Passion for charity: Bringing smiles on the faces
27 Oct 2016 - 12:31
By Amna Pervaiz Rao / The Peninsula
A humanitarian, Shefa Ali Nadir, came to Doha in 2001 after completing her higher education from London. She started her work journey from Virginia Commonwealth University then joined Qatar Petrochemical Company (Qapco) and is currently working for Sidra Medical and Research Center as the head of healthcare marketing in the communication department.
Moreover, she is a yoga specialist and puts all efforts together to do a great job for a great cause.
Giving a brief overview of her work, Shefa said: “I believe that God puts opportunities in our path to serve other human beings. We just need to pay attention so we don’t miss them. I take opportunities to travel to be at the service of others.”
Shefa always found inner peace while bringing smiles on the faces of needy. While sharing this gesture inbuilt in her personality, Shefa said: “I causally say Hi! to the people who work in this extreme temperature outsides under open sky. I ask them how is their day? Just to show that their life matters to others”.
To understand Shefa’s passion for charity we can take help from “The Prophet”, a classic book written by Khalil Gibran in which at one place he writes: “You give little when you give of your possessions, it’s when you give yourself that you truly give.”
Shefa has always loved charity, in fact she loves doing it with the help of innovative ideas of charity. She considers orphans her first priority while doing charity work. She says: “Islam place a huge importance on orphans and taking care of them. Our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was an orphan.”
Last year in Ramadan, Shefa and her friends made charity-bags filled with basic human necessities also having a thank-you-note-card written in English and Hindi and went to every petrol station and distributed them among workers. She said that Woqod had called her with a desire to sponsor the project. Shefa did this in 2015 and now they plan to do it every year for all the hard-workers employed at the petrol stations.
During our busy lives, it can be hard to find time for volunteering. However, the benefits of volunteering are enormous to you, your family, and your community.
In February 2014, Shefa prepared herself to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania to raise funds for the Kilimanjaro orphanage centre. This project made an aim to make the orphanage’s economy sustainable for the future. Shefa made a plan with a group of ladies to translate her plan into a reality. As a result of her expedition, she raised money with which the orphanage succeeded in purchasing 34 cows. “A cow gives birth every two years, after five years we hoped to have around 200 cows.”
To make her first experience of climbing memorable and not filled with risks, Shefa began physical training in September 2014. She said, “I got myself a trainer and we focused on core strength. In addition to that, I used to spend an hour and a half on the treadmill. It was my first climb and I was really excited, with tiny undercurrents of nervousness. I was not a climber but I hoped that my experience can highlight that ordinary people can do extraordinary things.”
Raising funds for the Kilimanjaro Orphanage Centre is part of Shefa’s religious beliefs she expressed while sharing her Kilimanjaro experience. She said: “Islam and the Holy Quran place great importance on the treatment of the orphans.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said, ‘Whoever caresses the head of an orphan (in affection), solely for the sake of Allah, a good deed will be written to his account for every hair over which he passed his hand’ – narrated by Abu Hurairah.”
Sharing the experiences of her philanthropic journey, she said she visited Karachi (Pakistan) in 2014. The orphanage for which she did her charity work was ‘Sirat-ul-Jannah’ which means ‘Path to heaven’ in English.
The reason Shefa gave to choose this specific orphanage was: “The start of the Sirat-ul-Jannah project is an interesting and inspiring episode and it cropped up after Ghufran Qureshi, who hails from a prosperous British family, had a love marriage with Muhammad Ahmed in England in 1975 and embraced Islam after being inspired by its teachings. During Ghufran’s job in an orphanage house in Britain, she had become fully accustomed with the difficulties and problems of orphans and their psychology. Ghufran, who faced tremendous hardship and tough circumstances founded this great welfare organisation.” Shefa expressed her feelings about the Karachi trip by saying: “This experience was filled with joy, adventures and emotional memories.”
While sharing her Karachi experience Shefa said: “The good thing about goodness is it’s transmittable, it passes from one person to the next, like a disease it automatically spreads.”
Shefa visited India in 2015 for charity work, she said she went to ‘Mother Teresa’s house — Missionaries of Charity’. The orphanage is home to mentally and physically handicapped children and is run by the Sisters of Charity, Mother Teresa’s religious community. The children that have been abandoned in the street or a hospital are handed over to Mother Teresa’s by the police. Shefa agrees with the point that Mother Teresa got it right when she said: “The problem in the world is that we have all just forgotten that we belong to each other.”
Shefa says that she learnt Mother’s words by heart and decided to live the rest of my life not forgetting the golden words.
While expressing her feelings towards the real meaning of togetherness she said: “Imagine a circle of compassion, and then no one standing outside of that circle. We would all stand together, the poor, the powerless, the voiceless and those whose dignity has been denied. There is no “them” and “us”. Just us! Standing together in our humanity.”