Johannesburg – Al-Ihya Foundation started an initiative to alleviate poverty by promoting Islamic education and young girls’ social skills development. The Education Projects Literacy Program was formulated to provide young girls with an education that will benefit them and their communities.
Al-Ihya has been an active NPO in social development and sustainability for 23 years. According to its website, the organisation aims to “contribute to the eradication of poverty by educating the girl child, caring for orphans, supporting widows and the elderly and vulnerable groups in saving lives and building livelihoods and enhancing their resilience”.
The organisation has supported many humanitarian relief programs, food schemes, and social welfare projects near and far. According to Shakir Baker, an Operational Manager at Al-Ihya, education projects have always been an essential aspect of the organisation. This initiative is meant to revive and build on existing educational programs.
The Education and Literacy Program
Speaking to Salaamedia, Baker shared insight on the Education and Literacy Program by stating that it is meant to reshape the mindset and educate young girls with knowledge to help them become active participants in developing their communities.
Even though the program aims to educate young girls, Baker believes that the program is beneficial to all women of different ages.
“Not only girls but females in general because our programs expand into other aspects in which the females, mothers and sisters can benefit through the program.”
Baker states that the program has been structured to provide a full-time Alima program for girls, adult revert classes, Quran and Kitab literacy, and an educational course for orphan children.
Founding the Program
The organisation worries that young girls in low-income communities are not attending school, and in some areas, are being denied an education.
Apathy from the community members and the lack of education contribute to societal stagnation, which directly links to poverty. Therefore, in response to this unfortunate outcome, it was their duty and responsibility as an organisation to formulate an educational program that would provide knowledge to the youth and remove them from places that are detrimental to them.
“We believe that the literacy program and educational program particularly for the girl child is fundamentally important,” said Baker. “For us to respond and provide this particular program, where we can contribute… [as] we believe that basic education is not only our right but is [a] responsibility [of everyone]… to ensure that the children get this education”.
Currently, the program is being taught in various areas in and around Johannesburg. Some of those are in Soweto, Emfuleni, Sebokeng, Eldorado Park and Ennerdale, where most programs occur. But according to Baker, the organisation is expanding, allowing more participation from others who will benefit from the Initiative.