BLOG: Ummah Welfare Trust in South Asia

    Alhamdulillah, Ummah Welfare Trust field staff are traveling across Nepal and Bangladesh to assess the impact of your donations. Follow staff's accounts as they help deliver your donations to some of this region's many needy Muslims.

    The Situation for fleeing Refugees
    Tuesday 31st October

    On our way to Shahporideep we came across a Rohingya boat that had just arrived at the marine beach, perhaps within the last hour. Of its 30 passengers or so, almost all were women and children. Just two or three were men.

    These overladen boats, which can usually carry no more than 6 fishermen, face huge difficulties when attempting land fall. As they hit the sands of Teknaf beach, buffeted by huge waves and carrying five times the normal passenger load, they often capsize.

    Unfortunately in this case that's what happened. One young man from the group died due to head injuries. Five others were taken to hospital for emergency care.

    These Muslims, like so many others in recent months, embarked on the journey at night, making it without any navigational aids. What must they have been escaping from to undertake such a huge risk?

    Locals held a tarpaulin shelter over the heads of the survivors. The only adult male present in the group was shivering in his wet clothes. Passerbys gathered around them, as well the police and coast guards. Alhamdulillah, everyone shared whatever food they had with these forlorn arrivals.

    We travelled further down the beach and learnt of another two boats that landed in the night. All thirty passengers survived on one of the boats, while on the second, eight died, including three children. Allahul musta'an.

    Local fishermen told us that waves during the night would have been much rougher and unbearable for these boats. They're so flimsy- you can literally pull the nails out of the wood with your fingers.

    We also learnt that it is common for coast guards and border guards to damage boats to stop more Muslims coming. This was painful to hear - Allah forgive us.

    The Rohingya Mother's Cry
    Saturday 28th October

    Heart-breaking scenes of men, women and children at the border between Burma and Bangladesh.

    A 60 year old mother wept and asked what would happen to her. She managed to cross to safety but didn't know the fate of her family nor their whereabouts.

    Watch the latest eyewitness account from the Ummah Welfare Trust team at the border between Bangladesh and Burma.

    New Shelters for the Rohingya
    Tuesday 10th October

    Ummah Welfare Trust is now building bamboo shelters for Rohingya refugees in south Bangladesh. The charity is build 400 shelters for desperate families, alhamdulillah. Continue your support.

    Assisting the Rohingya in Bangladesh
    Thursday 7th September

    Alhamdulillah, Ummah Welfare Trust has just finished a second distribution of small emergency food packs. The distribution aimed to facilitate 500 families with flat rice, gur, hydration tablets and biscuits.

    As we drive along the border road, Burma is separated in parts by a row of hills and some parts by the River Naf. In our two visits to the border area we have seen smoke columns rising from the the Burmese side. Though only Allah knows the real cause; one cannot help but pray that humans and their abodes are not the fuel there. At least one family has spoken of their family members being set alight after execution and another of houses in their villages burning.

    On the road side we met sister Jameela with her 5 children. The eldest is 15 and the youngest is 9. Her sixth child is with her uncle. None of the children or sister Jameela had any footwear. One was topless and the youngest entirely unclothed.

    Like so many others we have met, sister Jameela's drained face paints a heart breaking picture of her journey. She left her village 20 days ago with her 6 children and her father as she heard about nearby villages being burnt. Her husband had already left for the hills some days ago to escape the targeted execution of all men between the ages of 12 and 40.

    Sister Jameela has since heard that her husband has been shot and injured. It took sister Jameela, her children and her father 20 days to reach the safety of Bangladesh. En route they sought shelter in hill forests for 10 days before moving on due to food shortages. At the border she met her uncle and they hired a boat to cross the river to Bangladesh. Jameela paid for the ride in part with the only necklace she had.

    When we met sister Jameela she had no belongings. She was sitting on the road side with her head sunk into her shoulders. One could be forgiven for thinking that she was lifeless. When given biscuits she rushed to open it, oblivious to anything but the contents therein. She reached for the biscuits, broke some in her hands and one by one started feeding her children before going through at least 10 biscuits herself. Never have we seen such desperation before.

    Jameela reaches for a bottle of water she is passed, her hands shaking she gives each of her children a sip before beginning to quench her own thirst. Over the next 15 minutes Jameela knew nothing but biscuits, water and her children.

    Sister Jameela's desperate and drained face will forever serve as a reminder of how arduous these journeys have been for tens of thousands of our Rohingya brothers and sisters.

    Situation of our Rohingya brothers and sisters in Bangladesh
    Tuesday 5th September

    In the no-man's land between Bangladesh and Burma's Arakan state, Ummah Welfare Trust's UK field team has been distributing vital aid to our Rohingya brothers and sisters and hearing some of their heart-breaking accounts.

    Ummah Welfare Trust has met numerous families to understand their needs and the journey they've been through.

    One such family was headed by Zuleha. Zuleha has travelled 4 days to reach Bangladesh. On route her family faced fatal persecution. Zuleha's daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren were all executed before her eyes and their bodies set alight.

    Zuleha, with a numb expression, related her story to staff. She and nine members of her family survived killings to arrive in Bangladesh.

    Many other families have witnessed similar scenes of horror whilst undertaking this perilous journey.

    Ummah Welfare Trust's team is now on its way to the newly established Unchiprang camp inside Bangladesh where new arrivals continue to gather. Alhamdulillah food distributions have begun. 500 families are being provided with rice, oil, high-energy biscuits and more.

    Ummah Welfare Trust requests the entire Ummah to remember the Rohingya in their prayers and pray that the charity is granted the capacity to respond effectively to this heart-breaking crisis.

    Qurbani 2017 in Bangladesh
    Sunday 3rd September

    Over the last few days I have been in Bangladesh to witness the Qurbanı programme that Ummah Welfare Trust runs for the poor families in the country's northern districts . It's been a difficult journey. Anyone who has travelled through Dhaka will be able to testify.

    Ummah Welfare Trust has been working in north Bangladesh for more than 7 years now and I was able to see first-hand the difference your support is making. From providing hand pumps, to constructing of houses, madrassahs and Masjids, to supporting widows and orphans, all the projects are being delivered with a singular focus on improving the lives of those most in need.

    The Qurbani programme is particularly challenging, so I set out to ensure that we had the best-sized animals and that they were distributed to the most needy communities.

    Just before I arrived into the country, a heavy monsoon season had caused widespread flooding in Nepal, India and Bangladesh. The northern region of Bangladesh remains badly affected; the torrent of rain and flood waters destroying thousands of mud-built homes.

    Countless acres of newly-seeded paddy fields have been washed away, leaving poor subsistence farmers without any crops to harvest. I visited some of the affected villages to survey the needs of the affected population. So far only limited relief has reached these areas due to damaged caused to roads and bridges.

    Eid al Adha has been difficult for these brother and sisters. Alhamdulillah, we did manage to distribute a lot of the Qurbani meat in these flood-affected areas.

    I'm now heading to the refugee camps near Bangladesh's southern border to assess what help and assistance Ummah Welfare Trust can provide to the thousands of Rohingya Muslims who have fled oppression in Burma.

    Development efforts in Nepal
    Monday 21st August

    Having faced an airport closure, Ummah Welfare Trust's field team has arrived in Biratnagar, Nepal to monitor the charity's projects, and evaluate the flood situation. The team will also be helping with Qurbani preparations before leaving for Bangladesh, inshaAllah.

    The last two days has seen us visit several projects, alhamdulillah. Ummah Welfare Trust is currently sponsoring 50 Hifdh students at Darul Uloom Sunsari and 15 teachers who run remote madrassahs in surrounding areas.

    Alhamdulillah, Ummah Welfare Trust has also constructed several masjids here. We visited one under construction in the village of Sabteri. The village has a minority Muslim population who had asked for help with the construction of a masjid.

    Thanks to you, Ummah Welfare Trust responded by securing a land donation and is now constructing a 30' by 27' masjid for the community. The structure is almost complete, alhamdulillah.

    Ummah Welfare Trust has also commissioned 290 wells to be dug in and around the Sunsari region. So far 15 wells for poor communities have been constructed. Alhamdulillah, we spoke to the some of the many beneficiaries who were greatly appreciative of the help.