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IRSA calls for support

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With freezing temperatures across the country, local humanitarian agency Islamic Relief South Africa (IRSA) has made an impassioned appeal to the Muslim community to support its projects this winter. On Wednesday, city disaster management authorities attended to several areas affected by flooding, with informal settlements the hardest hit.

In South Africa, impoverished communities lack the proper infrastructure to shelter from and withstand the rain. During heavy rainfall, informal dwellings are destroyed and possessions washed away by a pool of rain. IRSA fundraiser Zeenat Patel says it is vital for all Muslims by the means to assist poor communities to sustain themselves.

“The aid should not be momentary but change people’s lives in the long term. As the saying goes give a man a fish you feed him for a day, but teach a man how to fish you feed him for a lifetime.

“Trying to provide more aid can only be done by asking our communities and running awareness campaign. Islamic Relief works with VOC to get to our listeners.”

IRSA seeks to address these issues by providing aid through sustainable projects.

“We have people who walk into Islamic Relief who need attention immediately due to eviction. We seek sustainability of our projects. We run the orphan campaign providing educating leader, stationary, school aid and all the necessary support. We provide for local orphans to orphans in Syria,” says Patel.

However, Patel believes people shy away from facing the problem at home by focusing more on global humanitarian issues.

“Our community is more attuned to support countries like Syria and Palestinian than our neighbouring countries. This is another issue Islamic Relief is tackling,” says Patel.

Islamic Relief branches work in areas of devastation, war and destruction. Volunteers have developed projects in Gaza Palestine, provided food parcels and blankets in Syria and are working in Central African countries like Sudan. The South African head office is based in Cape Town and smaller offices in Durban and Joburg.

“IR is an international organisation with a firm South African presence,” says Patel.

With the sacred month of Ramadan approaching, Patel urged Muslims to support the organisation. One of the five pillars of Islam is to give donations in the form of zakat and sadaqa, with fitra earmarked for the month of fasting.

“If you consider yourself a true Muslim, you know the reward of giving especially in the month of Ramadan. We also offer alternatives for listeners by joining and participating in organisation. Consider these programmes as part of our giving structure,” says Patel.

For more information, visit IRSA’s or like their Facebook page VOC (Nailah Cornelissen)

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