UK charity Muslim Hands will mark its 30-year anniversary on 6 December, a year where the world has witnessed countless catastrophic emergencies. Multiple earthquakes devastated Turkiye, Syria at the beginning of the year, followed by Morocco and Afghanistan. Tsunami like floods wreaked havoc in Libya and the current Gaza crisis has displaced nearly 1.8 million people. Muslim Hands has donated an initial £5 million in 2023 towards providing first phase emergency humanitarian relief to those impacted by natural disaster and conflict.
The organisation was formed from the back of the Balkan crisis in 1993, where a community in Nottingham came together to make a difference. Driven by Islamic values, the NGO serves some of the world’s poorest communities across 35 countries. Over 2.5 million people globally have been provided with clean water and 50,000 orphans sponsored with an education to end the cycle of poverty. Bread bakeries have been established in Syria and Yemen to collectively provide 100,000 loaves of bread every day to 50,000 displaced women, children and those living with disabilities.
Shams Albaydani is a widow in her sixties and the sole carer for three adult sons with both physical and mental disabilities. The family have been beneficiaries of our bread factory in Aden, Yemen for over two years. Shams says, ‘Now we have one less thing to worry about and I thank the donors for providing us a lifeline.’
Muslim Hands’ annual Gaza Winter Walk now in its 16th year has seen thousands of people across the UK, from Scotland to London, brave the cold and walk 5 miles to raise funds for projects in Gaza. Collectively £1.8 million has been raised to provide support to a variety of projects which have included psychosocial services to children and medical equipment to various hospitals in Gaza. This year, funds raised will provide emergency food parcels and water through our partners UNRWA to beneficiaries like 11-year-old Ayah who is now sheltering in an UNRWA school after her house was damaged in the ongoing crisis.
Ayah said: ‘I came [to this UNRWA school] with my family after the building next to our house was hit in an airstrike. We left and took nothing with us. On the way to the south, I saw terrible scenes of dead bodies. My mum told me to close my eyes, but I couldn’t. The other night a building near the school was hit again. I hugged my mum so tight as I was terrified. Here in the school, we have nothing, not even a blanket. At night it is so cold, and I am shivering so much that my teeth are chattering.’
Our Open Kitchen initiative which was established in 2018, serves free, nutritious hot meals daily, to rough sleepers, low-income families and refugees, seven days a week, in West London and Nottingham. With the cost-of-living crisis impacting many across the UK, services like these community kitchens have been a lifeline. Collectively both the Open Kitchens has served over 500,000 meals as well as providing sleeping bags, winter essentials and household items.
Adam, his wife Kelly and their son are regular visitors to The Open Kitchen and for 3 months they have been living in hotels – a different one each week. Adam says 'I’ve got a roof over my head and I’ve got a locked door between me and the outside world. There is a hell of a lot of people out there that haven’t even got that. They have to live day-to-day, they can’t store food for later on in the week, they have to eat day-to-day – and it just doesn’t work. The amount of homeless people around the city centre has got a lot, lot worse over the past few years. People are starving.’
Muslim Hands has launched its annual winter appeal which will provide £600,000 of winter aid to nine locations across the world including Afghanistan. Last year Afghanistan faced its harshest winter in over a decade, where temperatures can drop as low as minus 35 degrees. With snowfall already reported, those impacted by the earthquake and refugees who have left their settlements on the order of various governments, including Pakistan, will face a winter of uncertainty. Already millions of Afghans are experiencing high unemployment rates and skyrocketing prices unable to afford the basics of fuel or coal to protect them from the elements. Muslim Hands will be providing £50,000 worth of winter aid including blankets, winter clothing, food, and fuel.
Asif from Herat province in Afghanistan was impacted by the earthquake, he told our teams: ‘There were eleven people in my family, five of them were killed and six of them are still alive. I lost my two sons, my sister-in-law along with her children. We also lost our livestock and everything we owned is now buried under the rubble. Nothing is left. The weather here is cold its unbearable. The nights are particularly cold, and we urgently need shelter for the upcoming harsh winter months.’
Syed Lakhte Hassanain, Muslim Hands Founder and Chairman, said: ‘When the plight of the Bosnian people unraveled in 1993, the local Muslim community wanted to get involved and give. I witnessed this firsthand in Nottingham, where we were able to send a food convoy to Bosnia of all those that donated tins of food. To see Muslim Hands as a global charitable organisation, helping thousands of people in over 30 years is truly humbling. It has been built on the back of dedicated donors with an urge to help those in need and this remains true 30 years later.’
For more information please contact Senior Press Officer - Sahirah Javaidemail@example.com/07736344899