Human development, i.e., individuals and organizations committed to uplift the ones in ditches and giving them a hand in bringing them back on a level playing field. Catholic Charities is one of the earliest organizations to take on the role of helping people help themselves. Jewish, Hindu, Parsee (Zoroastrian) names pop in the mind immediately along with The Carnegie endowment, Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation and many great institutions are out there to do the work. The ones that have made news recently, may God bless them and bless more of them are: the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Warren Buffet Foundation.
The most known foundation among the Muslim Community is the Aga Khan Foundation. There are many a great foundations out there, unfortunately not all of them are listed. The Prophet's (pbuh) had recommend that if you help some one with one hand, the other hand should not even know about it. There is a deep wisdom in it. This is to avoid humiliation of the receiver. There is a great story to share, narrated by my friend Mr. Davendra Dev Maini.
Where one Raheem ( A Muslim seer) was well known in India for his devotion to help every one. It was said that no one went empty handed when they knoced on his door for help. He would give food, clothing and monies to people.
The people who received the help could not figure out why Raheem always lowered his eyes when he gave, as if he was embarassed to do it. So one day some of them went to his contemporary Tulsidas, the man who wrote the Ramayana legend and wanted to understand why this man kept his eyes lowered with humility when he gave.
Tulsidas wrote a quartet and sent with the men to give it to Raheem
- Aisi deni dain jo
- Kit sethay ho sain
- Joon Joon kar oonchay kariyo
- Choon choon nechay nain.
So the folks go to Raheem with Tulsidas's note to seek an answer. Raheem looked at it and understood that it was coming from one of the greatest writers of the time; Tulsidas. He responded with another quartet.
- Den haar koi aur hai
- Bhejat jo din rain
- log bharam ham per karien
- taso neechay nain.
He put his belief into the above 4 lines, which said. the giver is some one else, God is the giver, and when people give me the credit, I am embarrassed so I keep my eyes low.
If we want to maintain a continuous equilibrium in the society, we have to help every one that needs help. I have never looked to it as either Charity or Noble work. It is simply one side of the happiness transaction. Giving is the best ingredient of happiness.
By the way, Dr. Mohammad Younus was recognized for his effort in helping the ordinary people come up in life with a simple thing like micro credit in his native Bangladesh. He is a proud Nobel Prize winner in 2006.
In this forum, we will highlight the Muslim development net works. Personally, I am reluctant to use the word Charity, as it denotes obligation. Please send me information about other organizations like IRC and the ones by the Ahmadiyya and other group.
Send to WMCarchives@gmail.com
Gates gives $5.5m for Aga Khan project
By A CORRESPONDENT The EastAfrican
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has given a grant of $5.5 million to Aga Khan Foundation USA (AKF-USA) for a microinsurance initiative in Pakistan and Tanzania.
The five-year initiative aims to improve the economic stability of microentrepreneurs and other poor families by reducing their vulnerability to loss of savings and income as a result of catastrophic events such as long-term hospitalisation, business or crop loss, or death of the head of a household. The initiative intends to develop a model for the provision of microinsurance that will be viable and financially sustainable in multiple socio-economic and cultural contexts.
AKF-USA will work with the Aga Khan Agency for Microfinance (AKAM) in implementing activities, first in Pakistan – where the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) has well-established institutions and a long history of innovation in financial services, insurance, social development and poverty reduction.
In 2007, AKAM will begin programme activities in Tanzania, where AKDN has also had a long-term presence.
The initiative is designed to create a replicable model for extending and deepening the impact of microfinance by providing affordable, comprehensive insurance products to poor and very poor microfinance clients.
It offers the opportunity to test how microinsurance services could become a powerful and cost-effective tool complementing micro-lending and savings.
The programme will bring together high-level international expertise, market research, pilot studies and the use of modern technology to demonstrate how microinsurance services can be delivered cost-effectively to the poor. AKF-USA will also work jointly with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to disseminate learning about the impact of microinsurance services on the poor.