One Week, One Cause, All The Difference

By Ahmed Asif

An annual charity event which witnesses university students uniting together to raise funds for needy children and orphans throughout the globe is due to kick off within the next couple of weeks in the UK.

This event allows Islamic Societies in universities up and down the Britain to work together for one week by organising various events and fundraisers in order to raise money for orphans and needy children in various troubled regions throughout the world. The UK wide event is backed by Islamic Relief, a world renown charity which has undertaken crucial charity projects in countries such as Iraq, Palestine, Kenya and Chechnya and which also respond swiftly to any humanitarian or natural disasters which occur.

Ahmed Shaikh, head of Charity Week in Scotland stated that “Charity Week is a week dedicated to raising funds and awareness for needy orphans around the world. It started a few years ago in London by an Islamic Society, the project is designed to get societies to get together and work together and since then it has spread throughout the UK and even internationally. Scotland took part for the very first time last year and hopefully for many years to come”.

Charity Week has been a hit throughout the universities in the UK and has been highly successful, previous years have seen funds being raised in it’s hundreds of thousands. Students have taken time out of their hectic timetables and exam revision period to raise money for those who are less fortunate. Shaikh mentioned “Charity Week is growing exponentially, at first we raised a few thousand then £30,000 then £120,000 and then £200,000. Last year in Scotland alone we raised £50,000”.

However Charity Week is not exclusively open to Islamic Societies and students who follow the Islamic faith, Shaikh stressed that “Charity Week is open to anyone and everyone, it’s open to people of all faiths and people of no faith”,  he continued “Last year we organised an inter faith dialogue and the topic was charity as a duty for all mankind. We invited a priest, a rabbi and a sheikh and the aim was to highlight the common ground we share”.

When asked where the money raised from previous Charity Week fundraisers had been spent Shaikh replied “Our previous funds have been spent on a wide range of projects we have previously sponsored 100 orphans in Gaza for 3 years, we have refurbished an orphanage in Chechnya, we sponsored 100 orphans in Pakistan after the earthquake and we donated money for equipment to an orphanage in Kenya for handicapped children”, he continued “last year’s money was spent on building a vocational training centre for orphans in Niger. It’s a centre where orphans are given essential skills such as carpentry and sewing in order to equip them for the future”.

Charity Week helper. Picture courtesy of UCLU Islamic Society
Charity Week helper. Picture courtesy of UCLU Islamic Society

Charity Week is due to begin within the next couple of days and events have already been well publicised in universities campuses. A sponsored cycle around Millport, a sky dive, a girls night out and a football tournament are just a few of the proposed events.

Brave students have also volunteered to brace the harsh Scottish weather in order to bucket in Glasgow and Edinburgh city centre’s. Asked about the feedback from the public Shaikh stated “the response from the general public has been very good and the majority of people are happy to give money, you get the odd eyebrow being raised when the see the Islamic Relief logo on the back of the t-shirts, however, the council and police have all been very cooperative and helpful”.

Edinburgh Council were not available for comment.