Posts tagged ‘Help’

Sibling Rivalry

Sibling Rivalry

By Mohammad Shakir

Let me give you an analogy: you have a younger sibling. They are leaning to walk and talk, play and read – but they are quite there yet as they are continually learning. As an older sibling you are there supporting and helping them along to learn tho

se life skills that you as an older child or adult take for granted.

Now, let’s apply this to the charity sector. Over 5,600 charities registered with the Charity Commission during 2011-2012. These new charities or “new siblings” are often founded by people who have great ideas, vision and drive; but lack the experience and knowledge it takes to run charity transparently, accountably and successfully.

If we look at the goals and missions of charities in general, you will find words such as improve, promote, alleviate and help – all words which connote building something positive. Much like our siblings, we would want to support these “newborn” charities achieve the best that they can through offering advice, sharing our own experiences and wisdom. The support we give may even be more physical in nature such as attending their conferences or supporting them in meetings much like you may attend a siblings’ football match or graduation.

There is a place for experienced organisations to help those that are smaller and don’t have the knowledge or expertise to lay solid foundations and not make mistakes on the way.

There is always time for sibling rivalry when you grow up!

January 15, 2013 at 4:12 pm Leave a comment

What does it mean to be a trustee?

By Mohammad Shakir

Trustee Week 2011 ended last Friday. The purpose was to highlight the role of trustees within charity sector and what it means to be a trustee and encourage more people to be a trustee.

A trustee is essentially a member of a Trust which runs a charity. It is a voluntary position where a person devotes their time and expertise in ensuring that a charity runs transparently, smoothly and with accountability. It is a position of responsibility within a charity as you are accountable for the donations that are given by the members of the public.

A trustee is entrusted with all those responsibilities. But that shouldn’t put you off. It can be an enriching experience where you get the opportunity to use skills that you may not use in your working life or at home.

The other aspect of a trusteeship is that almost anyone can become a trustee, subject to interview and background checks.

Some people are disqualified by law from acting as trustees, including anyone described in section 72(1) of the Charities Act 1993. This includes:

  • Anyone who has an unspent conviction for an offence involving deception or dishonesty;
  • Anyone who is an undischarged bankrupt;
  • Anyone who has been removed from trusteeship of a charity by the Court or the Commissioners for misconduct or mismanagement; and
  • Anyone under a disqualification order under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986.

At the end of the day holding a trusteeship of a charity is a two way street. A charity gains the benefits of your expertise and you can have a rewarding experience helping a charity and learning something new.

You don’t have to start your own charity to become a trustee; you can join an existing charity that is working in a field that you have an interest. The options are almost limitless. Give it a try, you may enjoy it.

November 8, 2011 at 10:41 am Leave a comment

Not only in our dreams Part 1

Patience is a virtue, only few can master.

Delivered by Dr. Hany El Banna, Chairman of Zakat House, at the world Economic Forum Annual Meetingin 2005 Davos, Switzerland,

This world has one destiny and resource. That means we have to believe in the
destiny of our brothers and sisters in China and share with them in that destiny.
So, we respond with happiness and joy if that destiny is good, and by help and
relief if that destiny is bad. A world where people in one part would feel the
pain of people in the other part; where the satiated people of the North would
feed the hungry of the South; and when people of the North go astray, the
people of the middle would guide them. When the individual anywhere becomes
needy, people from all over the world would extend their hands to help him; if
a stranger dies people would feel sad for him and children ask” Has he died out
of hunger, need or illness, while we were idling away in luxury?” If the answer is
yes, all would feel guilty.

Such is the reality imposed by the divine destiny. In some places you may find
a green rich land, whereas in others you may find a wasteland. Some people are
famous for education, some others for business, and so on and so forth, in this
world that is full of its joy and sorrow.

So, this way of life would achieve the principle of integration, and a world
which does not believe in futuristic strategies, which delays funds and efforts,
while millions of people are dying and suffering from deprivation. Nor do
they believe in inflation of bank accounts, or storing millions of tons of food
items to keep their price value, or other strategies that aim to normalise disaster,

death, illness and ignoring others’ suffering. A reality that does not believe in
monopolization of view, thought, money, human or natural resources, but
a reality that would activate all of the aforementioned, to please humanity.
A reality that does not believe in secrecy or fear of promoting new inventions,
instead shares them with other people. A reality that does not believe in
singularity, but promotes consultation and democracy.

A reality, that does not have a master and a slave, or a noble and serf, but one where all people are as equal as the teeth of a comb.

June 21, 2011 at 11:37 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

In the name of the poor and needy…

By Mohammad Shakir

Zakat House work for the poor, whoever they are, wherever they are. There is a culture amongst Muslims to donate their money to projects abroad, mainly in developing countries. We sometimes forget that there are people living in countries such as the UK that are as much in need of your donation and support.

The past few months has seen countries such as Japan, New Zealand, USA and Spain affected by natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes. These disasters have left many dead and many more homeless and have lost their lives. Are they less important than people living in developing countries?

In England, there are currently just over 97,000 people who are homeless and 1.6 million children live in poverty requiring support and help. For us as an organisation, this is taking place directly on our doorstep.

Donating or supporting doesn’t mean just opening your wallet or purse; you can donate your time, send messages of support to people affected by a disaster engaging other to raise awareness of different people’s plight.

We need to look at the bigger picture and see who is suffering all around us as well as those abroad. They are as in need of our help, support, and compassion which can lead to them rebuilding their lives or starting new ones.

May 13, 2011 at 2:16 pm Leave a comment

The Joseph Formula part 2

By Dr. Hany El-Banna

Last week we told you the story of Prophet Joseph and his rise to become the Minister of Finance and Development in Egypt. This came after interpreting the king’s dreams and prophesising seven years of good harvest followed by seven years of drought and famine. Part of his responsibilities was to navigate Egypt through the drought and famine.

We will be looking at this through four key principles: leadership qualities, storing of agricultural stock & proper planning, relief distribution of food rations and the revitalisation of the local & regional market economy.

Leadership Qualities

During the first seven years, Prophet Joseph, the King and his soldiers never consumed full rations. Joseph took to eating only one full meal per day in order to save more food for other people. People from nearby countries affected by droughts learned of his wisdom and sense of justice.

They came to beg food from Egypt, which was considered at that time to be their global market for food supply and fair trade. Egypt benefited financially from Prophet Joseph’s fairness, justice and honesty.

Storing of agricultural stock & proper planning

Egypt would not have been able to have go through this period without a sound plan. Crops such as wheat, barley and rice were the main crops in the region. An important point which is raised in the Qur’an is that “for seven consecutive years, you shall sow as usual and that (the harvest) which you reap you shall leave in its ears, (all) except a little of it which you may eat” (12:47). The reason to keep the crops in their ears was two-fold, protecting the seeds from being eaten by insects and protecting the seeds from damp and other weather conditions.

The crops were also split into two categories: crops to be consumed during the prosperous years and crops to be stored. The crops that were store were further split into another two categories:

  • Those which might be needed by the people because of drought and famine.
  • Needed for future plantation. These crops would be left untouched even during the famine, because this was considered the life line of the generations to come.

Relief distribution of food rations

The famine didn’t only affect Egypt other surrounding areas, what we now know as Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel, & Palestine, came to Egypt upon hearing of their fair and just minister for finance and development to seek help and trading opportunities.

Prophet Joseph gave all an equal measure of rations – one camel’s load worth – and prevented profiteers from making money out of this disaster and buying more than their fair share.

Revitalisation of the local & regional market economy

While people came from afar to seek food and help from Egypt, Prophet Joseph wasn’t giving the food away for free. It was given in exchange for other goods, such as animal skins, wool, woven materials, desert seeds and crops as well as what money they had.

These commodities enriched the Egyptian local market and revitalised its economy because such goods were recycled and sold again.

The outcome of this process was:

a.       Creating more low skilled jobs

b.       Revitalising and energising public initiatives

c.        Improving the quality of the imported materials before being exported again

d.       Encouraging the small scale businesses to grow locally and regionally.

e.       Opening new local markets and industries

f.        Having fair and just trade between Egypt (the centre of global economy) and the poor countries (famine stricken states)

From this formula it can be demonstrated that Prophet Joseph PBUH was a public leader and role model. He was an advanced economist expert and social planner, an idealist with long term realistic development programs. He was blessed with foresight and skills as a financial organiser & controller of local and regional markets as well as a quality controller of import and export. He was an adept at motivating individuals and adopting their pioneering initiatives. He revitalised local and regional trade markets as well as stabilised the principle of absolute justice and fair trade for all.

He was a human being who loved humanity and followed the heavenly directions to save it. He was a humble grassroots worker who became the minister of finance and development in the cabinet of the centre of the global economy and, ultimately he had the pulse of the people and put into practice the vision of the leaders which transformed an entire nation and region.

April 19, 2011 at 1:39 pm Leave a comment

Budgeting for success – part 2

So the 2011 spring budget has come and gone. Let’s have a look at how the budget affects the charity sector.

The budget has been kind to charities with changes helping organisations in many different ways.

Gift Aid

This was one of the main positives for all organisations across the sector. Charities will no longer have to get written confirmation of every UK resident’s identity in order to claim tax back on smaller donations of up to a total of £5,000. This will make it more comfortable to give gift aid on smaller amounts.

Inheritance Tax

Taxpayers have been given an incentive to leave a legacy in their will. If a taxpayer leaves 10% of their estate to charity their Inheritance Tax rate will be reduced by 10%. This could benefit both donors and charities.

Other items that came up in the budget include abolished tax reliefs, possible VAT exemption for charities and the retention of the community investment tax relief.

What are your thoughts? Let us know below.

March 28, 2011 at 4:10 pm Leave a comment

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