Sunday 24 May 2020

Eidi gifts for Guest Workers - with Love from Al Qamar

Guys did you donate money for helping migrants? These migrants walk for thousands of miles. Their slippers are worn out ☹️ . There children cry because of hunger, heat and without any water. One child died after walking for 100 kilometres. This month is the month of Ramdan. Be  kind and generous and donate money to the migrants" was a message posted on the Middle school boys sports group.

Every year during Ramadhan, Al Qamar students take up paid chores at home. Towards the end of the holy month, they pool up their "salaries" and donate them to a worthy cause.  This year, with the lockdown, the most obvious cause was to help our state's guest workers who are stranded without income, hope or means to return home.

I checked with the older students if this was an area they'd want to help out in. - At Al Qamar - we adults always suggest, the kids take the decisions! They were enthusiastic and excited about taking up a fundraising effort for migrant workers. The idea - get kids to donate their Eidi money this year!

Hasna quickly designed a touching poster which emphasised solidarity and brotherhood. Khadijah followed up with a Google Form which interested students used to list their proposed contribution. Ishaal, our resident artist sketched a beautiful Eid greeting.  Mansoor, Muhammed, Fawziya and Asira started making calls to their classmates - encouraging them to contribute. Meanwhile, I checked with Nityanand Jayaraman of the Vettiver Collective, how the money could possibly reach the deserving. 

I assumed we'd raise about 2000-3000 in total - this has been a hard year - parents are facing salary cuts or have lost jobs, kids wouldn't be visiting relatives and getting Eidi due to the Lockdown.  I know children really really look forward to their Eidi - to spend it on a beautiful dress, a longed for book or a fun toy and would hence and I assumed they would part with only a portion of their money.  So I assumed (here's that word again!) that we'd get a smaller than normal sum - but that was fine. It could help out a couple of families. After all, its the spirit that counts.

I was thinking like an adult and making adult assumptions. Two months of being away from kids had make me forget their instinctive sympathy, generousity and love for causes.  Imagine my utter shock when I compiled the results of the Google Form - and realised that these children, wonderful wonderful children, had come forward and raised Rs. 39,000. Some had added their salaries from Ramadhan chores. In a message from a dad, I learned that a 3rd grader had worked and earned Rs. 3000 - babysitting, helping mom in the kitchen, organising toys, vacuuming the house, folding clothes. She was donating 100% of her salary.  Another case I learned where kids had receieved Eidi from grandparents for new clothes, and were donating the entire amount. Some children persuaded cousins and relatives to also chip in.  SubhanAllah. 

The money will go to help families with cooked meals/ rations. Some may pay for a ticket home....

For me - yet again, my students taught me one more life lesson in generosity. May your tribe increase. 

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