In Mali: To prevent illness, to purify, to live

Mali waterAbove: A woman draws safe water from a Dig-a-Well donated by a Muslim Hands donor.

Mali is a large, land-locked country in Western Africa, two thirds of which is desert.  Despite exporting cotton and other resources across Africa and beyond, the country is one of the world’s poorest, with as many as 5.6 million people lacking safe water.

In the last five years, Muslim Hands has dug hundreds of Dig-a-Wells serving 25-30 families, helping thousands across Mali access safe drinking water.

This means, villagers like Djibril  no longer have to walk in the unbearable heat to collect unsafe water.  In his village of Diatoula in the Koulikoro region of western Mali, getting hold of clean water was a gruelling chore.

During the rainy season, villagers collected water from a spring about 10 minutes-walk away.  But the spring is small and has to support nearly 2500 people, so there was often a long que and each family collected barely enough water for drinking and cooking.

During the dry season, the spring is no longer an option.  Villagers travel along a winding path down to the side of a ravine to the Niger river to collect water. Most women have to take their children with them, often carrying the smallest on their backs.

The trip down takes up to 4 hours, but climbing back up with wet clothes, tired children plus heavy 20-litre containers of water often took several hours. And, worse than the journey itself is the fact that the water they collected is polluted.

Djibril Coulibaly and his wife have 5 children. The family uses only around 10 litres of water per day – less than one percent of the average amount of water a person in the UK uses.

“There wasn’t enough water to wash our sweet potatoes so we cooked them in skins and dirt. We didn’t wash our eating utensils –  just wiped the food off and used them again. We often had diarrhoea and wasted all of our time collecting water.

“Since the Muslim Hands Dig-a-Well this year, we have access to clean water and can spend more of our time farming.  We wash our clothes, and our plates and even brush our teeth! We have become clean and healthier.” 

Djibril Coulibaly, Mali

Across Mali, Muslim Hands Dig-a-Well schemes are helping communities thrive. The community is also involved at every stage of the construction so they are able to maintain and operate the well in the long-term.

Read more about Muslim Hands Dig-a-Well scheme here: http://muslimhands.org.uk/schemes/dig-a-well/

A Buzzing Project For Timbukto

Installation of Honey production hives donated by donor ID. 2125779  - training to the beneficiaries..In countries like The Gambia, where employment and jobs are difficult to find it takes a special programme to provide a community with a regular and stable income.

Alhamdulillah, when a generous UK donor funded three honey production kits which included bee hives,  uniforms and hive tools to a needy community – known as Timbukto Centre – it was a buzzing opportunity to help an impoverished community to thrive.

The distribution of the kits was attended by the head of the village Mr. Touray, elders and a cross section of community members. Individuals received preliminary training of how to look after and maintain the bee hives and how to harvest the bee hives to obtain honey.

The bee hives will be fully colonised and ready for harvest every three months, insha’ Allah. This means the community will have natural organic honey to enjoy amongst themselves and to sell in the local market – generating an income which they will distribute between the local families.

“We thank all of our donors for the timely intervention and gesture.” Mr Touray, Head of Timbukto Centre

Find out more about Muslim Hands’ Special Programmes here.

A New School For Syrian Children

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Early this March, you helped to provide a rare moment of normality for 300 Syrian children in the village of Haas in Idlib Province, as they returned to school – a Muslim Hands Community School. 

Schools in Haas were closed more than a year ago as fighting in the region intensified and families fled to nearby refugee camps on the Lebanon and Turkey borders. Hundreds of children from the region were unable to attend school or have any semblance of routine or normality.

A year on, as displaced families began returning back to their damaged homes – in a bid to rebuild their lives – Muslim Hands made it a priority to refurbish a damaged building into a Community School and set up a supportive environment for these beleaguered children.

Fifteen brightly decorated classrooms across three floors, all equipped with desks and chairs now make up the once damaged and derelict building.

Employed by Muslim Hands, 20 Syrian teachers teach a variety of subject according to the national curriculum from English, Maths, Science to History and Recreational Arts to Syrian students aged 5-15  in year groups one to nine; all filling the classrooms with noise, laughter and the sound of learning.

As well as daily classes from 8am – 1 pm the children are provided with food, safe drinking water, school bags and a safe play area. And, with some of the classes taking place underground in the basement level of the building, some of the younger and vulnerable children feel much safe and happier returning to school.

The school has also caused a surge of activity, as many eager families with children from nearby areas routinely wait around the playing area demanding a second set of teaching hours. For five days a week, from the beginning of June between 2pm – 7pm, 300 more Syrian children from the local area will be attending the MH Community School and building better futures for themselves, insha’Allah.

“Muslim Hands is committed to improving the lives of Syria’s future generations. Upon listening to the parent’s needs and requests it’s been decided that the Muslim Hands Community School will be opening in the afternoon too.” Tariq Nasir, MH Senior Programmes Manager

Looking ahead

Though much work has been done in Syria we cannot afford to let go of our responsibility towards Syrians.

Our focus now is to set up as many schools as we can for this, we rely on your continued support for the children of Syria: http://muslimhands.org.uk/emergencies/2012/syria-crisis/

On Tour: Following The Success of Team Pakistan

Team Pakistan travelled across 13 cities, over 2,000km from Karachi to Abbotabad taking in visits to street child drop in centres, SOS Village Multan, business communities, Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Pakistan Football Association and Parliament where the National Assembly unanimously passed a game-changing policy to better protect the 1.5 million street children living in Pakistan. 

Click through out timeline below to see how the tour panned out and culminated to this historical moment:

Find out more about Muslim Hands’ work with orphan and needy children: http://muslimhands.org.uk/our-work/orphans/

The Road to Rio: Muslim Hands & Street Child World Cup

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Kicking off today, street children from across five continents have been given the chance to come together to compete in a 10 day football tournament.

In an effort make a difference to the lives of street children, Muslim Hands has sponsored children living on the streets of Pakistan and the Philippines to form youth football teams who have been flown out to the footballing nation of Brazil.

Whilst in the home of football, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, these street children alongside 230 others representing their native countries will be grabbing the global media limelight asserting their right to say “I am Somebody.” 9 girls teams and 15  boys teams (aged 14-17) are competing to be proud ambassadors for millions of children back home.

A Muslim Hands team headed by Programmes Manager, Irfan Khan will be heading out to Brazil on Tuesday morning to meet the youth teams and take part in promoting the competition.

Programmes Manager, Irfan Khan said:

“This footballing project is helping to put street children on the map and raise awareness of a global issue which Muslim Hands is very passionate about.

“Football is being used as a means to reach out to these children, enabling them to raise in confidence and leave them feeling inspired.”

Whilst in Brazil the children will have a platform to tell their stories through arts and cultural exchanges, and in a special Global Street Child Conference – their first ever by and for street children. This youth participation conference is the only time street children from around the world come together to identify and discuss the issues that affect them most. They will write and deliver the ‘Rio Rights Declaration’ to governments outlining what needs to be done to help our world’s street children.

Arslan Nusrat, Muslim Hands’ Partnership Manager believes:

” By joining hands with Street Child United we are campaigning for street children to have a safer future free from fear, free from neglect and free from abuse..”

Muslim Hands wishes all the teams the very best in the competition.

Motherkind: Empowering By Educating

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Above: Women line up to be seen by the midwife at the Motherkind Clinic.

Qualified female staff are essential to the running of our Motherkind Clinic in the Puleh Charki District of Afghanistan as many husbands will not permit their wives to use the health facility if staffed by males.

For those that do attend, modesty prevails. For those who are unable to attend due to social restrictions we educate and train local women in the community to help provide women with maternal healthcare on household visits. Alhamdulillah, this has meant approximately 137 women a month are visiting the clinic and benefiting from maternal healthcare. For an area where maternal healthcare was unheard of this is a milestone in reducing maternal deaths.
Please support our Motherkind campaign to continue providing these basic healthcare necessities to women in Afghanistan: http://muslimhands.org.uk/campaigns/2012/motherkind-maternal-health/

Muslim Hands: Charity of the Year

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Above: Brother Yasrab and brother Taukir from the MH Special Programmes Department collect the Charity of the Year Award on behalf of all at Muslim Hands.

Muslim Hands was awarded Charity of the Year at the British Muslim Awards Ceremony last night. We truly believe this is an award which should be celebrated by all of our wonderful volunteers, budding participants, committed supporters, dedicated donors and staff worldwide.

There’s still much to be done to help the poor and needy but by acting together for the needy we can make a difference, insha’Allah.

May Allah (swt) guide us all and enable us to help the poor and needy to the best of our abilities whilst keeping our intentions sincere. May He reward everyone’s efforts immensely. Ameen!

For more information about Muslim Hands, please visit our website: www.muslimhands.org.uk

An Ambulance Aid Service in Pakistan

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Above: The official opening of the Ambulance Aid service in Pakistan.

Muslim Hands has officially launched a first-of-its-kind ambulance service for impoverished people living in the District of Rawalpindi and surrounding areas.

The ambulance service will provide a round the clock pre-hospital emergency transportation service to a region where they are normally inaccessible.

This special project which consists of 20 well-equipped ambulances will drastically improve medical & healthcare services in the area by focusing primarily on accident & emergency situations for e.g, accidents, cardiac arrest,  expectant women, neonates and all other emergencies.

Why is the project focused on the District of Rawalpindi?

  • In rural villages across the District of Rawalpindi, families are suffering from devastatingly high maternal mortality rates due to inaccessible transport and lengthy delays in treatment
  • According to official statistics 6,210 road accidents have been reported in the District of Rawalpindi. Many of the injured victims die a preventable death at the scene or in the first few hours due to a lack of pre-medical emergency services
  • Almost 86.5 out of 1000 acutely ill children die every year in Pakistan due to inaccessible pre-medical emergency services and inefficient medical care

Studies have found that patients from remote rural areas who have been referred one of the District of Rawalpindi’s four main hospitals are most vulnerable. Unable to access medical transport or pay for a taxi, they rely on charitable bystanders in private cars to reach the hospitals. Often, with no transport available many have no choice but to travel on foot for miles to receive the treatment they require.

Under the current circumstances expectant mothers and young children are especially vulnerable. Their health is often affected due to inaccessible transport which results in their treatment being delayed.

Muslim Hands intends on focusing the service on such people in villages across the District of Rawalpindi to provide an accessible and efficient medical emergency service.

For the ill, sick and injured of Rawalpindi this fleet of 20 ambulances will help save lives, insha’Allah.

Insha’Allah upon the successful completion of this project we would like to extend this service to other areas of the developing world where there exists a need for emergency medical transport.

Help Give Some Warmth This Winter

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Above: Muslim Hands launches its Winter Appeal campaign providing essential items such as blankets, winter clothing and heating fuel to the poor and needy

We’ve all been feeling the chill since winter announced its arrival recently. The good news is that for most of us, we can ward off the ill-effects by simply wrapping up warm and turning up the heating.

But for millions of displaced Syrians inside the country and living in camps on the Turkey and Lebanon border, it’s not so simple.They’re facing the onslaught of the worst winter in years and extreme cold without warm clothes and blankets, a lack of access to food and inadequate shelter and heating.

Muslim Hands teams are on the ground working hard to reach Syrians in need and distribute vital supplies to help protect them through the winter.

You can help to save lives by supporting our Winter Appeal