midlands team.

With the Covid-19 pandemic, I really felt like lockdown would put a spanner in the works in terms of my volunteer duties. However, alhamdulillah things went really well.

I was tasked with managing the Twitter page for The Cake(less) Campaign for the first half of Ramadan. The Cake(less) Campaign was still supporting vulnerable communities in Syria – just without the cake here at home!

As well as managing the Twitter account, I also featured in the TikTok video made for a baking challenge as part of the campaign. Overall, it was a great success and great fun to work on.

In addition to my social media duties, I also decided to set myself a fundraising challenge by launching my own fundraising page.

I thought at the time that successfully raising money for Islamic Relief was going to be very difficult. I knew I wouldn’t be seeing a lot of my friends and family this Ramadan due to the lockdown, so I definitely had to make the most of my social media and digital skills to raise money.

I met my target and Alhamdulillah, I raised over £500 to support water projects overseas!This Ramadan was obviously different because everything – all our activities, communication and interactions – took place online.

As a result, I think the pandemic made me further develop my volunteer skills as I had to “think outside the box” and make the most of my digital skills. This whole experience made me even more aware of the fact that I’m still able to fundraise and spread awareness through social media, whatever physical restrictions may be in place.

Even without being in the same physical space, we can still build support for Islamic Relief to help people in need. And that continues to inspire me – lockdown or no lockdown!

Madina (London)

Volunteering with Islamic Relief during the Covid-19 pandemic has been an experience. One I’m unlikely to forget soon!

By taking on the Ramadan 2.6 Challenge, I wanted to help provide hygiene kits to families living in conflict and offer shelter to displaced people who don’t have a home.

As part of the London and South volunteer fundraising team for Islamic Relief, we were pushed to be creative and innovative with how we raised money for the cause.

As a result, I decided to run a 26-hour live stream, composed of 26 segments with 18 different guests. Alhamdulillah, we raised over £1,400 in just under three days!Arguably, this idea worked perfectly due to the crisis, and the fact that everyone was at home and somewhat starved of entertainment! I was also fortunate enough to have had so much help and support from the fundraising team during this initiative.

Despite us not being able to physically volunteer with Islamic Relief, it was an absolute pleasure to do so virtually.

Even though the live stream was the highlight of my Ramadan, Islamic Relief also held live game shows, volunteer zoom sessions and had lots of other initiatives going on. It truly felt like even though the world stopped, Islamic Relief kept going.

And this is something which I haven’t experienced anywhere but at Islamic Relief. Thank you Islamic Relief for showing how it’s done!

Haleema (Bolton)

My name is Haleema and I’m an Islamic Relief volunteer from Bolton.

This Ramadan was one I’ll always remember. I went from doing a baking TikTok challenge for The Cake(less) Campaign, to trekking 26 miles whilst fasting!

As part of the 2.6 challenge last Ramadan, I completed 26 miles over two days. Alhamdulillah, I raised over £2,800 for Syrian widows and orphans in Lebanon.

As I was trekking during the Covid-19 pandemic, I had to take precautions and maintain social distancing throughout my journey.

My health and safety were also important as I was fasting and trekking alone, which is why I completed the trek over two days and took plenty of breaks throughout.

I completed the first 16 miles in extremely hot weather, and as much as I wanted to give up, my Islamic Relief friends and fundraisers continued to motivate me and cheer me on from home!

It was a very unusual experience as we were in lockdown, but certainly an amazing one! I really enjoyed my project and got really creative in raising as much money as I could to support those suffering across the globe.

The experience definitely made me appreciate being part of such a supportive family full of inspiring individuals even more. Thank you Islamic Relief!

Suly (Leicester)

I’ve been involved in charitable work and volunteering for the last six years. However, fundraising and taking part in challenges for Islamic Relief over the last year has been incredible.

I’ve found it particularly inspiring. Every challenge has a special cause – and it’s a huge blessing to be able to support each one.

My fellow volunteers – and of course the Islamic Relief staff – are so welcoming and supportive. Whenever you need help, there’s always someone there to help you.

Before Ramadan this year, I’d done the Tough Mudder challenge – a 10-mile mud and obstacle course – to support communities in need in Yemen and I also did the Morocco marathon in 2020 to raise funds to support water projects.

Having now also completed the 2.6 Challenge during Ramadan, I can honestly say that what matters most is your intentions.

With a positive, hardworking mindset, along with a heart full of tawakkul (trust in Allah (SWT)), everything falls into place thanks to Allah (SWT). Your target, your journey or simply the support you need all work out for the best.

If you’re thinking about volunteering for the Islamic Relief family, my best advice is: don’t waste any time – start today!

Thank you LifeSavers!

SubhanAllah, what an amazing group of volunteers! Thank you Zalika, Madina, Haleema, Suly and all our fantastic volunteers for all your amazing, inspiring efforts.

It’s thanks to you and your support that we’re able to save and transform so many lives across the globe. You truly embody the values and spirit of Islamic Relief and our work.

From everyone here at Islamic Relief and the communities we serve: thank you!

You truly are LifeSavers.

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