Every Tuesday, Aaliya Jaffer walks into the principal’s office of the As-Sadiq Islamic School and greets the administrative staff with a cheerful smile and “Salaam alaykum”. She signs herself in and gets ready for a full day at school volunteering with the grade 3 teacher and her students.
“Praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of all the worlds. The All-Merciful, the Very-Merciful…You alone do we worship, and from You alone do we seek help...”
(Holy Qur’an, 1, 1:6)
A rainy day in May – it’s cold and grey, the perfect day to stay in with a good book and a cup of coffee. Not so for the ILEAD team of youth volunteers who are responsible of making promo videos for the conference.
In 2012 alone, more than 6.6 million children globally under the age of 5 died from preventable diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria, HIV, and measles. 1.7 million children die annually because of Severe Acute Malnutrition and 3.6 million die because of Moderate Acute Malnutrition. To put it simply, they die because they don't have access to food. Globally, 67 million children do not have access to basic education. That means they will never graduate from grade 8 and go on to high school.
When I tell my friends that I volunteer with the Ottawa Police Service they think it's awesome. Although many times I receive questions like, “Oh, you want to be a police officer?” or a “Do you get to use a gun?”
Here is what I actually do: I volunteer with the Ottawa Police Service's Youth Advisory Committee (YAC). YAC hopes to become the liaison between the youth and the police, in the hope that this relationship will make Ottawa a safer place. YAC works to address the issues that youth are facing and to meet their needs.
Blessings are often taken for granted until they are taken away from us. ILT For those of us blessed to live in Canada, the thought of deprivation hardly ever crosses our minds. We do not have to think about lack of water, lack of food, leaving our home and belongings behind to live in an open-air camp, seeing people around us dying every day from hunger and treatable illnesses like malaria, diarrhea and cholera. These thoughts rarely, if ever, come into our minds. Yet they are the living reality for thousands of people affected by drought in Somalia.
When Waris Malik and his team of volunteers from the Islamic Foundation of Toronto set out to form a community soup kitchen back in 2005, they had little idea that their efforts would lead to the establishment of the first free restaurant-style soup kitchen in Canada.
It was during his involvement with relief efforts for the Indian Ocean Tsunami disaster when Mr. Malik realized that in addition to what was being done overseas, there was need at home as well, right in his own community: “We thought, if we have done so much for overseas efforts, why don't we do something for our own city and our own country?” And thus Hot Soup Day was developed.
I recall my first day as a volunteer at the Ottawa Sadaqa Food Bank. I didn't really know what to expect, so I was glad it was training day which also gave me an opportunity to meet my fellow team members. Once our training was complete we were officially on our own. We divided ourselves into two groups. Two of us would staff the office and serve the clients, while the other two would take to the pantry to stock shelves and make food packages. Initially I was in the latter group.