As the month of Muharram heralds the dawn of the new Islamic year, so too it is a special time for Muslims around the world. Just as it is associated with giving, taking stock of ourselves and where we are going spiritually it is also a time of joy and mercy. The month of Muharram is one of the four sacred months which is ushered in by fasting especially the first ten days, which are resplendent with spiritual reward. In line with the hadith by Tabarani and Al-Bayhaqi in which it reported that Nabee Muhammad (SAW) said: “One who generously spends on his family on the 10th of Muharram (day of Ashura), Allah will be generous on him for the entire year.” SANZAF reached out to our Madrassahs in celebrating the significance of this special month by distributing 30 food packs to four of the Madressah’s on 20 and 21st September 2018. Learners had the opportunity of enjoying some sandwiches, fruit and party packs. The Madressah`s benefitting from this initiative are based in Marikana, Motherwell, Kwazakhele and New Brighton. The event forms part of a number of initiatives implemented annually by the Port Elizabeth office of SANZAF in celebration of the new Islamic year.
In July 2018 the department of social development in conjunction with Nicro initiated a program titled economic opportunities program. This program sought to expose ex-offenders to opportunities that will enable them to empower themselves economically. The department of social development discovered that ex-offenders struggle to find employment or create employment opportunities for themselves after being released from prison due to their criminal records. Lack of employment and entrepreneurial opportunities causes anger and frustration, which escalates the possibility of ex-offenders resorting to crime to support themselves. This then prompted the department of social development and Nicro to initiate the economic opportunities program to address this issue. The program is lead by Thamsanqa Methule a social worker employed by Nicro. It`s first induction was on 10 July 2018 at the New Law Court conference room in Govan Mbeki Avenue. Eight ex-offenders attended the presentation.
These presentations were intended to expose ex-offenders to opportunities available for them. Such opportunities include skills development, entrepreneurial training and sources of funding for small businesses. The presentations took place over three days from 10 until 12 July 2018. Before the first presentation Nicro invited the South African National Zakah Fund to participate in the program. SANZAF then invited one of the eight ex-offenders which attended the induction to be part of the program. On the second presentation the manager of ABSA`s Entrepreneurial Development Centre Gcinashe Vambe was the guest speaker. Her presentation focused on how to start and manage a small business, how to apply for funding if you need capital to start a small business and training courses offered by ABSA to entrepreneurs starting a small business. On the third presentation Sonwabo from the National Youth Development Agency was the guest speaker. In his presentation he advised ex-offenders on types of businesses they should consider should they wish to take on an entrepreneurial rout. He informed the ex-offenders about the criteria used by the NYDA to assess funding credibility.
Sonwabo offered to guide ex-offenders through their application process should they apply to the NYDA for start up capital. On the third presentation only five of the eight ex-offenders were present. They discussed possible ways of utilising the opportunities that were presented to them. The ex-offenders decided on sharing knowledge amongst each other in order to exchange skills and share work opportunities that arise. The leader of the program Thamsanqa Methule suggested meeting on a monthly basis with members committed to the program to monitor the extent of progress made. Thamsanqa committed to providing guidance, support and assistance to the members of the program wherever necessary. The ex-offenders committed to the programme and agreed to schedule monthly meetings with Thamsanqa for assistance, advice and report on progress of the endeavours they decided to pursue after completing the program.
Access to clean water and provision of hygienic sanitation remains a huge challenge for most residents in the Nelson Mandela Metro. As a result residents from E Ndlovini, an informal settlement located on the outskirts of Motherwell in Port Elizabeth, face daily difficulties accessing clean water for cooking, hygiene and sanitation. Provision of clean and safe water is a basic human right enshrined in our constitution. It is unfortunate that there are people who do not enjoy this fundamental right.
On 28 and 29 August 2018 the South Africa National Zakah Fund assisted residents of E Ndlovini informal settlement by distributing 170 five litre bottle of fresh still water. The purpose of this distribution is to provide a relief to the day to day hurdles residents from this location face as a result of absence of water provision in their community.
The South African National Zakah Fund recognised the predicament residents in this particular community were experiencing and ensured that each resident receives 20 litres of H2o. Other areas which benefited from this initiative were Gelvandale Ext 36 and Missionvale.
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National Arbor Week
The natural environment is faced by constant challenges which threaten its stability and sustainability. Such challenges include climate change, disruptions of ecological systems and increasing weather temperatures. These challenges are solely caused by the activities of human beings. It would therefore only be fair for us to charge ourselves with the responsibility of addressing the damage we have done to Mother Nature. On 9 September 2018 staff from the South African National Zakah Fund and the public hosted an Arbour Day event as part of national Arbor Week celebrations. This initiative took place at Schoenmakerskop, a campsite located along Marine Drive in Port Elizabeth where 12 indigenous trees were planted. The trees were planted on the local Campsite frequently used by the Muslim community at Schoenmakerskop. The trees that were planted were all suited to the coast and are all water-wise, they were the Coastal Coral Trees, Coastal Silver Oaks and Keurboom Trees.
The purpose of the initiative was to instil an appreciation for nature and to promote the planting of trees within our environment, especially where trees & shrubs were stripped for development. This will assist in improving the environment, contribute to the stopping of climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the air, storing carbon in trees and soil, and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere. The efforts made by SANZAF through this initiative will ensure that the mature trees provide shade which is sorely lacking ion the campsite, block some of the prevailing winds, attract and provides homes for birds, wildlife and purifying the air. In addition the effort was also to ensure we engage our local youth and increase public participation in the initiatives of SANZAF and the community. Donors were invited to support the project by donating or buying one of the trees listed or as a sadaqatul jaariyah. The SANZAF endeavours to make the Arbor Day project an annual initiative in order to ensure that the objectives of the project materialises and that some of the trees removed in the development of the campsite is restored.
On the 31st of March 2018, SANZAF started a " Road to Adulthood" Program for all the young girls between the ages of 10 to 19 years from all the Madressahs that are supported by SANZAF in Port Elizabeth.