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A whistlestop worldwide tour of Charity Week 2019

What better way to showcase Charity Week 2019, than the very individuals that make CW! Join us on a whistle stop tour around the globe, with 6 people sharing their CW stories!

Canada

“Cowboys, truckloads of snow, mountains, and oil, these are probably the things that come to mind when you think about the Canadian province of Alberta. In this land of prairie and mountains, in the three major Universities of the province, if you visit at the end of October, you’ll feast your eyes upon a sight that most of you are probably used to. The sight of bright blue T-Shirts, cakes, and buckets, but more importantly the sight of Unity. Alberta is the province that contains the most Muslims in Canada after Ontario and is where Alhamdulillah, the Muslim community is very strong. Yet in this far-away land, you’ll be surprised by the familiarity of the stories that you hear, stories of community brought together through unity. In ‘Cowtown’, which is better known as Calgary, the University of Calgary MSA is the institution that has raised the most in all of Canada for the last four years! The MSA here does what everyone loves, by bringing in the campus community through food! Nearly every day during Charity Week, many people are lured into the trap of Samosa’s, Brownies, Cake, and Chips, and on Thursday is that wondrous day when you get the cheapest halal burgers in town! The MSA at Mount Royal University, led by some of the most dedicated Muslims I’ve seen, faithfully serves it’s small campus and has consistently been awarded as the best club by the Student Union! They too raise thousands of dollars during Charity Week by means of creative events, such as having an Art Show! Up in Edmonton, the capital city of Alberta, the Islamic Relief Chapter at the University of Alberta did a fundraiser in the most Canadian way possible; in the cold, selling none other than infamous Canadian Pastry, Beavertails! Beavertails are a long pastry, resembling the shape of a beaver tail, hence the name, covered in various toppings such as Chocolate! 

The multitude of events, months of planning, hard work and effort constitute a story, the story of Alberta. This is the story of the struggle to do good, the struggle to be effective, and the story of success fostered from Unity through Charity. This story isn’t any different from those in South Africa or the UK, Germany, Qatar, or the USA, and that’s exactly how it should be. Because we are all united, united in using our powers for the good of the Muslim world. Now it’s our job to make sure this story, is the story of unity in the Ummah, and create a longstanding legacy for the years to come.” 


– Siraaj Shah, Alberta Rep

Germany

“I participated in two events – cake day and sneak night – in Paderborn, Germany. Both were at the campus of the university of Paderborn. 
The start of the cake day was so chaotic. No one knew where the plates or the napkins for the cakes were. No tea because they didn’t have enough space for it. 
But after everything was in place it went super well! People came to talk and eat. They wanted to know who we are. 
I remember one brother. He came and said: how does it work? Do I just take one cake? I said that he has to donate an amount of his choice to charity and take what he wants. He forgot his wallet. Half an hour later he came back with all his money. He put everything in the bucket with a smile. 
He was so happy. Happy to give something. Something for the orphans and needy ones. 
Some of them even donated without taking a cake. 
And then the Sneak Night came. Same day. Plottwist: Last year we borrowed a Popcorn machine and fully relied on it but: a few hours before the start we noticed it didn’t work at all. This year: We had 2 popcorn machines. Everything went so well, Popcorn popping so fine and then… suddenly someone stumbled upon the cables and the 2 machines crashed down. There was oil and popcorn everywhere. A disaster. But: No theatre. We acted fast and got popcorn from a nearby supermarket. Not the fresh one but the night was saved. Alhamdulillah”

– Anita Dacic, NRW Vice-Rep

Qatar

“Anxiety, insomnia, butterflies in the stomach.. All the hardwork since the start of the year is finally going to be tested. The final phase… The last mile.
CHARITY WEEK!!! Did you think i was talking about exams 😅 well that’s how majority of the Qatar volunteers felt a day before. The first day I woke up to wishes and duas from brothers and sisters across the world. Charity Week Mubarak. MashAllah who would have thought that there could be another week which gave the same happiness as Eid.
We have 11 institutions participating in Qatar and I could hardly concentrate at work and I wanted to just take off and be part of these events. I couldn’t attend all but a few. The best part was in in one of the institutions when a volunteer didn’t realize I was part of the team and was doing a CW pitch to me. I wish I could pause that moment and that feeling and save it somewhere. A volunteer you don’t know talks about the same idea you believe in. SubhanAllah! This is what Unity looks like, just imagine if the 2 billion Muslims in the world met the way Charity Week Volunteers meet, same idea.. Same belief and working for towards the same cause.
Volunteers selling cookies, cakes, yumilicious cake pops, pizza, biryani, potato spirals (okay i should stop before i start drooling), these might be homemade or may even not be. They may have even bought it from a store and selling it. But you know what we are actually getting positivity, the happy vibe. Imagine early hours of work you walk in and a group of volunteers smile at you and serve you coffee and cakes. I could feel that vibe 3 miles away and wanted the world to feel it.
And on Thursday 24th October we had the Inter Uni Event, organized by the National Events Team and hosted by one the institutions. Can you imagine volunteers of 10 institutions in one arena, talking, laughing and setting up together. They might have had different booths but they definitely had the CW spirit. Smiles and laughter followed everywhere, proud parents who couldn’t believe their children were capable of this. Delighted attendees who hadn’t seen a more enthusiastic bunch before. It was a warm night and yet no one wanted to leave we started wrapping up. There was a noor, a bit of competitive spirit added on by The Best Booth Design Award. Games and Puzzles, Arts and quizzes, I know an institution which learned to make their mohito right then and there. What if inter uni didn’t happen? What makes it different from the rest of the week? I feel inter uni is the final touch for our volunteers, many of them being busy throughout the week with their events don’t actually get a chance to see what the other institutions are doing, and it is here they gain live inspiration from each other. The collection from today is not allocated to specific institutions collections but a general Qatar collection. And so when you see these bright and hard working students effort to fund raise, you truly can’t help notice the selfless act.
As my WhatsApp was flooded with images from around the world, to be very honest I couldn’t distinguish which ones were from Qatar or UK or Germany or USA or Canada. I really couldn’t differentiate and you know what that means when we come together for a single cause, any difference just disappears. Its just not there anymore. Even if it is, its so shallow that it doesn’t matter anymore.”

– Mehreen Alam, Qatar National Director

 

United Kingdom

“In the UK, no two Charity Weeks are ever the same. Every year it pushes boundaries with more gruelling new challenges, wacky fundraising ideas and truly mind boggling events!
Institutions across the UK never cease in coming up with new ways to #UniteOurPowers.

Alongside those buzzing banana auctions taking the country by storm (and making an international debut!), the one thing that truly sticks out is our institutions showing that neither age nor ability can stop you from Charity Week-ing. The only thing you need is the vision!

In the north of England, Purple Patch, a non-profit organisation for those with special needs, participated in CW for the first time ever this year! Excitedly, they spent a day baking and carefully decorating cakes to sell for their very own Charity Week stalls, embodying the vision we hold so dear!

A stone’s throw away from the Purple Patch, you’ll find Manchester Islamic High School for Girls. Who went above and beyond to put together their International Food Night – a truly fantastic event!  Met with rave reviews, it rivalled events held by some of the UK’s largest universities. Schools hold a special place in our heart and we have so much to learn from our youngest Charity Week-ers!

It’s institutions like these that exemplify what makes the UK so special. It’s far from the amount raised, but more the very people that unite their powers to raise it.”

– Aminah Abdelhamid, UK Gen Sec

United States

“This Thursday I was a part of an art auction that happened at City College and it was one of the most exciting events that I’ve ever been to. It started off with an amazing lecture by Imam Hasan Akbar who went over some of the lives of the Sahaba who went against their society’s norms to accomplish amazing feats. Soon after a warm salaam and talk from CW USA National Finance Rep, Kashaf Khatri, the auction began. Paintings were being sold for staggering prices, some of them for over $3000 USD. The night ended with an unbelievable $28,000 USD being raised, one of the proudest moments in our 4 years participating in CW. The environment was joyful and heartwarming, and it was definitely a night to remember.”

– Ahsanul Abeer, USA Gen Sec

South Africa

South Africa

“Charity week 2019 has come and gone for us here in South Africa. From dragon boat racing, to movie nights, and everything in between. Not forgetting old faithful, a CW bake sale, because let’s be honest, what would Charity Week be without a mandatory bake sale. From radio interviews to social media posts, it was heartwarming to see the Charity Week Unity take shape right before our eyes.

The week was jam packed with all sorts of fun events and activities. I personally attended a Marvel quiz night hosted by the University of Stellenbosch, and although the questions were quite grueling, we united our powers and had an amazing evening, that in all honesty felt more like a comedy show than a quiz night.

If I had to sum CW2019 up into one word, it would be nothing less than Marvel-ous. It’s safe to say that we’re all looking forward to more fun events and activities for CW2020, but in the meantime, we here in South Africa have our sights set on the 16th November when we’ll be having our Annual Dinner.”

– Yahya Ismail, SA Institutional Support Team

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