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Sunday 28 May 2017
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An Exclusive Conversation with Dr. Othman Moqbel, CEO of Human Appeal

Hadith of the Day recently spoke with Dr. Othman Moqbel, CEO of Human Appeal, one of the fastest growing charities, committed to delivering humanitarian assistance for 24 years and saving lives across the globe.  Here’s what he shared with HOTD.

Tell us a little about Human AppealPhoto - HA CEO copy

Human Appeal delivers more than just words. Over the past 24 years Human Appeal has grown from a small charity based in a one bedroom flat in Manchester, to one of the most effective and fastest growing charities in the UK. Our work saves lives and helps thousands of people out of poverty.

With a presence in 25 countries, spanning Asia, Africa, Europe and the Middle East, we’re there to help in times of crisis and we deliver sustainable development programmes in the world’s poorest nations. In times of crisis, we access hard to reach places, quickly, delivering aid where it’s needed most, whilst our sustainable development projects promote self-sufficient and empowered communities. This is something we are truly proud of, and an achievement that we couldn’t have done without the will of Allah and the support of our donors.

Tell us how Human Appeal works. What are the different ways for people to get involved? 

Human Appeal works by championing the foundations of our Islamic faith. Our sincerity, intentions and purpose drive us to succeed. We ensure we hold the highest levels of due diligence, as we take our responsibility ve
ry seriously. The vulnerable people we help in places like war-torn Syria, Palestine or wherever they may be in the world, are our employers – we wouldn’t be getting the reward for this work without them – so it is our responsibility to deliver to the best of our abilities. This understanding runs throughout our organization. Although we have grown very quickly in the past few years, we see our colleagues, volunteers and supporters as family. We truly look after each other, and I find that bond unique at Human Appeal.

People can get involved by donating towards the work we do, volunteering your time and support, or by simply keeping us in your duas to ensure we keep helping those in need.

Why is it important to support Human Appeal?

We are on the ground in some of the most difficult places to deliver aid. Many other charities struggle in these conditions. For instance during the recent war in Gaza and the on-going conflict in Syria we were one of the first aid agencies to respond on the ground. We delivered aid almost immediately – as we have our own offices and established networks with trusted and vetted partners in the regions.

In terms of our development work, which is phase two of our operations, we look at delivering sustainable solutions. A route out of poverty is much more effective than building a dependency on handouts. The success of our work in Pakistan, Senegal, Somalia, Palestine are testament to that with water wells, WASH programmes, agricultural farms, income generating projects and educational support.

Another area of success is our Orphan Sponsorship programme. We currently sponsor 75,000 orphans around the world (the largest by any UK registered charity). This is a responsibility we are proud of and take very seriously.

Without the will of Allah we would not be able to deliver and make a difference in the world.

What are the most exciting, meaningful projects you’ve had so far? Tell us about the biggest humanitarian crisis you are currently working on at the moment.

One of the most successful projects we have executed over the past couple of years is our delivery of bread and flour into Syria. To date we have delivered over 16.8 thousand tonnes of bread flour into Syria. Providing this essential requirement has been a vital lifeline and gone on to feed millions of refugee and internally displaced families in the region. Our response to one of the biggest humanitarian crisis has also led us to build hospitals, provide vital medical equipment, build safe villages for orphans, widows and the infirm, provide solid shelters, build schools, deliver vaccines, give out essential food, clothing and blankets for thousands of vulnerable families who are suffering. As this situation has become increasingly more difficult, we’ve stepped up our work as we understand that the need is still there. We as Muslims should not forget our brothers and sisters who are relying on us to help them.

What has been Human Appeal’s biggest challenge?

As the current situation in Syria escalates, with daily changes and complexities, new challenges are put in front of us. The biggest challenge we face is ensuring we continue to help the vulnerable in the field whilst ensuring the safety of our staff at all times.

Tell us more about paying Zakat to Human Appeal. How is the Zakat paid to Human Appeal channeled forward to the rightful recipients?

Zakat is a responsibility that we take very seriously. The minute any donor gives his zakat money to us we log it and track it all the way to the project requested. We ensure to the money goes only to zakat applicable projects and provide feedback whenever it is needed. We have invested strongly in this area, so we know exactly how, where and when zakat money is used for a project.

Is there any advice you could give someone who is looking to make a difference in their community?

You know our beloved prophet (peace be upon him) came to change the situation of his people, what he did was change a whole nation from ignorance to a nation of civilization and knowledge. If you remember the first word revealed to him was Iqra (read). It was through knowledge, understanding and the Quran which helped him take his people from the darkness of jahiliyah to the light of Islam. If we all take this as an example, we can see that by educating ourselves and giving ourselves knowledge we can change the situations we find ourselves in, personally, in our communities and globally. If we do not understand ourselves, our environment and others we will never develop as an Ummah.

As Muslims we should always be the best role models for our wider community whatever the situation may be. This is the only way to empower our children and future generation. By being a good Muslim you are showing the world what Islam is really about, regardless what is in the newspapers. The prophet (peace be upon him) was recognised for his honesty and trustworthiness – even with the enemies of Islam. This should be a lesson for our own community.

And remember a collective effort is more powerful to promote good and try our best especially with the youth to channel their effort and energy and effort to do good for the communities.

What or who has been your personal inspiration in your role with Human Appeal. Tell us more.

A personal inspiration for me has to be an example from the hadith of the prophet – the best of you are those who are of most benefit to others. If we want to strive to be the best and please Allah, then we should strive to help our fellow brothers and sisters in need. This act of selflessness for me is epitomised by Dr Hany El Bana. As the founder of the Islamic charity sector in Britain, he has been a beacon of inspiration for many who strive in the way of Allah. His passion to serve humanity is unrivalled. A true inspiration for me and many others.

A few words of inspiration and encouragement to the HOTD audience who would like to give Zakat and contribute in other ways.

Zakat is one of the pillars of Islam. It is an obligation on us and a way pleasing Allah. Charity is important as it goes on to support those less fortunate. We get opportunities and tests daily and helping the needy is one way where we can fulfil our obligation to Allah. Giving Zakat can be seen as one of the solutions to a lot of the world’s problems, it’s not only financial giving to help the neediest, but a mind-set – way of life we should really be mindful of living. Charity does start at home, within ourselves, even if we have nothing, but a smile and dua we can truly change the world for the better. Nothing should stop us achieving this, with the right intentions and actions, Allah will grant us success if it is right for us. And if it doesn’t happen, then we must learn the lessons from it, and accept it was not meant to be.

Together, and only by pleasing Allah can we make a difference. Help us continue our good work, which you can see and support on www.humanappeal.org.uk