With the 15th edition of the Ahlan Wa Sahlan (AWS) outreach project having concluded this past week in Kalksteenfontein, the organisers behind the popular initiative have praised the community for the positive response shown at all four events throughout the past month.
The primary objective of the initiative was to highlight the plight of the poor in various areas across the city. The AWS team visited mosques in four sub-economic areas, namely Macassar, Woodlands, Belhar and Kalksteenfontein, where a collective Khatam al-Quran was facilitated. Iftar was also provided to the more destitute members of the community with the help of humanitarian organisation Gift of the Givers.
AWS coordinator, Ebrahim Arnold, was particularly satisfied by the fact that they had successfully achieved their goal of raising awareness around the conditions in the respective areas. He also acknowledged the good turnout by the community for the iftar meals.
“If we are talking very roughly, I would say between 2000 and 3000 people have benefited from this years initiative, in terms of the iftaar,” he reported.
In terms of the community’s response to the appeal for non-perishable goods, Arnold estimated that more than 500 struggling families would have benefited from the donations made by the community.
Despite the numbers not being as high as the organisers would have hoped for, Arnold was pleased by the fact that the overall goal of enlightening the community to the issues in these areas, was achieved. He expressed confidence the initiative would leave a long lasting impact in the respective areas.
This year’s edition of the Ahlan Wa Sahlan programme was unique in the sense that, community members were afforded the opportunity to facilitate a khatam of their own at home. A recitation list was made available on vocfm.co.za which community members could download and tick off, as they or a family member successfully completed a Juz of the Quran.
According to Arnold, the mosque committee members at some of the respective masajid also got involved in this initiative, by distributing the lists amongst those who frequented their masajid.
Reflecting on the 15 years of the AWS programme, Arnold said the poverty cycle was still very existent in many of the areas visited over the years, and much more involvement was needed from the community, to make the areas sustainable.
“Certainly VOC can act as a catalyst to engage people in this regard and have a more open discussion about all the efforts going on in terms of poverty alleviation in these areas,” he said. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)