Last year, a group of volunteers from Luton raised over £8,000 for Muslim Hands to build a classroom for orphans in Bangladesh. Tarikul Islam tells us all about why the 'Luton Team' took on this cause and the challenges they faced along the way:
'When a group of us from university wanted to do something to help out those less fortunate than ourselves we contacted Muslim Hands to find out how we could make a difference. After hearing about the thousands of orphans that Muslim Hands works with and the thousands more that are in need of our generosity, we knew we wanted to help them.
We chose orphans, not only for the fact that our Prophet (SAW) was an orphan, but also because having no father or mother can be one of the hardest tests one can face. I know this through my own experiences. For children in the developing world, losing a parent is not only traumatic, but it also brings with it all the stresses that losing the breadwinner of a family creates.
We chose to build a classroom for orphans in Sylhet, Bangladesh because we feel educating orphans is the best way forward for them and their community. Education is a huge part of us understanding society and hence living in it with a sense of purpose and being able to make it a better place.
The reason we chose Muslim Hands as our charity was simple- we felt they were the best and most efficient in getting the orphanage built and helping us raise the money. Not only did they have friendly staff members but I also personally know a few volunteers at Muslim Hands and they are the most humble and down to earth people one could ever meet.
We had to reach £8,000 for this classroom which was a great challenge for all of us! We had carried out general collections here and there, but nothing on this scale. So, we formed the ‘Luton Team’ and started fundraising in the summer of 2014. It is now December 2015 and alhamdulillah, we have managed to raise all the money!
We began by holding charity bake sales across our university campus. The team baked delicious cakes, cookies, cupcakes, Rice Krispy treats and much more for students to buy. There were many times we didn’t feel like we had raised much, but when we counted the money at the end it showed a different story. We knew Allah (SWT) had put barakah in our efforts!
We also carried out jummuah and street collections, organised Eid stalls and secured sponsorship from local stores and business people.
However, the main successes of our fundraising efforts were two huge football tournaments! We all love football and we just had to raise money through something that was football related! Alhamdulilah, these were extremely popular amongst the community and we got several sponsors and donors all willing to help our cause. Not only did we raise a lot of money from these events, but those that participated and volunteered felt so good about the fact they were able to help out!
Raising the money was definitely not easy, but it was an absolutely amazing life changing experience for me and my team. I would like to thank all those that donated and helped us reach our goal. Also, a massive thank you to the volunteers and my best mate whose inspirational ways and dedication to helping others motivated me to do this and make a change! Additionally, a warm thanks to Muslim Hands who were extremely supportive all the way through our project!
Most importantly, without the mercy and help of Allah (SWT) nothing is or would have been possible!
We now hope to continue helping orphans in various other ways insha’Allah. Everyone who is thinking of fundraising for a worthy cause, please do it! Trust me it will make you feel amazing!'