Posts filed under ‘Philanthropy’

Everlasting Philanthropy

By Mohammad Shakir

We know the ways that we can all support different charities. Donations are the most common way, as money can help a charity support their projects in a variety of different ways. But in times of austerity there are other ways you can support a charity. Time!

Time is one thing that is in my opinion much more precious than money. Once it’s gone, it’s gone – you can’t get it back. It is such a rare commodity that I am compelled to quote a line from a famous epic film:

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

The truth of the sentiment can be found in most faiths but is also pertinent to those without faith. Our time in this life is limited. Depending on your belief – there may be a life after this or not. But surely we owe it to ourselves to ensure that make the most of the time that we have. Giving your time to a cause that you believe can be fulfilling and worthy.

Sometimes events happen in our lives which make us have an introspective look at the way we spend our time. Whether you are working or playing, spend your time wisely so that you don’t regret the way you are spending it.

May 22, 2012 at 4:09 pm Leave a comment

Jobs, Hope and Cash

By Mohammad Shakir

I came across this quote late last week:

“10 years ago we had Steve Jobs, Bob Hope and Johnny Cash. Now we have no jobs, no hope, and no cash.”

The above maybe describe the stark reality of the world surrounding us today – or be a eulogy to three people who bought joy to millions through technology, entertainment and music. What do you think?

Since the economic downturn in 2008 we have seen businesses fold, homes repossessed and charities shut down. Lives and families have been shattered some have taken their lives to escape the current economic climate.

While the government has been working shore up business and home ownership levels – charities have been left with cuts to funding to projects and services that they deliver. This recent report from the NCVO highlights the current state that the charity sector is in. Recent months has seen a major decline in the numbers in the voluntary sector workforce which can have a negative effect in the long term.

In the era of the Big Society – we need to encourage the government to invest in the charity sector or much like the Big Society, it will be become history.

October 11, 2011 at 1:41 pm Leave a comment

The Million Pound Drop

By Mohammad Shakir

We have seen different aid agencies, under the umbrella of the DEC, begin a fundraising campaign to help those in East Africa affected by the drought. At the last count, around £8 million has been raised.

With Ramadan coming up soon, there are a couple of lessons we should take out time over and reflect upon.

Ramadan is a time of personal and family reflection on how our lives and those who aren’t waiting for new movie about a boy wizard to come out or next product from a certain fruit based company. They are worrying about whether they will eat today or how will they receive medical attention for something simply easily treatable like glaucoma.

Yes, we can help those affected by the drought through donating, and that is highly commendable, but there are other ways we can benefit ourselves. The power of someone praying and thanking God for His generosity and help is beyond belief.

We can demonstrate true compassion and gratefulness for the blessing that have been bestowed upon us by making changes in our lives. We can become a bit humble and treat others as we wish to be treated, regardless of race, creed or colour.

Happiness is more than just our material possessions. Ensuring that our children grow up to be well mannered and responsible can make us happy. Do your duty as a being on this earth and looking after it can make us all happy.

We should be grateful about the situation that we are in and remember that there are many people who are not as lucky as we are. Alongside donating money, we should we should look within ourselves and improve them as well.

18 days to go…. Are you ready!

July 13, 2011 at 3:42 pm Leave a comment

The People of the Drought

It is hard to escape the current furore about phone hacking on the front pages of the newspapers today. If you delve a little deeper, you will find another story, not about privacy but about life or death.

The drought in East Africa has been inversely affecting millions of people in the Horn of Africa over the past eight months. So far it has left 9 million people in dire need of humanitarian assistance. According to the UNICEF, 2 million of those are children. Many have fled to refugee camps in Kenya which are already full.

Due to the weather and geography in the region, this is not the first time the region has suffered from drought. We have seen Ethiopia suffer from droughts in the 1980s, which resulted in the Live Aid concert in 1985 (God bless you Bob!).

There needs to a change in the landscape, literally, to alleviate the region from of the drought. Creating and improving drip irrigation systems which will help in maintaining crops with smaller amounts of water will stave off starvation and famine.  in a sophisticated language this is called social entrepreneurship in action.

We must not allow people to be left in a situation where drought will affect them again in 20 years. We have no excuse since we are independent, healthy and able. We have to act now to ensure that another generation of people in this area of the world can live full lives free from the threat of dry, arid land.We must not just react, we must  take  positive action.

July 7, 2011 at 4:22 pm Leave a comment

Social Business Day

By Mohammad Shakir

Today, 28th June 2011 marks the second Social Business Day. Created by Muhammad Yunus and his organsiation, The Yunus Centre, it is a day where the world can come together and learn about the latest innovations about social business and celebrate what has already taken place in the field.

The theme for this year is “Achieving the Millennium Development Goals through Social Business” The Millennium Development Goals are as follows:

Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education

Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women

Goal 4: Reduce child mortality rates

Goal 5: Improve maternal health

Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases

Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability

Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development

Now  I get the feeling that you are wondering, how can a social business achieve those even one of the above goals? Here is an example:

The Iko Toilets in Kenya are changing communities in Nairobi by offering something more than just a simple public toilet. The toilets are offering jobs for cleaners, a confectionery store and a shoe shine spot where people can get their shoes polished. It is the type of social business that can most definitely work to achieve Goal 1 by creating jobs through which people can feed themselves and Goal 7  because there would be a safe place for people to use the bathroom with a proper sewage system ensuring that the local environment is used for crops rather than waste. Discussions to expand the IKO network to neighbouring villages and cities thus achieving Goal 8. You see where we are coming from?

Social businesses have the potential to make a positive impact on a persons’ life. No matter how small or big it can create change that will last.

The questions is respected reader are you a spectator or part of the solution towards the goal, if you have  an interesting idea that will help someones life. Let us know on

June 28, 2011 at 2:29 pm Leave a comment

Zakat Hosue at FOSIS Annual Conference

By Abubaker Adam

I spent most of my weekend at FOSIS’s 48th Annual Conference which was held in Cardiff. The journey – by train – was picturesque as I reflected on the presentation that I would be giving that afternoon. Zakat House had been invited to present at one of the fringe sessions on social entrepreneurship.

The presentation covered social entrepreneurship and Islamic examples of social enterprises. Many inventions or discoveries from the Arab world have gone on change the world such as soap or medical treatments for kidney stones or the use of silk thread to sew wounds. I also showed a video about Muhammad Yunus’s micro financing project Grameen Bank which provided banking services to the poor.

The session was very well attended and I received feedback from all the participants on everything from wanting to know more about Zakat House and how to get involved, to wanting more information about social enterprises and how can more students get involved.

Overall I enjoyed presenting Zakat House and the concept of social entrepreneurship to students, a group that I may not usually get a chance to interact with. I would like to thank FOSIS for inviting me to present at the conference and look forward seeing many students come up with innovative ideas which can help humanity in the future.

June 20, 2011 at 11:41 am Leave a comment

The Social Apprentice – Beauty on another level

By Mohammad Shakir

Previously on The Social Apprentice

So the cosmetic industry is big business. Both men and women around the world spend large amounts of money on products which make them look younger or smell better. There is nothing particularly wrong with that. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) encouraged us to perfume ourselves before we went to the mosque, so that we can smell nice amongst others while we are praying.

How about we look at the bigger picture? There is much beauty around us – architecture, nature and wildlife, to name a few. Our communities are also a source of much beauty where we can find people working together to make it a better place for everyone.

This is at the heart of what Zakat House wants to achieve. There are people in different parts of the world that are suffering, but we have to make sure that we don’t ignore those people and communities that are on our doorsteps.

There is much beauty to be found in people from different backgrounds coming together. Additionally, imagine if someone invents or adapts a product or service which can improve a community or help the impoverished in a country abroad.

Achieving beauty comes in many forms. It is up to you to choose in which way to achieve it.

May 31, 2011 at 2:14 pm Leave a comment

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