Mali Blog Part III: The story less often told
Abdul Basit and Zakir tell the story of how donations in the UK are transforming lives overseas…
“Fundraising is something all Islamic Relief volunteers become experts in with time. Volunteers share stories among themselves of how an unknown, but amazing, auntie made a beautiful du’a (prayer), or the awkward questions asked by that uncle at a dinner!
But stories of how that money, collected in buckets or donated at dinners, can transform the lives of hundreds – even thousands – of people are not shared so often. We were fortunate enough to see first-hand how grassroot volunteering has transformed the future of an entire community.
Straight after fajr (dawn) prayers we embarked on a long journey to a remote village called Dunicoro-Djitomou. We had been invited to attend the grand opening of a school which volunteers from Islamic Relief UK had raised funds for, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in 2012. The whole community came out to warmly welcome us.
The new school will not only provide an education to hundreds of children from this remote village – it will also give the local community more broadly a chance to engage in recreation activities, through the construction of a basketball court and football pitch. The most striking element of this project is its holistic approach to sustainability. A water well has been built on the school grounds, providing access to clean drinking water, resulting in massively improved health and sanitation within the local community.
Viewing the old “school” really revealed to us the drastic impact this project had made. The old school consisted of two tiny dark windowless rooms. There was also a small wooden structure which was used as a third classroom. This structure was used to teach 40 students at once in a cramped space, and had previously caught fire. It was truly unthinkable to imagine our own children, younger siblings, nephews or nieces being educated in such conditions.
We are truly thankful to all our fellow donors, supporters and volunteers. No words can describe the absolutely amazing way in which you are changing lives forever.”