Dubai: Members of the Ismaili Muslim community in the UAE recently took part in relief operations to support the flood victims in Pakistan.
The volunteering services for the relief operations in Dubai were held as part of the second annual Global Ismaili Civic Day, which fell on September 25. Ismaili Civic Day is a global programme under which the Ismaili Muslim community across the world unites around its centuries-old tradition of serving humanity by rendering voluntary service to improve the quality of life of the communities in which it lives, regardless of faith, gender or background. This international endeavour reflects the community’s ethic of civic engagement and good citizenship.
In Dubai, the Ismaili Council for the UAE in collaboration with the Pakistan Association Dubai (PAD) organised an initiative to support the Pakistan flood emergency appeal which saw volunteers from the Ismaili Community collaborating with the PAD last weekend.
The Ismaili community in the UAE has many members hailing from Pakistan who are acutely aware of the disaster that has impacted the country. However, the volunteers participating in the relief operations comprise many nationalities which make up the Ismaili community in the UAE, according to a statement issued by the Ismaili Centre in Dubai.
Their volunteering service was in addition to the $10 million donation from Prince Rahim Aga Khan to the flood relief efforts in Pakistan on behalf of the Ismaili Imamat.
Global Isamili Civic Day
Sarah Hashwani, who leads the initiative on behalf of the Ismaili Community said “In line with Global Ismaili Civic Day 2022, the response from the community and their wider networks has been overwhelming with over 600 hours of voluntary time to sort and pack boxes including receiving gifts of essential emergency items to support the PAD food relief efforts. We are grateful to PAD for this collaboration and would like to thank all those who came forward.”
In the UAE, many organisations have come together to support relief operations in Pakistan. The Pakistan Association Dubai in collaboration with Dar Al Ber Society and the Department of Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities had initiated an emergency appeal for donations to support victims of the flood.
Dh2.2m worth of aid sent
Dr Faisel Ikram, president of PAD, said as of September 26, approximately Dh2.2m worth of aid had been sent to Pakistan.
The relief materials weighing 300 tonnes have been dispatched “Nine 40ft containers have been loaded and dispersed from PAD from September 7 till September 26. The loading starts after 10pm and lasts till 6am,” he said.
“The Pakistan Association Dubai launched this initiative along with the government of Dubai. We stand together. And this is part of the UAE Aid initiative, which has nine charity organisations. We work under the umbrella of the Dar Al Ber Society.”
He said various community members came forward and there had been enormous response from various corporates as well.
“Especially during the weekend, we’ve seen the Ismaili community also celebrating the Ismaili Civic Day by participating in it. I think this is a spirit which very few communities have. Their children from the age of five to adulthood, they’re all contributing at various levels. At Pakistan Association Dubai, we thank them and we appreciate the way they have come forward. And we hope that this partnership grows and continues in the future also.”
Rizwan Fancy, director of Welfare at PAD said: “We are extremely grateful to the Ismaili community for supporting the PAD Flood Relief Camp. As Pakistan battles a troubling crisis, it is heartening to see our diverse community coming forward to contribute on such a large scale. In critical times like these, the participation of our community is strengthening to our cause for rehabilitating the victims of the catastrophic floods back home.”
600 hours of voluntary work
The members of the Ismaili Community volunteered to sort, pack and label relief items to be sent to Pakistan as part of the flood relief efforts. Volunteers were able to donate “in-kind “emergency essentials at PAD on both days, such as tents, blankets, dry rations and clothing.
Pakistan is currently in a state of national emergency following devastating floods believed to be due to climate change. During this summer, Pakistan received almost double its 30-year average rainfall affecting more than 33 million people, destroying or damaging an estimated 1.7m homes, 5,000 kilometres of road and 240 bridges.
Over 1400 people have died including 400 children and financial losses have been estimated to be in excess of $10 Billion, with further consequential economic disruption expected in the months ahead.