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This  ad was posted online on 2 October 2005; printed in 1-15 October 2005 print edition of MG

RAHAT WELFARE TRUST

Registered under the Bombay Public Trusts Act, 1950. Regn. No. E-13435
Registered with the Ministry of Home Affairs, under F.C.R. A., Regn No. 083780680

Registered Office:
6 Fatima Manor, St. Monica Road, Bandra (West), Mumbai 400050. INDIA
Tel: +91-22-2655 2256; 2642 8286 Mobile: +91-98923 09785
Email: rahat@rahatwelfaretrust.org ; rahat786@hotmail.com, http://www.rahatwelfaretrust.org

FROM DESPAIR TO HOPE

Mumbai Floods. 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.

The Only 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.

Total Support. 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.

Zakat 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.
IRFAN MERCHANT
President

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]

 ZAKAT PURIFIES YOUR WEALTH

 

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