Tag Archive: Charity

Girls on a mission: Friends aim to raise £6,000 to deliver aid to Syrian refugees in Turkey

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AID VOLUNTEER: Samaira Iqbal (left) hopes to meet the £6000 target and return to Reyhanli with food and survival packets for families at the Syrian border

AID VOLUNTEER: Samaira Iqbal (left) hopes to meet the £6000 target and return to Reyhanli with food and survival packets for families at the Syrian border

 

Two dedicated fundraisers, having previously delivered aid to Syrian refugees in Reyhanli, are on a mission to raise a further £6000 to buy essentials for families desperate for help out there.

Reyhanli, a small Turkish town, near the Syrian border, is home to thousands of Syrian refugees, many of whom live in appalling conditions, such as abandoned incomplete houses, shelters and tents.

Close friends Samaira Iqbal (33) and Shabnam Naz (34), having previously delivered aid in Reyhanli in February this year, will return to carry out similar humanitarian duties during the first week of October.

Samaira, a psychological wellbeing practitioner, said: “After witnessing first-hand, the monumental difference everyone’s donations made on our last trip, we have decided to return to Reyhanli in October.

COMMITTED: Shabnam Naz says she can’t stop thinking about the people displaced from their homes in Syria

COMMITTED: Shabnam Naz says she can’t stop thinking about the people displaced from their homes in Syria

 

“We have a joint fundraising target of £6,000 which will be used to purchase essential food items to feed the families most in need.

“During our time in Reyhanli, we were shocked at the conditions some people live in. We saw the difference our presence made to people and they knew they hadn't been forgotten and that we care. More importantly, the people only have access to food via charities, which is why it's vital to raise the funds and replenish the food to ensure they don't go hungry.

"We are passionate about aid work and want to make a difference, and if we can bring a smile to even one person’s face, then it's all worth it.

“It was a very eye-opening, life-changing experience.”

Once there, the volunteers, both from Rochdale, will help pack over 1,000 food aid boxes and deliver them to refugees in tent camps, orphanages, family centres, villages and rehabilitation centres for those physically injured by war.

Shabnam added: “Since we have returned, we cannot stop thinking about the most beautiful kind-hearted people we met there, every single person we encountered touched our hearts to the very core.

“The children, the mothers, the families, were all so full of love and warmth. We will never forget their smiles, cuddles and laughter, despite having lost their homes and loved ones.

“The patience, compassion, love and warmth radiated by the beautiful Syrian people completely captured our hearts and we have fully left them behind in Reyhanli.”

A £25 parcel will feed a family of five for up to ten days and contains: rice, bulgur wheat, green and red lentils, vermicelli, spaghetti, kidney beans, chickpeas, tea, sunflower and olive oils, sugar, and semolina.

To donate, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/shabnam-samaira

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Mercy for mankind: Youngsters aim to surpass £500,000 fundraising effort

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The largest youth organisation in Britain with some 700 members, some as young as five-years-old, took part in a £500,000 fundraising effort.

Members of the AMYA from Bradford as well youth from all across the country held its 'Mercy for Mankind' Charity Challenge on Saturday 19th August in Fitz Park, Keswick.

This year welcomes the 33rd Charity Challenge, which first began in 1985. The group says that the purpose of all these activities is to engender the spirit of discipline and service to the wider community irrespective of people’s beliefs, race, or gender.

Their motto ‘Love for All, Hatred for None’ underpins this ethos.

Since its inception AMYA has raised in excess of £2 million for UK charities. The event is generally hosted in a different location each year, with previous locations including the Tower of London, Hyde Park, Battersea Park, Hampshire and the Yorkshire Dales.

UK charities to benefit from the fundraising include The Royal British Legion, Save the Children, NSPCC, Barnardos, CLIC Sargent, UNICEF, British Red Cross, Cumbria Community Foundation and others.

Wadood Daud, Regional youth leader for North East said: “We raise hundreds of thousands of pounds every year for British charities. This year again, many of us are travelling to the Lake for the Mercy for Mankind Charity Challenge to raise funds for the most needy in our society without any distinction of faith, colour or creed.”

"The annual charity challenge is the highlight of the year. This year the half marathon in the Lake District was fantastic, a proper challenge in a lovely part of the world! And all that whilst raising thousands of for British charities- its really is one of the best annual events for me,” commented Qasim Amini.

Nasrullah Saeed said: "During the charity challenge, a lady asked me what was taking place and when I told here about the charity walk she donated some money and she thanked me as well for taking part.

“She already knew about our youth organisation because of our flood relief work last year and she was also very happy to see us again. I really enjoyed the positive and welcoming atmosphere."

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Daring Dylan climbs mountain for orphans

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DETERMINED: 7-year-old Dylan Avtar watched a movie about orphans and decided he wanted to make them happy by giving them toys

DETERMINED: 7-year-old Dylan Avtar watched a movie about orphans and decided he wanted to make them happy by giving them toys

Seven-year-old boy wonder raises £2,500 for children in just two days after scaling England’s highest mountain

A seven-year-old boy from Leeds has raised £2,500 for orphans by climbing 3,209-feet on England’s highest mountain following inspiration from a film he watched.

Little Dylan Avtar decided that he wanted to raise £1000, after he watched called ‘Norbit’, which is about children in an orphanage. So moved was the primary school kiddo that he got hooked on the idea of raising money for orphanages.

The cute-faced Dylan, appreciating that he has a “mummy and daddy”, turned around to his parents and said that he wanted to help orphans as well as disabled and “really poorly” children by giving them toys and presents.

Dylan’s dad says he was completely blown-away with his seven-year-old son’s idea - Dylan had even offered to help his dad at work, doing a summer job.

It was at his dad’s work that he came up with the idea to walk up Scafell Pike, the highest mountain in England, after he heard about it.

As the idea for Dylan’s fundraising progressed, the family decided that any funds raised should be allocated to orphanages in India, Pakistan and Britain, marking the 70-years Independence Day anniversaries for both countries.

Daring Dylan who scaled England’s highest mountain raising thousands for charity.

Daring Dylan who scaled England’s highest mountain raising thousands for charity.

It was Dylan’s aim to raise £1000, and he set up his just giving page just two days before the walk itself. Incredibly, within just a few days he completely smashed his target.

Embarking on a climb that most would chicken out of, Dylan completed the mammoth walk with his two sisters Katrina, 5 and Davina, 10 as well as his parents and a few other volunteers on Saturday 19th August.

As the walk went on the weather conditions deteriorated drastically, but this didn’t deter determined Dylan who wanted to push on and carry on to the finish.

The beginners were halfway up by the time the more experienced novices were on their way back down.

There were horrendous weather conditions with gale force winds and visibility was reduced when they were in the clouds. At this point Katrina and her mother decided like the majority of the other walkers to retreat back.

While others dropped out and made their way back to base camp, daring Dylan with his dad and sister Davina, continued towards the summit and achieved the feat of climbing England’s highest peak.

The final push was difficult with conditions that poor that even the support team were advising to abandon the walk, but this didn’t stop the determined trio.

With the final part of the walk taking in excess of an hour due to slippery stones, they eventually completed the climb.

Dylan spoke of his experience and what he encountered on the walk he said: “It was fun and tiring, going up was fun because you could see animals like sheep and cows.

“When we reached the top, we were in the clouds and it was very cold, there was a stone wall at the top with steps and I climbed up there and got to the top. When you got up there and looked behind you it was quite scary. It was very windy and blowing quite heavy in my face and nearly pushed me over.

“Coming down was fun as you could walk on the grass and this was better as you could get more grip in your sticks.

“My favourite bit was walking up where there was a dome because you could slide down on the rocks. We saw the highest lake in England, we had to climb over rocks running through a stream, some people couldn’t get over it.”

The charity walk was sponsored by CC Continental Supermarket who provided all the equipment used on the day including clothing and walking boots. Tania and Manoj from the local chemist also sponsored the support team with First Aid supplies, while Asian Express sponsored the transport.

Now, Dylan has now decided he wants to carry on with his challenges and has set his sights on climbing the challenging  4,435-foot Ben Nevis in Scotland, which is the highest mountain in the country.

Dylan’s Challenge will be airing on Sky TV’s Sikh channel in September.

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Children pull off biggest-ever fundraiser for Huddersfield children’s hospice

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When the fundraising team at Huddersfield-based Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice had the idea of challenging local children to raise money for the hospice, they were unprepared for the scale of their response.

“I said in the office that it would be great if we could raise just £80,” recalls Lynsey Marshall. “We could never have imagined they would actually raise over £80,000 – and that’s before we add in the Gift Aid, which will amount to a further £10,000 at least.

“This is the most successful campaign we’ve ever run by far! It just shows you how children respond to the idea of other children who are in need.”

The idea was to ask local schoolchildren to do a sponsored ‘Around the World Challenge’ by walking either a mile (primary schools) or two miles (secondary schools) and seeing how their miles added up compared to the circumference of the Earth, which is 24,901 miles. Could they, collectively, walk around the world? In the event, over 25,000 children, in 80 schools, youth groups and uniformed brigades across West Yorkshire threw themselves into the challenge and spanned the Earth with ease.

Word of the walk quickly spread to other schools and groups, including junior sports groups, uniformed groups and faith organisations, who also joined in.

Young people of every age and ability signed up to the challenge, from nursery schools to colleges and even special schools. It became clear that the children felt very moved by the work the hospice carries out.

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Sweet success: Confectionary initiative raises £51,000 for Pakistan orphanage

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A team from Bradford has had an insanely successful month of fundraising this Ramadan, after selling £51,000 worth of chocolate fudge cakes in order to raise money for the Kashmir Orphan Relief Trust (KORT).

A cheque for more than £51,000 was handed over by 41-year-old Nadeem Malik and his team of fundraisers from Bradford, who sold cakes during Ramadan.

Nadeem was one of several volunteers who helped distribute chocolate fudge cakes, bought from Sea Fresh, in Bradford, and sold around the country.

The profits were to go towards KORT orphanage, in the Mirpur region, and a cheque for £51,650 has now been handed over.

KORT is a non-profit charity organisation that provides food, shelter, clothing, medical care and education for almost 200 orphans, including children who were orphaned by the devastating earthquake of 2005 and the floods of 2010.

The orphanage was started by Mohammed Akhtar after an earthquake devastated the region in 2005 and the charity is registered in the UK.

Nadeem has visited the orphanage and seen the facilities first-hand: “We realized that there was a greater need for long term support of the children orphaned by the earthquake.

"The Kort complex has a state of the art school and high quality living accommodation for the orphans.

“The lovely thing to see is orphans from all faiths and backgrounds in this complex.

“I’d personally like to thank you to everyone who bought the cakes to help us raise so much."

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Saving lives in Syria and Gaza

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DETERMINED DUO: Avid fundraiser and humanitarian Nazim Ali along with 15-year-old Sufyaan Bashir will climb three of the country’s highest peaks in 24-hours

DETERMINED DUO: Avid fundraiser and humanitarian Nazim Ali along with 15-year-old Sufyaan Bashir will climb three of the country’s highest peaks in 24-hours

 

Bradford duo ready to take on the Three Peaks challenge raising crucial funds

A serial volunteer and avid fundraiser who has pulled in well over £120,000 for numerous charities both here in Britain and abroad, is at it again.

This time Nazim Ali, less than eight-weeks since he raised money by completing a gruelling run whilst fasting, has paired up with a friend’s 15-year-old son Sufyaan Bashir to take on the Three Peaks challenge.

The challenge on Saturday 26th August is hoping to raise crucial funds to buy food parcels for Syrian refugees and get clean water to Gaza.

Nazim and Sufyaan, with a group of 28 others, will climb the three highest peaks in the country - Ben Nevis in Scotland, Scafell Pike in England and Mount Snowdon in Wales… all in under 24-hours!

Sufyaan, a Bingley Grammar School student who lives in Keighley is a fitness fanatic. “I am excited by this challenge and know it won’t be easy - as Nazim keeps reminding me,” laughs Sufyaan.

“However, I did Mount Snowdon last year for charity and felt physically very strong. It helps that I attend regular circuit-training workout classes and am a keen rugby player in school.

“The main thing is to raise lots of money for food parcels in Syria and clean water in Gaza. I am grateful to Nazim for his support and encouragement in doing this amazing challenge. It’s time to get training and raising lots of money.”

Funds raised will be split between two projects: The food parcels for Syria, which cost £20 each, provide a family of five with 7-10 days supply of food inside war ravaged Syria and displaced Syrian refugees.

“The situation is so bad in Syria that people have been known to eat grass and dead animals to survive due to the on-going civil war which shows no sign of ending,” says Nazim.

"We will be raising money for the Dewsbury-based International humanitarian organisation, SKT Welfare which operates on 100% donation policy.

“Our target is £3,000 which will be equally split 50-50 between Syria and Gaza.

The Water for Gaza (Palestine) initiative, will introduce desalination plants that purify sea water. £83 per day will provide 50,000 litres of clean water for 70,000 Palestinians.

“Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas in the world, and ongoing assaults have left the territory’s 1.8 million residents facing an imminent water crisis. Statistically around 90% of the Gaza strip’s water is undrinkable,” adds Nazim.

“Without water, no reconstruction and no rebuilding of lives can take place.

“Medicine, sanitation, hygiene, and crucial facilities that depend on water all suffer.

“Contaminated water is causing several illnesses including, renal failure, high blood pressure and osteoporosis.

“Most families spend a bulk of their earnings on contaminated water. The grim water statistics are part of a recent UN report on Gaza, which says the Gaza Strip will become uninhabitable by 2020.

“SKT Welfare is a charity which does not outsource meaning they take full responsibility for the delivery of all their projects from start to finish. I have personally worked with the charity and observed their transparent approach having witnessed on my five humanitarian aid trips to the Turkish/Syrian border region in recent years.”

If you would like to help Nazim and Sufyaan hit their £3000 target, you can donate on: www.justgiving.com/nazim00786

Completing the Challenge and travel will be SELF-FUNDED ensuring not even a single penny will come out of your donations.

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International cricket stars to play at Birkby

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SPORTING SPIRIT: Co-founder of Eshkari Foundation Tanzil Bukhari, with former England Rugby legend, team up to raise money for disabled youngsters

SPORTING SPIRIT: Co-founder of Eshaki Foundation Tanzil Bukhari, with former England Rugby legend, team up to raise money for disabled youngsters

Eshaki Foundation Charity cricket match brings legends such as Saeed Ajmal, Amir Sohail and Derek Pringle together for a T20 game

A husband-and-wife team are ready-set-go after they secured cricket greats for a charity T20 match under a cricket-carnival atmosphere – all to raise crucial funds for disabled youngsters.

Former legends such as Pakistan’s Saeed Ajmal and Amir Sohail, England’s Derek Pringle, Saj Mahmood and Kabir Ali, along with New Zealand’s Ian O’Brien will join forces to play a game at Birkby Rose HILL CC against an Eshaki XI on Sunday 30th July.

Prior to the main match, cricket fans will have the opportunity to attend a charity dinner with the international cricket stars at Lala’s restaurant in Huddersfield.

There will also be a unique opportunity to meet and dine with Pakistan’s most successful Captain, Misbah-Ul-Haq.

The charity cricket event which is free of charge to attend is being organised by trustees and founders of the Eshaki Foundation, Tabussum and Tanzil Bukhari.

Tabassum Bukhari says: “We are very excited and looking forward to hosting the day’s events.  

“As a charity we take pride in focusing our efforts on driving impact in the UK by engaging and supporting young people. We look forward to engaging with all sections of the community and hope this event is the start of a special relationship between us.

“At The Eshaki Foundation, we believe that all young people, when given the right support and opportunities, can and do make lasting contributions to their communities.

Key social and life skills fostered through the power of sport coupled with a joint commitment to achieve an education deliver the core values we promote.

“To help us to achieve this we focus on three main areas: Providing young people with support and development opportunities; encouraging young people with disabilities to effectively express themselves and creating a platform to drive social acceptance of young girls/women.”

Hosting this event with a galaxy of former international cricket stars will provide the Eshaki Foundation the platform to showcase the charity and raise much-needed funds to support its endeavours.

Tanzil Bukhari comments: “As a family-funded and run charity, we have been supporting many causes over the years. We feel the time is right to take both the charity and its goals to the next level.

“This event is the start of that journey for Eshaki Foundation and so we are extremely thankful to Birkby Rose Hill Cricket Club and all of our sponsors for their support.’


 

For further information on the Eshaki Foundation and the event please visit the website: http://www.eshakifoundation.com/

 


 

Tickets for the dinner at Lala’s are available on http://www.eshakifoundation.com/ site and start from £25

 


 

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‘Day of Memory Conference’ remembers British victims of honour killings

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CAMPAIGNER: Karma Nirvana founder and author, Jasvinder Sanghera CBE

CAMPAIGNER: Karma Nirvana founder and author, Jasvinder Sanghera CBE

 

National statistics show that South Asian women in Britain are up to three times more likely to commit suicide than their Caucasian counterparts.

Honour abuse often has multiple perpetrators (often women) from the immediate and extended family and sometimes the community at large which makes prosecutions extremely

difficult.

Human Rights Charity Karma Nirvana hosted their third annual ‘Day of Memory Conference’ on July 14th to remember those lost to honour killings.

Delegates learnt how local and national partners are tackling honour-based abuse and what they are doing to prevent further honour killings in Britain.

Speakers included Karma Nirvana founder and author, Jasvinder Sanghera CBE, Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability, Sarah Newton MP and West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson amongst others.

Held in conjunction with West Yorkshire Police Crime Commissioner and Leeds City Council the conference presented a unique opportunity for 200 guests to honour the memories of those killed and hear from experts and survivors.

Male and female survivors shared their experiences and explaining how the emotional and physical abuse of honour crimes can quickly escalate to significant risks, disownment and ultimately murder

Delegates were given insight that victims of honour killings are not determined by age, gender, sexuality or religion as well as how to recognise extreme behaviour and best practice in tackling it.

There are an estimated 12 honour killings each year in the UK although the exact number is unknown. In 2016 over 7,000 calls (600 calls per month) were made to Karma Nirvana’s helpline from victims and professionals seeking guidance.

The Day of Memory was inspired by Bradford-born Shafilea Ahmed who was murdered by her parents in 2003 after suffering years of abuse for becoming ‘too westernised’. A commemorative birthday cake was presented during the conference to mark what would have been Shafilea’s 31st birthday.

Leeds City Council signed a city pledge and leading the way nationally to become a beacon of best practice developing a strategy and commitment to tackling these abuses across the city and will be the first to commit in this way. It is hoped other councils will follow suit.

Jasvinder Sanghera CBE said: “In almost 25 years of campaigning I have rarely heard from families or communities speaking out against the horror of honour killings, so who remembers the victims?

“Each year on July 14th we do. We celebrate victim’s lives and remember them as the most honourable of beings.”

The UN report that there are approximately 5,000 honour killings around the world each year, though theactual number is believed to be much higher.

Jasvinder Sanghera CBE has been a campaigner for 24 years and is the author of several books including The Sunday Times bestseller, ‘Shame’. She featured in the award-winning documentary ‘Honour Diaries’, and her TEDx talk on YouTube has over 62,000 views.

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Blood donor bonanza: Charity Sewa Day has helped increase the national average of Indian Asian’s that give blood by 37%

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Harkishan Mistry giving at event earlier this year

Harkishan Mistry giving at event earlier this year

 

A proud Yorkshire man has played a key role in educating the Asian community about registering to give blood and made a massive impact on national figures.

Since becoming the first UK project manager for Sewa Day last October, Harkishan Mistry has worked tirelessly along with other volunteers to get 300 new Asian’s donors registered this year.

He has been set with a challenge of getting that figure up to 1500 new donors by next April.

Harkishan is currently working with the NHS to get a list of 12 new venues risk assessed so they can be used for blood donation.

As he explains the trouble is getting people to attend donor centres: “People are quiet reluctant to go, but if they were able to register at a temple it would be more accessible.

“Once you get people through the door and registered on the donor list they can be chased up.”

He has been part of the Sewa Day since 2010 which has various projects with schools, community groups, councillors, and homeless groups.

The aim is to encourage individuals, voluntary groups, schools, and companies to commit their time to doing a good deed with an aim of making a positive difference to someone else’s happiness be carried on the day building.

In the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit, Sewa means selfless service. Sewa is a universal concept, which involves performing an act of kindness without expectation of reward.

Although called ‘Sewa Day’ it isn’t just about one day, it’s about imbibing the values of ‘Sewa’ in to your life to serve others selflessly.

As it is so easy to sign to be a donor Harkishan hope more people will continue to do so: “You ring the 0300 number or go online and register answer a few simple questions then book an appointment and fill out a health and safety form.

“If everything is alright and the doctor gives you the ok then you give 20 minutes of your time to give blood.

“It is simple and quick and a much needed in our community.”

Since the age of 21 Harkishan has been a voluntary leader for Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh, and has been responsible for organising a range of cultural and physical activities for weekly meetings of the Bradford Branch.

For the last ten years Harkishan has run the Govindbhai Foundation a family-run registered charity that hosts annual events raising over £144,000 to support disadvantaged children in the UK and India.

To sign up and donate blood you can either ring 0300 123 23 23 or register online at: https://www.blood.co.uk/the-donation-process/registering-online/

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Medics ready to bowl over the competition

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Registrars and Consultants go head-to-head in charity cricket match at Headlingley

Yorkshire’s Orthopedic registrars are looking to leave their consultant counterparts stumped as they match up in a charity cricket match in aid of St. Gemma’s hospice.

The event, which takes place on 1st July at Glen Road Cricket ground in Headingley, is hoping to attract many families who are being encouraged to bring picnics and bask in the sun while watching the cricket drama unfold.

The match sees the Yorkshire Orthopedic Consultants take on the Registrars all in aid of charity with all proceeds and money raised going directly to St. Gemma’s hospice. It costs £9million a year to keep the hospice running.

Organised by Captain of the Registrar Team Dr Syed Bokhari said: “Once a year we look to create a charity event and this year we have chosen to play cricket and hope it continues for years to come.

“We chose St Gemma’s hospice because we felt that it was a righteous cause, we have players coming from Bradford, Huddersfield, Hull and York, giving, everyone is doing it for free.

“There’s only so much we can do, that’s why we created this charity match which we hope will be a fun filled family day with lots of money raised for a very worthy charity, we want people to embrace the event and we are trying to build a community feel.”

Syed who himself is a surgeon, trains around the Leeds region and has worked in York and Harrogate since 2010. Giving a bit more background about the event, he said: “There are around 300 bone surgeons in Yorkshire who deal with bone cancer amongst other bone-related cases.

“The Orthopedic Network has completely funded the event including the fee for the pitch.

“We want to ensure 100% of money raised goes directly to the charity. There are free refreshments including teas and ice-cream and free bouncy castle. It’s not about who wins but raising money for a worthy cause.”

The event is set to start at 10am and will finish at around 6pm. Everyone is welcome to go along and watch with entrance free for all.

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Return of the Ramadan Runner: Bradford man completes fourth 10K run whilst fasting for 18-hours

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Fundraising hero Nazim Ali slam-dunked it again this year for the Jane Tomlinson ‘Run For All Hull 10K’ – all under the hot sun at 28 degrees and all whilst fasting.

The Hull 10K marked it’s eighth year on Sunday 18th June, with a record number of 5000 runners braving the sun –baked-day. Nazim, who Asian Express have fondly given the title of ‘Ramadan Runner’, completed the gruelling run in just one hour and 17 seconds to complete.

A minute's silence was held for the victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy prior to the race, which created a real sombre community feel for everyone running.

Enjoying the scenic route, participants ran past some of Hull's iconic landmarks landmarks such as Guildhall, Victoria Park, the Deep (aquarium) and reached the finish line on Whitefriargate.

Nazim spoke highly of the Hull, the UK City of Culture 2017: “There was a wonderful carnival atmosphere with people lining the streets encouraging the runners on and the thoughtful residents were even using their hoses to cool the runners down, I just hope their water bills are not too high!”

“Different faith groups and ethnicities came together to collectively show their respect for the victims and the bravery of our emergency services.

But Nazim admits that this year’s run has been the most difficult to date.

“Fasting whilst doing a 10K run really was a gruelling challenge for the body, and never have I craved water as much as I did during and after the race,” confesses Nazim.

“In 2014 and 2015 I ran the Leeds 10K and the following year the Gateshead 10K but this was by far the hardest.

“There wasn't much shade on the route which meant the heat was zapping your energy levels and I still had eleven hours after I completed the run before I opened my fast which meant no access to water or drink.”

“I literally had to dig deep into my soul to complete the run and the wonderful crowd kept encouraging me – cheering me on - bless them.”

This was the Bradford careers officers fourth consecutive year completing a 10k during Ramadan and Nazim has raised over an epic £34,000. Over the last eleven years Nazim has done huge amounts of charity work and volunteering, raising almost £115,000 for both local and global causes.

 

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Record-breaker Bajwa at it again

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Mubzz Bajwa completes 12-hour Fast Feed for charity but also to show how faiths and communities can come together

Mubzz Bajwa is no stranger to pushing his body to the limit, having already completed three Guinness World Records in one day. However, this time he has gone even further for charity.

The fitness enthusiast who recently who currently holds a number of Guinness World Records, really pushed his body to the limit by completing what was called ‘Fast Feed 12’. For 12 hours, he completed fasted pad work during Ramadan with no food or water.

The event which was completed on May 28th was done to raise money for Trussell Trust who are a network of foodbanks in the UK for the homeless. A charity which his 12 hour Thai boxing pad work has raised just under £2000 so far.

But he also wanted to raise a powerful message to show how different faiths and the community can come together and help each other at a particularly challenging time.

Mubz said: “I think it’s important that people in this country understand the powerful message of communities and different faiths and religions coming together.”

The process wasn’t easy for Mubz, who admitted that it was difficult from training to the end of the event. He said: “Training was difficult it involved a lot of steady walking up to 10 miles to get my legs used to being stood up for so long.”

The event itself had Mubz questioning his decision and admitted that there were stages he didn’t know if he would complete it he said: “I started at 9:00am and the first hour was so difficult, I wanted to cry.”

“From 10am I built a steady rhythm and I had a paramedic on site at all time, with regular medicals, one being at 2:00pm as well as one the night before the event.”

However, around half way through his ordeal he started picking up medical issues Mubz explained. “From 4:00PM my blood sugars dropped, while my blood pressure and heart rate were up.”

“Then later my blood sugars were at critical levels while my blood pressure and heart rate were now through the roof, the paramedic told me to stop but I carried on putting my life on the line, it was pretty much suicidal, putting my life at risk till I finished at 9PM.”

Mubz isn’t satisfied with completing this however and already has his next events in the pipeline he explained: “The next few events are already semi planned with a documentary approached to go abroad so there are options.”

“The next few events will be dangerous, I am very excited. This will raise eyebrows.”

Mubz also commented about how after the event many faiths and races combined to break fast together and that this was the importance of the event and message he wanted to get across to the public, how all different faiths, races and religions must stay united.

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Fancy a choc fudge treat? Bradford duo takes on the challenge to shift tasty confectionary by the tonne for a sweet cause

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SWEET: Abdul Satar and Amjad Akram have been selling chocolate cakes to locals to raise money for charity

SWEET: Abdul Satar and Amjad Akram have been selling chocolate cakes to locals to raise money for charity

 

Two Bradford heroes have been overloaded with choc fudge cakes during the last couple of weeks, and you’d be forgiven thinking it was all to satisfy the whims of a having a sweet tooth.

Dedicated duo Abdul Satar and Amjad Akram have tirelessly been selling the yummy confectionary, all in aid to raise crucial funds to help improve the lives of innocent blind children.

But, this isn’t the first time they’ve committed to such a task. The pair have been doing charity work for a number of years and last year raised over £20,000 for AKAB school for the blind which is a children’s charity in Pakistan which aims to give hope to blind orphans in the country, who they are again raising money for.

Abdul and Amjad have once again already raised thousands of pounds for the project, and have now stepped-up the ‘sweet fundraising activity’ during the month of Ramadan.

With the cakes supplied by renowned Bradford business Seafresh, Abdul from the Office Furniture Company and Amjad of Letz Talk have been selling the cakes by knocking on doors and businesses, and using social media to plug the campaign.

“We deliver the cakes to people’s doors at £10 each and all the profits we raise go straight to the charity,” comments Amjad.

“We are doing this throughout Ramadan, but there are no hard set goals - whatever we raise is what we raise, they are only a small charity and can often be overlooked.

“It’s imperitive that we think of those less fortunate than us during this special month in the holy calendar.”

AKAB who’s mission statement is ‘to honour, empower the blind community by identification, education and employment’, have an enrolment of over 150 male and female students, which is funded through volunteers and fundraising.

So far, the charity-loving pair have sold over 800 cakes.

“All money from the sale of each cake is going directly to the charity,” adds Abdul.

“Is a very rewarding experience knowing that we’ve done something to assist the lives of young blind children.”

Abdul also carries out weekly charity work through his own local initiative Bradford Community Kitchen Centre for homeless people every Sunday from the Millside Centre in Grattan Road.

If you would like to buy a cake and help this cause, you can contact either Abdul on 07888693196 or Amjad on 07956566666.

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MAN ON A MISSION: 2,400 food parcels distributed to refugees on Turkish/Syrian border

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“For me that is the best part just seeing them smile and taking their mind off the horrors no child should witness”

A good Samaritan from Bradford who self-funded a Ramadan food aid trip to the Turkish border has returned home and says the immense gratefulness of displaced Syrians moved him to the core.

Nazim Ali, who has been raising funds for both local and overseas charities over the past 19-years made his fifth humanitarian trip to the Turkish/Syrian border with Dewsbury-based international humanitarian organisation SKT Welfare last month.

Raising a whopping £100,000 for this particular Ramadan mission, SKT Welfare sent out 21 members of the team to distribute hundreds of essential food parcels, each feeding a family of five for thirty days.

Nazim himself raised £16,479 for Syrian refugees for this trip, making his personal total raised for a plethora of charitable causes so far, at an all time high at over £100,000.

“We packed and distributed almost 2,400 food parcels, and I also took a suitcase full of toys for Syrian refugee children, which I distributed to Syrian orphans,” says Nazim.

“The intense six-day aid delivery trip consisted of a gruelling challenge in the blazing heat up to 38 degrees, and then just three or four hours sleep a day, if that.”

The passionate team distributed food parcels to the Turkish/Syrian border town of Reyhanli, which is 25-miles from war torn Aleppo. People have sought refuge in makeshift tents and partially built homes.

“Nothing has improved in terms of the living conditions of Syrian refugees since my very first visit four years ago,” states Nazim.

“You know the situation on the ground is dire when children do not have appropriate footwear or clothing and when it is torn and dirty.

“They ration the little food they have so that it lasts as long as possible, as they often have large combined families of up to 12 people living in one-room accommodation.

“Other refugees are living in almost underground caves - premises which you wouldn't deem fit enough for animals let alone humans!

“For me helping those in need, irrespective of religious affiliation or ethnicity, is a religious obligation as a devout British Muslim, and that’s what keeps me going.

“I visited Istanbul (Turkey) and came across so many Syrian refugees seeking monetary assistance. Small children as young as five-years-old are selling tissues at road-side so they can help earn a living and provide for their families, often working until midnight.”

Nazim says seeing, first-hand, the horrific injuries some children have sustained is hugely distressing .

“My heart literally sunk when I saw loss of limbs on particularly children and young people and hearing their harrowing stories on how they suffered such devastating injuries.”

The dedicated aid worker says that it was heart-rendering to see the Syrian children smiling and elated at receiving the toys that he gave them.

“For me that is the best part just seeing them smile and taking their mind off the horrors no child should witness due to the brutal on-going Syrian conflict which is into it's sixth year and shows no sign of ending.

“The suffering of the Syrian people both internally and externally displaced is continuing and is the biggest humanitarian crisis since World War 2.

“I am grateful to the on-going support of the British public, as I often say it is through their kind support and generosity that I am able to do what I do on the ground.

“What sticks in my mind and is the reason I go back taking my annual leave from work is when Syrian refugees have said to me, 'We feel abandoned by the world buy you have left your family (3,000 miles away in the UK) to help us and that means ever so much to us.'

“The Syrian refugees were really surprised when I informed them that the donations from the Ramadan food parcels was from both Muslim and non-Muslim people.

“They have asked me to convey their greetings to you and to convey their appreciation and gratitude for donating towards the food parcels.”

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Kids raise £1,300

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Over 50 children from Huddersfield, Spenvalley and Sheffield put on their trekking books to raise money for Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice. The walk formed part of AMYA’s annual ‘Mercy4Mankind’ campaign, which includes regular homeless feeding sessions, tree planting and hospital and care home visits.

Over 50 children from Huddersfield, Spenvalley and Sheffield put on their trekking books to raise money for Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice. The walk formed part of AMYA’s annual ‘Mercy4Mankind’ campaign, which includes regular homeless feeding sessions, tree planting and hospital and care home visits.

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Everything you need to know about being deaf aware

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National charity Action on Hearing Loss is urging people to abandon any stereotypes they might have about the 11 million people living with hearing loss in the UK and help bridge the communication gap for Deaf Awareness Week.

According to the charity, more than 900,000 people in the UK are severely deaf; 24,000 use sign language as their main language; and due to our ageing population by 2035 it is estimated that 15.6 million people will have some form of hearing loss.

During this week, May 15 to 21, the charity is asking people to help stop the prejudice that many of those with hearing loss still experience when out and about, in the workplace and meeting new people.

Senior audiologist at Action on Hearing Loss, Gemma Twitchen, said: “Hearing Loss affects people of all ages and can be caused by a number of factors, including exposure to loud noises, virus or disease, aging and it can be inherited.

“Small changes in our lives can make a big impact on people with hearing loss, so let this be the week you forget all the stereotypes you’ve heard and just make some new friends.”

For more information about Deaf Awareness Week visit https://www.actiononhearingloss.org.uk/daw  and use #DeafAwarenessWeek on Twitter. More content will be available through Twitter on @ActionOnHearing and on Facebook.

 


 

Here are some useful tips from Action on Hearing Loss you can use

  • Even if someone is wearing hearing aids it doesn't mean they can hear you perfectly. Ask if they need to lipread.
  • Speak clearly but not too slowly, and don't exaggerate your lip movements – this can make it harder to lipread.
  • Don't shout. It can be uncomfortable for hearing aid users and it looks aggressive.
  • If someone doesn't understand what you've said, don't keep repeating it. Try saying it in a different way instead.
  • Check that the person you're talking to is following you during the conversation. Use plain language and don't waffle. Avoid jargon and unfamiliar abbreviations.
  • To make it easy to lipread, don’t cover your mouth with your hands or clothing.
  • If you’re going on a date at a restaurant, find a suitable place to talk, with good lighting and away from loud speakers and distractions.
  • Get the listener's attention before you start speaking, maybe by waving or tapping them on the arm.
  • Use natural facial expressions and gestures.
  • Make sure you have face-to-face contact with the person you are talking to.
  • If someone is working with a BSL interpreter, always remember to talk directly to the person you are communicating with, not the interpreter.
  • If you're talking to a group that includes deaf and hearing people, don't just focus on the hearing people.

 


 

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Brothers with congenital heart disease depend on children’s charity

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11-year-old Usman and 13-year-old need to have their blood tested four times a week and can do this at home with the INR testing kit provided by children’s charity CHSF in Leeds

11-year-old Usman and 13-year-old need to have their blood tested four times a week and can do this at home with the INR testing kit provided by children’s charity CHSF in Leeds

 

25% of all young patients receiving life-saving heart surgery in Yorkshire are of Asian background and the charity is calling out for  YOUR help

Adam and Usman are two brothers from Bradford. Born two years apart, they both have congenital heart disease. The condition was spotted before they were born, at their 20-week scans and both boys were delivered at the Leeds General Infirmary. They each had open heart surgery when they were just a few days old.

Now aged 13 and 11, Adam and Usman have each had three open heart surgeries. They take regular doses of the drug warfarin to thin their blood and must have their blood tested as often as four times a week.

Thanks to the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund (CHSF), an award-winning charity supporting the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit at Leeds General Infirmary, the boys have been given an INR testing kit. This piece of equipment enables the family to test the boys blood at home, at a time convenient and most comfortable for them.

400 children receive open heart surgery in Leeds every year and another 10,000 pass through the unit as outpatients. 25% of all young patients are from the South Asian population in Yorkshire, the Humber and North Lincolnshire.

Masood, Adam and Usman’s father, said: “Having the INR kits has had a very positive impact on our family. It is convenient, given us peace of mind, and has saved us hundreds of pounds.

“It’s great that the boys can test their blood at home when they feel most comfortable doing so. They are really happy boys and live life to the full.

“Because of the CHSF and the equipment we’ve been given, our children don’t need to miss school or us take time off from work for regular blood testing.”

Now, CHSF is asking the generous Asian Express readers for donations over Ramadan to help support children and adults living with congenital heart disease across Yorkshire.

Children’s Heart Surgery Fund provides funds to support family accommodation at the hospital, staff positions and training, vital resources for the ward and clinical research.

Hanif Malik, Volunteer Children’s Heart Surgery Fund Trustee said: “Ramadan is partly a period of reflection for those less fortunate than us and Children’s Heart Surgery Fund are a crucial and life-giving support for all congenital heart disease patients.

“Many of the patients are from within the South Asian community but regardless of the background, Ramadan provides a great opportunity to help children living with this disease.

“Our Islamic principles encourage us to support such worthy causes so please donate generously to give them the best chance at a full and happy life.”

The charity also funds life-saving equipment to save and improve children’s lives. This equipment can range from hi-tech state-of the-art machines providing life-saving care, to hand-held devices the patients can take home.

With your support, they can continue to provide the equipment, staff and facilities to help improve the lives of other congenital heart patients within our community.   

You can help us to save lives of congenital heart disease patients right now, and keep the LGI at the forefront of cardiac care for the future. To donate, visit our website at chsf.org.uk/donate, text CHSF17 £10 to 70070 or call 0113 392 5742.

All the staff and volunteers of Children’s Heart Surgery Fund wish all Muslim Asian Express readers "Ramadan Mubarak!"

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Asian Sports Foundation encourages young people

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PARTNERSHIP: Tony Shergill (left) and Jug Johal (right) committed to providing sporting benefits to minority ethnic communities

PARTNERSHIP: Tony Shergill (left) and Jug Johal (right) committed to providing sporting benefits to minority ethnic communities

 

The Asian Sports Foundation (ASF) has begun an innovative new partnership to encourage and engage young people to adopt a more healthy and active lifestyle.

A UK based Charity campaigning for equality and inclusion for Asian communities in sport, ASF's vision is to promote and deliver tangible projects, breaking down cultural and religious barriers and provide sporting benefits to minority ethnic communities.

Partnering up with Birmingham based Asian youth channel BritAsia TV they are working together with experienced professionals and foundation ambassadors to promote sport, health and wellbeing amongst Asian communities in the UK.

The work of the Asian Sport Foundation will be scheduled in regular broadcasts to promote and educate the benefits of a healthy lifestyle to its audience.

Jug Johal, Chair of the ASF says of the partnership: “We know that there are a lot of barriers for members of the Asian community to get involved in sports.

“This partnership provides us with a unique platform to showcase great work, educate audiences about health benefits and encourage debate and discussion to address perceived imbalances with regards to representation in the industry.”

BritAsia TV has since its inception focused on reaching out to younger British born Asian audiences with a mix of music and entertainment shows. This exciting new step forward in programming marks a change in direction for the channel following its recent buyout.

New MD, Tony Shergill says of the move:“We have a large and influential young audience that has a strong identity and pride in its roots. We want to tap into these audiences and start to educate, inform and engage them through positive and inspirational programming.

With its unprecedented access to marginalised communities, the Asian Sports Foundation will promote social cohesion, education and health. The foundation will campaign for sports, National Governing Bodies (NGB's) and NGO's, clubs and committees to recognise and deliver on their responsibilities for equality and inclusion for minority ethnic communities.

Johal concludes: "We are absolutely delighted and very excited about this new partnership with BritAsia TV. We will look to bring communities together and help them to become more active, more often through Sport and Physical Activity.”

ASF and BritAsia TV are currently developing programming concepts and broadcast of the new programmes are expected to commence in Summer 2017.

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“I have heard first-hand accounts of mothers mixing water with sugar for their babies because they couldn’t afford baby milk.”

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GOOD SAMARITAN: Nazim Ali will be travelling to the Turkish-Syrian border with SKT Welfare to deliver food parcels to starving families

GOOD SAMARITAN: Nazim Ali will be travelling to the Turkish-Syrian border with SKT Welfare to deliver food parcels to starving families

 

Bradford man on a self-funded pre-Ramadhan food aid trip

A Bradford man who is self-funding his fifth aid trip to the Turkish-Syrian border, this time to distribute Ramadhan food parcels to displaced Syrians, says he’s compelled to do what he can as the images of their desperate faces haunts him.

Devoted humanitarian Nazim Ali has raised almost £100,000 over the last 19 years for numerous charities both locally and globally, by partaking in numerous challenges such as marathons, 10K runs and mountain treks.

Now, ahead of Ramadhan on 15th May, during his annual leave as a Careers Adviser, he’ll be travelling to Reyhanli and surrounding areas to provide supplies to displaced families in the Turkish/Syrian border.

Leaving the comforts of his home for a week, Nazim - also a Non-Magistrate for the North and West Yorkshire Advisory Committee, will make his way to the Turkish-Syria border accompanied by other humanitarians from Dewsbury-based international humanitarian charity SKT Welfare.

Speaking to the Asian Express, Nazim says: “This is my fifth visit to the region for the fourth consecutive year, it is also the third consecutive annual Pre-Ramadan Aid Trip.”

“My trip is self-funded ensuring 100% of donations go towards the food parcels.

“I can tell you the situation has not changed for the displaced Syrians. Many families are living in partially built homes with no windows or doors, some are living in tents and are in need of food and water – commodities we take for granted.”

The crisis in Syria is the biggest humanitarian emergency in our era, with almost three-million Syrian refugees fleeing to Turkey for safety and struggling to survive

“They (Syrians) need our help. The conflict has been going on for over six-years now and sadly shows no sign of ending.

“I have heard first-hand accounts of mothers mixing water with sugar for their babies because they couldn’t afford baby milk. Large families are rationing the very little food they have so that it lasts as long as possible.”

Nazim adds that one of the primary reasons he keeps going back are the Syrian refugees who have told him that it’s not just the aid he delivers that is appreciated, but the fact that his presence gives them solace.

“They are so thankful that someone has left their family 3,000 miles away in the UK to help them.

“They say ‘we (Syrian refugees) feel the world has forgotten about us but you being here (delivering aid to us) shows us and gives us comfort that we are not alone and in our hour of need are here to support us’.

“Just as many Muslims will be fasting in Ramadhan (for up to 20-hours without food or drink), so will they.

“The only difference is that we will be opening our fasts in our homes with our loved ones and in the presence of an abundance of food. They (Syrian refugees) however will be struggling to afford basic items such as dates and water.

“Hundreds of thousands of Syrians are suffering and in desperate need of assistance. In Reyhanli alone it is estimated there are almost 80,000 externally displaced Syrian refugees.

“I am also like previous aid trips planning to, God willing, take a suitcase full of toys for the Syrian Orphans and will hopefully visit SKT Welfare’s flagship state of the art ‘Springs of Hope Orphanage and Family Centre’ in the Turkish/Syrian border town of Reyhanli.

“For the last two years I have run 10K Runs in Ramadan for the aforementioned orphanage raising over £22,000."

 


 

Nazim had requested readers of Asian Express to assist in this aid mission. People can donate on: www.justgiving.com/nazim4syria or for further information can call 07825 698283 or e-mail: nazim27@hotmail.com - one food pack costs £50 and consists of two parcels each weighing 20.5KG each, providing enough food for a family of five people for one month.

 


 

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Faith Leaders and the Metropolitan Police unite in condemnation of terror

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The International Centre for Integration and Cohesion (ICIC), a local UK charity that works with underrepresented communities across London, extends prayers and condolences to the families and friends of all the victims of the Westminster Terror attack at a vigil on Westminster Bridge one week after the event.

ICIC has produced three short videos following the faith leaders’ vigil at Westminster Abbey. In the videos faith leaders and activists from various backgrounds express their commitment to combat hate, unite communities and to champion the religious freedoms and liberties we all benefit from in Britain.

Through these videos ICIC, along with the various activists involved, such as Imam Qari Asim MBE from Leeds Makkah Mosque and Lina Mar from the Baha‘I Community of the UK, demonstrate their condemnation of last week’s cowardly attacks and reaffirm their resolve not to let terrorism affect the rich diversity of London and Britain. ICIC continues to work with this ethos in mind, bringing communities together, united against terrorism.

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Running for £24,000: Bradford’s determined fundraiser helps to raise money for cancer care

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10K: Kamlesh Patel recently took part in a ten kilometre run in Bradford

10K: Kamlesh Patel recently took part in a ten kilometre run in Bradford

 

A man from Bradford has been instrumental in raising over £24,000 for charity.

Kamlesh Patel has participated in a number of fund raising events, many of them physically challenging, and he’s showing no signs so slowing down.

Marie Curie is a charity that is very important to Kamlesh, so much so that he’s helped to raise over £9,000 for hem.

“Marie Curie needs donations to continue running its nursing service, hospices, support line and much more,” Kamlesh explained.

“Cancer touches the lives of many, young and old.

“I feel emotionally touched seeing people suffering from cancer and wanted to do something for them and their families, which will help the cancer patient’s quality of life.

“The hospice in Leeds-Bradford provides free specialist medical cancer care for people with serious and terminal illnesses and emotional support for their families, giving them the best possible quality of life.”

The hospice is a place where cancer suffers can stay, or visit regularly to receive treatment such as pain relief, physiotherapy and complimentary therapies.

“It’s a warm, welcoming place where loved ones can be together,” Kamlesh said.

“And because the hospice works hand in hand with local nurses in the community, they also help people return to their own homes and be looked after there.”

FUNDRAISING: Kamlesh Patel has helped to raise an impressive £24,000 over the years for various causes

FUNDRAISING: Kamlesh Patel has helped to raise an impressive £24,000 over the years for various causes

 

The rest of the 55-year-old’s efforts have been for organisations both locally and internationally, raising money for causes like St Luke’s Hospital (Bradford), St James’s Hospital (Leeds), Oxfam, Sport Aid and the Kenya SEWA project (Selfless Efforts for Welfare of All - a Hindu faith-based humanitarian non-profit service organisation) to name just a handful.

“Fundraising is difficult, because with every challenge I do people’s expectations get higher. When I go around again asking for them to sponsor the next one they’re keen to know how I’m going to top the last challenge completed,” Kamlesh laughingly explained.

“They want me to do tougher challenges and it becomes even harder.”

Kamlesh said that marathons are very physically demanding and unpredictable.

“You don’t know what to expect on the day. Mental preparation is very important when you're running, you have to rely on yourself.”

Still, Kamlesh won’t be slowed down. He’s already planned several fundraising events for 2017, including the Greater Manchester Marathon in Trafford on 2nd April and a Yorkshire Three Peaks trek, which covers an exhausting 24 miles, and includes a 5,200ft ascent.

To help Kamlesh in his tireless efforts to raise money, check out his Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kamlesh-patel-2017

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Unstoppable humanitarian: Charity hero just can’t stop running around for the needy

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INSPIRING: Nazim Ali in his t-shirt commemorating his close friend Shah Gee, on race day

INSPIRING: Nazim Ali in his t-shirt commemorating his close friend Shah Gee, on race day

Nazim Ali completes part one of two 10k race missions

A full-time careers adviser who selflessly devotes every minute of his spare time to helping others is completing a double-header charity challenge for SKT Welfare’s ‘UK Homeless and Needy’ initiativein association with the Bradford Soup Kitchen.

Nazim Ali, who is no stranger to Asian Express, regularly involves himself voluntarily with charity fundraisers, Syria aid trips and multi-faith friendship building activities.

For over a year now UK registered charity SKT Welfare has been providing warm meals to the homeless and destitute in Bradford, regardless of their religious background. Nazim aims to raise £4,800 through completing the two races, which will see the food kitchen provide cover twice a month for a year.

Despite suffering a strain injury on his right knee both in training and on race day as well as feeling so unwell the day before the race that he spent the day recovering in bed. Nazim completed the race in a time of 01:01:11 – a truly remarkable result even without the preceding ailments.  

The race had over 2,000 competitors, the biggest ever in the history of the race and wet and windy weather and only occasional sunshine, but none the less, Nazim powered on.

Speaking about the challenge he faced, Nazim told Asian Express: “I felt emotional since the double charity challenge is in dedication to my late esteemed friend Sayyid Sharaz Ali Shah Bukhari, affectionately known as Shah Gee. He was a Bradford humanitarian hero and sadly passed away in September 2016 at the tender age of 33.

“We did many charity initiatives together. My focus now is firmly fixed on part-two of the double-header on this coming Sunday's (26th March 2017) Keighley 10K.”

To donate to the charities mentioned and help support Nazim towards his fundraising goal, you can go to: www.justgiving.com/nazim2017

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Stick a needle in it: Bradford-man ready to donate blood for an astounding 175th time

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GRATEFUL: Long-term donor Thakorbhai Mistry with Mr Harkishan Mistry, UK Project Manager for Sewa Day

GRATEFUL: Long-term donor Thakorbhai Mistry with Mr Harkishan Mistry, UK Project Manager for Sewa Day

 

An unsung hero has given a whole new meaning to ‘doing your bit’ for charity.

Yorkshireman, Thakorbhai Rambhai Mistry has been giving blood for the last 36-years, donating (get ready for it) an incredible 174 units of blood in this time!

Now he’s all ready to stick a needle in it again in the hope that it will inspire people from ethnic backgrounds to donate blood and possibly save someone’s life.

Thakorbhai’s remarkable 175th donation will take place on 30th March and is tied in with the Sewa Day National Blood Donation Drive.

Speaking to the Asian Express spoke to Thakorbhai, aged 62, discloses just what it is that motivates him to keep going back and what got him into blood donation in the first place.

“Whilst working in the University of Bradford in 1981, I noticed my colleague would often disappear for an hour or so and I started to ask questions as to where he was going. I was surprised to find out that he was going to donate blood,” reveals Thakorbhai.

“The University of Bradford were and still are, a really responsible employer, and were happy for their employees to take time away from their work in order to give blood.

“After having some questions initially such as, ‘Does it hurt?’ ‘Will it take a long time?’ and ‘Will I feel weak?’ I attended the next donation with the reassurance of my colleague.

“I haven’t stopped since then because I know it will benefit others, including my family and members of my wider community, especially as there is such a shortage in Black and Minority Ethnicity donors and blood types.

“I do it on a regularly because the blood I give is replenished within a few days and only takes an hour of my time.”

Mr Mistry says he has never felt unwell after giving blood and feels it’s an insurance, as it means blood is checked on a regular basis, meaning any potential illnesses could be detected.

 


Feeling inspired to help an incredible cause? Thakorbhai gIveS us some essential advice for first time donors

  • Go with someone you know and feel comfortable with. “Whether it’s a friend, family member or colleague, going with someone familiar will help you feel more relaxed.”
  • Being fit and healthy, looking after your diet and exercising regularly will go a long way in ensuring you have a great reaction to donating. “ I make sure I am careful with my diet and like to lead an active lifestyle, this has definitely helped me in being able to donate for such a long time. Although don’t push it too much on your donation day, you don’t want to be too tired!”
  • Find out information beforehand if you’re curious about the process. “Back in my day, there were leaflets available at the donation centre which were great for providing more information. These leaflets are still available if you go along to a centre – although you can find out everything online nowadays!”
  • It’s understandable to build up a sense fear and apprehension before going along, but there’s nothing to worry about. “Once you donate that first time and realise what amazing, life changing work that unit will do for someone, you will realise there was never anything to fear!”

 

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Sewa Day blood donation drive

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SEWA DAY: Donors at the last Sewa Day National Blood Donation Drive in Preston

SEWA DAY: Donors at the last Sewa Day National Blood Donation Drive in Preston

 

Bradford charity launch campaign to encourage Asian blood and organ donors

Did you know, that around 14% of the population of England are black or South Asian but less than 3% of people who have given blood in the last twelve months are from these communities.

Now a Bradford-based charity is on a relentless mission to change the lack of Asian blood donors and has partnered up with NHS Blood & Transplant services for ‘Sewa Day.’

Coming together to raise awareness of the shortage of Asian blood types donating blood, they hope to encourage more people to get involved taking up regular donation when possible.

The number of patients from South Asian communities on the transplant waiting list are exceptionally high, yet are hugely under-represented on NHS Organ Donor Register.

Speaking to Asian Express, Theo Clarke, National BAME (Black, Asian, Minority, Ethnic) Manager at NHS Blood and Transplant said: “We are very grateful that Sewa Day is working with us to help save more lives.

“South Asian patients wait longer than white patients for transplants as there are not enough suitable organs available.

“By joining the NHS Organ Donor Register and sharing your decision with your families you could save up to nine lives, if you are able to donate after your death. By becoming a blood donor, you can save up to three lives every time you donate.”

In the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit, Sewa means selfless service and on Sewa Day  individuals, voluntary groups, schools, and companies are encouraged to commit their time to doing a good deed with an aim of making a positive difference to someone else’s happiness, quality of life and prosperity.

Bharat Vadukul, Sewa Day Chairman told Asian Express: “When people from South Asian communities find out they may have rare blood and tissue types, I’m sure they will want to do everything they can to help save lives.

“There are many South Asian people who actively donate blood but we need more. I urge people to find out if they can donate blood, register online at www.organdonation.nhs.uk and to join the NHS Organ Donor Register. One day it could be someone you love who needs an organ transplant or a blood transfusion.”

In order to give people more information Sewa Day are running two Donor Drive events happening soon, the first on 30th March and then a second event on 30th April.


Sewa Day Donor Drive

30th March at the Bradford Blood donor Centre 11 Rawson Street, Bradford BD1 3SH

30th April at Shelf Village Hall, HX3 7NT

You can also join the NHS Organ Donor Register or become a new blood donor by calling 0300 123 23 23.


 

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JAZ BOPARAI: Restaurateur lays on free three course charity lunch

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Yorkshire restaurateur Jaz Boparai is throwing open the doors to his Barnsley restaurant to feed elderly diners, those with disabilities and people with housing problems.

Jaz, who runs Chilli and Grille on Market Street, Barnsley, has invited 50 people to a free lunch on Thursday February 24th.

Among those invited are service users at Age UK, Bridge It Housing and the Barnsley-based organisation for adults with disability, Physical Futures.

Jaz will serve a three course meal to his VIP guests. The charities and organisations were nominated after Jaz asked his customers to propose worthy recipients.

“I’ve wanted to invite a large group of people for a free lunch for a while,” explained Jaz.

“Recently I’ve noticed more people begging and living rough in Barnsley and it made me think about what I could do to support people.

“I’m conscious that many people never get the opportunity to eat out whilst others are lonely and don’t get the opportunity to share a meal with others.”

Tracy Robinson, manager at Physical Futures, which is based in Carlton, Barnsley, added: “We believe strongly in social inclusion and everyone having the opportunity to live a purposeful life.

“The invitation from Jaz fits well with our ethos. We’re very much looking forward to visiting Chilli and Grille with some of our service users and meeting a wide range of people from across the Barnsley borough.”

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Jolly green fingers: Happy diggers plant 2000 trees in less than two hours!

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Armed with their spades and wellies, over 154 energetic volunteers got stuck in the mud and begun to dig in an initiative increasing Bradford district’s woodland.

The eager green-fingered helpers from the Sant Nirankari Mission joined in the tree planting at Low Moor in Bradford, including volunteers who travelled from as far as London, Oxford, Birmingham, Leicester and Scotland.

Toddlers as young as two-years-old also took part and helped with the assistance of their parents.

The trees were planted in less than two hours.

The group at Sant Nirankari Mission regularly partakes in tree planting and environmental initiatives as it is part of its philosophy that one should keep the environment around themselves healthy and render selfless service to the community.

Mohinder Ram, volunteer in charge of the day's activities commented: “We have a great friendship with Forest of Bradford. It has been a wonderful day full of teamwork."

Ian Butterfield, Manager for Forest of Bradford said: "A huge thank you to all the volunteers from London, Oxford, Birmingham, Leicester, and Scotland, who have traveled up North to join in, it has been an overwhelming and organised day.

“Two thousand trees got planted so quick, we have a great partership with the Sant Nirankari Misson and look forward to more tree planting together!”

Many public people out walking were impressed with what the Mission was doing for the community.

Gurpreet Bhatia, Member in charge of Social Welfare at the Mission said: "We are encouraging members towards social citizenship within our communities and enhancing our responsibility towards our planet by such initiatives, we are proud of all the volunteers who took part young and old."

A community picnic was arranged at the end, which was thoroughly enjoyed alongside the lovely sunny weather.


"I enjoyed tree planting as more trees will make loveliness for the world" Sadhik Anand age 4, Leicester

“It was my first time and I enjoyed helping my mum, I am going again next time too" Sonakshi Chahal age 4, Leeds

"The long journey was worth the amount we got to help the community. 2,000 trees in 2 hours, I think my Spiritual Guide will be proud" Manu Sidhu, Oxford


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No mission is impossible Dad-of-four raises a whopping £7000 despite two operations

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Principle sponsor Mohammed Zaheer, Jenny Dixon of St Gemma’s Hospice, Parvez Hussain, Councillor Mohammed Rafique and Councillor Arif Hussain

Principle sponsor Mohammed Zaheer, Jenny Dixon of St Gemma’s Hospice, Parvez Hussain, Councillor Mohammed Rafique and Councillor Arif Hussain

 

Just two months after surgery, a father-of-four took on the ‘tallest’ challenge yet” as he ventured up Mount Snowdon for charity.

Parvez Hussain, who has torn up the track doing a number of marathons, 10ks and triathlons in the past, completed the mammoth climb in aid of St Gemma’s Hospice and the Give a Gift initiative.

After suffering a leg injury - which required a minor surgery, and a hernia operation, Parvez had limited time to prepare for his trek but was determined to see through his commitment.

“For many years I have helped UK based charities by fundraising and have tried my very best to raise as much money as possible,” he said.

As well as receiving bundles of support from friends and family, Parvez also got local councillors in his corner, raising a whopping £7087.48.

“This is my record high in fundraising,” comments an elated Parvez.

“My previous record was £6250. Furthermore, and I got an email from JustGiving confirming I’m in the top 3% individual fundraisers for 2016. I’m totally delighted,” he adds.

“I must say a special thank you to everyone who helped me raise this incredible amount of money, and to my principle sponsor – CC Continental Supermarkets.”

Parvez’s funds have been donated to St Gemma's Hospice in Leeds, Martin House Children's Hospice, the Children's Heart Surgery Fund and a local nursery Honeybeez.

Now the avid fundraiser reveals this year he’s hoping to either climb Ben Nevis or go the extra mile by trekking the Great Wall of China for local Leeds-based charities.

Jenny Dixon, Senior Corporate Fundraiser at St Gemma’s Hospice, said: “On behalf of everyone at St Gemma’s I would like to congratulate Parvez on the fantastic achievement of climbing Mount Snowdon and for raising an amazing £4,522.48 towards our patient care.

“It costs £450 per day to care for a patient on our In-Patient Unit and so the money that Parvez has raised will go a long way towards helping local patients and their families during a very difficult time.”

It costs £25,000 every day to run all of the Hospice’s services, with the generous support of the local community helping to make up a large proportion of this.

Praising Parvez, Rifhat Malik of Give a Gift said: “We are extremely grateful to Parvez for his amazing fundraising efforts for Give A Gift yet again.

“Give a Gift was set up approximately four years ago to help non-Muslim causes and encourage Muslims in particular to support local causes as well as supporting international causes."

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Baking buns, brownies, biscuits and other yummies to raise £500 for terminally-ill children

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KIND-HEARTED: 10-year-old Shyla Hanif has been touched by the work that local charities do and wants to help them

KIND-HEARTED: 10-year-old Shyla Hanif has been touched by the work that local charities do and wants to help them

Sweet sprinkles of hope

“It must be so hard for mums and dads and brothers and sisters to deal with a member of their family being so sick or even dying.”

A ten-year-old from Leeds has been setting a fine example by fundraising for children who need urgent heart surgery but also for those who are extremely sick and need the care of a hospice in their final days.

Shyla Hanif, a Year 6 student at the Grammar School at Leeds, bravely stuck up her hand at the Give a Gift charity dinner that she attended with her family. She pledged to raise £500 for Leeds Children’s Heart Unit and Martin House Hospice during the evening, much to her parent's pleasant surprise.

Working with the school, which encourages its children to raise money for a number of causes, Shyla roped in her ever-helpful friends at GSAL. They baked buns, brownies, biscuits, cakes and other confectionaries to sell in the playground, along with badges and wristbands in support of the two charities.

But this isn’t the first time the kind-hearted kiddo has wanted to make a difference. Shyla first donated her Eid money when she was just seven-years-old and has continued to contribute to Give a Gift in Leeds every year.

EAGER: Shyla's classmates Adam, Anya and Mimi have been rallying support all around school

EAGER: Shyla's classmates Adam, Anya and Mimi have been rallying support all around school

“I was sitting next to my mum at the charity dinner, just before the new year and she was having a conversation with a mum and dad who’s baby had died because of a heart condition," says Shyla.

“I sat there thinking how lucky we are; I don’t know anyone who’s lost a baby due to an illness. I can't imagine how sad and difficult it must be for mums and dads and brothers and sisters to deal with a member of their family being so sick or even dying.

"If I can raise £500 or more, I think it will help these charities a lot.”

“I’ve learnt at the charity dinners how very, very important the Leeds Children’s Heart Unit are in doing life-saving operations. We get to hear about the different stories, and struggles families have had.

“And I know that Martin House Children’s Hospice care for very, very sick children, but they also look after their families too – which is amazing."

"I just hope I can meet my target - I'll be so happy."

Leeds-based Give a Gift, launched it’s initiative to fundraise for local causes in 2013 and have raised over £100,000 for the Leeds Children’s Heart Unit and Martin House Children’s Hospice.

To help Shyla achieve her fundraising target, please make a donation: http://gldn.gg/f/ShylaHanif


Sharon Coyle

CEO Children’s Heart Surgery Fund

“There is nothing more inspiring than a child wanting to help other children. Shyla should be very proud of her achievement. Raising such a substantial amount of money, at a one-off event at such a young age, should not go unnoticed. Well done, and a further thank you must go to all her wonderful supporters!”


Bhranti Naik

Community Fundraiser Martin House Hospice

“We are overjoyed to have the support of Shyla to help with our fundraising efforts. As you are aware, the majority of our funds come from the generosity of Yorkshire people. There is something particularly special about children fundraising for children. We hope that in our special 30th Anniversary Year, more youngsters are inspired by Shyla's efforts and step out of their comfort zone to help fundraise for our children and young people.”


Rifhat Malik

Give a Gift

“Give a Gift is delighted to support Shyla Hanif, a Year 6 pupil at the Grammar School in Leeds, with her fundraising efforts. It is admirable to see someone so young have this level of consideration for others less fortunate than us. It's highly commendable that she’s selling cakes/buns at her school for Martin House Children's Hospice and the Leeds Children's Heart Surgery Fund to help raise vital funds for children with life-threatening conditions. We have no doubt that Shyla's efforts will act as an inspiration to other young people of her age and she is a credit to her family.”


 

Robert Lilley

Head of Junior School

The Grammar School at Leeds

"We were delighted that Shlya showed the initiative to undertake this project. She has organised everything and led a team of other Y6 pupils. The younger children have supported the event very well and we are grateful to the whole school community for supporting these worthwhile causes."

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British Asian Trust beneficiaries join star-studded annual dinner raises epic funds for South Asian projects

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ALL SMILES: Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Naughty Boy meet The HRH Prince of Wales (Picture credit: Justin Goff)

ALL SMILES: Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Naughty Boy meet The HRH Prince of Wales (Picture credit: Justin Goff)

 

Astonishing £850,000 raised in one night

The British Asian Trust hosted its 4th Annual Dinner at Guildhall in London. The night proved to be extremely successful with distinguished guests turning out to support the charity and raising an astonishing £850,000 to support the Trust and its projects in South Asia.

The British Asian Trust Founder and President HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall attended the event, on Thursday 2nd February, alongside several of the charity’s key trustees and ambassadors.

Guests included International Development Secretary Priti Patel MP, chart-topping music star Naughty Boy, Pakistani music icon Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, both ambassadors of The Trust, tennis star Boris Becker, award-winning film director Gurinder Chadha and TV stars Nitin Ganatra and Preeya Kalidas.

HONOURABLE GUESTS: HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall (picture credit: Justin Goff)

HONOURABLE GUESTS: HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall (picture credit: Justin Goff)

International Development Secretary Priti Patel said: “The British Asian community has long played a vital role in the fight against global poverty by dedicating their time, money and expertise to this global struggle.

“I am delighted that the Department for International Development, has such an enduring partnership with the British Asian Trust which helps to defeat poverty and suffering in the world.

“The recent match funding of public donations to the British Asian Trust’s ‘Give a Girl a Future’ appeal has already helped 50,000 women and girls in Pakistan get the essential skills they need to secure steady jobs.

“There is no task more urgent than defeating poverty.

“Britain plays a leading international role in tackling the root causes of poverty and supporting the education and livelihoods of the world’s poorest."

"People in Britain can be proud of the way UK aid is saving and changing lives on an incredible scale.”

SPEAKER: Secretary of State for International Development Priti Patel MP

SPEAKER: Secretary of State for International Development Priti Patel MP

 

The night was hosted by BBC broadcaster Nihal Arthanayake, a British Asian Trust trustee, and welcomed over 450 supporters and ambassadors.

Pakistani music icon Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, who was announced as a new British Asian Trust ambassador on the night, performed and also collaborated with British chart-topping producer Naughty Boy.

GUESTS: British Asian Trust Gala Dinner 2017 (picture credit Alastair Fyfe)

GUESTS: British Asian Trust Gala Dinner 2017 (picture credit Alastair Fyfe)

Rahat Fateh Ali Khan said: "I have followed the work of the British Asian Trust for some time and it was an honour to perform tonight for HRH's The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall.

“I am delighted that The Prince of Wales also announced that I will be working more closely with the British Asian Trust as an ambassador, to further support their incredible work in transforming lives across South Asia."

Kalsoom Tahira, Navanitha Kooteri Veeregowda, Sonali Shah meet The Duchess of Cornwall and HRH (picture credit: Justin Goff)

Kalsoom Tahira, Navanitha Kooteri Veeregowda, Sonali Shah meet The Duchess of Cornwall and HRH (picture credit: Justin Goff)

 

Guests were introduced to two of the Trust’s beneficiaries, Navanitha and Kalsoom who have travelled to the UK from India and Pakistan respectively and were welcomed by HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.

For Navanitha, her life changed when she signed up to a football programme with the Trust’s local partner. She proved a natural in the sport when girls playing football was not accepted as a social norm in India. She challenged this and has changed the perceptions of girls’ abilities in her local community and is an inspiration to a new generation of Indian girls.

THANKING SUPOORTERS: Richard Hawkes CEO British Asian Trust (picture credit: Justin Goff)

THANKING SUPOORTERS: Richard Hawkes CEO British Asian Trust (picture credit: Justin Goff)

Navanitha said: “I am very happy to be here and to meet the Prince, it is a proud moment. It is amazing to see the support for the British Asian Trust, whose work has helped changed my life and so many others in South Asia.”

Kalsoom was born into poverty to uneducated parents, but she was determined to complete her schooling. She briefly became a teacher, but this was cut short when her marriage ended after her husband tormented her for giving birth to a disabled son.

Despite the social stigma of divorce, Kalsoom raised her son alone.  Her life changed when she enrolled on a training programme with the Trust’s local partner. Spotting an opportunity in her community, Kalsoom launched her own training centre and now teaches sewing techniques to 20 girls.

DELIGHTED: Hardeep Singh Kohli, Neev Spencer, Preeya Kalidas, Hugh Bonneville, Gurinder Chadha, Shahid Khan, The Duchess of Cornwall, HRH, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Priti Patel, Nihal Arthanayake, Sonali Shah, Manish Bhasin, Zafar Iqbal, Reshmin Chowdhury, Ikram But

DELIGHTED: Hardeep Singh Kohli, Neev Spencer, Preeya Kalidas, Hugh Bonneville, Gurinder Chadha, Shahid Khan, The Duchess of Cornwall, HRH, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Priti Patel, Nihal Arthanayake, Sonali Shah, Manish Bhasin, Zafar Iqbal, Reshmin Chowdhury, Ikram But

Kalsoom added: “When I left Pakistan to come here my expectation was very different. Since I’ve come here and met everybody, my thoughts have definitely changed. I’m so impressed with the work of the British Asian Trust, how they have supported us and shared our pain.”

To date, the British Asian Trust has touched the lives of over three million people in South Asia, and the gala dinner marked the beginning of a special year that will focus on four key areas to transform the future of South Asia – Education, Anti-trafficking, Livelihoods and Mental Health/Disability.

Richard Hawkes, CEO, British Asian Trust said: “This has been another fantastic evening for the Trust, on our 4th annual dinner. We have felt tremendous support, warmth and encouragement for our work from all of our supporters. We look forward to a special year in 2017 as a trusted partner for South Asia.”

PERFORMANCE: Rahat Fateh Ali Khan showcased his voice to The Royals

PERFORMANCE: Rahat Fateh Ali Khan showcased his voice to The Royals

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Marrakech marathon: UK crew join 8000-runners to partake in prestigious run

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An enthusiastic group of 16 men have got their running shoes all tied up and have landed in Morocco, all set to take part in the Marrakech Half Marathon.

The team of runners from Whitechapel are raising funds on Sunday's 29th January, to support the Muslim Charity's grassroots work supporting vulnerable street children in Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh.

Rashid Ali, Programme Officer at Muslim Charity will be co-ordinating the team over the next few days with cultural visits and light training plans as part of preparations for the big day.

Harun Rashid, head of fundraising at Muslim Charity reported to the Asian Express: "We have arrived safe and sound, and the next few days we will be enjoying some time to relax, prepare and gather our thoughts.

“Huge thanks go out to all our runners and supporters who have made this journey a success even before we have crossed the starting line.”

Under the high patronage of King Mohammed VI, the International Marathon of Marrakech this year is hosting its twenty-sixth edition. More than 8000 runners from all over the world will take part in what is considered one of the most prestigious Marathons in the world.

The magical town of Marrakech offers an exceptional setting, a very mild climate in January and a beautiful circuit considered as one of the fastest in the world. It goes along the alleys of palm trees, orange, and olive-trees, but also the ramparts of the city.

Runner Abdal Ahmed added: "We have a beautiful cause and request everyone's well wishes for a successful trip. Thank all our sponsors for their tremendous support.”

Muslim Charity was founded over 15-years-ago as a compassionate response to suffering and to tackle poverty across the globe.

The charity has been able to touch millions of vulnerable lives and implement hundreds of relief and development projects without any racial, religious or linguistic discrimination.

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A bite of Bombay: Eat for a good cause in Bradford this weekend

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FAMILY RECIPES: Sabra Kader, whose passion in the kitchen has only been to the benefit of her friends and family in the past, finally shares her kitchen secrets with a wider audience

FAMILY RECIPES: Sabra Kader, whose passion in the kitchen has only been to the benefit of her friends and family in the past, finally shares her kitchen secrets with a wider audience

Pani Puri, Pau Bhaji, Papadi Chaat, Bhel Puri – just a small handful of sensationally irresistible desi street food delights for the offering, and all to raise money for charity.

Cooked from authentic family recipes, Bombay Bites in Shearbridge Road, Bradford, unlike other restaurants in the city, boast an array of authentic and new tastes and flavours.

Now they’ve teamed up with UK-based charity SKT Welfare for the weekend and promised to give half the eatery’s takings over Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th January.

SKT Welfare, a well-established and dedicated charity, deliver humanitarian aid regardless of race, political affiliation, gender or belief across the world.

Bombay Bites – the new ‘string’ of the Bombay Stores 50-year-old business, brings a new era of dining to Bradford’s food fans.

Explains Samir Kader: “For over 50 years my family have called Bradford home, building up one of the city’s largest businesses.

“Bombay Bites is the latest addition to the Bombay name and is headed up by my mum, Sabra Kader, and her host of family recipes.

“Everyone always says ‘my mum is the best cook’. For me, it is true.”

Opened since the start of November, the restaurant is already building up quite a reputation thanks to their finger-licking trademark Chicken Buffalo Wings and fully-loaded Don Burger proving to be huge hits with visitors.

Samir talks about the family-run business, and it’s commitment to helping those less fortunate.

“The 100% donation policy of SKT has attracted us to work with this charity, and it's work helping the displaced people of Syria.

“We’re hoping people can come and eat at Bombay Bites for a good cause as we’ll be giving 50 percent of our sales to SKT Welfare.

“But that’s not all, in anticipation of the crowds, we’re also holding a ‘25% OFF’ weekend spectacular event at Bombay Stores this Saturday and Sunday.

“So not only do you do your bit for charity, but you’ll get some savings in Bombay Stores as well.

SKT Welfare is a registered charity in England and Wales (no 1153735).

Head down to Bombay Bites and Bombay Stores on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th January, Shearbridge Road, Bradford, BD7 1NX.

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Charity worker gets five-year prison term in Iran

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SENTENCED: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been given a five-year prison term in Iran (pictured here with her husband Richard Ratcliffe and daughter)

SENTENCED: Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has been given a five-year prison term in Iran (pictured here with her husband Richard Ratcliffe and daughter)

A British-Iranian mother jailed in Iran has had her five-year prison sentence confirmed, according to media.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe was arrested at Tehran airport last April as she attempted to return to the UK following a holiday with her two-year-old daughter.

The 38-year-old charity worker, from Hampstead, northwest London, was subsequently sentenced to five years by the revolutionary court on "secret charges".

This has now been finalised by the Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, according to a report by Mizanonline.ir, which is linked to the country's judiciary.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's toddler, Gabriella, remains in Iran with family after authorities seized her passport.

Iran does not recognise dual nationalities, and those detained cannot receive consular assistance.

Mrs Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband Richard Ratcliffe has branded her sentence as "a punishment without a crime" and previously said she was struggling most with being separated from her daughter.

He also said his wife had suffered significant hair and weight loss as a result of her ordeal.

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SHAM UK CHARITY APPEALS: Fraudsters using appeals to steal money via emails, social media and Whatsapp

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Watch out! Fraudsters posing as charities aim to steal your personal and banking details

Asian’s in Britain have been identified as the most generous to donate to charities, but now UK’s charity regulator has identified fraudsters who are pulling heart strings and tricking people into parting with money.

Using social media with heart-wrenching images and well- put together, the emails aim to deceive members of the public and businesses to give money to fake charity appeals.

Some even go to the lengths to ask to help adopt orphaned Syrian children. The Charity Commission has issued an alert warning the public of the con.  

In one case, emails purporting to be from Migrant Helpline - a genuine charity supporting migrants - were sent to individuals and businesses with a link containing malware to steal banking details, the Charity Commission said.

The bogus emails provided information of a donation scheme for Syrian families and invited recipients to clink on a link to retrieve more information about their donation.

Migrant Helpline have issued a warning on its website, outlining their good name being used in a sham.

Once recipients click on the deceiving email, malicious software is automatically downloaded onto their device, which is then able to record the user’s personal information and banking details.

A spokesman for the Charity Commission has said that whenever there’s a spike in interest in an issue, that is when unfortunately the criminals will try and manipulate that to their advantage.

HEART-WRENCHING: UN figures estimate around 11million Syrian’s have been displaced

HEART-WRENCHING: UN figures estimate around 11million Syrian’s have been displaced

Though people are being made aware of emails from fake charities, especially those using general terms like 'we're donating money on behalf of migrants', those who donate should be very precautious and only give to trusted charities.

Syria's conflict has forced more than 11 million people - around half of the population - from their homes in one of the world's biggest humanitarian crises.

One particular Whatsapp message in circulation came to Asian Express newspaper’s attention. Confirmed as fake, it asked for help.   

“We are looking for Muslim families to foster young children who have arrived in Calais after their parents were killed. They have no one to help them but Allah and those benevolent enough to take them in,” it read.

Playing on emotions, it continued: “Please pass it (the message) on if you are unable to help these children that end up in non-Muslim household and be raised with a different faith.”

Carl Mehta, Head of Investigations and Enforcement at the Charity Commission said: "The British public donate millions of pounds every year to the right causes. Any attempt to abuse this generosity is reprehensible.

"Do not be put off donating by these malicious scams, but follow the Commission's advice on safer giving".

Recent research from Norton by Symantec showed that that one in four Brits was affected by an online attack during the past year, with millennials and frequent travellers, particularly hot targets.

Overall, cybercrime cost UK consumers £1.8 billion, showing the huge potential risk to users across the country.

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Ain’t no mountain high enough… Superhero legal eagle sets new standards to support children with cancer

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FUNDRAISER NUMBER ONE! Abdul Iftikhar of Kamrans Solicitors who raised money for children's cancer charity by climbing Mount Snowdon, seen here presenting cheque to Emily Wragg, Operations Director and Deputy Director of Candlelighters

FUNDRAISER NUMBER ONE! Abdul Iftikhar of Kamrans Solicitors who raised money for children's cancer charity by climbing Mount Snowdon, seen here presenting cheque to Emily Wragg, Operations Director and Deputy Director of Candlelighters

In almost 25years of fundraising I have not seen such a large amount of money raised in such a short space of time.

Climbing a mountain is no easy feat, however when Abdul Iftikhar, found out about children’s cancer charity Candlelighters, he was inspired to raise funds to help the very, very poorly children and their families that face such difficult situations.

The dad from Bradford, fondly known as Ifty to his colleagues, recently attended Candlelighters annual awards event where he was blown away with their work and that of the volunteers. 

Ifty, partner at Leeds-based solicitors Kamrans, then went on to witness first-hand the outstanding work that the charity undertake in providing financial support and assistance to children fighting cancer and their families.

When he decided to take on the challenge of climbing Mount Snowdon, he had no idea just how successful his fundraising efforts were going to be.

Asking friends, family and business colleagues to sponsor him, Ifty’s initial target of £2000 was easily smashed in the first few days on his online fundraising page.

Two weeks later, he’d raised a whopping £7585 to support children with cancer and their families.

His fundraising achievements were recognised by Justgiving as being in the top 1% of fundraisers in December.

Making climbing Snowdon look easy, the eager beaver went on to climbing another mountain the next day.

“Cancer doesn't discriminate and anybody regardless of their age, race, religion, gender. It is for this reason that those affected are given adequate support in such difficult times,” says Ifty.

He adds: “ I would like to take this opportunity to thank my family, friends, colleagues and all our generous donors for their unwavering support. I would also like to particularly thank all those at Gotyasize Circuit Class, Girlington Community Centre, Bradford for their support on the day. 

“Together we have made a real difference for the children fighting cancer and their families.”

Brian Curran, Candlelighters Corporate Fundraiser said: “In almost 25-years of fundraising I have not seen such a large amount of money raised in such a short space of time.

“When Abdul Iftikhar told me he was climbing Snowdon I expected the climb to be sometime in 2017. When he told me he was going to attempt in just three days I was shocked.

“To see him raise so much money was amazing and we are very grateful to him and his supporters.”

Abdul Iftikhar hasn’t stopped his support and will be working closely with Brian to encourage more companies to support Candlelighters. 

You can visit Abdul Iftikhar’s justgiving page to view the updates and pictures.  He would encourage you to support Candlelighters by making a donation on his page.

https://www.justgiving.com/Abdul-Iftikhar?utm_source=Sharethis&utm_medium=fundraisingpage&utm_content=Abdul-Iftikhar&utm_campaign=pfp-email.

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Santa visits Syria: Fourth humanitarian trip for SKT Welfare

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HUMANITARIAN: Nazim has raised over £90,000 for charity over the years

HUMANITARIAN: Nazim has raised over £90,000 for charity over the years

A charity champion has recently returned from his fourth humanitarian aid visit in three years to the Turkish and Syrian border region with the Dewsbury-based SKT Welfare

Nazim Ali raised over £15,000 with which vital humanitarian food packs, blankets and winter kits were purchased and distributed during the Christmas period.

The Bradford-born philanthropist, who visited the war-torn country, said: “I have now personally managed to raise over £90,000 for a plethora of charitable causes over the last decade through various charity runs, including marathons and mountain treks to name a few.

He added: “Altogether, the 19 strong SKT Welfare winter deployment team from various parts of England raised a grand total that exceeded £100,000.”

The six day intense aid delivery was a gruelling period of charity work, which included early starts and finishing at midnight.

“We packed and distributed almost 3,000 food parcels weighing 18kg each, which will last a week for a Syrian family of five. We gave out almost 2,000 blankets, 2,000 winter kits (consisting of thermal clothing, gloves, socks and hats) and a suitcase full of toys for Syrian refugee children,” Nazim smiled.

The group distributed in the Syrian and Turkey border of Reyhanli and mountainous villages across the Turkish and Syrian border region.

GIFTS: Nazim with a Syrian orphan and her jewellery set

GIFTS: Nazim with a Syrian orphan and her jewellery set

“We also visited and distributed aid to the numerous rehabilitation centres scattered around Reyhanli.  It was distressing to see at first hand the horrific injuries sustained, especially the children.

“Snowy and rainy conditions meant we delivered humanitarian aid just in time. We visited Syrian refugees living in tents with mud all over the floors and Syrian refugees living in partially built homes.

“One can just imagine how cold winter will be for them in such treacherous living conditions. Nothing has improved in terms of the living conditions of Syrian refugees since my first visit three years ago.

“What sticks inmy mind is when refugees have said to me that it isn’t the aid I bring over that really benefits them, but the fact that I’ve left my family in the UK to help them. They said that just being here is a solace to their hearts that they no longer feel alone or that the world has forgotten about them.

“It was wonderful to see the Syrian children smiling and elated at receiving their toys. For me, that is the best part; just seeing their smiles and taking their mind off the horrors that no child should witness.”

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A knockout night of boxing

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AWARD: Young boxers were presented with trophies on the night from former world champion, Junior Witter (pictured second from right)

AWARD: Young boxers were presented with trophies on the night from former world champion, Junior Witter (pictured second from right)

Charity and boxing go hand-in-hand in Dewsbury

KBW’s reputation as a ‘club which cares’ only enhanced further last weekend as its 10th boxing show raised funds for some of the world’s most in-need refugees.

The Dewsbury-based club held the sell-out event at the Orchid Banqueting Suite, with sport fans turning out in their masses to see some of the top local talent.

Kicking off the night was an array of youth bouts, showcasing local lads: Lewis Benson, Uzair Kiani and Harkaran Singh, with all three fighters taking to the ring for the

Three rounds of skilled bouts gave each young competitor the chance to shine in the ring, before amateur contests got underway, with Fizan Khan losing out to Shaquille Martins on points, Corey Riley defeating Tom Collingwood, Asim Arshad claiming victory against Subhaan Mahmood and Adam Yafai clinching a split decision win against Alan Hasan.

HEAVY BLOW: Action shots from the night show the competitiveness on show

HEAVY BLOW: Action shots from the night show the competitiveness on show

The two main fights of the night started with KBW’s Huzaifa Khan facing off against James Jacques.

If Jacques had thought it was going to be an easy night he had a rude awakening as the local boxer got off to an aggressive start from the first bell.

Despite being the more experienced fighter, as well as having a height and reach advantage, Jacques was unable to control the fight as his opponent dominated for much of the three rounds.

By the time the second round had come around, the visiting fighter had been forced to change his strategy yet continued to absorb some devastating body shots and blows to the head.

The third round saw a brave attempt by Jacques to regain a foothold in the matchup, yet after a flurry of heavy uppercuts landed, a standing eight count was forced

Despite both fighters making it to the final bell, there was only one winner as Khan’s hand was raised by unanimous decision.

In the second main event of the night, KBW’s Saif Cheema rounded off a memorable night for the gym as he defeated Mark Bebington by a unanimous decision.

The New Era Boxing Academy competitor may have towered over the 6ft 2inch Cheema – a rare sight for the Dewsbury fighter – yet his mentality kept him on the front foot for the majority of the contest.

Throughout the first round, both men felt each other out and traded few blows, both boxing on back foots and waiting for counters.

Eventually Cheema's hand speed seemed to be the tool to success and he seemed to land more than his opponent, using footwork to stay out of the way of a dangerous big shot.

A similar two rounds followed, Cheema once again using his movement and jab to frustrate his opponent, ultimately earning him the clear triumph.

Following the night of action, Shammy Cheema, of KBW, said the night had exceeded all expectations.

“In total, we had over 10 boxing bouts, giving a lot of our own KBW boxers the chance to show what they can do against other club boxers from across the area.

“Over the years, these shows have becoming increasingly popular in the amateur boxing circuit with ever-growing turnout figures and the fact that many local celebrities turn up to watch the quality display of boxing on show.

“Last week’s event was a success we can all be proud of.”

As well as boxers starring in the ring, there was a wealth of talent outside it too, with the likes of Atif Shafique, Haroon Khan and Junior Witter all in attendance.

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Kindness and cakes: Rakkaposhi enjoys first year of charity success

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A GREAT YEAR: Founder and chief executive of QED-uk, Mohammed Ali, and deputy chief executive, Adeeba Malik, are delighted with the first year operations for Rakkaposhi

A GREAT YEAR: Founder and chief executive of QED-uk, Mohammed Ali, and deputy chief executive, Adeeba Malik, are delighted with the first year operations for Rakkaposhi

A Bradford cafe, which takes pride in serving a ‘slice of charity’ with every order, is celebrating one year in business as it continues to give back to the community.

Launched in December last year by the well-established charity, QED-uk, to mark 25 years of operations, Rakkaposhi is a luxury coffee and dessert parlour located on Ebenezer Street.

Set-up as a way of creating an extra revenue channel for the charity, the business is a long-term project which donates all of its profits to the charity.

Founder and chief executive of QED-uk, Mohammed Ali, explained how the cafe had been a huge success in its first year, already exceeding its targets for 2018.

“I think the first year for us, as with any business, has been a learning curve,” he said. “We have learned a lot over the past 12 months, creating six or seven jobs in the process.

“Although we have not yet made a profit, we have broken even. It’s something we didn’t expect to achieve until the end of our third year.

“This means that from next year, more funding will be created via Rakkaposhi thanks to our customers and hard working staff.”

With government cuts to funding for charities throughout the UK, Mohammed adds that the cafe is more vital to the community than it was one year ago.

He added: “It is of course a different kind of venture for us but it is one which will help us in our day-to-day work.

“We are used to training people, helping them to get into employment. The plan for Rakkaposhi is to hopefully generate more income for us to utilise in the charity side of work and help us rely less on donations and grants from the public sector. It will ultimately make us more self-sufficient.”

Working with disadvantaged communities across Bradford and internationally, QED-uk aims to improve economic, social and disadvantaged lives of local residents.

Rakkaposhi serves up a range of luxury handmade desserts and organic premium coffee seven days a week.

Open from 2pm till 10pm Monday - Thursday (2pm - midnight on Fridays and Saturdays) and 4pm till 10pm on Sunday, the cafe is in a prime position located near The Broadway Shopping Centre and the Leisure Exchange.

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‘Get it to number one’: No VAT on Jo Cox charity single

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TRIBUTE: The charity single will be released one week prior to Christmas

TRIBUTE: The charity single will be released one week prior to Christmas

Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, has announced that money made from the charity single in memory of murdered MP Jo Cox will not suffer a loss in proceeds over VAT.

The announcement was made on Tuesday 13th December, with the Treasury vowing to make a charitable donation, equivalent to the VAT payable on the sales of the single, to the foundation.

Mr Hammond said: “Jo Cox dedicated so much of her life to helping people less fortunate than herself and the charity named in her honour is carrying on that excellent work.

“It is only right that we do what we can to support that work and I am pleased to confirm that every single penny of sales from this single will go towards the good causes the Jo Cox Foundation supports.”

FUNDING: Philip Hammond confirmed that the single would be exempt to VAT

FUNDING: Philip Hammond confirmed that the single would be exempt to VAT

The song, a cover of the Rolling Stones’ ‘You Can't Always Get What You Want’, features a host of household names including Kaiser Chiefs’ Ricky Wilson, Cockney Rebel’s Steve Harley, KT Tunstall and David Gray.

A backing track is provided by members of the parliamentary rock group MP4 and the Royal Opera House Thurrock Community Chorus.

Steve Harley, who sings with Cockney Rebel, said of Mrs Cox: “It just seemed that every breath she took seemed to be for someone else's benefit.”

Proceeds from the charity single will all be donated to the Jo Cox Foundation which supports a plethora of charities – these include the Royal Voluntary Service and Syrian rescue volunteers the White Helmets.

Project organiser Kevin Brennan, MP4 member and Labour MP for Cardiff West, said: “The fact that so many people have given up their time for this project to support the causes she cared about shows that she leaves us all a legacy of hope for a better world.”

It is not the first time a government has waived VAT on a Christmas single, with the first example of such an offering occurring in 1984 for Band Aid's ‘Do They Know It's Christmas’.

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Bakers and shakers: Tasty treats and Disney stars make academy’s charity day a success

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THE COMMITTEE: Students from Laisterdyke Leadership Academy arranged the school bake sale on behalf of MacMillan Cancer Support

THE COMMITTEE: Students from Laisterdyke Leadership Academy arranged the school bake sale on behalf of MacMillan Cancer Support

A group of caring teens from a Bradford college took time out of their busy timetable to raise hundreds of pounds for charity last week, with a ‘sweet’ initiative at the heart of the project.

Seven girls from Laisterdyke Leadership Academy arranged the school’s bake sale event in aid of MacMillan Cancer Support, selling a plethora of scrumptious cakes to fellow students and staff.

As well as baking up a storm in the kitchen, the team also gave up their own time after school to plan the event, mixing together their charitable characters to create a recipe for success.

Amongst the team of foodie fundraisers was Hadiah Khan.

The ‘project co-ordinator’ explained why the team had decided to carry out the project.

“We did the bake sale as part of MacMillan Coffee morning,” she said. “The aim was to get the whole school involved and so we gave each year group a chance to buy their favourite cakes throughout the day.

“There was also an appearance from Minnie and Mickey Mouse, where students took selfies with them and even did the Cha Cha Slide.”

She concluded: “In total we raised £852, all of which had been donated to MacMillan Cancer Support.”

Sadia Bashir Butt, communication officer at the school, said the staff were proud to see their students going out of their way to help a worthy cause.

“Despite a busy calendar, the girls, who I’ve started to call ‘The Committee’, spent their own time arranging all of this, and because of their dedication, the day was a big success,” she added.

“The bake sale went really well. Students from every year got involved by the end of it and they raised a terrific amount of money for charity.”

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Syria’s Santa: Nazim’s Christmas aid mission helps refugees this winter

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CROWDING AROUND: This trip will be Nazim’s fourth visit to the region

CROWDING AROUND: This trip will be Nazim’s fourth visit to the region

A charity champion from Bradford has self-funded a week-long trip to the Turkish and Syrian border town of Reyhanli to deliver vital humanitarian aid, just in time for Christmas.

As families continue to flee violence in their home countries, many are left stranded in camps across Europe.

WINTER KITS: The winter kits include life-saving essentials, such as thermal blankets

WINTER KITS: The winter kits include life-saving essentials, such as thermal blankets

In Reyhanli alone, it is estimated there are almost 80,000 externally displaced Syrian refugees, many of whom have little or no belongings as we approach the coldest time of the year.

On 22nd December, experienced aid worker, Nazim Ali, will travel with the Dewsbury-based SKT Welfare Charity Team to distribute winter aid and food distribution to externally displaced Syrian families.

Nazim has an 18-year track record of participating in a plethora of humanitarian and community initiatives, with his December border trip marking his fourth visit to the region.

He said: “The situation has not changed over there. I have witnessed at first hand many families living in partially built homes with no windows or doors.

“Some are living in tents and are in need of food and water - commodities we take for granted. To think how they will be surviving the cold winter months.”

He continued: “I have heard about mothers mixing water with sugar for their babies because they couldn’t afford baby milk. Large families ration the little food they have so that it lasts them for a month.”

Every year, Nazim saves up his annual leave that he receives from his job as a Careers Adviser to finance his humanitarian aid trips.

Working across three different schools in Bradford, the busy humanitarian can only head overseas at certain times of the year to avoid clashes with the classroom.

He added: “I also regularly volunteer on a weekly basis with the Curry Circle Project in Bradford, which serves warm food to the homeless and destitute in the Bradford District.

“For me helping those in need, irrespective of religious affiliation or ethnicity, is a religious obligation as a devout British Muslim.”

Nazim is currently fundraising for supplies for his trip, with 100 per cent of the donations going towards helping refugees.

VITAL AID: Syrians will no doubt appreciate the food aid and winter kits provided by Nazim and his team

VITAL AID: Syrians will no doubt appreciate the food aid and winter kits provided by Nazim and his team


If you are inspired by Nazim Ali’s work, please visit www.justgiving.com/nazimwinter4syria

The funds that are raised will be split equally across two projects: Food Aid and Winter Kits.

Food Aid: £20 parcel for a family of five (7-10 day supply) - Rice, Bulgur, Green lentils, Red lentils, Vermicelli, Spaghetti, Kidney Beans, Chickpeas, Tea, Sunflower Oil, Olive Oil, Sugar, Semolina.

Winter Kit: £20 per person (one pair of each item) - Blanket, Thermal Clothing, Socks, Gloves & Hat.


 

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“Frozen to death”: Yorkshire charity calls on more support to help the homeless this winter

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MOBILE SOUP KITCHEN: Osman Gondal (centre) helps run a state-of-the-art van which transports food to the homeless in Leeds, Bradford and Keighley

MOBILE SOUP KITCHEN: Osman Gondal (centre) helps run a state-of-the-art van which transports food to the homeless in Leeds, Bradford and Keighley

The news of a homeless man freezing to death on the streets of England ‘should not come as a surprise,’ according to the CEO of one Yorkshire homeless charity, with ‘funding’ and ‘cuts to vital services’ to blame.

Osman Gondal, who heads up the InTouch Foundation – which feeds the homeless in Leeds, Bradford and Keighley via a mobile soup kitchen – described the news as tragic and one which cannot be repeated.

The lifeless body of the unknown man was found at the entrance of a city centre car park in Birmingham on Wednesday 30th November - the coldest night of the year where the UK saw temperatures as low as -9.7C.

With the number of people being forced to sleep rough, in hostels or in temporary accommodation in England rising to figures above 250,000, Osman adds that now is the time to act.

He said: “At this time of year, it’s important for the community to come together to try and support the homeless.

“The number of people sleeping rough in the winter months always increases and rough sleepers tend to have particular ‘spots’ where they like to bed down for the night because they’re undercover and warmer than other places.

“We find that our service users come and collect the food, eat it very quickly and then disappear to go and pre-book these spots.

“Within that community, they are aware of where those best spots are and if they miss out, they are pretty much sleeping out in the open.”

He added: “Hearing about the man who died in Birmingham is extremely unfortunate but it doesn’t surprise me because of the number of services that have been cut over the past couple of years. That will inevitably will have an impact on people sleeping on the streets. It’s not surprising.”

With budget cuts effecting more and more people throughout the country, Osman says there are little things everybody can do to help the crisis.

“If members of the public do spot rough sleepers out and about, then my advice is to buy them a cup of tea or coffee to help keep them going, and some food as well,” he said.

“I wouldn’t recommend going out in the evening looking for them, but during the day, people could buy them a sandwich and get them a tea and that will hopefully will stop these incidents from happening.”

West Midlands Police confirmed the unnamed man who died in the cold was 30-years-old and did not have a fixed address.

They said that despite the freezing temperatures, the man’s death was also connected to drugs.

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Ho-ho-hospital charity: Students from Batley bring festive cheer to young patients on the ward

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BEAUTIFULLY WRAPPED:  Just some of the gifts provided by the students at Madresah Taleemudeen

BEAUTIFULLY WRAPPED: Just some of the gifts provided by the students at Madresah Taleemudeen

With Christmas just around the corner, a group of school students from Batley have been busy spreading the festive joy through an interfaith initiative for their local hospitals.

Kind hearted students from the Madresah Taleemudeen Islamic School have collected money for ‘Kids For Kids’- a project where students raise funds for toys and gifts.

These presents are then handed out to the youngest patients at hospitals near to their school.

On Wednesday 23rd November, pupils visited Dewsbury District Hospital to deliver their gifts before, on Friday 25th November, they ventured to Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield, to drop off an array of beautifully wrapped presents on the wards.

JUST IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS!: One child receives his gift which will no doubt bring a little fun to the long hours spent recovering on the ward

JUST IN TIME FOR CHRISTMAS!: One child receives his gift which will no doubt bring a little fun to the long hours spent recovering on the ward

Maulana Zakir Daji, Head Teacher at Madresah Taleemudeen, was delighted with the children’s response.

He said: “We feel this act of generosity will help put a smile on the faces of the young innocent children in Dewsbury Hospital and Pinderfields Hospital and offer a glimmer of hope and support during this difficult and daunting time when they are admitted.

“We also feel it enriches the children who study at Madresah to be able to help support local charities, organisations and institutions which offer a great service to us all.”

KIDS FOR KIDS: The students hoped their gifts would put a smile on the faces of the children in hospital

KIDS FOR KIDS: The students hoped their gifts would put a smile on the faces of the children in hospital

The school, on Henry Street, Batley, facilitates Islamic education for its students, yet teachers are also keen to provide programs which try to give back to the wider society they live in.

Mr Daji added: “At a time when there is a lot of negativity in the world, it is a great way to put smiles on the faces of the young children, especially with Christmas around the corner which is supposed to be a time of happiness.

“There is a myth that our community is divided but we aim to dispel that and help build communities together.”

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Parcels of plenty: Sikh community raise over £300 for Bradford’s foodbanks

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FANTASTIC RESULT: Both young and old collected parcels which will help families living on the poverty line

FANTASTIC RESULT: Both young and old collected parcels which will help families living on the poverty line

Sikh communities in Bradford have been filling local food banks to bursting point this week, after they collected over 48 food parcels for one of the city’s longest running collections.

As foodbank usage continues to rise to an all time high across the UK, the need to stock-up these ‘lifesaving projects’ grows in importance every year.

THANKFUL: Frances Atkins (centre) was extremely grateful for the foodbank drive

THANKFUL: Frances Atkins (centre) was extremely grateful for the foodbank drive

In Bradford, the Metropolitan Foodbank, located at St Mary’s Church on East Parade, has seen its service users grow to ten-times the amount today compared to the figure from just a decade ago.

After a plea for help over the winter months, one Bradford woman, Daljit Kaur, took it upon herself to organise a food collection drive on behalf of the Sikh community, with the help of local temples.

Food donation collection points were found at both the Singh Sabha Gurdwara and Guru Nanak Gurdwara temples in Bradford throughout the past week as goods were piled high in the places of worship.

Eventually donating just short of 50 food parcels and hundreds of pounds, Daljit said this year’s appeal was one of the most successful yet.

“We encouraged people to donate on a weekly basis. We wanted to do a food drive where people brought in food and it was quite a success,” she said.

“The entire food donation was from the whole of the Bradford Sikh community but those temples were the drop off points.”

She continued: “We also managed to collect over £300 in donations and the overall response was overwhelming.

COMMUNITY EFFORT: Sikhs collected 48 food parcels for the needy in Bradford

COMMUNITY EFFORT: Sikhs collected 48 food parcels for the needy in Bradford

“At this time of the year, it’s when people need support the most because it’s so cold out there. The team at the foodbank were very grateful. The children were also fantastic and they did so well. It was a real community effort.”

It is not the first time members of the Sikh community have come together to support the local foodbank.

Just last month, worshippers at both gurdwaras celebrated Guru Nanak's Gurpurab’s birthday by donating a large bounty of goods to the collection team.

Frances Atkins, from the foodbank, thanked the community for their continued support.

“Thank you so much to everyone who helped out this year,” she said. “What a terrific collection of food and money.

“Everyone was so kind and welcoming and this donation will help so many people.”

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A family mission: Shefta’s preparing for Greek aid mission

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READY TO GO: The Shefta family will travel to Thessaloniki on Saturday 3rd December for one week, pictured (l-r) Sitara, Nasar, Usman, Rubina and Samar

READY TO GO: The Shefta family will travel to Thessaloniki on Saturday 3rd December for one week, pictured (l-r) Sitara, Nasar, Usman, Rubina and Samar

They say when it comes to charity work, two hands are often better than one.

Thankfully for the Shefta family, ten hands will be on deck this December as they embark on a team aid mission to the Greek city of Thessaloniki.

Mum and Dad, Nasar and Rubina, will be accompanied by seasoned aid givers, sisters Samar and Sitara, as well as 17-year-old Usman, when they head off on their assignment on Saturday 3rd December.

Together they will help some of the world’s most vulnerable refugees who continue to arrive in the country after feeling war in their home countries of Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

With the target of delivering much needed warm meals, water, tents, blankets and even medical support to families who call the camps ‘home’, the Sheftas will spend one week in Thessaloniki.

Samar, 33, and Sitara, 26, have previously completed two aid missions to the island of Lesbos before and are both excited to be bringing their family this year.

“As a family, we have always been quite active in charity work, and over the past year-and-a-half we’ve taken a much more active, hands-on role,” Sitara explained.

“We (Samar and Sitara) have already visited Lesbos twice and know firsthand just how unsanitary and distressing the conditions are out there. We simply need to help.

“We know we can't change the world, but we're hoping to make a few lives a little better and bring some hope to people fleeing war and persecution in what must be an unimaginably painful time in their lives.”

Last winter, the sisters were able to work with their parents during an aid mission to Calais’ Jungle refugee camp.

With youngest sibling Usman signed up to take part in this year’s Thessaloniki trip, it really is a family affair.

Sitara added: “I’m really proud of my parents coming this year and especially my younger brother. It goes to show that it doesn’t matter how old you are, everyone can help out and it is just about being human.

“When you are out there, it feels like the right thing to do. It could be any of us in that situation one day and I know if I was in their shoes, I would want help as well.”

Throughout all their past aid missions, the family have always covered their own travel and accommodation expenses, ensuring  every penny they raise goes towards purchasing aid for refugees.

SEASONED TRAVELLERS: Samar and Sitara have completed two aid missions to Lesbos in the past and worked at the Jungle refugee camp with their parents previously

SEASONED TRAVELLERS: Samar and Sitara have completed two aid missions to Lesbos in the past and worked at the Jungle refugee camp with their parents previously

In January of this year, Samar and Sitara were able to raise £10,000 through donations to spend on supplies in Lesbos and they are hoping to hit a similar figure this time around.

“Because people had seen what we had done in the past, we were able to fundraise a lot of money for our trip earlier this year,” Samar said.

“Since then, both my sister and I have continued to be involved behind the scenes.

“As a GP, I’ve been able to send out a lot of medical aid through third parties and we’ve managed to provide warm meals also. It’s just so hard to do it from so far away.”

With less than two weeks until departure, the Sheftas are prepared for their travels and will work as a team with a mixture of skills to the benefit of the refugees.

“I’m the loud one who gets people’s attention, Mum’s the empathetic one, dad’s the organiser, Samar’s the specialist and Usman will be the negotiator and the friend,” Sitara added. “Together I think we are a great team.”

Nasar, who at 62-years-old will be the oldest member of the group, says the trip to Calais was a real eye-opener and is expecting much the same in Thessaloniki.

“I’ve wanted to do something like this for quite a while, and at the risk of sounding like a parent, my daughters have been so inspirational for me,” he said. “They were on the national news last time they went over there and that made me so proud.

“Unfortunately we weren’t able to go out for a variety of reasons and I said this time I’d really love to go out. I’m hoping we can make a contribution.

“It’s the least really which we can do. It was an eye-opener going to Calais and I’m expecting a similar experience this time around.”

Rubina added:  “As a mother and grandmother, I know that I could not see my child suffer in the way these kids are being forced to live. If I can make just one child smile that will be a success for me.”

If you would like to donate to the Sitara aid mission you can do so by PayPal at https://paypal.me/sitarashefta, or find out more information by contacting Sitara via star2390@yahoo.co.uk

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Hair today, gone tomorrow: Lopping off locks in the name of charity

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 THE CHOP:  Aisha holds up the hair that she will send to charity

THE CHOP: Aisha holds up the hair that she will send to charity

Most people don’t think past their next brand of shampoo when it comes to their hair routine.

For 36-year-old Aisha Ali-Khan, from Keighley, her dramatic head of hair was not only a style statement but a means to ‘perform a good deed’ for somebody else.

The local women’s right campaigner committed to the chop in the name of charity on Thursday 10th November, donating several locks of her thick, black hair to cancer wig manufacturers, Soul Ryeders.

Speaking after the cut, she said: “All my friends and family are quite shocked because they didn’t think I’d go through with it.

“It’s a drastic change although I’ve obviously been thinking about doing it for a long time.”

As the hairdresser snipped her way through 12 inches of hair, Aisha says she was thinking of the importance of raising awareness of cancer in the Asian community.

“An aunty of mine was diagnosed with cancer and we didn’t know until a year later,” she said. “It was kept so quiet.  People are ashamed and it is often seen as a ‘taboo subject’.

“Breast cancer and cervical cancer are the two most hazardous cancers that affect women and in our communities. The older generations especially think our symptoms will get just get better without medical intervention.”

 IN THE CHAIR: Aisha watches as a hairdresser gets to work

IN THE CHAIR: Aisha watches as a hairdresser gets to work

In the past, Aisha spent a lot of time and effort on her hair and it was a big part of her appearance.

Today she says she is proud to be sporting a much shorter look.

“My hair was something that meant something to me but it’s more useful for someone else,” she added.

“When I was chickening out before I went through with the cut, I reminded myself that I was only worrying about losing my hair, when people with cancer had to worry about losing their lives.

“It put things into perspective. If I can use my experience to highlight this illness and the suffering of other people then I’m happy.”

A person undergoing chemotherapy for cancer will usually lose their hair, with many sufferers opting to wear a wig following treatment.

If that wig is made from human hair, it is thought to be even more natural looking and comfortable.

“I chose to send my hair to Sole Ryeders because they prepare the wig beforehand,” Aisha added.

“There’s always a wig for people to choose from. The moment from diagnosis to treatment may only be a few weeks, so the last thing patients are thinking about is the side effects of chemotherapy.

“Getting a real human wig made is very time consuming. By the time someone is diagnosed, they’ve already lost their hair and this charity has ready-made wigs to give out.”

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Fundraising strangers: Communities unite in face of adversity

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GRIEVING: As the community continues to mourn the loss of Asad Khan, a fundraising page has been set up in hope of helping the family

GRIEVING: As the community continues to mourn the loss of Asad Khan, a fundraising page has been set up in hope of helping the family

Shareen Jahangir may not personally know Asad Khan or his family, yet that did not stop the kind-hearted humanitarian from Coventry on her mission to lend a helping hand.

The generous fundraiser has, to date, raised over £1,000 for the family through her Just Giving page as she aims to emulate the success of previously publicised appeals including that of mugging victim Alan Barnes - who was helped by the kindness of strangers online in 2015.

She said: “They raised £330,000 for [Alan] because he got robbed. Putting that aside, I don’t know how they are financially but they live in a back to back house, it said on the news.

“I have also seen on Facebook that the council have offered them a new home because the family can’t live in the same house where their son died.

“The family don’t need financial stress on top of their heartbreak. Whether they have money worries or not, I’m not in the position to say. However, they may want to use the money to buy a new home and I just want to help.”

You can donate to the fund by visiting: www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/shareen-jahangir

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Pedalling up the pounds! Primary school pupil’s bike ride raises hundreds for charity

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CHARITY CYCLERS: Father and son, Suki and Jaidev, were joined by over 100 charity cyclists for a 24-mile route through Birmingham

CHARITY CYCLERS: Father and son, Suki and Jaidev, were joined by over 100 charity cyclists for a 24-mile route through Birmingham

An 11-year-old boy from Birmingham has managed to raise hundreds of pounds for his chosen charity by pedalling a gruelling 24 miles on his bicycle in an organised event.

FUNDRAISING EVENT : Giani Sukha Singh, the CEO of the Sikh Helpline, was seen with his bicycle on the day

FUNDRAISING EVENT : Giani Sukha Singh, the CEO of the Sikh Helpline, was seen with his bicycle on the day

Jaidev Lotay, from Wheelers Lane Primary School, took part in the ‘3rd Bike Ride’ for the Sikh Helpline, which started in South Birmingham’s ‘Guru Nanak Gurdwara’ in the early hours of 2nd October.

The Year 6 student was the youngest rider on the route.

The cycling course was carefully selected and passed through 10 local Sikh Gurdwaras from Birmingham to Wolverhampton.

Previously, the two rides in 2014 and 2015 had proved to be a huge success, not only bringing the community together but promoting health, wellbeing and charity work.

Last year, the ride raised around £14,166.59 - which allowed the Sikh Helpline to employ new staff members, move to new premises and open up new branches in Yorkshire and Manchester.

Jaidev, or Jai as he is known to family and friends, managed to raise £267, nearly doubling his goal of £150.

Speaking after crossing the finish line, the inspirational young fundraiser said: “The pain in my legs was nothing compared to the pain and struggles that other kids endure every day.

“The money I’ve raised will help kids like me to deal with issues beyond their control.”

CYCLING THROUGH THE CITY: Jai managed to navigate busy traffic on the route

CYCLING THROUGH THE CITY: Jai managed to navigate busy traffic on the route

Jai’s father, Suki Lotay, who also jumped on his bike to join in with the charity ride, said he was extremely proud of his son.

“He was overwhelmed that he actually managed to cycle 24 miles, which has been his longest ride to date,” Suki smiled.

“He was well prepared for it, as he had already completed his Level 1 & 2 Bikeability qualification at school which really helped his confidence on the road.”

The father and son team explained that some of the hills towards Wolverhampton were extremely ‘enduring’.

“We had the right support and more importantly, we used the correct gearing which helped us with the inclines,” Suki added.

Having conquered his longest bike ride to date, Jai has now committed to the Sikh Helpline team that he will cycle and fundraise every year as he enjoys the sense of achievement of giving back to the community.

REFUELLING: Jai snacking during the ride to keep his energy levels up

REFUELLING: Jai snacking during the ride to keep his energy levels up

Giani Sukha Singh, CEO of The Sikh Helpline, said, “We need the support of the local communities to help us keep up with the increasing demand of calls.

“Every call matters and a missed call may be the only attempt someone makes for help. It is crucial that every call is answered.

“The Sikh Helpline handles hundreds of calls each month on issues ranging from grooming, domestic abuse through to racism and substance addiction. Due to cultural barriers and protection of ‘honour’ within the local community, such victims suffer in silence.”

He added: “The Sikh Helpline has been invaluable in reaching out to the local Community and we anticipate further projects and I welcome their efforts to secure funding to pursue their good work.”


The Sikh Helpline always receives high volumes of calls and its demand has become nationwide. To find out more, visit www.sikhhelpline.com


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Fundraising summit seekers: School raises thousands after young student dies of cancer

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REACHING THE TOP: Over 136 climbers attempted to climb Mount Snowden to raise money after their classmate died from cancer

REACHING THE TOP: Over 136 climbers attempted to climb Mount Snowden to raise money after their classmate died from cancer

A high school in Halifax has managed to raise over £21,000 in charity after one of their classmates died from cancer in 2014.

Over the past two years, Halifax Academy has been busy washing cars, hosting tea parties and climbing mountains in the memory of a Year 11 pupil who was diagnosed two years ago.

Ali Raja was a bubbly and charismatic student whose diagnosis was ‘devastating’ for everyone at the school.

A PE teacher at the academy, 32-year-old Yasar Mohammed said: “As a community, everyone was shocked but knew that there was always hope. Ali Raja was extremely brave; he always had a smile on his face regardless of what life had thrown at him. He was very mature.

“His peer group, who were an extremely close unit, were eager to raise awareness with an aim of trying to help Ali and try to understand his needs.”

The first set of charity funds were given to the local hospital where Ali Raja was being treated. The class all went collectively to donate the money to the sick children, taking toys and gifts such as iPads.

Halfway through the charity fundraising, Ali was given just a few months to live.

The funeral attendance was in its thousands and reflected the impact that Ali had on everyone that met him.

“I used to go see him alot. He was very religious and it was probably his faith that got him through and accept the illness that he had,” Mr Mohammed said. “He was very impressed with all the work the students were doing.”

Students decided that the best way to commemorate their classmate was to build a water well. It was agreed that this should be placed in a less developed country and so the students picked the South of the Philippines after researching its levels of poverty.

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The following year, Mr Mohammed wanted to add to the fantastic work that had previously been done.

After a long hard discussion with staff, it was decided that the next step would climbing Mount Snowdon.

Mr Mohammed said: “This was an incredibly ambitious target given the elements of safety, support and planning required, but as always the staff at the Halifax Academy came together cohesively to make it a success.”

In total, over 136 climbers ascended the highest mountain in Wales, the youngest of which were 11-years-old.

Mr Mohammed added: “Only six of the 92 students didn’t make it to the summit and those were the ones who didn’t come along to the training and weren’t mentally prepared for the challenge.”

“It was an amazing experience. The children who participated were fantastic, they were motivated, determined and resilient.”

He continued: “The walk up the mountain showed that only the sky is the limit for our students and anything can be achieved. As teachers, it is our job to inspire.”

So far, the school has raised £21,000 – an astonishing sum given the relatively short time frame, which will go towards helping fund orphanages in Pakistan.

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Birthday boy’s big heart: 6-year-old donates presents to kids in Calais

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WONDERFUL GESTURE: Joseph pictured with some of the presents he will be sending to Calais

WONDERFUL GESTURE: Joseph pictured with some of the presents he will be sending to Calais

After seeing thousands of refugee children on television who ‘have nothing’, a six-year-old boy from Leeds has decided to give his birthday presents away to migrant children in France.

Currently, there are 1,179 children living in the camp in Calais, 1,022 of which are alone. There are thousands more in camps across Europe living in unmanageable conditions with little or no support.

Joseph Al Fadhili, who turned six on 20th September, started asking his parents questions about the refugee crisis after watching youngsters on the news go about their daily lives in what is now known as the 'Jungle' camp.

The Moorlands Primary School student then took the selfless decision to give away all but one of his birthday presents in order to help those most deprived across The Channel.

Joseph said: “They don’t have any toys and they don’t have a house. I wanted to share my toys with them.”

FAMILY FUNDRAISER: Joseph (left) and his younger brother Ali (right) are beginning to understand how hard it is for children who live in the ‘Jungle’

FAMILY FUNDRAISER: Joseph (left) and his younger brother Ali (right) are beginning to understand how hard it is for children who live in the ‘Jungle’

Joseph’s Mum, Ala Altaie, said: “I have told my children, including Joseph’s two-year-old brother Ali, how the kids in Calais are having a bad time out there and how they’ve lost their things. They don’t have homes anymore and some now have to live in tents.”

Joseph’s dad, Firas Al Fadhili, admitted that he may have ‘spoilt the kids a bit when they were younger’ but was incredibly proud of his son’s kind gesture.

He said: “I always want him to appreciate things. That’s why we wanted to expose him to what was happening.

“Obviously not the violence of it, but the fact that some people in the world have nothing. Joseph asked how he could help because he didn’t have money. So I suggested that he could share his toys and he was more than happy to do so.”

The family have since set up a donation page if people want to give money instead, which has now reached nearly half of the £1,500 target.

Once they have collected all the donations, Joseph wants his dad to take him to Calais in the October half-term so he can hand the toys over himself.

Firas said: “We’re trying to make them understand that they’re lucky. We want them to realise that they can’t take all the things they get for granted - like education, toys and holidays.

“Not everyone is lucky enough to have security in this world. Joseph has been a wonderful boy all his life. He only ever comes back with one toy in the toy shop.”

He added: “I wouldn’t say Joseph speaks good Arabic but he understands it and his cousins speak French, so they may be able to communicate with the children if we do decide to go over there.”

If this story has touched your heart, you can donate to Joseph’s charity page at: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/birthday4calais

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£20,000 coach donation gets pupils moving outside the classroom

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BRAND NEW: The minibus will replace the ‘run down’ former vehicle

BRAND NEW: The minibus will replace the ‘run down’ former vehicle

This school means bus-iness

Children at a special educational needs school in Knaresborough have been given an extra ‘drive’ to succeed this month after a brand new mini bus pulled up on their playground.

The £20,000 vehicle was donated by local businessman, Mahmood Mazhar, and will help children at The Forest School with all their transportation needs.

Organised in partnership with ‘Variety, the Children’s Charity’, pupils, staff and dignitaries were in attendance on Friday 23rd September for the official ribbon cutting.

Upon the donation of the ‘Sunshine Coach’, Mr Mazhar, of Core Telecom commented: “I’m delighted to have been able to work with both ‘Variety, the Children’s Charity’, and The Forest School to provide such a valuable service. I thoroughly look forward to our support benefitting both the students and staff.

“I’m passionate about making a difference to inspirational organisations and improving the lives of individuals who rely on them.”

HANDS UP: Children celebrate the arrival of their new bus

HANDS UP: Children celebrate the arrival of their new bus

The Forest school currently caters for 108 pupils who suffer from moderate to severe learning difficulties, Autism, Epilepsy, communication difficulties and other complex medical conditions.

The new 17-seater mini bus comes fully equipped with a tail lift to allow for wheelchair access and will replace the previous model which had been ‘driven to its limits’.

It will be utilised to provide invaluable experiences such as Duke of Edinburgh expeditions, training visits, sporting events and residential visits to outdoor activity centres.

The Mayor of Knaresborough, Bill Rigby, was present at the official unveiling alongside Town Crier, Roger Hewitt, who rang his bell and declared the bus as now belonging to The Forest School.

Headteacher, Peter Hewitt, thanked The Variety Club and Core Telecom for their support and explained how the bus would benefit the learning opportunities for all pupils.

ON THE MOVE: Mahmood Mazhar hands over the keys to the new minibus to The Forest School headteacher, Peter Hewitt

ON THE MOVE: Mahmood Mazhar hands over the keys to the new minibus to The Forest School headteacher, Peter Hewitt

He added: “Out of school visits would not be possible without us having our own specialist transport.

The students go to various and wide ranging activities during the school day, after school and during the school holidays.

“It is vital that our children have ‘real-life’ learning experiences. For example, learning about money in the classroom is great but there is no better place to learn such things than at the local supermarket and shops.

“We are so grateful to Core Telecom and Variety, The Children’s Charity, for supporting us in this way. By providing us with a new minibus they have made a significant difference to the learning and lives of our pupils.”

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