The Africa Muslims Agency launched a WISH campaign where they help thousands of at-risk people globally, including in South Africa. The campaign, established before the holy month of Ramadan, is meant to foreground the hopes and dreams of impoverished communities.
According to an article on their website, the initiative aims to offer necessities to people in fragile circumstances. “While for some people wishes are elaborate hopes of a lavish life filled with opulence and luxury, for others, basic needs are all they need to be content.”
What Inspired the WISH Campaign?
The WISH campaign is active in multiple countries worldwide. AMA representative’s experiences and dialogue with the people in those areas, partly inspired it. AMA teams have assisted communities, refugee camps and remote villages with food and essential items.
They have assisted during the month of Ramadan, bought clothing for hundreds of children and their families and they have held Eid festivals for the communities.
AMA CEO Imraan Choonara recalled a vital incident which galvanised the campaign. His colleague, Qari Yaeesh Ally, met a seven-year-old girl at a remote refugee camp in Lebanon. The girl he met was frail and grimy. She was dressed in worn-out clothing, resembling royalty’s attire. Her only wish was “To be a princess”.
“This little girl, Batul, was the catalyst. Her little wish just expanded. Allah used her wish to bring attention to the entire camp. All these kids that don’t go to school, all of them needed support and help. And all of a sudden, they all benefitted.”
Because of this girl, Qari Yaeesh contacted Choonara and informed him of the condition of the camp and its people. Because of this girl, Choonara managed to get donors to fund the activities and provisions for the camp.
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How Did AMA Assist the Refugee Camp in Lebanon?
The refugee camp Choonara visited a day or two ago is occupied by Syrian and Palestinian refugees. The base is unmanaged, meaning no person, organisation, or NGO manages the area. He described it as unkempt and the people live in poor, unsanitary and appalling conditions.
However, Choonara said, as with any site, they look to provide the necessities first. Once that was established, he, along with the help of others, took the children and families to get new clothing.
He added that they are preparing to host an Eid festival and decorate the campsite with lights and ornaments. Moreover, they bought various toys and treats from which the children could choose.
“Beforehand [we] already bring lots of food into the camps. We bring decorations … We bring lights and put lights [up] … We’re bringing jumping castles and stuff for the children … Today, we have 800 children being brought from different camps to one main area. We’re going to have this massive Eid celebration.”
AMA’s initiatives are not a one-off occurrence. The organisation aims for sustainability and with its WISH campaign, AMA continues to bring hope to many impoverished communities worldwide. Choonara humbly requests anyone to visit their site and donate whatever they can. Because however little someone gives, it makes much difference in the lives of others.
Choonara said, “Parents [at these campsites] are so grateful to South African donors. To know that someone around that part of the world is benefiting their children and dignifying their Eid.”