VANCOUVER — Crossing their cultural barriers, students from two leading Islamic and Jewish schools have won the 2014 Class Act award for giving out food and clothes in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside during Random Act of Kindness week in February.
"It was fascinating that not every person on Earth can have the same thing as everyone else," student Azadeh Kashani, from Az-Zahrra Islamic Academy, told CBC on Tuesday, June 3.
Kashani is one of the students from Islamic academy Az-Zahrra who joined students from Richmond Jewish Day School last February to give out free food and clothes.
The campaign, held as part of Random Act of Kindness week last February, helped students from both Abrahamic faiths to put aside cultural differences and unite for an annual display of goodwill.
Winning the 2014 Class Act award, the students invited Downtown Eastside resident Fred Miller, one of those who benefited from their good will, to attend a school event earlier this week.
Miller, a homeless who has battled addiction all through his life, was moved by the students’ kindness.
"I don't have a family, I've got seven dollars in my pocket to last me the whole month. The loneliness is the worst," he said.
He also answered questions from students about how addiction had affected him.
"I learned from a very young age how to be an addict from drinking...it's been a life of hell, but it's been a life of goodness," said Miller.
Muslims make around 2.8 percent of Canada's 32.8 million population.
A recent report from the Washington-based Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life said that Muslims are expected to make up 6.6% of Canada’s total population in 2030.
A recent survey showed that the overwhelming majority of Muslims are proud to be Canadian, and that they are more educated than the general population.
Meeting Miller, both Muslim and Jewish students said his words had a deep impact on them.
"He taught us it's not important. You can just be yourself, just have faith in humanity,” Kashani, the Muslim student, said.
Abe Ravvin, a student from Richmond Jewish Day School, shared a similar opinion.
"The way he talked about us, how good it was we were working together and just to do kindness for people in this situation, just made us want to see him and talk to him," he said.
However, the deepest impact was on Miller himself from the kindness expressed by students.
For a homeless man who was hugged warmly by students, the whole experience has been overwhelming.
"Just the warmth of their shiny, young faces, restores faith in me," he said.
"It's been so long since anyone cared enough to give me a hug."
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here
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