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UK Students Use Charity to Make Difference

Published: 11/03/2014 04:51:03 PM GMT
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CAIRO – As the number of the world poor escalates and regional crises spread, charity work, which lost its momentum after financial crisis, a growing number of students from prestigious British universities are joining charity course at St Mary's University. The charity sector is there to serve others and I believe people in communities s...(more)

CAIRO – As the number of the world poor escalates and regional crises spread, charity work, which lost its momentum after financial crisis, a growing number of students from prestigious British universities are joining charity course at St Mary's University.

"The charity sector is there to serve others and I believe people in communities should help each other," Mohammed Kozbar, the chairman of Finsbury Park mosque, who attends the St Mary's course, told The Guardian.

Believing that charity begins at home, the mosque is a registered charity that serves Muslims in Islington while promoting community and interfaith relations.

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"We need to work together on issues that affect us all, such as discrimination, poverty and the treatment of women," Kozbar added.

Kozbar is one of the university graduates who choose to join charity course at St Mary's University to offer help to the wider community.

According to Dr Ola Sholarin, leader of the international development management MA at the University of Westminster, the charity work revival came years after the financial crisis, following recent crisis like those in Syria which made charities more essential than ever.

"The global financial crisis has had a colossal effect on charity funding," Sholarin said.

"Professionals need to be equipped to face such challenges," he says.

Therefore, choosing a degree in charities is often a moral decision.

"Many students come to our programme from the private sector," says Dr Geoff Paul, director of the charity management MA at St Mary's University, Twickenham.

"The financial sector has had a bad reputation for years while the charity sector has always held its values well. People want to help to build a civil society."

Britain is home to a Muslim community of nearly 2.7 million.

According to Islamic Shari`ah, a capable Muslim pays 2.5 percent mandatory payment and spend it to help the poor and the needy.

After the holy fasting month of Ramadan, Muslims also give Zakat Al-Fitr, the third pillar of Islam, that is obligatory upon every (capable) Muslim.

The Zakat should be given during the holy fasting month of Ramadan any time but before the `Eid prayer.

Last July, a survey by JustGiving charity website has found that Muslims top charity givers in the UK, compared with other faiths.

Life-Changing

For some students, the charity work had a life-changing impact.

"That was when I first became aware of inequality and development issues," Abby Emery, who participated in the Make Poverty History campaign almost a decade ago, said.

"Of course, looking back, I can see the many problems with celebrity-led charity campaigns – they simplify the problems of development and remove the agency of developing-country citizens."

Emery, who studied a development economics BSc at Soas, University of London, hopes for a career in charities.

"It's a shame that most graduates overlook the charity sector, when some of the most dynamic workplaces in the world are third-sector organizations," she says.

"It's an opportunity to work on the cutting edge of science and policy, while hopefully providing effective outcomes for some of the most marginalized and vulnerable people in the world,” she added.

Other students found that charity sector work can help individuals appreciate their own lives and better themselves.

"You learn things about yourself that you didn't know before," says Salama Mohammed, an international development MA student at the University of Westminster.

"When I got into charity work I learned to be more patient, down to earth and to cherish the people in my own life."

Feeling the beauty of helping others, the charity sector work is makes every day satisfying, according to Paul from St Mary's University.

“You may have fed or clothed somebody and made their day brighter, rather than spending all day pushing around a piece of paper," he said.

Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here

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