As qurbaan proceedings comes to a close, one organization has heeded the call to provide as many people as possible with meat so that they may enjoy a festive Eid al-Adha. Islamic Relief South Africa, which provides humanitarian relief to disadvantaged communities both locally and abroad, during Eid al-Adha 2016 went to great lengths and increased the number of individuals and families that it had previously assisted during the holy period. In addition to its local campaigns, Islamic relief this year provided hundreds of families with meat parcels in Lesotho and Zimbabwe.
VOC spoke to the communications officer of Islamic Relief South Africa, Shanaaz Ebrahim, who provided an overview of the organizations operations in the landlocked Kingdom of Lesotho.
Having just returned from Lesotho, Ebrahim explains that while it has been a strenuous process, she is happy to report that qurbaan processors have been successfully completed in the area.
She says that the 2016 programme in the Kingdom is much smaller as compared to its other programmes conducted in South Africa and Zimbabwe, where more structured processors are in place.
She, however, confirmed that the organization distributed approximately 800 parcels of meat to families spread across eight villages, in and around Maseru.
“Our Zimbabwe team has distributed over 8000 hampers, and in Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Durban we have in total about 600 sheep that we are distributing,” she added.
While she generally celebrates Eid-al Adha in Zimbabwe, as part of the organization’s qurbaan programme, during this year’s Eid, Ebrahim spent the day with the Basotho Muslim community.
Describing the community as “very warm”, she says the contingent performed Eid Salah in a masjid in Mafikeng and, thereafter, immediately began with qurbaan processors.
Islamic Relief this year slaughtered approximately 15 cows in Lesotho, with each cow yielding approximately 80 parcels of meat.
As all programmes of this nature are expected to be accompanied by challenges, she says that the biggest challenge that the organization was faced with in Lesotho was the language barrier.
In addition, Ebrahim explains that the organization had to be careful and maintain respect for the Christian community in which the Basotho Muslims reside.
“In one village we were told that they don’t allow meat to be carried in, but that it had to be slaughtered in the village… [So] We had to be sensitive in how we speak to the leadership in the community and explain to them what the qurbaan is about, what Eid is and the religious significance of the event.”
While the organization to a large degree relies on the support of communities, Ebrahim affirms that the South African community have heeded the call and this year upped their support for the qurbaan initiative.
“Without their support, we could not do the work that we do. So I just want to say shukran to everyone who came on board and support Islamic relief’s qurbaan operation 2016.”
She further notes that many families within the region do not have access to basic amenities and that many of the villagers survive on a pension of R580 a month and is often responsible for the care of a family of up to ten people.
“We could see the dichotomy between the villages that we visited; there was no electricity, running water, and no formal infrastructure; it was so sad to hear people say that they have to walk 30km to visit the nearest clinic,” Ebrahim stated.
Given the fact that many South Africans enjoy relative luxury, Ebrahim encourages South Africans to get involved and find ways to assist the needy, both within South Africa and within our neighbouring countries.