By Raziqueh Hussain
Special to Caravan
This Eid when the majority of us were celebrating in new clothes at fancy restaurants with our friends and families, a few others were out there making it really festive for the lesser privileged
Little Ali’s neighbour in Karachi had brought home three small goats a week before Eid-al Adha. Ali being an orphan sat quietly outside his small house with a hopeless expression knowing fully well that this year too, no father would get him a goat.
Understanding the plight of children such as Ali, Shaheed Foundation Pakistan organizes a ‘Bakra Mandi for Children’ whose fathers have been killed in the sectarian violence every year.
As Ali walks happily with volunteer Abbas of the Foundation to the camp; there is glee on his face. He roams around the camp and after much thought selects a white and black goat with plaintive brown eyes that greets him with a friendly ‘baa’. He is delighted to receive this gift and takes it back home with him.
“We have organized several such ‘mandis’ (markets) across Pakistan,” says Abbas. “First, our children become aware of their religious duty on Eid. They learn the philosophy of sacrifice and most importantly it averts any sense of deprivation they feel while seeing other children, visiting with fathers to get a sacrificial animal,” he adds. This year each goat cost Pakistani Rs 15,000, coming from donations.
What is most important, says Abbas, is the joy on the faces of these orphans, as he points to Ali who is nuzzling his lamb and other kids who are all smiles on getting their own such gifts this Eid.
At the reception area of Amman Academy, a private school in the western suburb of Khalda in Amman, a charity campaign board has several cards which explain each orphan’s (from Dar Al Iman’s Orphanage) wish for Eid. The campaign was a huge success, says Amani Hajir, the co-ordinator.
“Orphans and impoverished children in Amman have told us what they would like to get for Eid. Some have wished for a new outfit and others for a brand new toy. It is our responsibility to make their dreams come true!” she says, adding, “Thanks to the wonderful generosity shown by our parents and students, we were able to make each and every orphan’s wish come true by distributing the gifts at an event held at school.”
For many years, Fatima’s aunt in Bangalore, India wished that on the day of Eid she were able to cook and feed children in an orphanage. It seems that this year, her dream is about to come true. She contacted one of the local orphanages in Yeshwantpur and asked them if she could start the project she had in mind.
She got a number of people to assist her, collected funds to purchase ingredients and hired huge pots, called ‘deghs’, to prepare biryani. “As young Muslims, we will never come close to making a sacrifice as colossal as that which was made by Prophets Ibrahim and Ismail. However, we can try and do something special on the day of Eid, something that would earn the pleasure of Almighty Allah, and also make a difference in the lives of those who are less fortunate than us,” says Fatima,a college student.
Also a baker from Fraser Town in Bangalore, Fouzia had an idea while throwing an Eid party. “In honour of the animal that was sacrificed instead of Prophet Ismail, we made some lamb pops, which are lollipops in the shape of lambs! We bake these yummy and healthy cookies as well as chocolate covered marshmallows, and distribute it to the slum kids close to the railway crossing. It was a different Eid party this time as those poor kids were thrilled to eat our pops,” she adds.
At Govandi slums in Mumbai, Sarwar Zaidi had organised an Eid dinner, which the youth attended. It turned out to be a fun event, which was both spiritually uplifting and informative. “We invitedchildren from here (religion no bar) and prepared gift bags for them to take back with them. It gave them something to look forward to and a gift would most certainly bring them some happiness on the day of Eid,” he quips.
Not everyone has the funds for large projects, but another good idea was to distribute sweets to an orphanage, says his friend Hyder. “Most of us know that we will be spending the special day of Eid with our family and friends. However, those who live at orphanages will spend their day very differently to ours.”
In New Delhi’s historical Jama Masjidwhere thousands thronged to pray, Mohammed Younus, who visits it only once a year has come up with a concept, ‘Adopt a Family’ after seeing many homeless people sleeping on pavements.
This would be a charity drive on a lesser scale. He has made each friend of his identify one needy family and raise funds for that family, which would then be given to the family they have chosen. “I saw many people sleep hungry on the pavement and thought—‘why not do something for them this Eid.’ I think we should make it a goal for the following Eid as well, Insha Allah,” he says.
One small step by these individuals is a great example to show that every Qurbani reaches around the world to tens of thousands of people who have nothing and no one else to turn to for help.
*Raziqueh Hussain is a Sweden-based journalist who has worked for years with The Asian Age (India) and Khaleej Times, Dubai