Helping Hand Raises Funds for Aligarh School in Sacramento
By Ras H. Siddiqui
The Helping Hand For Relief And Development (HHRD) organization held a fundraising Mushaira (Urdu poetry recital) at the Kabab Corner Restaurant in West Sacramento, California on Saturday, April 8, 2017.
The goal was to raise funds for Aligarh BachchonKaGhar (ABKG), a unique place for kids, one that is using a holistic approach towards making orphan children productive members of society in Aligarh, India. According to their website (http://www.abkg.co.in/index.html ) “Alhamdulillah "Aligarh BachchonKaGhar"is now progressing and providing 100+ orphan children, with total support and adoption, making available for them opportunities for their better education with Islamic orientation so as to save them from forced labor, illiteracy, begging and deprivation.”
Unfortunately this event was also competing against other large events the same night in northern California like the HDF Fundraiser in the Bay Area so it did not get the attendance that it deserved, but that did not curtail the enthusiasm of either the speakers or the audience. And although not related except in geographical proximity, Aligarh BachchonKaGhar is a reminder of another time when an entire community had been orphaned in India, and a man by the name of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan came to their educational rescue by laying the foundations of what is now Aligarh Muslim University. So no matter what else we can deduce, the fact is that education holds the key to a prosperous future for any community.
The program started fashionably late as local HHRD coordinator Junaid Ahmed explained how the organization worked as a project of ICNA, concentrating on helping those in need overseas, as opposed to ICNA Relief which helps those in need in America. A video of the work that HHRD is doing in other countries was also shown before Mozaffer Ali came to the stage and provided details on the working of Aligarh BachchonKaGhar, as someone who is close to the project. He said that the goal of this institution was to make orphans successful and be treated in a manner which does not resemble an orphanage. And the actual fundraising followed conducted by Mufti Samir who stated from the onset that he does not speak out in support of projects unless he himself believes in them.
Now to the Mushaira segment which was quite ably conducted by Naeem Syed who may not claim to be an Urdu poet himself but can deliver some very good lines of his own. To start on a side note, this writer was invited by Irfan Murtaza Sahib to the same but much larger event in Los Angeles held the night before but the distance proved to be too far.
Here in Sacramento, the first major poet to appear before us was none other Waseem Barelvi himself who added an unusual twist here by addressing the gathering via a skype connection. Barelvi Sahib had not been feeling well and could not attend in person. So that left the job of delivering live Urdu poetry to Zia Zafir (Sacramento), AhmarShehwaar (San Francisco) and Tahir Faraz (India), and they did a wonderful job of it.