From the news desk

Huge numbers show dire need in Delft

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The first VOC Ahlan Wa Sahlan outreach programme got off to an emotional start at Masjidul jumuah in Delft on Sunday, as hundreds of residents shared in the spirit of Ramadan. The sounds of thikr and the recitation of the Quran permeated the masjid as residents prepared for a mass iftar at the mosque. The Ahlan Wasahlan is a weekly outreach programme aimed at connecting VOC with the local community.

Delft was top of the list, given the areas socio economic challenges of gangsterism, child abuse, rape, crime, and unemployment. The number of residents who turned up for the outreach was testament to the extreme poverty in the area.

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Masjidul Jumuah imam Shakir Achmat says the masjid itself is struggle to assist with the needs of the community. The mosque has a feeding scheme with kitchen utensils, but ingredients are always a shortage.

“We need so much for the madrassa. We have over 150 children and its increasing all the time. the school fees we get per month doesn’t even amount to R80. So you can imagine the tremendous burden that we have,” he said.

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“We are trying to get the kids their own text books, which costs a lot of money. So we appeal to the community to assist us.”

Achmat said they wanted to clothe all children in the same way for the madrasa, as many of the learners do not have appropriate Islamic garb.

“We have people to sew the garments, but we need people to sponsor the fabric,” he added.

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Mualima Zubeida Waggie, a teacher at madrasa, says she has a passion for the spiritual nurturing of Delft’s poverty-stricken children.

“In Delft, the children are excited for new things. Today was like we gave them new eid clothes. People don’t care about Delft because they think there’s nothing here. But alhamdullilah, we have all the talent here and whatever we decide to do, they are always eager to learn,” said Waggie.

No Ahlan Wasahlan outreach is complete with charity NGO Gift of the Givers on hand. They have been an instrumental partner over the years, providing residents with food and other aid. On Sunday, the NGO provided residents with a warm meal for iftaar as well as food hampers.

Sadiq Natha, project manager of Gift of the Givers, says Delft is a community close to their hearts.

“Most of the people in Delft might have jobs, but they are still impoverished. But there are those we are unemployed and have no source of income whatsoever. They are living off grants and handouts. These people are in constant need, but alhamdullilah they have retained their Islam and the mosque is a focal point.”

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Meanwhile, the masjid’s secretary Riedwaan Hardenberg, says the current mosque structure is unable to accommodate the number of Muslims in the area. They hope to extend the masjid soon.

“The current building is just the madrassa and we are now busy with the foundation phase of the masjod. We now appeal to the community to assist with the bricks so we can get it to the first floor. We also have a donate-a-brick initiative that will be launched soon.”

To assist the masjid, contact Nazmie 078 154 0875 or Riedwaan 073 171 5287. Next week, VOC heads to Rahmaniyah Masjid in Steenberg.

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