Please explain the reason for these additional activities during Ramadan?
Muslims of various communities of interpretation across the world commemorate the month of Ramadan.
It is the holy month in which the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) received the first series of messages that would eventually become the Quran.
It is a month when Muslims aspire to discipline their soul and moral behaviour, and to intensify compassion for the less fortunate.
The month is viewed as a comprehensive tool for change in various spheres of our lives, including social and spiritual, intellectual and humanitarian, the inner and outer.
Does the Ismaili community have regular engagement with the Kibuli Community?
In October 2016, May 2017 and May 2018, the community volunteers in conjunction with Kibuli Muslim Hospital, hosted successful health clinics for the local community. The goal of the health camps is to educate and encourage the targeted community to employ hygienic practices in their daily lives and seek regular check-ups as preventative measures. Free medication is provided at these camps.
For the last few years, during Ramadan, the community has either run a food drive to distribute food items to the marginalised group of Muslims in Kampala or hosted Iftar at Kibuli Mosque.
What is different about this year’s Iftar at Kibuli?
Nadim Lalani, council member responsible for Outreach activities, responded to say, “Islam teaches us to be life-long learners and to seek knowledge throughout our lives. Shafique Ssekelala, programme director of the Aga Khan Foundation’s Madrasa Early Childhood Programme (MECP), highlighted the importance of sensitising the Iftar gathering at Kibuli Mosque on the importance of early childhood education and films of the Aga Khan Foundation’s work were shown.
Shafique Ssekalala added, “It is imperative that the importance and impact of Early Childhood Education is understood as it presents an incredible opportunity to break the cycle of poverty and open up new opportunities for marginalised groups in Uganda. Investment in early childhood development has far-reaching, lifelong returns.”
More than 800 teachers have graduated with certificates under the Madrasa Early Childhood Programme in Uganda. This programme, an initiative of the Aga Khan Development Network, aims to improve the quality of education, offering professional training to teachers and ECCE caregivers.
It is inspiring to see young children and other volunteers from the Ismaili community participating in the Iftaar at Kibuli
The spirit of giving, caring and sharing is an Ismaili value, which is deeply aligned with the ethics of Islam. We have Ismaili volunteers of all ages with values of giving of self, which are instilled at an early age, so that the spirit of volunteerism becomes an integral and positive part of daily life. Contributing to civil society is part and parcel of the Ismaili faith.
Due to the guidance of His Highness the Aga Khan, the community is abundant with voluntary resources with the will and the skills to step up to the challenge and provide support at these events when required.
This is only a small part of the work
Minaz Jamal, president of the National Council in Uganda commented that, “Our ties with the Kibuli community go back several decades and this year, other than the serving of the Iftar meal, we considered it important to share knowledge with our brothers and sisters at Kibuli, on the importance of education. The key non-school factor that influences learning outcomes, is parental and community participation in children’s learning. Intervention at an early age is powerful and generates immense benefits to the children and their families. Parents and others need to be mindful that children who benefit from these early skills and experiences are more likely to enrol on time, stay in school and perform well. In the long run, Early Childhood Education reduces class repetition, school dropouts and increases efficiency in education and ultimately becomes an asset for the country. We as a community are most indebted to His Highness, who leading by example, has guided the community to deepen our concern for improving the quality of human life. Tolerance and generosity are incumbent on us; and if you look at his 60 year Imamat, you will note a tremendous record of accomplishment in improving the quality of peoples’ lives globally, and not only in areas populated by Ismailis. This is a very special year for the community, which is being celebrated as a Diamond Jubilee year.”