18 April 2019 / 12 Shaban 1440
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The experiences of South African Townships indicate that many social problems arise as a result of poor primary and secondary education in these areas. In low-income households, almost 50% of children under the age of six do not attend any kind of educational facility. At the same time, most ECD (Early Childhood Development) Centres in these communities are poorly resourced, under-staffed and facilities rundown. Studies show that children who attend ECD programmes have a greater chance of succeeding in school. High-quality ECD allows children to perform better - cognitively, emotionally and physically and its impact remains well into adulthood.
As part of its portfolio of development projects, SANZAF supports various educational activities, including bursaries, skills development programmes, youth development, and ECD. This year SANZAF Gauteng is supporting the Kwalanga ECD Programme, situated in Kwa Thema on the East Rand. The Kwalanga Early Childhood Development Programme was initiated to give children a fighting chance by providing them with high-quality education and a place of safety. It is hoped that through the project these children will go on to succeed in primary and high school. The ECD center will play an important role in reducing the vicious cycle of poverty that plagues this community and will help to create prosperity for the community at large.
The Kwalanga Early Childhood Development Centre opened in 2019 with two teachers and an intake of 30 students in the first phase of the project. Additional classrooms, an office, and a kitchen will be constructed using a system of containers specially designed for ECD centers. Ablution facilities and play equipment will also be procured.
The SANZAF Eduation Waqf was established in 2009 as a sustainable resource-base to support Education projects in the Gauteng region. The waqf forms a perpetual endowment, whose earnings are designated for education in South Africa. The waqf system is traced back to the Prophet Muhammad (saw) who advised Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) to pledge a portion of land that he had acquired as a waqf. The land would remain intact, and could not be sold, while its fruits would be given as sadaqah (voluntary charity).
Donations to the SANZAF Education Waqf are invested into the Waqf Fund, and its returns are disbursed, on an annual basis, to Education projects. Apart from forming a sustainable resource-base for community development, donations are a means of sadaqah jaariyah (perpetual charity) for the donor.
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In recent years global water resources have come under strain due to climate change and changes in rainfall patterns. In South Africa drought has resulted in water shortages and an increase in the cost of water.
In keeping with its mission of changing lives through development and relief, SANZAF embarks on various water projects to make communities more self-reliant. Boreholes, we believe, can play an important role in harnessing untapped water resources in South Africa. Boreholes are an environmentally friendly method of accessing inactive water underneath the earth’s surface that would otherwise go unused.
This year SANZAF is embarking on four new borehole projects to benefit several communities around South Africa. The boreholes will be constructed in Phoenix in KwaZulu-Natal, Strand in the Western Cape, Kwanabuthle in the Eastern Cape and KwaThema in Gauteng. The boreholes are being constructed at Islamic centres and Masjids and will hopefully enable these centres to have permanent and reliable water sources InshaAllah. These boreholes will also save these centres the burden and expensive of municipal water.
The SANZAF Water Waqf was established in 2009 as a sustainable resource-base to support Water Security projects. The waqf forms a perpetual endowment, whose earnings are designated for Water projects in South Africa. The waqf system is traced back to the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) who encouraged Uthman (RA) to purchase a water well in Madina and offer it as a gift to the residents who were previously purchasing it. The water well would remain intact, and could not be sold, while the water itself would be given as Sadaqah (voluntary charity).
SANZAF offeres two water waqf programmes. The first is where a water well is dug almost immediately after the donation, typically R8,000 per water well (generally in Malawi). The second programme seeks to collect substantially more funds, up to R150,000, for the boring and establishment of a borehole in South Africa. In the latter case, unless a sufficient funds are donated at once, smaller amounts of donations are pooled until sufficient is collected.
Apart from forming a sustainable resource-base for community development, donations are a means of sadaqah jaariyah (perpetual charity) for the donor.
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BUDGET 2019: COUNTING ON YOUTH INVESTMENT
An open letter to Finance Minister, Mr Tito Mboweni, on the eve of his budget speech
Dear Honourable Minister
SINCE 1994, the eve of democracy, we have become familiar with the Nguni term ‘ubuntu’. Brought into the national narrative by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the word essentially means that ‘we are who we are through others’. In other words, we are who we are through our humanity.
Indeed, ubuntu expresses the very notion of socialisation after three hundred years of colonialism, and four decades of apartheid. It means that as a diverse society, we are part of a cohesive whole. It means that if one part hurts, the other part should hurt too.
Ubuntu, then, represents a world view that does not look at the colour, creed or class of a person. The president’s call, via the song of the late Hugh Masekela, ‘thumma mina’ (send me) has to be understood in the spirit of ubuntu, which is selflessness and sacrifice. It is this that empowers and enriches the human spirit.
We write to you as the South African National Zakah Fund (SANZAF), a Muslim NPO that has been serving the community for 45 years. The focus of SANZAF is to execute a pillar of faith called Zakah. Zakah is the ‘purifying’ of accumulated surplus wealth. In other words, those who qualify must give 2.5 per cent annually to the poor.
As a vehicle engaging with projects such as bursaries, skills training and relief, Zakah is a vital tool in eradicating poverty and positively empowering the unemployed and the underprivileged.
No, Mr Honourable Minister, we are not suggesting a wealth or Zakah tax! All South Africans, despite their financial challenges, are already generous beyond measure. A recent study by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) has revealed that in 2018 a staggering 80 per cent of South Africans had donated money to some worthy cause.
What’s more, the study found that 50 per cent of South Africans would have donated more had they possessed the means. And even more encouragingly, the report revealed that the youth were more likely to volunteer, and held the role NPOs played in high esteem. The report can be accessed here: https://www.thesouthafrican.com/90-south-africans-charity-2018/
Mr Honourable Minister, we know that your budget is going to be a massive task in defining the country’s fiscus. We also know that you will be talking about investment. However, we would like to humbly suggest that you spend some of your time looking at human investment.
So often, we do not acknowledge the riches at our disposal, which is our human capital. Young people in South Africa, in particular, need to be recognised. Their ideas, their out-of-the-box dynamism and their energies must be harnessed.
Mr Honourable Minister, SANZAF started out in 1974 as a response to urgent welfare needs in the Muslim community, needs that the apartheid state had refused to meet. Pertinently, it was established by the Muslim Youth Movement. It was through youthful vision that SANZAF was formed.
In the 1970s SANZAF had to push its one and only vehicle to get it started, but last year it was able to distribute R133 million in bursaries, skills training, upliftment programmes and humanitarian relief from offices in every major centre of the country.
Again, our message is not about saying we are better than anybody. No. It is all about focusing on the nascent skills, the ambition, the dreams and the aspirations of all South Africans, especially the youth. So how exactly do we invest in human capital?
We have found that our bursary scheme – which disbursed nearly R28 million last year – is a starting point for transforming society, as are all other study schemes, if properly monitored. Indeed, it was Madiba who said in 2003 that education was the most powerful weapon we could use to change the world.
We have discovered that the socio-economic impact of a bursary is profound. When beneficiaries qualify, and contribute to the economy through their newly acquired skills, they immediately lift those around them out of poverty.
Mr Honourable Minister, our experience tells us that job-focused, skills-based education has the potential to transform society, and our economy, in a single generation. However, for it to be effective there have to be enabling conditions. The youthful entrepreneur, who is the future of South Africa, has to be able face the challenges.
In this light, we support the president’s focus in SONA on inclusive growth, incubation programmes, development nodes and technically empowering youth in township and rural areas. But government has to play its additional part via incentives, a prompt payment culture, accessible loans and less red-tape.
To quote John Dludlu of the Small Business Institute, we have to invest in human capital because we cannot afford hopelessness to become a national crisis. We simply cannot afford any more lost generations.