Islamic Relief has been conducting Qurbani operations since 1986, starting with only 670 animals. The program has since grown to reach more than 3 million people in more than 30 countries.
In 2016, Islamic Relief South Africa (IRSA) implemented the Qurbani program in domestically and in Lesotho and neighboring Zimbabwe, directly benefitting more than 60,000 vulnerable people.
According to Qurbani project coordinator, Mohammad Shakil Dauhoo, the Qurbani program supplements other food security projects, which Islamic Relief runs across the region.
“Food security is a major challenge for vulnerable families living in southern Africa. According to various humanitarian reports, there are close to 29 million people in southern Africa who are food insecure. This is as a result of poverty, the El Nino effect that has caused widespread drought. In some areas political unrest and instability has also contributed to the humanitarian crisis.”
Qurbani in Zimbabwe
The programme is designed to operate in conjunction with other relief and development programmes that provide more sustainable assistance in improving living conditions for people in need.
Dauhoo explained that IRSA has been working with local farmers in Zimbabwe for the Qurbani programme for years, which has empowered the local farming communities.
“We procure all our animals from small scale farmers from remote villages. Our animals for this year’s Qurbani programme have been sourced form areas such as Buhera, Mount Darwin, Motoko, Muzarabani and Mukumbura. Most of these villages are not easily accessible by road due to the poor road infrastructure.”
Casual labourers are sourced from the local community, providing temporary employment and relief. “Living conditions are very tough,” Jafar Tungande explained. “ We look forward to Islamic Relief’s seasonal programmes as we are paid a stipend to assist in the implementation of the project. This money helps us to feed our families and to send our children to school.”
Dauhoo further added that Islamic Relief adopts stringent criteria in line with Islamic principles from the procurement of animals to the slaughtering process.
“All logistics—from sacrifice to transportation—are handled in accordance with Sharia law, and with the best hygienic practices possible. Our program uses 100% halal meat which is distributed as soon as possible to pre-selected communities.”
He said that Islamic Relief aims to improve its’ systems and processes every year, to ensure a seamless Qurbani experience.
“Our very first Qurbani operations in Zimbabwe, used traditional abattoirs in villages where our animals were sourced. We have now moved our operations to established and accredited abattoirs which are equipped to handle our number of animals.”
“Due to the effectiveness of our procurement process, we were able to do an additional 358 animals, from the funds were collected from our donors…Over the years we have been able to improve our operations thus relief to farmers, casual labourers and most importantly to the thousands of families who are suffering from extreme poverty in Zimbabwe.”
By: Shanaaz Ebrahim-Gire