Safety of staff for charity as it prepares to re-open

19th Jun 2020

Ahmed Rajab

TO say that these have been challenging times is a gross understatement for Al-Khair Foundation, a registered Muslim charity which has been operating out of the UK since 2008.

In these days of the Coronavirus, the Foundation’s major challenge has been to continue with its activities uninterrupted but to follow the guidelines provided by the medical profession and guidelines by the Government.

With the safety of staff and welfare of beneficiaries’ paramount, the Charity had to ensure continuity of operations and compliance with pandemic controlling measures.

The Charity was among the first institutions to ask staff to work-from-home on March 23 and had closed its schools three days earlier. Approximately 20 per cent of staff members were furloughed in early April.

Where it was not possible for some staff to work from home, the Charity re-arranged its working space to allow for effective social distancing in its premises. The Charity is currently engaged in a plan to facilitate return to work when it will be deemed safe to do so, through making its premises compliant with health and safety regulations.

Already, part of the routine in preparation for the re-opening of the premises has been regular “deep-cleansing. We are preparing the premises for when we will re-open,” CEO of Al-Khair, Shuayb Yousuf said.

Yousuf envisages a number of changes for when they restart their activities. These include keeping their visitors to a minimum, providing sanitizers to the staff and visitors as well as installing CCTV outside the premises whose doors have now been automated.

“We have also decided to provide counselling for our employees, and we will monitor their welfare and health conditions. So as to discourage them from using public transport we will help with car parking costs. And we will provide masks to those who have no alternative to public transport,” said Shuayb who added that masks will also be provided for use in the premises if needed.

Social-distancing will be another measure that will be practised inside the premises. That would be easy to implement as the building has large spaces.

Since the lock-down, Shuayb has been in regular contact with all Al-Khair teams and the human resources department has been monitoring staff’s well-being. Such counsel has been given to those furloughed as well as to those working from home.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Al-Khair’s aid deliveries have continued unabated despite its reduced staff. In the UK, the branch network acted as community hubs for the distribution of food parcels.

The main call-centre received calls from the public at large not only for donations-processing but also for listening to people’s needs and for delivering food parcels. At times, the call-centre just provided “an ear” to lonely and anxious callers.

The Charity also made available all its facilities, mostly buildings, to the Government’s effort in combating the pandemic.

In the UK, Al-Khair Foundation operates four schools and three TV channels broadcasting on SKY (IQRA Urdu, IQRA Bangla, and IslamTV).

For more information visit: www.alkhair.org

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