Adapting and Responding in the Coronavirus Pandemic
Islamic Help is attuned to responding in times of humanitarian disasters to help people in need. The coronavirus pandemic, however, is an unprecedented global crisis.
In normal circumstances, our teams in the UK and overseas react to natural or man-made disasters by following a set pattern of processes and activities – fundraising, identifying aid requirements and logistics, and deploying our country office teams to source and deliver that aid to beneficiaries.
The pandemic has presented new challenges, challenges that we are meeting head-on through innovation, determination and passion.
Adapting Our Work
Lockdowns across the globe have created new barriers. The ban on public gatherings in the UK for example has meant we cannot stage public fundraising events. Having taken the decision to stop these type of events a week or so before the official government policy was announced, it meant we had to find new ways to connect with the public.
So we switched to webinars, online engagements with the mass public with our learned shaykhs and scholars presenting from the safety of their homes to an audience ensconced safely in their homes.
You can keep up with all our upcoming webinars at www.islamichelp.org.uk/events
While the majority of our staff, in the UK and overseas, have been forced to work from home, the very essence of our existence has allowed our teams to continue delivering aid on behalf of our donors.
With government permission and following relevant health and social distancing guidelines, our field teams are distributing emergency food packs and hygiene items to some of the poorest and most vulnerable across the world.
Distributions have taken place, and will continue to take place, in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. In each country, our teams are adapting and following any requirements laid down by authorities or circumstances. For instance, where no public gatherings are allowed, door-to-door distributions are being carried out.
The Community Approach
The pandemic has become an opportunity to refocus on our shared values and common bonds. Across the UK, numerous networks have emerged to help those in isolation or the most vulnerable. Our Birmingham office has been part of that new and organic development of humanitarian work.
Working with partners, most notably the Bahu Trust in Birmingham and the Ghulam Trust in London, we’re delivering dozens of food and hygiene packs to vulnerable or self-isolating residents in our communities, and to emergency service staff including nurses who are in the frontline of this crisis.
It’s an effort that has, through its natural endeavours, attracted volunteers and contributions from local shops including the Aldi supermarket in our area and Raja Brothers, one of the largest family-owned grocery shops.
We intend to continue our domestic and international efforts during the blessed month of Ramadan, a time when the need for food security is especially important in the more poverty-stricken regions of Asia and Africa.
The New Reality
We are now in a new reality brought about by an organism that can be seen only through a microscope. It has changed human and economic behaviour to an extent that many would have thought unthinkable just a few months ago.
While there is a human, economic and social cost, the paradox is that through it all we can envisage what a better world looks like - a positivity and a rekindling of the human spirit and values of community spirit and partnership. Kindness, empathy and compassion have come to the fore.
Possibly the most valuable outcome of these troubling and uncertain times is the awareness and recognition that we truly depend and rely on each other.
It is these humanitarian values that underpin our work as we continue to reach out and support people in need.