Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 4th 2013 Contents A18
UNITED COLORS OF BENETTON
LONG CIRCULAR MALL 622-8245
RHONDA KRYSTAL RAMBALLY
Islamic Help, a ten-year-old
UK-registered charity and inter-
organisation, wants to set up an
office in T&T because of the
Director of International Devel-
opment, Kamran Fazil spent a
week here registering Islamic Help
There are about 15 offices around
the world in countries such as
Sudan, Yemen, Bangladesh, Gaza
An official launch of the office
is expected in Trinidad later this
Some of the plans for Trinidad
are getting staff, an office, mobil-
ising volunteers, hosting concerts
and fund-raising activities.
Fazil said the primary function
of the organisation was to support
poor and needy people around the
world and to tackle the issues and
root causes of poverty.
"The aim isn t just to help peo-
ple but to also get them standing
on their own feet and to give them
some form of dignity so they can
live a dignified life," he said.
Islamic Help is a faith-inspired
and not faith-based organisation,
Fazil pointed out in an interview
last week, two days before he
returned to the UK.
So why set up in Trinidad?
Fazil and other directors visited
six weeks ago. He said it was purely
to inform people how the organ-
isation operated and whether they
wanted to be involved.
"I saw that community focus
and the participatory approach,"
He said the support came from
businesses, local community mem-
bers, imams and youth.
"It was motivating."
Fazil said in the UK there were
so many charities that were com-
peting while in Trinidad that did
"There isn t that here, so if we re
spending any money it s spending
money in order to fund-raise, not
He said there was a great com-
munity spirit and people expressed
willingness to become involved.
He explained that a lot of the
projects undertaken were commu-
"We make sure the community
is a part of it and this is something
we can bring here and have a
structured, community mobilisa-
"If it s just about fund-raising
then there are so many countries
in Europe that we can set up in,
but there was just something about
the response that we got from the
people in Trinidad."
He said feedback he got was that
people were sceptical about char-
ities because they were conned.
However, he said Islamic Help
Trinidad was registered and would
be accountable to the people.
"So they can set the bar about
how the accountability should be
done. They can decide how they
want feedback," Fazil said.
While here, Fazil worked with
the Macoon Street Muslim Youth
Organisation in its food hamper
drive in observation of Ramadan.
The organisation is distributing
hampers to the less fortunate.
People decide who
they want to help
When people donate money,
Fazil said they can decide who and
what cause they wanted to help.
He said: "People can decide how
their money should be spent and
where it should be spent, so it s
not necessarily about us saying
give us money and we spend it."
Fazil said donations that go into
the charity will be used here and
also towards disasters or causes in
other parts of the world but that
depended on the people.
He said: "Some aspects the UK
head office will pay towards, but
generally we will try to raise among
the people themselves so we
become a structured, humanitarian
"Our most current appeal is for
Syria, so people who are donating
at the moment it s purely for Syria."
He said there are people who
would specify where they wanted
the money to go, so "we re very
careful with that allocation of
Asked whether the organisation
was strictly Islamic or for Muslims,
he said, "The humanitarian sector
"If you re in need and a Muslim
is in need I m not going to prioritise
anyone because that person is
"We prioritise because of gen-
uine needs, religion won t be a fac-
tor unless it is a specific fund like
Director: Islamic Help Trinidad
will account to the people
For more information:
• Facebook: Islamic Help Trinidad
Director of international development Kamran Fazil holds a baby during a visit to
Somalia during a famine.
Islamic Help UK
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt August 4, 2013
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