This week as Muslims around the world are observing Eid al Adha, it is a fitting time to reflect on how YES alumni celebrate Islamic holidays and give back to their communities. Here is a piece written by Amadu from Sierra Leone that details some of the work YES alumni in Sierra Leone did during the holy month of Ramadan.
By Amadu Kabia (YES 2010-2011, Sierra Leone, hosted by Ayusa in Harper, TX)
The holy month of Ramadan arrived and Muslims around the world were very enthusiastic in observing the blessed month, especially here in our country of Sierra Leone. Ramadan is a special month in the Islamic calendar that offers unique ways of tolerating and binding Muslims together. One of the many unique ways is increasing good deeds and charity.
Taking into considerations the blessings (Baraka) the month has to offer, members of the Sierra Leone YES Alumni Association organized a food drive event – the YES Ramadan Drive - in the form of Zakat (the obligatory charitable giving in Islam) to support deprived Muslim communities in Freetown. This event targeted four mosques locating in four different communities in Freetown. Sierra Leone YES alumni were able to buy halal food items at the local food shops and Islamic praying materials which were donated to the targeted mosques.
The event took place in June 8, 2018, a day which coincided the week when Muslims celebrated the ‘Holy Night of Power’ (Laylaytul Qdar). Alumni donated the following food items such as rice, onions, bouillon cubes and Islamic praying materials like prayer mats and ablution jugs. Thus the targeted mosques benefited in having not only food items but also praying items that will last longer in the mosques.
This event captured over 400 beneficiaries around four different communities in Freetown. The event turned out to be successful as the Islamic leaders in the mosques received the alumni group with honor and respect and they promised to utilize the donated items according to the set goals of the event. The alumni group met leaders of one of the mosques they visited were preparing to observe their “Holy Night of Power” on that very day. The prayer delivered by the Imam (Muslim leader) Sheik Abdulai Bangura upon receiving the donated items was as follows: “I will first start to thank you all and the sponsors to remember our masjid (mosque) by donating this prestigious items during this holy month of Ramadan. InshaAllah!, the items did arrive on the right time since we are preparing to observe our holy night of power. May Allah extend the blessing of Ramadan to you all, thank!”
Alumni also had the opportunity to introduce the YES Program and iEARN to the target mosques.