Guinea, West Africa
Furnishing an Orphanage for Girls
Guinea’s mineral wealth makes it potentially one of Africa’s richest countries but according to the United National Development Programme, it is one of the poorest countries in the world. Most live on less than $1 a day.
The Albukhary Foundation responded to an appeal to furnish MyIslamic Family Orphanage in the village of Tabounna. It donated RM169, 000 (USD 50,000), part of which was used to purchase household items, furniture and fittings, books and stationery. As these items cost less in Malaysia, they were bought here and shipped to the orphanage. The rest of the funds were used to finance the cost of shipment, customs clearance, ground transportation; purchase used vans for the orphanage; and pay for medical check-up charges for the orphans.
Disaster Relief and Albukhary Rehabilitation Centre, Bharavat Camp
On 26 December 2003, a 6.5-Richter scale earthquake that was recorded as the worst in Iran destroyed the ancient city of Bam. It killed an estimated 30,000 people, injured thousands, destroyed 42,000 homes and rendered some 200,000 homeless. Overnight, this hometown of former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani that was experiencing rapid growth from agriculture, industry and tourism, was reduced to rubble.
The Albukhary Foundation joined international relief organisations to bring food, shelter and medical supplies to survivors of the city, 600 kilometres from Tehran. Victims were moved away from the rubble and insanitary conditions to vast tent cities, each housing 15,000 families.
The foundation focused its efforts on Bharavat Camp that was manned by Mercy Malaysia. Mercy Malaysia had taken over this base camp from Italian rescue personnel who handed over 120 camps when they left after completing rescue operations. The camps included makeshift medical facilities, a mosque and a child-care centre.
Initially, the Albukhary Foundation converted two containers to serve as pre-school classrooms. Two months after the earthquake, the foundation implemented a capacity-building rehabilitation programme that focused on health and education. To help restore normalcy as soon as possible, the Government of Iran responded to the foundation’s request for a site to operate the Albukhary Rehabilitation Centre, essentially a computer and skills education centre.
From Heritage Church to Mosque
The foundation purchased a heritage church from the Sir Herbert Baker Society and renovated it to serve as a mosque for the growing Muslim population living in the inner city. Renovated according to the strict standards of the society and city authority, the mosque has a capacity for 2,000 worshippers.
British colonial architect Sir Herbert Baker (1862-1946) was a dominant force in South African architecture. He designed public buildings such as Groote Shcuur, the official residence of the President, as well as churches and houses of wealthy mining magnates. His buildings are noted for their use of local materials and craftsmanship. They are also distinctive for their unique Cape architecture, with its Dutch overtones.
Cape Town is the birthplace of Islam in South Africa. South African Muslims are recognised for their economic, social and political contributions to the society here.
Today, there are several Muslim organisations, both local and global, involved in welfare programmes in post-apartheid South Africa.
Dallas International College of Leadership, Cantray House
Dallas International College in Cape Town was given a boost by the foundation, which offered its property, Cantray House, as a venue for academic activities. Cantray House was bought and renovated by the foundation in 2001, and it can accommodate 150 students.
Professor Dr Abdul Basheer O Jem Barra, a Spaniard from the University of Bilbao, established the college. Open to Muslims and non-Muslims, it has a student population consisting of 70 per cent poor Africans and 30 per cent from other parts of the world. The academic programme offers a wide choice of subjects for personal development – from IT and bio-politics to Shakespeare and Islamic studies.
Tor Castle is the base of activities aimed at raising the intellectual understanding of Islam among Muslims and non-Muslims. One of its primary objectives is to promote a more visible and articulate Muslim leadership by engaging the global Muslim community in social, economic and intellectual discourse. To achieve this, Tor Castle organises conferences and seminars, produces videos and publishes books. The Albukhary Foundation has sponsored several titles.
Street Kids Welfare Programme, Mitchel’s Plain
Spearheaded by community leader and social activist Abdullah Wagi, this is a rehabilitation programme for children who were picked up from the streets of Mitchel’s Plain, an economically depressed neighbourhood of Cape Town. Aged between seven and 14, the children suffered from a variety of problems, ranging from homelessness to malnutrition and psychological disorders.
In 2002, the foundation began to work closely with Abdullah Wagi, supporting his efforts to give these children a better future. They were fed, clothed and provided a roof over their heads. Traumatised children were provided professional attention. All were motivated to enter the school system but if they faced difficulty they were trained in the trades to improve their prospects of employment as adults.
Saidina Abubakar Hospital, Kampala
HIV/AIDS is the scourge of modern Africa, and Uganda was one of the first hard-hit countries. Its Ministry of Health estimated 1.05 million people living with HIV/AIDS in 2001, with more than 940,000 HIV/AIDS-related deaths since the onset of the disease in the country. In recent years, Uganda has been hailed as a success story in the fight against the pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa.
In 2003, the Albukhary Foundation responded to an appeal by the Islamic Medical Association of Uganda to build a hospital specialising in HIV/AIDS. Two years later, Saidina Abubakar Hospital and Training Centre was officially opened in Kampala. One of few sizeable health projects undertaken by the Muslim community of Uganda, the hospital is open to all.
Apart from general hospital facilities and services, the hospital also houses the International Centre for the Promotion of the Islamic Approach to AIDS. This is one of the components of the network model for the delivery of integrated HIV/AIDS prevention services.
This model has a community component, which involves religious and local community leaders networking with the hospital in the delivery of HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support to AIDS victims and their families.