Times of Oman
OmanPride: ‘Relief for Life’ making efforts to revive spirit of aid
August 14, 2017 | 7:15 PM
by Salim Al Afifi
The organisation also sponsors the charity travel activity of Klghaith, where members make relief trips to Southeast Asian countries and offer help to the poor and those affected by natural disasters.
 
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There is a difference between contributing to a cause and being the cause, as being in the thick of action works as a wake-up call for many people around the world, and that is what ‘Relief for Life’ is all about. The Malaysia-based Omani charity organisation offers opportunities to volunteers to be a part of something that redeems the soul and gives a glimpse into the reality of world’s poverty in Southeast Asia.

Two of the founding members, Dr Mohamed Ahmed Fouad and Haitham Al Farai, said the concept carries a message of relief that aims to link Muslims with the rest of the world and provide humanitarian services without focusing on their cultural or religious background.

The organisation also sponsors the charity travel activity of Klghaith, where members and participating volunteers make relief trips to Southeast Asian countries and offer help to the poor and those affected by natural disasters.

One of its core values is to bleed hope, as well as ensure that participants live the experience rather than contribute financially.

“We see news every day and we are becoming colder, which is why reviving the spirit of relief is vital,” said Fouad, who has 15 years of experience in the field, adding that “How can one change one’s heart? By showing reality and using tangible example that brings warmth to one’s heart.”

The idea started in 2014 as an initiative, where the founders planned and executed a number of trips on their own.

They launched the organisation in 2016 and embarked on more journeys towards helping the needy abroad. The team travelled to Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Malaysia, and sent donations to many countries, including the Philippines. The concept caught people’s attention and grew in numbers, with participants from all over the Middle East and other Muslim nations, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Jordan, and Oman, among others.

‘Relief for Life’ focuses on four crucial aspects while organising their trips. There’s education, in which they travel and build schools and colleges, as well as help enrol students in universities in their hometown. The second aspect targets the health department, where they educate and aid those living in terrible conditions and provide them with better and cleaner alternatives, and raise awareness on the matter.

Thirdly, they do charitable endowment by building mosques and offering useful amenities that will benefit the poor and needy for years to come. And, the best part is that their volunteering spirit comes from a place of love and understanding.

“We work without focusing on particular religions, our strategy is to work and get along with everyone,” said Fouad.

The main goals that ‘Relief for Life’ is looking forward to achieving are not just to help the needy, but to also help and remind people to share their blessings with those in desperate need of it.

“Before helping others, we need to help ourselves, we need to revive the spirit of relief in all of us,” said Al Farai, adding that “sometimes I may not be in need of financial help, but I may need spiritual help for the soul, because life has become very materialistic and dry”.

Fouad gave an example of advertisements, saying that the more poverty and bloodshed we see on TV, the more our hearts become immune to such conditions. People in general tend to forget and focus on their own, but when you go out to extremely poor families, the soul gets a reality check, which turns a cold heart warm.

“When travelling to such places, you realise how good and safe your life is. You appreciate life and become more concerned about the lives of others, and you start sharing from your blessed life,” said Al Farai. “We are not targeting people’s pockets; we aim to teach people how to become active members of society,” he added.

A typical trip consists of three to five days in one of the countries, with visits to slums and places that are damaged because of natural causes. ‘Relief for Life’ has built houses, cleaned, and given food to many families that will forever be grateful. The organisation has also collaborated with a variety of volunteering groups and associations from around the Gulf.

They have managed to feed the hungry during Ramadan, as well as enrolled 35 students into a college in Cambodia.

Their recent trip was also to Cambodia, where they visited poor villages and orphanages. The organisation continues to soar higher and hopes to partake in greater collaborations with major associations around the Gulf.

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