For the Love of Helping Hand- Post #4

For the Love of Helping Hand- Post #4

 

750 million people around the world lack access to safe water; that is approximately one in nine people. (WHO)

Why is it that 750 million people around the world lack one of the most basic necessities needed in order to survive? We really need to ask ourselves how we reached this point, how our hearts have become so hard that we’ve forgotten about the individuals that Allah has entrusted us with.

During my time in Kenya I was able to visit some of the donated water wells and interact with the beneficiaries of the various wells. Time after time dozens of individuals came up to us to express their gratitude towards Helping Hand for placing the much needed water well in their community. An obvious result, water wells provide fresh, clean water for an entire community. However, no one discusses the other benefits which result from the installation of these wells.

1. Children are able to go to school again. Many of the locals told us that before the well was installed they relied on the municipal for water, but when the municipal ran out, which occurred quite often, the children were left with the responsibility to search for water. Throughout their journey in search of water the children had to skip school, and in some cases it would take days to find a source.

2. The water from the well allowed the community to create an entire new channel for food, they were finally able to grow their own crops.

3. Using water from the well decreased their chances of contracting water-borne diseases as they now had access to clean water.

The Water for Life program provides access to clean drinking water through the installation of hand pumps, water filtration plants, construction of tube-wells, water wells, water storage tanks, and water supply sources created to meet the basic and livelihood needs of individuals all over the world.

For more information, please visit here.

Call-to-Action: Many of us have the privilege to drink water immediately upon desire, but what we fail to realize is that there are so many individuals who cannot do the same. I encourage you to advocate and create awareness of this issue, start a campaign with your friends to raise funds and give a community access to clean water, or volunteer your time with organizations that work towards alleviating the pain and suffering of our fellow brothers and sisters.

Sincerely,

Sana Mahmood

Founder of Veiled Beaut

 

For the Love of Helping Hand- Post #3

For the Love of Helping Hand- Post #3

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mendela

If there is anything I am certain of, its that those words are indeed the truth. As I reflected upon my day every night before bed my thoughts always came to the same conclusion; there are so many issues around the world and education really is the only force that not only empowers but also instills a sense of change.

As an individual I might not be able to solve the refugee crisis, end world hunger, or put a stop to the poverty countries like Kenya face. However, I can work towards educating a child, and not only that, but I can work towards educating my own community on the importance of this topic. We’ve seen it time after time- a broken community that begins to place an importance on educating their children slowly begins to put together their shattered pieces and change their reality as a community.

Whether it was visiting the courageous refugees in Jordan or meeting the beautiful people of Kenya, it became crystal clear what we as individuals and communities can do to help these bright souls; educate anyone and everyone. Working with an organization like Helping Hand and hearing the different stories about how education is changing the lives of these children was nothing but inspiring. Many of the children we met were at war with generational poverty; living in a home built with steel sheets with eight other people was their reality. But for the children who were able to receive a sponsored education, it became quite clear to see their dreams and aspirations widen as they excelled in school. It’s as if education is all they need to believe that they can change their circumstance, it really is their golden ticket to freedom.

When you educate a child you not only change the future of that particular child, but you also change the future of their community as well. Only God knows what an empowered child is capable of, whether that’s leading a revolution or altering the state of their current reality, it’s always for the better.

Call-to-Action: I encourage everyone reading this post to vow to do their best in trying to educate a child. If it seems difficult to go far, always remember the need is everywhere. Start within your own communities by reaching out to organizations which aim to alleviate the struggles of our youth, find local refugees and assist them with whatever they may need assistance with, or if you don’t have the time to volunteer then sponsor a child’s education and send them words of encouragement and support. Lastly, be grateful for all the opportunities you have been blessed with- what we take for granted, others spend their entire lives trying to achieve. Alhamdulilah, always.

To learn more about sponsoring a child please visit HHRD.

Sincerely,

Sana Mahmood

Founder of Veiled Beaut

For the Love of Helping Hand- Post #2

For the Love of Helping Hand- Post #2

AssalamuAlaikum VB family,

Today’s topic is a tough one for me- to be quite honest I’ve been trying to gather my thoughts for quite a few days now but every time I sit down to type, I can’t seem to find the right words to do my experience justice. Believe it or not I’ve rewritten this post more than a dozen times now so if you’re reading this then I’ve finally mustered the courage to speak about the harsh realities of our fellow brothers and sisters living in Kenya. Bismillah.

When our group first arrived in Nairobi we didn’t know what to expect. We all had an idea of the situation but no one really knew what they had signed up for. On our first day we accompanied the most adorable HHRD sponsored orphans to the zoo. I will never forget the feeling of pure happiness I felt radiating in the air. Their smiles, their laughs, their silly questions about Trump and whether or not he’s actually orange in person- it was a happy day. All the girls we met had such high ambitions. They aspired to be doctors, lawyers, and teachers for the sake of bettering their communities. Their smiles were so bright you’d never in a million years think these children live the way they do

There was one child in particular who captured my heart, Faria.

This beautiful child immediately welcomed us with her warm smile and became so intrigued by us she didn’t leave our side until the moment the children had to board the bus to leave. She didn’t speak too much but honestly she didn’t need to, her face was so pure you could read her from a mile away. A couple days before we left Kenya we visited Faria and her family who lived in the slums- the poorest of the poorest areas. As I stood in her home I couldn’t wrap my head around her reality. The same little girl who looks like the happiest girl in the world lives in a home the size of a standard bedroom with no door

Imagine this: A family of seven living in a home the size of your room, walls made of steel sheets held together by wooden sticks, a fabric draped in front which took the role of a door, one bed, a couple of bowls in the corner which served as the kitchen, one small drawer to place the family’s belongings, and one lightbulb to lighten the room if you were lucky.

What I described above is the reality for millions of individuals living in Kenya. It’s hard to comprehend the depths of such a lifestyle but this is where we must come together and use the resources that God has blessed us with. Imam Siraj Wahaj accompanied us on this trip and before we departed ways he reminded us to not feel hopeless because everyone has their own tests. “This is their test and they will be judged accordingly, our test is determined by what we’re doing to help them with all that Allah swt has given us. They are tested with poverty; we are tested with wealth. And make no mistake, both are equal. Their strong imaan and character will testify for them, and our love for dunya and wealth could be what holds us back.” May Allah protect and guide us all.

These individuals are living in a systematic generational cycle of poverty; a type of poverty I had never witnessed before. Their struggles don’t end with one generation; rather, it’s been their reality for as long as they can remember. Often times we as humans tend to overlook our own personal biases but always remember we should donate based on the need, we should not donate based on the recipient’s origin. If you have a roof over your head, clothes to over your back, shoes to protect your feet, and a family that loves you- know that you are truly amongst the privileged. So the next time your mind wanders to the negatives, think of Faria. She owns a couple pairs of clothes, she walks an hour to get to school, and the door to her home is a curtain, but she still smiles from cheek to cheek because she doesn’t let the hardships of life get in the way of her happiness. May Allah swt bless this beautiful child and her family with comfort, happiness, ease, and success in this world and the hereafter. Ameen.

Call-to-Action: If you feel what I think you’re feeling right now- I encourage you to partake in some good and do whatever you can to help children like Faria. Whether that’s donating money, creating a campaign to raise awareness, sponsoring an orphan, or volunteering- do it. I promise you there’s no greater feeling in this world than the feeling you get from serving humanity. I pray that Allah fills all of our hearts with the same amount of love and care these individuals have for us- if only you knew how many duas they send our way because after all, “we’re living with Trump.”

To learn more about how you can help please visit Helping Hand. 

Sincerely,

Sana Mahmood

Founder of Veiled Beaut

For the Love of Helping Hand – Post #1

For the Love of Helping Hand – Post #1

As you all may know by now, I traveled to Kenya with the nonprofit organization Helping Hand (HH) last month. I embarked on this journey with a group of 12 girls who had one goal in mind- better understand what we can do for our brothers and sisters in need.

The objective of this blog post and the ones to come, is to educate our VB family about Helping Hand. I previously traveled with this organization to Jordan in the summer of 2016 to volunteer with Syrian and Palestinian refugees- the inspiration behind our Purchase with a Purpose policy. Only God knows the extent of my love and admiration for this organization, but at VB we aim to be as transparent as possible with you since 10% of your purchase goes directly towards sponsoring orphans through HH.

Helping Hand offers two yearly trips for the youth, one for Jordan in the summer and one in Kenya during the winter. The purpose of these trips is to understand the different situations and circumstances and work with your team (or individually) to do as much good as you can within your own communities. Helping Hand likes to refer to the volunteers that travel abroad with them as ambassadors. Now, that might sound like fun (and it is) but it is also a huge responsibility that should not be taken lightly. Traveling with the HH team is just the start, coming back and working with your communities is where the real work begins.

I’ve had many questions about going on these trips and whether or not I would recommend them- short answer, yes. I wholeheartedly, undoubtedly, and unequivocally would recommend going on a trip with HH if you have the opportunity to do so. A trip with HH will change your life and alter your perspective for the better, this I can guarantee. For me personally, it brought a sense of clear purpose to my life in this world. I was always passionate about serving the greater of humanity, but after interacting with real people, hearing their stories, and playing with their children, it solidified what I want to do with my time in this world. It brought me peace and happiness. It strengthened my imaan. It taught me patience. It softened my heart. It expanded my perspective. It taught me how to deal with the problems one may face in this world, and also taught me that the problems we face are nothing compared to what others may have to deal with. It taught me how to be grateful in all situations, good or bad. It filled my heart with the concept of minimalism in all aspects of my life. And lastly, it truly taught me how to love for others what I love for myself.

Over the next few blog posts I’ll be discussing our day-to-day activities, some personal reflections, and what we can do with the resources we have been blessed with. I pray whoever reads these posts and enjoins in good be rewarded immensely and may they benefit from the endless amount of duas we received from the children and the elders we met. Ameen.

To learn more about Helping Hand and all of its efforts, please visit their website here.

Yours truly,

Sana Mahmood

Founder of Veiled Beaut