Blog, Mission Possible, Aug 2016. Hand-ups, not hand-outs.

17 th August, 2016

While the plight of many people they come across has been heart-breaking, the volunteers on the Mission Possible deployment to Tanzania are often reminded that they are there to provide “a hand-up, not hand-outs”, as Navid Kaleem found out.

It was a tough and testing day for the team, and filled with highs and lows. The reality of death and disease in this part of the world really hit home. We had the responsibility to make potentially life-changing decisions.

We also had a duty to donors, making sure the limited resources were spent properly and Zakat was given to those allowed to receive it. Inevitably there were those who would miss out but this did not make it any easier telling them.

Tragically one of the beneficiaries we went to see passed away the day before, (Inna lilahi wa inna ilaihi rajioun) a 40-year old HIV patient leaving behind a household of 10 dependants between the age of 7-15. The children were of her siblings.

The team decided to allocate the shop to her sister who had experience of running a small shop in the past before she began looking after her poorly sister. Now Insh’Allah with your help she can start earning a living again and support her family.

Imam Salih Saeeda, a 65-year old stroke victim, was another beneficiary of a shop. Having previous experience in running a shop and with 7 dependants to help him, we pray the family receive a good and halal source of income from this enterprise.

A highlight of the day was seeing Muhammad Musa’s smile and the surprise on his face after we handed him a dairy cow. When we went to see this man in his mud hut, one of the walls was falling down but with his ingenuity he had propped it up with some wood. 

This man had nothing in his house but mangoes, and as we were guests he offered them to everyone. This generosity was inspiring. He’s a 70-year old farmer, content with life with a wife and grand-child. This fit and hard-working man fully deserves this, we are sure he will benefit himself, his family and the community.

Similarly Mariam, a 50-year old women with 7 children whose husband has TB, was allocated a cow. Hamees, another hard-working farmer with 4 dependants including an orphan, this 66-year old also benefited.

There were two personally difficult moments to the day. One was meeting Ayoub Ramadani, an elderly gentlemen paralysed from the waist down. The Tanzanian Islamic Help team had provisionally assessed him for a shop. He was definitely in need of desperate help but in no position to run and manage a shop. I had to break the news to him on this occasion we could not offer the allocated help. He did a beautiful prayer for the team, we pray Allah (swt) accepts it from him.

We really wanted to help this guy, the team were ready to give a collective cash donation from their own money but the team leader Kamran Uddin reminded us we are here for a “hand-up and not hand-outs”.

We decided 3 goats would be the most suitable investment for Ayoub and Insha’Allah in the next few days we can give him the good news and hand over the livestock.

The second difficult moment was having to tell Muna Hamees Mohammed, a 24-year old disabled woman, that there was somebody more in need then she was. The whole team found this difficult but in particular Akheel who was given the responsibility to break the news. He did it with sympathy and humility.

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