This Ramadan we were fundraising so that we can continue to engage with, educate and empower our community via events, campaigns and workshops within schools, universities and mosques; fundraising to produce culturally appropriate and faith-sensitive print and digital materials, resources and tools and ultimately fundraising to support more people struggling with mental health difficulties.

Fundraising used to be of second nature to me, until my children came along. The time and dedication I spend on them were once all spent on charitable causes. It truly saddens me that I am not as active in the charitable field as I once was. Fundraising in Ramadhaan is a passion. But it is also nerve-wracking. I set myself goals that once used to be achieved in no time. However, now it takes weeks. But, Allaah truly does facilitate. There were moments where I had doubted reaching my target. The time was not there – occupied by kids, work, housework and more! However, I was reminded that what we do in Inspirited Minds is selfless. What we are passionate about is not us, but helping others. What we dedicate our time to is not for us, but for those who need our time. And it is because of those people in need that we reach our targets. It is because of them that Allaah gave people the opportunity to donate- so their humble donations reach our clients. Allaah will ensure we reach – if not exceed, our targets because fundraising has nothing to do with us, but has everything to do with those who we are fundraising for. So Allaah will facilitate. It is heartwarming to know and see those funds rising because people around us care about those suffering too. I cannot thank you enough. It’s a real struggle breaking this stigma. A pound donation here and there tells us that more and more people are coming forth in understanding the real issues behind mental health. May our knowledge in this field continue to increase. Ameen
~ Shahrina Ahmed

This year I was really nervous fundraising money because I felt I didn’t have the appropriate skills to fundraise. I also found myself being uncomfortable and anxious asking money from others that I avoided fundraising for half the month of Ramadan. When I started to fundraise and made attempts to contact my network, I truly felt the barakah of Allah. Allahu Akbar! It is Allah who provides. He not only provided me with the ability to fundraise double my target, but he provided me with generous and loving people in my network (both Muslim and non-muslim) who selflessly donated their money to support those who are managing their mental health difficulties. Alhamdullilah. This experience has encouraged to fundraise in the future and to always remember that Allah is closer to me than my jugular vein. I am looking forward to providing more training and workshops tailored to the Muslim community in order to tackle and eliminate the stigma on mental health. May Allah put barakah in the work that we all do in order to please him. Ameen!
~ Farhana Maleque

Pakora. Chips. Chicken wings. Fritters. Chips. Porridge. Toast. Rice with Mango. Chips. I gave it ALL up, did I mention chips? This year I decided to push myself to the max by participating in Sunnah Suhoor and the No Fried Food Challenge and only Allah knows how difficult it was. The first few days were mega difficult, I used to salivate at the thought of a crispy pakora (deep fried onion shreds), dipped in Kisuri (savoury rice pudding/porridge) and my mum’s awesome aubergine fritters are my favorite thing to eat during Ramadan but this year, I gave it all up. I’m a big fan of porridge, I love putting nuts, and fruits and jams, and I love a good piece of toast slathered in butter or coated in Biscoff spread, however, that was replaced with an odd number of dates and water. Even though it was beyond difficult, especially watching my family having rice with beautiful mangoes and cream for Suhoor or getting offered delicious Gambian samosas at the Masjid iftar and having to ruefully decline. However, doing it alongside 4 of my team members (Hamida, Sajidah, Azmara & Tanveen) meant that we encouraged each other by checking in with each other, making dua for one another, sharing reminders and other inspirational things. Most importantly, what kept us motivated and determined to keep sharing and stay active was the generous donations and incredible adiyat that we received from you. Now that I’m keeping my shawwal fasts, I find myself not reaching for the pakora’s anymore, but for the fruit instead, so Alhamdulillah for good habits! If you’re interested in setting yourself a challenge to fundraise for us, please do get in contact – it’s a very liberating experience! We sincerely pray that everyone who contributed towards our cause, even if you remembered us in the month of Ramadan, may Allah reward you in abundance and grant you what is good in this dunya and the next, Ameen!
~ Meanha Begum

My immediate thoughts when considering the challenges were ‘nooo way that’s so difficult’ and I tried to think of ways I could make it easier. Maybe just no fried food Mon-Fri? I mean, samosas are synonymous with Ramadhan in my family, and the thought of not being able to bite into those glorious crispy triangles bursting with spicy goodness, brought me close to despair. Then I took a moment to think and realised this is the first Ramadhan I have ever actively taken on a challenge to fundraise, so why not take full advantage of being given the opportunity to not only increase my reward in the blessed month but also of those who would donate. May Allah reward all those who donated and supported our challenge. Ameen. I love you all for the sake of Allah. In the end, it was the generosity and kindness of you incredible donors that kept me going. Scrolling through and reading the warm messages of encouragement was heartwarming, and reminded me of why I agreed to do this in the first place. I was touched by family members making an extra effort to find alternative ways of cooking at gatherings, so that I could feel part of the party without compromising the challenge. And above all, through my own lived experience of mental health, I was constantly reminded why Inspirited Minds exists and why the work we do is so incredibly important for the Muslim community and deserves support. All in all, it was a humbling experience this Ramadhan, and it’s safe to say I almost shed a tear of joy on Eid when I was able to enjoy a delicious deep-fried savoury…or six.
~ Sajidah Ali

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