The chaplain at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital has announced an Eid gift drive set to take place this coming Saturday, directed at the hospitals more than 300 patients. The drive, initiated by the hospital’s first ever Muslim chaplain, is the first of its kind and will also include a mass iftar with some of the children and parents.
Red Cross chaplain, Zeenat Parker said she was moved by similar gift drives at the hospital during Christmas and Easter, which was what prompted her to launch the initiative little over two weeks ago. She said the idea was first posed to the hospital’s director, who was initially sceptical about the drive.
“He expressed doubt that the initiative could be pulled off in such a short space of time, especially since it took the hospital nearly a year to collect gifts during the other gift drives,” she said.
Having launched the drive with virtually no funds whatsoever, Parker noted that in little over two weeks they had managed to raise more than the initial target of R30 000. As a result, the extra funds were now being used to create toiletry packs for many of the patients.
Due to the overwhelming support the gift drive has recieved, Parker was confident the initiative would not be a once off initiative.
“it is not going to stop here when we hand over the gifts on Saturday. We’ve told them this is going to be an annual event,” she said.
Apart from the gift drive, Parker noted they would also be hosting an Iftar on Saturday evening, for Muslim patients and their parents. A Thikr is also scheduled for Friday afternoon, which will be open to all parents, patients and staff regardless of their religion.
Parker noted that they were also looking to implement an Islamic mobile library at the hospital, that would go around once a month to each ward and read to the children.
“They do it with the non-Muslim children, so I thought why can’t we also do it,” she said.
She urged the community to get on board and assist with the various initiatives at the hospital, by contacting the Red Cross based, The Friends of the Children’s Hospital Association (FOCHA).
Anyone looking to get assist at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, can contact FOCHA on 021 658 5243. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)