From the news desk

Community rallys for VOC cancer drive

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Motivated by the struggles of men and women who continue to battle bravely against cancer, a collaboration of schools in the Paarl area have united to generously contribute to VOC’s Pink Hijab Day campaign. The initiative, led by the Al-Azhar high and primary schools, saw students and parents collectively raise several boxes worth of toys and bras, which were donated on Thursday to the station. The collection drive also included the Paarl based Ebenezer Primary School, who came on board to assist Al-Azhar.


According to Al-Azhar principal, Zarina Patel Moorat, the school had initially chosen to launch the appeal amongst parents and students, urging them to donate any old toys and articles of clothing that they could. They duly obliged, resulting in an expanded call to other schools in the area; a call which was answered by the nearby Ebenezer Primary School.

Apart from the collection drive, Al-Azhar students also took the streets of Paarl, standing on the sidewalks of one of the areas main roads with posters whilst donning pink attire.

“It was very exciting and the children made their own posters. The little ones had their pink hijabs on, and that also helped promote Islam, which is important for our school. I think it was a great effort from our children,” she said.

In terms of student reaction to the appeal itself, Moorat said there had been a great deal of enthusiasm amongst both primary and high school children at Al-Azhar.

“Some of them wanted to bring all their toys, so we had to say that they need bring only those that they did not want anymore, but that could still be used by those little ones who need it,” she said.

The collection drive is not the first time Al-Azhar has been actively involved in cancer awareness initiatives of this nature. According to Moorat, they had participated in several pink ribbon campaigns in recent years, whilst simultaneously collecting funds in aid of those suffering with the disease. Those funds were donated to a prominent cancer association in the Wellington area.

“We want to promote cancer awareness, and try and make a difference in people’s lives. We believe that prevention is better than cure,” she said.
She expressed confidence that the initiative would continue in the same vein next year, with more schools in the Paarl area also coming on board.

“We are already planning for 2015, and putting it on the agenda for next year. We will send out our mail early to include them inshallah. But I can see that there is a great response that they want to (get involved),” she said.

The Pink Hijab Day has already raised about R6 700 and still counting, towards the fight against cancer. All proceeds will be donated to CANSA and the generous donations of toys will be handed over to the cancer wing at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital.

Through collections by the Masjidul Quds Women’s Forum on Pink Hijab Day (PHD) and other generous donations from the Ladies Walking Group at Vygieskraal, the cancer awareness drive was a huge success, said VOC programme manager Mishka Daries.

VOC managed to raise R585 from cake and stall sales on PHD with the kind assistance from Osman’s Spice for the cupcakes and Kwaai Laapies for the pink ribbons. Ackermans also chipped in with the donation of bras, while Plattekloof Laser centre generously offered vouchers, Absa Islamic Banking sent through scarves. Thabiet Sedan from a Community Outreach Project also offered three full black bags of toys to brighten up the day for many young cancer sufferers.

During the event, three doctors, Dr. Yasmin Brey, Dr. Firdous Ismail, Dr. Zeenat Parker, offered free examinations to women attending and found irregular lumps in the breasts of a few women, all of whom have never had an examination of that kind before. These findings emphasised the importance of early detection.

VOC extends its thanks and gratitude to all the individuals and businesses who have kindly contributed to this worthy project. VOC

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