"Back-2School-GiveAway” - A Laudable Charity Project
By Tahir Ali

Massachusetts:  The color ‘yellow’ is also linked with ‘cowardice’ but Waqar Haider, Muhammad Adam, Muhammad Jamali, Mahmood El-Rifai, Haris Waqar and Muhammad Ahmed and many other volunteers all wearing yellow shirts give another meaning to the color yellow - ’charity’.

Several children were gathered at the Worcester Islamic Center. The event was a follow-up of the ongoing ICNA relief project called “Back 2 School giveaway.”

School supplies that are essential part of going back to school in September for every child can be very costly for those families that have a difficult time in keeping up with the economy. To those families who daily face the decision of either putting food on the table or buy school supplies for their children - have the obvious choice: bread over school supplies. It is with this thought in mind that ICNA Relief came up with this project.

According to ICNA, this project is about giving, empowering children and families across America and promoting the importance of education. Let there be no child without the tools for a good education.

According to Waqar Haider, the Vice President of ICNA’s Massachusetts Chapter, “ICNA has been doing these type of events for the past five years. 2009 is when the idea tipped for ICNA, where our NY Chapter held a Back-2-School giveaway event for the first time. At the event they witnessed some great experiences, including an enormous crowd of attendees, a great participation from volunteers, and a very meaningful and much needed cause. Unfortunately, at the event there weren't enough school bags for all the children and families present.”

In 2011, ICNA Relief and ICNA decided to make this a national project - and with that in mind Waqar Haider and his team of volunteers in yellow shirts decided to adopt the challenging but rewarding charity drive. They resolved to do their part in providing the essential school supplies to children of needy families, regardless of their race, religion or affiliation in Massachusetts.

Shamil Mohammad, the President of Worcester Islamic Center praising the efforts of the team in yellow shirts affirmed: “Giving charity and being a good neighbor and a good citizen is an integral and an essential part of our faith.”

Waqar and his volunteers distributed school supplies in many churches before getting together to continue the giveaway at the Worcester Islamic Center. Dr. Khalid Sadozai, the president of ISGW and this scribe were especially invited to participate in the inauguration. Dr. Sadozai is seen in the photos giving away the school supplies to the children. Similarly the ladies were busy handing out the supplies to the young girls.

This act of charity has been recognized in various parts of the United States of America. ABC Anaheim reported, “Muslims in the month of Ramadan are called upon to give charity to those who need it.” This will be now an “Annual event.”

Similarly the Christian Science Monitor covered the New York area: Christian Science Monitor features Coney Island give away.

According to Waqar, “In Massachusetts alone over 100 bags have been distributed whereas statewide ICNA Relief has distributed over 5000 bags this year. The plan in the future is to reach out to more deserving people and distribute more than 10,000 bags.”

Waqar thanked Mohammad Afzal, the Chapter President, his team members and all volunteers and made an appeal to the Muslim community to step forward and donate to ICNA Relief in their effort to help Muslims and non-Muslims in the neighborhood.

This back2 school giveaway project puts a big smile on the child’s face and a sign of relief on their families face who no longer have to make a decision whether to empower their child with the right tools of education or put bread on the table.

Photos coutesy Harris Waqar .

Tahir Ali is the author of “Muslim Vote Counts” published in 2004 by Wyndham Hall.



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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