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, 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 joy radiating into 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.
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 cover 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.
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, your nights would become restless.
To learn more about how you can help please visit Helping Hand.
Founder of Veiled Beaut