Covid-19: Muslim charities rally in aid of the UK’s vulnerable

24th Apr 2020
Covid-19: Muslim charities rally in aid of the UK’s vulnerable

Human Appeal team delivered meals to five hospitals across Manchester; Royal Oldham Hospital, Salford Royal Hospital, Manchester General Hospital, Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital and Wythenshawe Hospital (Photo credit: Sam Baxter/Human Appeal)

Nadine Osman

Leading British Muslim charities have rapidly responded to the Covid-19 crisis at home, combining their resources where needed as well as operating their own projects across the UK

The pandemic has caused disruption on an unprecedented scale, including a significant mass financial uncertainty. As a response the Muslim Charities Forum said leading Muslim charities from across the UK “have united to pool their resources, skills and expertise ensuring they efficiently provide support, where it’s most needed.”

MCF’s Campaign for National Solidarity includes an emergency fundraising appeal launched to assist in the delivery of a nationwide response to the Covid-19 emergency and to serve the vital needs of affected communities across the UK.

To date, 17 Muslim charities, 11 Muslim umbrella organisations/associations and 7 media partners involved in the Campaign.

This includes providing grants for those facing financial strife during this period, as well as supporting local organisations requiring greater resources to provide an effective response.

The funds raised will go towards helping families and individuals facing significant financial hardship as well as giving community organisations the help they need to provide essentials to their community. This collective response aims to pool the resources, skills and expertise of leading British Muslim charities, ensuring “we can effectively and efficiently reach and provide support where needed,” said Fadi Itani, CEO of MCF.

The unprecedented crisis called for a united front “for the betterment of all those in the UK facing difficulties and increased risk.” and that millions face uncertainty on how “to pay their rent, their bills, and purchase the essentials for themselves and their families.

Despite announcements by the Government, there is still a great immediate need amongst the British population. Through working together, we can overcome this current crisis and ensure all communities are supported throughout the coming weeks and months,” Itani added.

“Not only is the Campaign powerful in that we can reach more people in their time of greatest, it is also a symbolic victory. Never before have so many Muslim organisations come together under one banner. Such unity is truly unprecedented, and we can only hope that this is the start of more collaborative work in the future. The Campaign is supporting and mobilising the goodwill of our community in serving the rest of the nation.”

What some Muslim Charity Forum partner charities have accomplished so far

Muslim Hands has, through their partnership with FareShare, provided over 3,000 meals a day and their Hounslow-based Open Kitchen is now to deliver struggling families their food.

For the families of the deceased the charity launched a Coronavirus Muslim Burial Support Line and the Muslim Burial Fund to cover the burial costs for needy families. Muslim Hands also funded a multilingual helpline with AgeUK Nottingham to give the self-isolating elderly vital support.

Yasrab Shah, Muslim Hands Fundraising Director, told The Muslim News, “Muslim Hands is proud to be partnering with a variety of organisations that strive to provide the best for their communities. Across the UK we have set up services that are desperately needed, such as helplines and food distributions so that those who are struggling are not left to suffer alone in silence.”

Mercy Mission UK is putting l its resources behind the Bradford Foundation Trust and are “providing support to ensure food security to refugee and asylum seeking families. This has been a focused programme for one of the most vulnerable profiles in the city.”

CEO of Bardford-based NGO Azim Kidwai told The Muslim News, “Our focus has been on the coordination and strategic planning. We have worked with the MCF to try to coordinate appeal and distribution efforts with our colleagues. Furthermore, as per the advice of MCF, we have focused our operational efforts locally in Bradford.”

The Al-Khair Foundation teamed up with Bolton’s Urban Outreach to provide parcels to people living in Lambeth Close, Blackburn on April 1. Food essentials were distributed door-to-door by AKF. The packs were met with delight by residents – many of whom are struggling with social isolation and have difficulty getting essentials during the lockdown.

AKF events coordinator Zubair Valimulla said, “We will continue to support the vulnerable in my local area of Blackburn and offer any further assistance as required. They are utmost at risk and in need of assistance during this pandemic weaving nationally and globally claiming the deaths of many. This is a commitment from the charity to help beyond creed and culture and we will stick together and pull through as a nation”.

Since launching its Covid-19 emergency campaign on March 20, volunteers from Human Appeal have delivered over 2,640 hot meals to hospitals in Greater Manchester, as well as over 300 meals and 90 packets of wipes and masks to homeless people. Over 60 meals and 120 food parcels of eggs, milk, fruit and vegetables were provided to Age UK in Greater Manchester.

Provided NHS staff at The Whittington Hospital in London with 100 hot meals. Delivered essential items to Age UK and foodbanks in Leicester, and over 300 meals to Birmingham hospitals. Delivered food to a Senior Centre in Glasgow, as well as 25 pizzas and over 30 starters to a community group for their beneficiaries, and also gave 60 meals and 15 pizzas to staff at Queen Elizabeth.

Human Appeal has also raised over £120,000 through over 2,600 donations for their Coronavirus relief projects in the UK and nine other countries.

Dr Mohamed Ashmawey, Human Appeal CEO, said, “Vulnerable people in the UK and around the world are in even more danger because of this new threat we face. We’re determined to face it together, which is why we’re active on the front line in Glasgow, delivering help directly to those who need it, and thanking our NHS heroes who are doing their best to keep us safe.”

Islamic Relief UK is providing £500,000 to partner organisations across the country.

Neasden food bank Sufra NW London was given £10,000 by the aid charity on March 20. Tufail Hussain, Islamic Relief UK Director, said, “I am delighted that we are supporting Sufra, which provides meals to more than 100,000 families in need every year.”

The British Islamic Medical Association is offering free training for all for all medical students joining the frontline. BIMA has announced a free webinar for all final year medical students that are being recruited to work in the NHS amidst the pandemic. Medical students are being called upon to practise, which can feel difficult and overwhelming.

“Support in the form of a webinar will cover practical and clinical guidance, including dealing with emergencies and ward rounds, but also spiritual and self-care advice relating to sick leave, prayer and much more,” a BIMA spokesman told The Muslim News.

The support is being offered to all final year medical students, regardless of membership, faith or background. Dr Sharif Al Ghazal, President of BIMA, said, “Now more than ever, medical and Muslim communities need to come together and support each in any way that we can. BIMA has a long history of supporting Muslims in healthcare professions, but in this crisis, we wish to support all medics in any way we can.”

The National Zakat Foundation has called on mosques and other organisations working with Muslims in need who might be eligible for Zakat (obligatory alms-giving) to refer them to the platform and, where possible, help them apply. The demand for support through NZF has more than doubled since the outbreak.

In a statement to The Muslim News, Iqbal Nasim, CEO of the NZF, urged anyone in the community struggling to get by during these trying times not to delay in applying for help.“There’s lots of uncertainty about how people will provide for themselves, particularly for those who are already finding it a challenge to get by month to month.”

 

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