On 26th July 2005, an unprecedented 944 mm rain fell on Mumbai.
In a very short time over half the city was under water. Over one thousand
human beings officially died in the floods during a twelve hour period.
Such was the fury of the rains that almost all city systems broke down.
Large areas were without electricity for weeks. Millions of people were
stranded in their offices, in trains, in buses and on the roads. The
floods affected everyone, but the worst sufferers were the over six
million poor and destitute who inhabit the slums of Mumbai. Unknown rivers
overran their banks and inundated all the ground floor huts and houses. In
some areas the filthy water exceeding ten to twelve feet collected in the
houses. This was a tragedy of epic proportions. The State was by and large
conspicuous by its absence.
Relief by Rahat.
It was left to organizations and NGOs like Rahat Welfare Trust to
organise immediate relief. Working with the Controller of Rationing,
Mumbai, we carried out a house-to-house survey of over 3300 houses
for free distribution of 20 kgs of foodgrains and 10 litres of kerosene,
in Bharat Nagar, a slum locality in Bandra East, in North Mumbai. Going
deep into the basti, from where Rahat actually works from a
school, we encountered mind-numbing poverty, desperation, despair and
hopelessness. When we offered 20 kgs of rice to an old man, all bones and
skeleton, he started weeping. It does not befit us to say it, but the
areas worst affected by the floods were, what the media calls, the Muslim
majority areas. It is well documented that the Muslim community in India
is at the bottom of the heap by all social indicators. During an
interaction with the youth, someone mentioned that the community must now
find a new direction.
Direction. After the deluge,
addressing the students of Shaheen Urdu High School, located in Bharat
Nagar, on 5th September, Teacher’s Day, we said, that the
only direction in which the Muslim community can go, is the direction
which leads them to education, to schools, to colleges and to knowledge.
To a better standard of living, away from the filth and the dirt and the
hovels of slums like Bharat Nagar. But simply acquiring education will not
be enough; what the community needs is the reaffirmation of the Islamic
values. The Muslim youth properly educated and tempered with the Islamic
character can become so confident that they could find water while
breaking stones. An at some time in the near future, in an age of
enlightenment, the name Abdullah or Sakina must
become synonymous with scholarship and learning; with reliability and
trustworthiness; with honesty and integrity; with forgiveness and
compassion; with piety and righteousness; and with forbearance and
fortitude. Inshallah, all else will follow. This is the direction which
will take us from despair to hope. But for this to happen we need to
launch a mass-movement in which tens of thousands will have to be
involved. Thousands of organizations, trusts, societies and NGOs will have
to be established to achieve this task. We will have to focus on a single-point
agenda: To impart education of the highest standards to our children,
particularly the poor, the needy and the orphan child.
Rahat Welfare Trust, a registered Trust based in Mumbai is one such
organization working in Mumbai primarily to promote the welfare of Muslim
women and children, particularly that of widows and orphans. In September 2005,
Rahat has over 2600 applications from such needy and
deserving families. Rahat is helping 250 students an ongoing
basis under its Total Educational Support Scheme (TESS), under
which a child once sponsored receives almost everything required to go to
school. School, bus, computer fees, uniforms, books, shoes, socks, bags,
raincoats, stationery – almost everything is provided by Rahat. Rahat
provides total support to the family to ensure that the child goes to the
school properly. Educating these children is now Rahat’s
responsibility. Rahat also gives a small monthly allowance for food
and ration to several families. Rahat provides nearly four
hundred uniforms to poor students, going mainly to Municipal schools
at the beginning of every academic year. Rahat continues its
support to the poor and the orphan students of Shaheen Urdu High school,
from where it works, and Al Kausar High School, both local initiatives and
both located in densely populated slums of Mumbai. And now after thirteen
years of work at the grassroots, in the slums and the chawls, scores of Rahat
scholars are now self-reliant earning a decent livelihood, supporting
their families and volunteering to help others. These are the role models
who have shown that a better world is possible. These are the shining
stars who have enriched our efforts and have given a meaning to our work.
Collection. Rahat activities are
funded mainly through the Zakat collection in Ramzan every
year. And Rahat does need funds on a consistent and larger level if
it is to change into a movement. We therefore request you to send Rahat
a part of your Zakat this Ramzan. (Donations are also welcome). No
amount is too small not to be of help. Please ask at least two other
persons to do the same. Zakat/Donations may be sent by a payee’s
account cheque/draft in favour of Rahat Welfare Trust to our
registered office address at 6, Fatima Manor, St. Monica Road, Bandra
(West), Mumbai 400050. Donors in Mumbai may contact us on phone 26552256
or on mobile 98923 09785, we will collect the Zakat from
their home, office or shop. Donations of Zakat to Rahat are
eligible for deductions as per rules under Section 80G of the
Income Tax Act, 1961.
Overseas donors: Foreign
donors can send us cheques, banker’s check, drafts etc payable to
“Rahat Welfare Trust (A/c 1015)” by post in their country’s currency
($, £, Euro etc). Foreign donors can also transfer their Donations and
Zakat to our FCRA (Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act) bank account.
Our FCRA A/c details are: Name: Rahat Welfare Trust; FCRA account no.:
Current Account No. 1015; Bank’s name: Bombay Mercantile Co-operative
Bank Ltd., Branch Address: Topaz Appt, Off Hill Road, Bandra West, Mumbai
- 50; Branch MICR Code: 400069021
Thank You. May God Bless you.
Zakat to Rahat can be paid at all the branches of the Bombay Mercantile Co-operative Bank in Mumbai
ZAKAT HOTLINE +91-9892309785 [9 am to Midnight]