Mallam Danjuma Abdullahi is the Project Manager Ummah Support Initiative. In an interview with Aso chronicle, he said the initiative has the structures to support the orphans and the less privileged from all faiths.
What is Ummah Support Initiative all about?
It is a faith-based organization that was established in 2003. Faith based organizations are generally organizations that work either using Islamic approach or Christian approach to do their work. If we go to a community, we work with an Imam or a religious scholar, because we will need their support to carry out our operations. We also work with different organizations to achieve a common goal. Other international organizations also work with us, like Christian aid that is based in the UK, then also the Muslim aid too are faith based organizations. We have partners, such as “action aids”, some international organizations, and we have been able to work in Nasarawa, FCT, Kano and Bauchi and across board we have tried to support orphans. We have supported about 3400 orphans and we also support income generating activities to the care givers. What we mean by “care givers” is that they train the orphans in different businesses of their choice and we support them with about N50,000. We have supported about 108 caregivers in Nasarawa, FCT, Kano and Bauchi. The project started in 2007 and ended in 2010. We know that a project will always have a life span, so since 2010, these orphans that we enrolled in schools are still benefiting from us, and the reason this is made possible is because we supported the care givers. Presently, we are also working with World Bank and some other organizations, whereby we want to support 87 children, so we are giving the care givers loans. This time around, we are supporting about 40 women, but overall, we have about 60 women who are caregivers. The 87 children will be kept under the custody of caregivers, so as to ensure that the children go to school. We also organize kids club activities, which is to take the children out for fun fairs, so as to feel happy like other children who have parents.
What is the motive of the organization?
Our main aim is to care for orphans and vulnerable children in the society. Every Muslim is a member of this organization and that is while it is called “Umma Support Initiative,” Umma simply means community. We even support Christians because our religion teaches us to support human beings irrespective of where they come from. Supporting people of other religions will motivate them to join our initiative and we have support from all kinds of people and I will also like to inform you that the UN Special Adviser on Millennium Development Goals Jeffrey Sars came and asked where he can get a respected organisation to interact with, so he was directed here.
Who are the people that established this organization?
The organization was set up by some set of individuals and I in 2003 when HIV/AIDs was prevalent. We were interested in making sure that HIV/AIDs prevalence rate was reduced in the community, so this was what brought about the establishment of the organization. So we started with people who were infected with HIV/AIDs, some of these people died at the long run, so we thought of taking care and giving support to their children.
Do you have any affiliation or support from International organisations?
Well, for now no, we don’t have.
What is the support like from the government?
The support from the government is basically the project we are doing with World Bank presently. We couldn’t have done much without the World Bank’s assistance and the funding comes from the FCT Agency for the Control of AIDs (NACA) and they also engaged us with one activity or the other and we also collaborate with the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs.
How do you finance the initiative?
We don’t go out to seek for help because our board of trustees do not permit us, but if somebody wants to support us, the person is free to do so. There was a time someone came to us and gave a child who was very unhealthy and he put some amount of money in our account to take care of the child and we took the child to the hospital and he was treated.
What are the challenges the organization face?
One of it is getting people to understand the motive of this organization, and that is why we decided to reach out to the media for awareness. Then finance is another problem we face.
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