Monday December 23, 2013

Hugh Quarshie, voice of Islamic Relief

If you thought the voice behind our Philippines and Syria winter appeal videos sounded familiar – you were right! Islamic Relief supporter and star of BBC’s Holby City, Hugh Quarshie, lent us his dulcet tones to help the fundraising effort for these desperate humanitarian crises.

This isn’t the first time Hugh has supported Islamic Relief’s work. In 2011, he visited Kenya during the East Africa drought, where Islamic Relief was providing life-saving food, water, medical treatment and more to those affected by the famine.

Speaking to BBC Radio 2 recently, Hugh said: “I’m not Muslim myself, but I was deeply impressed by the work of the charity. It was Ramadan, so they didn’t eat from dawn until dusk – it was the most amazing thing to see them work non-stop in the blistering heat, supplying water, grain and medical packs to villages.” Presenter Clare Balding was incredulous to hear that Hugh fasted alongside our staff, not even drinking water – though he did cheat a little with some chewing gum!

Since that trip, Hugh has remained a firm supporter of Islamic Relief. After attending our Ramadan launch dinner this year, he blogged for the Huffington Post about our work in DRR, or ‘disaster risk reduction’ – attempting to protect communities from disasters like the 2011 famine before they occur, rather than waiting until they strike to begin picking up the pieces. He told the story of Kenyan farmer Ishmail Mohamed, 36, and the impact these projects have had on his family:

In 2010 four of Ishmail’s seven children were treated for acute malnutrition through Islamic Relief’s therapeutic feeding programme. In 2011, however – with Islamic Relief’s Daua irrigation programme more established and Ishmail’s new farm thriving – all seven children remained healthy through the record-breaking drought that I witnessed. Now many more families like Ishmail’s are set to benefit from the Daua irrigation project as Islamic Relief’s disaster protection work expands.

Hugh’s support has been a great catalyst to the success of our work, something for which our UK Director, Jehangir Malik, is grateful. “It’s been great to have Hugh on board,” says Jehangir. “He’s an excellent ambassador for Islamic Relief’s mission to alleviate poverty, generously volunteering his valuable time to understand the complexities and horrors of conflict, famine and poverty. Hugh’s tireless efforts have helped Islamic Relief create vital awareness of the plight of people in East Africa, particularly in Somalia.

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