For this next instalment of our Charity Champion series, we are featuring one of our partners, Summayya Mosam. It took a little encouragement to coax Summayya to agree to being featured as she’s humble about her charitable activities and would rather remain anonymous. Summayya has been extremely proactive on her charity journey this year, we’re sure she is an inspiration to all! By reading her story below, you’ll soon gather the extent of the work and personal sacrifice Summayya makes for those in need and see why we wanted to share the amazing impact of the work she does.
"As a practising Muslim, every year I give 2.5% of my qualifying wealth, to the needy, almost like a rebalancing exercise. This process is called the giving of Zakat, which is one of the five fundamental pillars of Islam. We also practice something called ‘Sadaqah’ which is a big part of our lives and the literal translation of this means ‘voluntary charitable acts’. These don’t have to be monetary, although they often are. It’s an act of kindness for the sake of giving a helping hand to those in need. Each year, I try and balance this giving to meaningful donations on a few different projects around the world. The one constant remains donations to the people of Malawi, the country where I was born and brought up in, hence I have seen the poverty and its effects first-hand. In 2020 Malawi was among the sixth poorest countries in the world (https://www.gfmag.com/global-data/economic-data/the-poorest-countries-in-the-world). I know my donations get to those most in need as either my dad or his best friend on the ground go personally to give the donations of things like equipment to build small houses (wood, frames etc) or sometimes people genuinely just need basic food and hygiene. This year has been one for simple food and hygiene packs to a village in Malawi, close to where I was born - as can be seen in the photos below.
In addition, so far (as we are only a few months into the year and charity is something that is a regular event in our house) we have:
- This month helped two brothers in Pakistan raise enough money to build a proper brick structure they can call home – work is due to start soon and one of my best friends is closely involved in the project.
- A few months back we did the same sort of exercise in India for a widow with 5 children and my mum’s brother project managed the actual building work himself to ensure funds were used correctly. Prior to this, the family lived in a mud hut, which washed away in the rains every year and they would rebuild from scratch after the monsoons. Now, they don’t have to.
- We arranged food rations for one family for the whole month of Ramadan so they can have something substantial to eat when they open their fast.
- We helped food delivery projects through our local mosque who get the food to the most needy people all over the world and the actual final beneficiaries change constantly depending on where the crisis is worst at the time, but we get full transparent reports to show where the money has been used.
- Provided a retirement fund for a local gentleman we know in Malawi including helping him travel to his village many miles from the City and retire in a peaceful place – he is too old and too poor to have funded this himself.
- Helped provide food rations for two families in Blackburn who are unemployed and have struggled through the pandemic to pay rent and put food on the table – again organised by one of my close friends so she can make sure the money gets to them properly.
- Helped a family in Yorkshire, whose circumstances are quite personal but they were in dire need – again this was handled by a known person to me who I trust to make sure the help is provided properly.
- In preparation for Eid, alongside preparing gifts for children in our own families, we have taken part in a local scheme in Malawi to arrange Eid goodie bags for local children which will be distributed on Eid Day next week.
- Finally, I’m sure this is very common, but my charitable journey started many moons ago when my friend and I saved our college dinner money to sponsor orphans round the world. This is something I have carried on since then.
In terms of what’s coming up next, last year we donated to a local charity who organise a burial trust to help pay for funerals for those that can’t afford it or have no next of kin, with all the correct Islamic rights performed. This is next on the to do list!
You will see a recurring theme here in that I try not to donate to big known charities as they do get a fair bit of publicity but wherever I can, I prefer to provide help via people I know and trust to pass on the help directly. Unfortunately, there are just too many scams in this world who pray specifically on Muslims because they know we need to pay our zakat and I would not be fulfilling my duty correctly if I didn’t do my best to verify that the help gets to where it is needed."