By Nouman Khalil
MISSISSAUGA – As the fasting month commenced today (Thursday, June 18), ICNA Relief Canada is appealing people to generously donate during Ramadan to reduce human sufferings across the world.
ICNA Relief Canada, a not-for-profit national charity run by ICNA (Islamic Council of North America) Canada, is hoping to raise about $7 million during Ramadan. The funds will go towards supporting numerous humanitarian projects in and outside Canada.
“Ramadan is our most busy month of the year,” said ICNA Relief Canada executive director Shaukat Hussain. “In 2014, we collected $5.2 million and this year we’re hoping to achieve our annual goal of about $7 million across Canada.”
Headquartered in Mississauga, the ICNA Relief runs a list of charitable projects in Canada such as emergency assistance, family counseling, food bank, fostering parenting, funeral support, matrimonial services, seniors support as well as programs in youth leadership development.
In addition, it also manages disaster relief, educational assistance, global zabiha (halal meat), healthcare, micro financing, sponsorship projects for orphans, and schemes like providing water and empowering women in other parts of the world.
“Our community has always been very kind and generous. Take the example of Nepal earthquake,” said Hussain. “We were able to execute our relief work within four days. Everyone contributed and we were able to generate about $150,000. We have already spent $69,000 and rest of the money is going towards rehabilitation project such as houses, schools or hospitals.”
The charity is asking people to support its current three projects – Maryam Home, Orphan Sponsorship Program and fundraising for the people of Syria, Burma, Palestine, Nepal and Yemen – on priority basis.
Maryam Home, ICNA relief’s first Muslim women shelter (just the second in all of Ontario), is expected to open doors in Mississauga sometime this year.
Hussain said the building has already been purchased in Mississauga, but presently ICNA Relief requires $1 million to pay for the property and to renovate and furnish it.
The second project of the season is fundraising for the people of Syria, Burma, Palestine, Nepal and Yemen.
To collect donations, a fundraising dinner has been arranged for Friday, July 3, at Maple Banquet Hall (1325 Eglinton Ave. E) in Mississauga.
Similar fundraisers are also planned for Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Thorncliffe, Milton (July 11) and Montreal.
The charity also provides an opportunity for people to sponsor an orphan in a place of their choice. Sponsoring a child costs $1 a day or $30 a month in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Kashmir, Pakistan, Sierra Leone and Sri Lanka; $45 per month in Kenya and Somalia and $60 Indonesia, Iraq, Palestine and Syria.
For donations and more information, visit www.icnareliefcanada.ca. To purchase fundraising dinner tickets, visit www.icnareliefcanada.ca/fundraising-dinner.
By Nouman Khalil