Thursday February 20, 2014

Celebrating World Day of Social Justice

“Stand out firmly for justice as witnesses to Allah…” (Qur’an 4:135)

‘Adl, or social justice, is one of Islamic Relief’s five core values, and is crucial to reducing poverty and suffering. On 20th February, the World Day of Social Justice 2015, we celebrated the work we do to fight injustice and drive positive change across the globe:

1.       Building peace and resolving conflict

“The believers are brothers, so make peace between your two brothers and be mindful of Allah, so that you may be given mercy.” (Qur’an 49:10)

Conflict and violence force millions of families from their homes every year, leaving them impoverished and suffering. In Yemen, our peace-building programme is guided by faith teachings, training communities on alternative ways to settle disputes. In refugee camps in Darfur, Sudan, tensions can erupt over access to aid and resources like water, so we create reconciliation committees who make sure everyone’s voice gets heard.

An Islamic Relief representative meets a community in Yemen to tackle conflict, as part of our work towards social justice.

2.       Campaigning against unjust debt

“If the debtor is in difficulty, then delay things until matters become easier for him; still, if you were to write it off as an act of charity, that would be better for you, if only you knew.” Qur’an 2:280)

External debt is crippling Pakistan, preventing the government spending on vital public services like health and education – ultimately leaving the poorest communities to suffer. Islamic Relief has teamed up with the Jubilee Debt Campaign to push for a freeze on Pakistan’s debt and an audit to investigate whether it should be written off.

3.       Enabling economic independence

“It is better for one of you to take a rope and cut wood, carry it on your back and sell it, rather than to ask another person.” (hadith of the Prophet ﷺ narrated by Bukhari)

Everyone has the right to lead a dignified life, not having to depend upon others for money – but not everybody around the world gets the opportunities they need to earn a living of their own. Islamic Relief’s livelihoods programmes train young people in employable skills, and help people set up small businesses by giving ethical interest-free loans and grants. We also provide the necessary tools and equipment, like sewing machines and farming kits.

Women in Pakistan hold sewing machines, part of Islamic Relief's livelihoods programme, helping us improve social justice.

4.       Removing barriers to inclusion

“O mankind! We created you from a male and female…so that you may know each other (not that you may despise each other).” (Qur’an 49:13)

In many communities around the world, disabled people face discrimination and exclusion from society. Islamic Relief helps to break down these barriers: we run microfinance programmes in Gaza to help disabled entrepreneurs make a living; we protect disabled people from disasters like floods in Bangladesh – where they are often most vulnerable, being unable to escape so easily – and our Early Intervention and Rehabilitation Centre in Egypt helps disabled children access sports activities and other therapies.

5.       Unlocking brighter futures

“The best gift a father can give his child is education and upbringing.” (hadith of the Prophet ﷺ narrated by Tirmidhi)

Children are all born with a huge amount of potential, but their environments determine whether or not they are able to fulfil it. Islamic Relief is building and equipping schools and training teachers to ensure that children get the education they deserve for a brighter future. Our child protection programmes also help to prevent child labour, trafficking and marriage, all of which are barriers to a happy childhood and a successful adult life.

 

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