Muslim Charity officially launched its ‘Children of the World’ campaign at the House of Lords earlier today. The event – hosted by Lord Nazir Ahmed of Rotherham – showcased a range of projects that Muslim Charity is implementing around the world to rescue and support vulnerable children. The projects include rescuing street children in countries such as Bangladesh, finding missing and abducted children and reuniting them with their families in Pakistan, providing informal education to children in slums, supporting refugee and war children as well as sponsoring orphans and vulnerable children around the world.
Lord Ahmed of Rotherham spoke about his admiration for the work of Muslim Charity and the dedicated volunteers and professionals working within the organisation to bring about positive change in the world. He commented, “I have known of the work of Muslim Charity and its Trustees for many years and I am delighted to be hosting this important event to launch ‘Children of the World’. One of the components of the campaign is supporting orphans who in many parts of the world are prone to abuse and exploitation due to their vulnerabilities, it is therefore essential that all support is given to such causes that seeks to protect them.”
The Vice Chairman of Muslim Charity, Bakhtyar Pirzada, spoke of the role and religious significance of children in Islamic tradition. He recounted the Prophetic tradition stating that there is a place in Paradise called the “House of Happiness” which is reserved for those people who keep children happy. He also commented, “Our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was an orphan and lived an orphan’s life and we should therefore feel proud in honouring orphans by providing them all the support that we can.”
The event was attended by some of Muslim Charity’s leading volunteers who pledged to become ambassadors of the ‘Children of the World’ campaign. Their role, moving forward, will see key volunteers utilise their skills as bloggers and vloggers, professionals and activists to champion the issues affecting children and to raise awareness in their communities and networks.
Volunteers attended from across the country including representatives from Scotland, Wales, Midlands and the South East and included partner organisations and representatives from professional bodies.
During the event, “Token of Appreciation” awards were given to two inspirational and dedicated volunteers that have supported Muslim Charity’s campaigns over the years in their respective communities. The awards were presented to Tehmina Mohammed from Edinburgh and Naveed Aslam from Newcastle upon Tyne who was joined by Mohammed Rayaz from Team Newcastle.
The event also screened a short film written, directed and filmed by former street children about their daily lives.
Harun Rashid, Head of Fundraising, said, “Never in a million years would they have thought that their film and their work would be shown in the House of Lords. For some their life goals are centred around survival and how to earn money for their next meal.”
Harun spoke of four inspirational stories: Maryam from Pakistan who was rescued after being missing for six months; Jannat from Bangladesh who was a young girl that was rescued after being missing for 3 years; Bushra from Pakistan who was a sponsored orphan and going onto becoming a doctor; and Farzana from Bangladesh who was trafficked into sex trade and now rescued by Muslim Charity’s team in Dhaka.
Some photographs from the event held at the House of Lords on Thursday 13th October 2016: