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Young British Muslims save lives in Syria this Ramadan – by delivering cakes while they fast

Photo credit: Islamic Relief UK

Volunteers across the country are raising hundreds of thousands of pounds for the crisis in Syria by delivering chocolate fudge cakes every weekend during the month of Ramadan.

People order the cakes from the Cake Campaign website and the money is allocated to the charity’s humanitarian work in Syria. Then hundreds of Muslim and non-Muslim volunteers, including many students, deliver the cakes during the month of Ramadan – when many of them are fasting from dawn until dusk.

The majority of customers are ordinary families who enjoy a chocolate cake as part of their Iftar  – the meal they take together to break their fast – but they are also delivered to Members of Parliament, churches and even celebrities. In previous years, England international cricketer Moeen Ali and the boxer Amir Khan have received cakes from volunteers.

The Cake Campaign, formerly Cakes4Syria, was the brainchild of a group of volunteers in Bradford seven years ago, aghast at what was happening in Syria. More than 125,000 cakes have been delivered and over one million pounds raised. Now, the cakes are delivered in more than 1,200 postcodes across the country, including London, Glasgow, Manchester, Cardiff and Birmingham and this year, Islamic Relief UK is hoping to raise up to £300,000 for its work in Syria.

Islamic Relief is one of the largest providers of aid in Syria. In 2018, the charity assisted almost 2.5 million people across the country with a range of services from health and education, to food and livelihood support.

Since the start of the crisis in 2011, Islamic Relief has helped fund more than £278 million worth of aid and assistance to Syria and helped more than four million Syrians inside and outside the country.

Photo credit: Islamic Relief UK

Tufail Hussain, Interim Director of Islamic Relief UK, said:

“The crisis in Syria is far from over and for more than three million people in the north west of the country, there is still no end to this living nightmare. The past few weeks have seen a critical escalation in attacks on North Western Syria, causing even more people to flee their homes. I am so proud to lead an organisation that inspires young people to be sensitive to the suffering of those in Syria, while also serving their local communities.”

Ateeq Salik, Northern Regional Fundraising Manager for Islamic Relief UK, said:

“Ramadan is a time for Muslims to reflect and show compassion for those less fortunate than ourselves. It is incredible that Islamic Relief UK volunteers persevere with this at a time when most of them are fasting from dawn until dusk.

“Many of them work extremely hard during the week and then use their free time to deliver their cakes – often in hot weather. We are so proud to have so many young people on board supporting Islamic Relief UK, knowing that the money raised will go to our work saving lives in Syria. We definitely couldn’t deliver the Cake Campaign without them!”

One of the thousands of volunteers is Shabbir Hussain from Stratford, East London – a final year student in bio-chemistry at the University of Westminster who also works as a customer services assistant for TFL on nights to finance his studies.

He said:

“I first started volunteering for the Cake Campaign in 2014 after seeing horrifying images of the war in Syria on the news. I wanted to do something to help and as I had just learned to drive I volunteered to help deliver the cakes. You feel so helpless watching the upsetting coverage but I find it very satisfying that, through my volunteering, I am helping to provide vital food and health care for those in need.

“Volunteering, in general, is very important for me but during the holy month of Ramadan, I think much more about how I can spend my time wisely to help those less fortunate than myself. I am very busy in my job and as a student, but I make sure I have time to support the Cake Campaign. It’s also very enjoyable and the adrenaline keeps us all going. And I love it when children open the door to receive their cakes with huge smiles. I wouldn’t miss volunteering for the Cake Campaign for the world!”

Notes to editor

  • Islamic Relief is an international aid and development charity that aims to alleviate the suffering of the world’s poorest people in more than 30 countries, mainly in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. As well as responding to disasters and emergencies, Islamic Relief promotes sustainable economic and social development by working with local communities – regardless of race, religion or gender.
  • Over the past six years, Islamic Relief UK’s volunteers have delivered over 125,000 cakes in total, engaging more than 6,000 volunteers and raising more than one million pounds for the charity’s work in Syria.
  • Ramadan is the most important time of the year for Islamic Relief’s fundraising. The Muslim Charities Forum (MCF) estimates that each year in Britain during Ramadan, Muslims give an estimated £100 million to charities. Islamic Relief UK alone raised £11 million last year. According to the online fundraising platform, JustGiving, during Ramadan 2017, donations to Islamic charities rose by a massive 487% compared to the previous month.

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