A four part series of personal sacrifices made by the refugees across the camps in Sudan, Yemen, Djibouti & Ethiopia
Names have been changed to protect the privacy and dignity of our dear brothers and sisters within the refugee camps.
In some cases, the refugees themselves have chosen the alternative name by which we should refer to them.
Hajj is a precious experience for every believer, and as soon as we have the means we strive to perform the best and most perfect Hajj we can.
One such person was Abdullah ibn Mubarak, the great 8th-century scholar and Islamic personality. It's said that he would perform Hajj each year, and take many people with him to fulfil their dreams of pilgrimage too.
On his way to Hajj one year, he met a poor family forced to scavenge dead animals for food. Shocked, he immediately left all his money and provisions for the journey with them, and returned to his village empty-handed.
More than just Hajj?
Upon his arrival, to his surprise, he found the people bearing witness to his Hajj! Allah had accepted his charitable action and caused the people to perceive that Abdullah had performed Hajj anyway.
That year, he gained the reward for his charity AND the reward for Hajj. Abdullah ibn Mubarak went on to complete many more Hajj journeys in his lifetime.
2020 has been difficult and we know there's no Hajj for travellers. Can we replace this with other great actions that please Allah?
PART 1 - HAWA
When she was 14, Hawa’s parents passed away within 6 months of each other - her father first, and then her mother. Death due to disease and malnutrition is common in the refugee camps of East Sudan. Alone and with 3 younger siblings, she assumed the role of a parent and caregiver to her family, navigating the severe dangers which the refugee camps present to orphan children. Tragically, her brother, the youngest of the family, also passed away from disease a few months later.
In the years that followed, Hawa sacrificed her education, prospects, dreams and youth to make sure that she and her siblings survived. She continued this battle consistently until all the siblings grew to an age where they were strong and independent. Nothing prepared her for this role, and no-one was there to help.
Now young adults, Ethar Relief is in touch with them and distributes some of your Qurbani to them every year – a small but welcome gift. Whenever we do this, they always share the Qurbani widely with as many people as they can.
PART 2 - YUSUF
It’s very easy to forget how recently Yemen turned from a peaceful place into the most dangerous warzone in the world. Yusuf, originally from Djibouti, arrived years ago in Yemen as a refugee. In those days Yemen represented a safe haven for many East Africans fleeing oppression and conflict. Yusuf worked and studied hard, and a few years later, became one of the most promising medical graduates in his university’s history. Upon qualification as a doctor, he received offers from around the world to take up residency and practice medicine, including from institutions in countries such as Kuwait and Qatar.
Just as he was planning the next chapter in his life, war broke out in Yemen. Yusuf was ready to leave and work in a safe country, but decided that if he did so it would not be true to his conscience. Instead, despite all advice to the contrary, he chose to remain in Yemen and help the people who were being affected by the war. When we met him recently, he was working in a field hospital in a refugee camp, tending to all manner of diseases and war injuries. He was still happy with his decision, and determined to continue his mission as long as he could.
Yusuf may not fit into everyone’s pre-conceived ideas about refugees. We believe he’s an amazing inspiration, and a deserving person to include in your Qurbani distribution this year.
PART 3 - MARYAM
We met Maryam, a refugee living in Djibouti, several years ago. An incredibly dignified woman, she was raising her 4 young children alone after the disappearance of her husband. Men being taken away is a common occurrence, and Maryam did not know whether her husband had been killed, imprisoned, or kidnapped. She was suffering from a serious health condition and was clearly struggling to keep her household going. Observing her suffering and severe poverty, Ethar Relief immediately identified that she was in great need of help and emergency aid.
However, Maryam refused to accept any food packs or monetary donations. There were, she explained, many more deserving people in far worse difficulty than herself. Despite her condition, she preferred to work in various jobs and ignore the danger to her health. She said that it was important for her to do her best for her children, as long as she had the strength. She did not want them to think that she could have worked but took aid that would have benefitted another person.
Maryam sadly passed away 4 months ago. Her children are in the care of the Ethar Relief Orphan programme. Your Qurbani would be a great boost to their health and wellbeing this year.
PART 4 - HAMID
Within Ethiopia, just like in other surrounding countries, there are whole villages and communities of Eritrean refugees who have fled conflict and danger. In recent times, their lives have been turned upside down by the rapid and uncharted spread of Covid-19 through such villages. With no access to healthcare and no way of safely shielding from the virus, entire communities have had to migrate, leaving everything behind to protect their families from disease.
Hamid, a father fleeing Eritrea into Ethiopia with his young family, has had to make heartbreaking sacrifices along the way. The choices he has made should never present themselves to any parent. He may have arrived in Ethiopia with his children, but they have lost everything and have only the clothes they stand in.
As Dhul Hijjah approaches, Ethar Relief seeks out deserving people like Hamid to distribute your Qurbani, and bring a small glimmer of joy into their lives.
Disclaimer: Images are for illustration purposes only and do not depict specific individuals mentioned in the stories.