IFFD traversed more than 800km, covering eight districts to deliver Iftaar hampers to over 500 families in this month of Ramadhaan. Teams were split into three, the southern region team led by Abdul-Razak Telela (and AbdulManafi Ebrahim Katonga, Abdullah Omar Mdala, Wily Kachipale and Overton Chidothe) also covered the Eastern Region of Malawi.
The central region team was led by IFFD leader, Sheikh Ziyabu Adams, assisted by head of Relief Ahmad Pinde. In the north, the team consisted of deputy head of relief, Sheikh Musa Mzumara, and Programme Manager in Education department, Sheikh Adam Jimu.
Barely two months ago - in April 2017, IFFD was constituted in Itereng Masjid, just outside Laudium in Gauteng - with its leadership and Shura selection. Making Mashura just before Ramadhaan, the Shura decided to tackle Iftaar in Ramadhaan in Malawi as it always has been an issue. Many people struggle in Malawi finding something to break their fast with.
Part of the people that came to receive Iftaar packs in Makuzi Village, Nkhotakota
The Shura decided on two phases, first phase would comprise of offering Iftaar to Masjids -- affording a community partaking of Iftaar in a communal way. A simple Iftaar of rice porridge to fill the stomach at Maghrib. Sugar and Salt were added. The team in Blantyre also provided Wudhu cups to the Masjids to be used for ablution and Istinjaa in the toilets. This phase was fully funded from the monthly contributions of the members. This phase was budgeted for R8,000 (MK 424,000).
For better co-ordination and monitoring of this project it was decided this phase be conducted not far from the cities - in rural areas of major centres of Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu.
Alhamdulillah, Nkhalamba Masjid and Namalondwe Masjid in Nthache Village in the area of t/a Chigalu in Blantyre was selected. The Lilongwe team selected Masjid Ambiyaa and Area 25 Masjids. Mzuzu crew went for hamper distribution in the phase. Luwinga Area 1B Masjid in Mzuzu city and people of Mafundeya Masjid in Mzimba Luwelezi in Inkosi Mwabulabo area benefitted during this phase.
Second phase would see IFFD distributing hampers to 500 families to rural areas of Malawi. IFFD had mandated itself to work with the people of rural areas away from the major centres. This phase was a test of this pledge and mandate. In this phase, the team covered Neno, Balaka, Dedza, Nkhotakota and Mzimba districts.
A Bayaan before receiving Ramadhaan packs in Engucwini, Mzimba North
Shura decided to canvass for support and extra contributions from its membership to cover this phase. Original budget for 500 families on a pack of 2.5kg rice, 1kg salt and 1kg sugar was R45.00 (MK 2250) per pack/family making a total of R22,500. Alhamdulillah, the IFFD membership and family came up to the task sponsoring over 350 families/packs. Others went overboard canvassing extra from friends, family and peers - perhaps, Br Ali Razak, Br. Dawood Ndipo, Br. Lamek Yassin deserves some mention for their huge contributions. Shura, then, decided to top up the remaining packs (together with transportation costs) from the IFFD coffers. Total expenses in this phase rose up to over R23,000 (just over 1.2 million Kwacha).
In the second phase, the team lived up to its expectation of reaching those 'behind the river' who have never been visited. Their experiences have been published elsewhere.
In Dedza, Lipulula Masjid, the team received a request to refurbish a Masjid in a village far from where IFFD was distributing hampers. The village elders were ready to provide manpower for bricks. Only the materials requiring financial help is what they cannot afford -- iron sheets for roof, cement and the builders. IFFD will be back in this area.
"We never thought we would have a taste of white porridge in this month of Ramadhaan", was the response from women of Katonthowolo Masjid in Engucwini, Mzimba North. IFFD has touched lives of the unexpected.
Lessons from Neno are inexplicable from witnessing a Masjid that was build by a Christian herbalist, Asing'anga Bwanali, to being told it is strange for them someone visiting them to provide Iftaar food and witnessing a sad state of a Masjid with its leaking roof. We have covered the team's visit to Neno in a separate writing.
IFFD has come out of all this much stronger and with much vigour. Now it is raring to commence other projects that are in the pipeline. The Masjid rehabilitation project - providing Wudhu cups, Musallas and solar lighting - continues. The education department is strategising on how to tackle the Early Childhood Development centres project and resuscitating the afternoon Madrasahs - one thing is for sure, the December deadline to open these centres is a non-negotiable for the department.
At the end of the Iftaar programme, the IFFD team had spent over R35,000 (2 million Kwacha) - not a mean achievement for an organisation that just commenced about two months ago drawing mostly from a monthly contribution of R100 from its members.