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Muslim Students Praised for Raising $5500 to Help Ottawa Needy

Seeking to make a difference in their community, incredible Muslim students at Vincent Massey Secondary School have raised $5,500 for the Downtown Mission to help Ottawa needy.

“Our initial goal is actually $2,500 to $3,000, and we nearly doubled that with $5,500 total,” Sulayman Syed, a student at Vincent Massey and co-president of the school’s Muslim Student Association (MSA), told CBC.

“We were really overwhelmed with the generosity from the MSA community and teachers and everybody.

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“It was a really great turnout and we’re super happy with the result.”

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The in-school fundraiser was inspired by the holy month of Ramadan known as the month of charity.  

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“In the month of Ramadan, donating and giving back to those less fortunate is something that is highly regarded and valued in our religion,” said Syed.

“So coming together to organize this with our school was an opportunity that I simply couldn’t miss.”

The school’s Muslim Student Association has about 30 members and holds events and bake sales throughout the school year.

Huge Help

Downtown Mission Executive Director Rukshini Ponniah-Goulin said the donation will be a “huge help” to the organization.

“We at the Downtown Mission have been seeing more and more individuals, men, women, youth and families coming to us for support, whether it be a meal, whether it be shelter for our men and women overnight and just people needing help,” Ponniah-Goulin said. 

“Overall, it’s been a difficult couple of years, as everyone has been experiencing, of course.”

For Ponniah-Goulin, this particular donation was significantly important, going beyond financial help. 

“It gives you that hope for the future, because it’s young people coming together and thinking of how they can help other people who are maybe less fortunate than they are in their own community,” said Ponniah-Goulin. “It’s incredible to see young people come together in this way.”

Vincent Massey teacher Abdul Merhi said he was very proud of what the students accomplished.

“I thought it was a wonderful idea, and they had put in all the energy to make sure it happened successfully,” he said.

“They worked very hard throughout the month of Ramadan, and the campaign was a very big success in the school for the last two weeks, with the help of the administration team, with the hard work of the students.”

“They put every inch of effort into this, and I’m just extremely proud of them and all their commitment and hard work as Muslims and as students.”

Generosity and charity are generally blessed in Islamic Shari`ah.

A similar initiative was led by 13 young members of the Muslim community in Derry, North Ireland, who successfully raised about £800 to help a local food bank during Ramadan.